We believe research is strongest when conducted by those most connected to the work.
E-learning platform (coming soon)
The Tea Leaf Center Co., Ltd. is a social enterprise research and training consulting firm based in Thailand and working throughout Southeast Asia. We seek to shift the balance of power in international development and research toward local organizations, communities and individuals directly impacted by the issues they are working on.
areas of work
What is ‘Local’?
At the Tea Leaf Center, we define ‘local organizations’ as organizations, however formal or informal, that are rooted in the context in which they work, and/or are directly impacted by the issue they are working on. This might be:
geographic – for example, a community-based organization comprised of members of one village or an urban settlement;
issue-based – for example, land rights defenders from diverse parts of a country who work together on advocacy and research; or
identity-based – for example, an organization led by and for people with disabilities, working within the country or other geographic area where its members are based.
We don’t seek equal partnerships. Local organizations are on the frontline, therefore they have a greater right to drive research and interpret data than we do. They take the lead, and we help from behind as needed.
We have clients, not beneficiaries. We provide professional services and are accountable to our clients, who set the terms and boundaries of the partnership.
All clients are treated equally, and all clients are charged equitably. We have a sliding scale based on an organization’s ability to pay for our services, and occasionally offer support free of charge when a client cannot pay.
We are a social enterprise. We operate primarily on the income from our research and training services, not on grant funding. However, we may occasionally obtain grants for specific activities, especially the work to support early-career researchers.
INCOME & PRO-BONO WORK (2021)
Research support & MEL projects
Since 2020, the Tea Leaf Center has reduced our reliance donor funding for projects. By 2021, we were fully supported by our paid for projects. The Tea Leaf Center’s has been able to pro-bono contributions (research support as well as low cost or free trainings) estimated at more than $27,000 USD. That is more than a quarter of our training and research provided for free to build the capacity of local organizations and peoples.
EXAMPLES OF OUR SERVICES
PARTNERS AND CLIENTS
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT OUR WORK
“Context-driven and great presentation style with integrated practical tasks for learners throughout the course and for all steps of a research process. The examples and exercises are really informative and enjoyable”
– Salai Van Cung Lian, Advisor | Chinbridge Institute
“It was a pleasure working with the Tea Leaf Center. The TLC team demonstrated flexibility and was able to accommodate work beyond the agreed scope of work to improve the overall quality of research. Together, we were able to deliver an excellent, rich, and informative report for the donor. We are looking forward to working with TLC again.”
– Country Director, Myanmar
Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA)
“It was nice working with The Tea Leaf Center fast response, flexibility and being willing to tailer the work based on our needs were highly appreciated. Their work is well organized, sharing progress through interim report and final draft for review to avoid misunderstandings. We are very happy with the final report which will help us derive insights for the future and are looking forward to further cooperation with The Tea Leaf Center.”