Yesterday’s event at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland brought together several diverse organisations who were all committed to raising awareness of women’s issues on a local and international level.
Managing Director, Patricia Alexander spoke about why fair trade is so important to women’s producer groups around the world. Patricia spoke of her trip to Rwanda, where she met many women who had been impacted by the genocide. For the women who were widowed, becoming self-sufficient was their only option, and by forming fair trade co-operatives many of these groups are thriving. With the help of the Shared Interest Foundation project we have provided business skills training to many groups, which we estimate has impacted 9000 individuals.
The event was closed with a fair trade coffee on the roof of the National Glass Centre, one of Sunderland’s most iconic buildings. It’s well worth a visit if you’ve never been before, and of course you can treat yourself to a Fairtrade beverage in the café.
International Women’s Day celebrations for 2012 take place this Thursday 8th March, which slots neatly into our programme of celebrations for Fairtrade Fortnight.
I will be attending a Fairtrade reception at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland, which is being organised in celebration of IWD. The event is designed to raise awareness of the issues facing young women in developing countries, and how young women in Sunderland can make a difference. I am looking forward to hearing my colleagues speak about their first hand experience of how fair trade and Shared Interest can support women’s producer groups. We will also have the opportunity to network and share stories with local women’s organisations.
Here at the office, our social committee have organised an in house competition for staff to name a famous woman who has inspired them. I’m sure there will be some very diverse and interesting names put forward. Roll on Thursday; it should be a very positive and uplifting day!
In a bid to raise awareness about Shared Interest and the work that we do in the developing world we have partnered up with Smooth Radio in the North East and The Big Issue across the country, using their websites as a way to promote Shared Interest.
Have you seen our dedicated microsites? If not the links to each site are below:
Monday 27th February saw the start of Fairtrade Fortnight 2012. I travelled to Glasgow to celebrate the launch of the Fortnight’s activities with one of our partner organisations, the Scottish Fairtrade Forum.
The event was opened by the President of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, Mike Kirby, who highlighted Scotland’s campaign to become a fair trade nation. He welcomed an international guest, Jennifer Wettaka, a fair trade coffee producer from the Gumutindo co-operative in Uganda. Jennifer spoke about how the group made use of the fair trade premium, emphasising that it was this pricing strategy that had allowed their farmer’s children to attend school. One of the audience members asked Jennifer whether there was any other support for the community; she simply answered no – there is no other mechanism. She said she hoped to benefit from a long partnership with Fairtrade and with buyers Equal Exchange, who were also there on the night to showcase their ‘Grown by Women’ range.
Martin Rhodes, the Director of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum was there to launch their new slogan – “Scotland is going Fair Trade. Are you?” He urged individuals and organisations to become truly committed to the campaign by signing pledge cards.
Closer to the Newcastle office, the Sunderland Soroptimists are currently running their fair trade and Shared Interest information stall in the Sunderland City Library. I was on hand earlier in the week to chat to local schools that were passing through.
Next week will see a programme of international celebrations for International Women’s Day 2012. The Shared Interest team will be part of a Fairtrade reception at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland, which will see several regional partnerships come together to raise awareness of women’s issues. Our network of ambassadors will also be attending events o to mark this day. If you live in Leeds, be sure to check out celebrations which are being organised by the Co-operative Membership Team and Daisy Green. See our events calendar for further details.
Those of you that engage with The Big Issue may have noticed our presence on their website as well as our adverts and inserts within the magazine.
As part of Fairtrade Fortnight we are encouraging people to Take a Step and open a Share Account that will provide a hand up for communities such as those of the Massai women who work as part of the Namayiana group.
Namayiana are a women’s group based in Kenya that have had a relationship with Shared Interest since 2009. They produce handmade beaded goods from two premises in the Ngong area, one in the countryside and the other in Ngong town. Their office is based in the town; here they carry out the administrative work and packaging for export, while the countryside site is used for production and collection of finished products.
The group uses their facility to provide the women within the group with pre finance which motivates them to complete the bead work. They also provide them with training on quality assurance and design.
