London Fairtrade Schools Conference
Six Oxfam Youth Ambassadors representative Latiff Parkinson, Joseph Humms, Luke Pitchen, Sundas Abdulqaadir, Anais Araias–Galan & Samarah Irving took part in the London Fairtrade Schools Conference on Monday 10th October to gain a deeper understanding of the Fairtrade industry and the benefits of communities working together with Fair Trade. We were one of fourteen schools to take part in London’s Fair Trade School’s Conference with other events held in Edinburgh, Liverpool and Cornwall during October.
There were 3 different workshops focusing on the different Fair Trade products and how as consumers of Fair Trade we are helping to support & reduce poverty in developing countries.
Malawi was given as a specific example of a country helped by Fairtrade. The World Trade Organization ranks Malawi as the second largest producer of tea in Africa, after Kenya producing between 2.1 million and 2.7 million kilos tea depending on the growing conditions with 2.3 million kilos of tea being transported to Britain - which amounts to 80 million of cups of tea averaging out an each person drinking 3 cups of tea a day.
There are few jobs available in Malawi –definitive unemployment statistics are hard to come by, but data produced by the International Labour Organization (ILO) reveals that Malawi has one of the highest rates of working poverty in the world. 99% of the tea farms in Malawi are fair trade however only 3% of the tea is sold on fair trade terms this means that their fair trade premium is low and that the communities are still struggling, so it’s important to purchase Fair Trade Tea.
The highlight of the conference was two special guests from Ghana. Esther and Samuel both aged 15, are from cocoa growing communities. Their parents are cocoa farmers and are members of Kuapa Kokoo, the Fairtrade co-operative that co-owns Divine Chocolate. Esther and Samuel talked about how Fairtrade has makes a difference to their community and their family lives.
Latiff Parkinson, said:
“Personally I feel the most insightful part of the trip was a presentation with the two Children from Ghana (West Africa) Samuel and Esther. Not only did we learn about the chocolate making process, we also learnt how fair trade had had an impact on their life& community. Fair trade meant that all workers received a fair wage and there was no exploitation of child labour. The people premium additional funds meant that the local community focused on improving the infrastructure of the community not just on personal profit.”
Sundas Abulqaadir reflected:
“It is our job to buy more Fair Trade products to provide people with a better life. This will help to enable their community to build facilities and to invest in educational and medical services.”