If you spend a day in Britain, you’ll quickly learn what the “national drink” of this country is: TEA!  Tea for breakfast.  Mid-morning tea.  Tea after lunch.  Afternoon tea.  But have you ever stopped to think:  Where does all that tea come from?  Recently, Emerging Leaders had the privilege of being able to work with some inspiring tea farmers from Sorwathe Tea in Rwanda!


In July and October 2017, Emerging Leaders trained 185 tea farmers, workers, and managers at Sorwathe Tea Factory.  This factory is located in Rulindo District, the Northern Province of Rwanda.  Sorwathe Tea is a small tea factory that supplies some of its tea to the UK through our partner, Marks and Spencers.

At the end of August 2018, 1 year after the training, we caught up with 70 of the trainees to see what the impact of the training was.  But before we share some of the impact data, first meet some tea farmers from this beautiful place… 😊

Meet Wellars

“I am preparing a nice future for my children, my retirement, and am employing my neighbors which is giving them a good example. I am increasing the productivity of my country…”

meet Wellars

After attending the Emerging Leaders training last year, Wellars expanded his existing tea farm to push the boundaries of his existing entrepreneurial endeavours.

Meet Cleophas

“I have a tea farm and a passion fruit farm.  I try to be a role model in my community.  Many people ask me to help them start their own [entrepreneurial] project.  [Since I started my own project], it is no longer difficult to find school fees for my kids.”

meet Cleophas

Meet Fidele

“The place where I planted my tea is an area where terraces could not hold and erosion was a problem.  But my tea plantation could stop the erosion and protect the environment.”

meet Fidele

Emerging Leaders’ Training Curriculum for Sorwathe Tea

overview of training

When Emerging Leaders delivered training at Sorwathe Tea, the training included:

  • Module 1, Lead yourself. (Because everything starts with this.)
  • Module 2, Lead your team. (Who is the community around the individual?)
  • Modules 3 & 4, Lead your money & Lead your project (Let’s translate this into tangible and measurable change on the individual and the community!)

What was the result of the training?

training results

Big Result #1: 91% of people started a community project after the training

Everyone was challenged to start a project to benefit their community after the training.  As a result, a shocking 91% of people actually did it!  The majority of people (61%) started an animal farming project, with crop farming being the second-most popular choice (17%).  Others started trade projects, creative projects, social organisations to help vulnerable people, and even savings and environmental projects.

project types

Big Result #2: 55% of the projects were generating an income one year after the training

Some of the survey respondents were open about sharing their income data.  This gave a fascinating glimpse into some of the financial impacts of the training.  Overall, the average increase in monthly income was £37 GBP per month (based on 33 respondents who shared their income data with us).  This is about a 33% increase in monthly family income after the training was delivered!

So what did they do with that extra money?  Over 30% of these respondents said they used additional income to contribute to savings. 23% of them noted they spent additional money on food, and 18% said they contributed income to education.

extra income expenditure

Big Result #3: Income-generating projects employed on average 4 people per project

We had one unexpected result when we did the impact assessment.  Yes, people were using their projects to increase their own income and to improve the lives of people in their community.  But they were also employing other people through their income-generating projects!  Of projects that were income-generating (55% of projects) – an average of 4 people per project were being employed.  This means that the positive spin-off effects of the training were not only reaching those we trained, but also others were gaining employment as a result.

How did you change?

We asked an open-ended question to any survey participant that said they had “changed” as a result of the training:  “How did you change?”

how did you change?

  • 26% of people that attended Emerging Leaders training noted an increase in their ability to save. Savings for kids’ education.  For healthcare and retirement.  Savings for home improvements.  Savings for business investment.  Life-changing!
  • Another 21% of trainees actually noted that a great change was just the kick-start to get their entrepreneurial project off the ground.
  • 16% of people noted their leadership skills, confidence, and belief in their own amazing potential was a key change. 14% mentioned a positive outlook.  12% mentioned their ability to plan, set goals, and make decisions to reach their goals – absolutely essential to any entrepreneur’s journey.

Investing in Communi-Tea Transformation

The partnership with M&S and Sorwathe Tea was incredible in reaching these 185 tea workers in Rwanda.  Sorwathe heavily invests in local development, from sponsoring computer rooms in local schools to building nursery schools every year in the area.  Partnership with Sorwathe, an actor already invested in community development in its area, was a key factor in the success of the Leadership for Life trainings.

This collaboration serves as a possible blueprint for future trainings both in Rwanda and elsewhere. Emerging Leaders looks forward to partnering with companies and organizations which play an important economic and developmental role in the communities where they operate.