Namayiana brings together Maasai women to produce the handicrafts. Working as part of the group offers them a sense of strength as well as the opportunity to create a livelihood for themselves. The women of the group belong to a very traditional community in which women are generally not empowered. Since working for Namayiana many of the women have reported that living standards have been improved and that the money they have made has led to the development of alternative ways of income generation such as poultry keeping and irrigation.
The group’s term loan enabled them to attend a three-week trade event in Vienna in 2010. Project Manager, Catherine Mututua reported on the impact of this event telling Shared Interest that one woman in the group was able to clear her children’s school fees arrears in September 2010 and another stated that she” felt financially empowered for the first time” as a result of the trade fair and the increased business it generated.
Catherine said: “With Shared Interest behind us, we have more courage to work harder and feel we can go far in our business”.
Namayiana feature in our promotional work with The Big Issue so keep an eye out for them and as always let us know what you think of the campaign.
Today marks the beginning of Fairtrade Fortnight 2012. This year the Fairtrade Foundation is using the Fortnight to kick start the Take a Step campaign which encompasses a whole year of activities that are dedicated to taking fair trade further. To find out more about their plans and to download those all-important resources please visit their website to find out more.
Here at Shared Interest we are all geared up and ready to go. Last week we launched our radio campaign with Smooth Radio in the north east which will last for six weeks. Those of you that purchase The Big Issue and The Week will see our newly designed adverts and inserts in the magazines and we are also delighted to be given the opportunity to be the first organisation to have a dedicated microsite as part of The Big Issue website.
Our Supporter Relations Officers, along with our volunteers and ambassadors will be hosting and attending a number of events over the course of the Fortnight. To find out about events in your area and to how you can get involved, check out the events calendar on our Fairtrade Fortnight webpages.
The Fairtrade Foundation is encouraging everyone to Take a Step for Fairtrade, here at Shared Interest we can’t see a better way to show your commitment to the fair trade movement than by opening a share account and quite literally investing in a fairer world.
Sales of Fairtrade products grew strongly in 2010 and wine sales almost tripled. Overall, it was a year of impressive growth for Fairtrade. Shoppers spent more than 4.36 billion Euros on Fairtrade products, up by 27 percent over 2009. Four products saw more than 100 percent growth.
The members of Fairtrade International have voted to increase the influence and ownership of producers, making them half-owners of the Fairtrade certification system. Since 2006, certified producer organisations have been co-owners with labelling initiatives from consumer countries but the recent decision implies that the producers will now have an equal voice in the highest decision-making body of Fairtrade International. In the future the General Assembly will include 12 delegates from Fairtrade labelling initiatives and 12 delegates from producer organisations.
People sometimes question the impact that social media has on our society. Change.org certainly believes in the power of collective blogging.
Today marks the Fourth anniversary of Blog Action Day. In the summer of 2007 Collins and Cyan Ta’eed recruited thousands of bloggers to write about the issue of environment on October 15, 2007. The initiative achieved unexpected success and since then Change.org has carried on the campaign, annually encouraging the world’s bloggers to unite by posting about the same issue on the same day. In 2008 the subject was poverty, last year the campaign looked at Water. Change.org said “our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all.”
Today, thousands of bloggers will take part in Blog Action Day 2011 discussing food issues that affect their communities and the rest of the world.
Here at Shared Interest we are keen to show how Fair Trade food helps farmers and communities improve their lives. The Shared Interest film below shows how our investors have made a difference. Candela works with nearly 300 Brazil nut gatherers (castañeros) and their families who live along the Madre de Dios River. The nuts are transported by river and road to Candela’s processing plant in Puerto Maldonado and then to Lima, from where nuts and oils are exported to Europe, North America and Australia.
There is a great wealth of variety and diversity in the UK cooperative scene and in order to promote this alternative way of working, the two week programme of events is
being organised by their voice in the sector Cooperatives UK.
To find out more about Co-operatives Fortnight please watch this video:
If you’re attending Co-operative Congress event please visit the Shared Interest exhibition stand or join the Shared Interest presentation at 10.15 – 11.00am on Sunday 26th June.