Next Fairtrade Coalition Meeting – Monday 21st November 2011 – 5pm – 6.30pm – Planning for Fairtrade Fortnight.

October 27, 2011

Dear all,

Please find below details of our next Oxford City Fairtrade Coalition meeting where we will be focussing on plans for Fairtrade Fortnight. Please do forward details of this meeting to any groups, businesses or individuals you work or volunteer with who might be thinking of running activities for Fairtrade Fortnight 2012.

I would also like to remind you of the seminar taking place for our EU visitors on 10th November. A few places are still available. You can find details here:

21st November 2011 – Oxford City Fairtrade Coalition Meeting – 5pm – 6.30pm

Town Hall (room tbc: check display in foyer)

Focus on planning for Fairtrade Fortnight 2012

The Fairtrade Coalition planning meetings are an opportunity for all groups involved in Fairtrade in Oxford to come together to discuss ways to work together to increase our impact. The core of this meeting will be dedicated to planning for Fairtrade Fortnight 2012, and is an open meeting. New attendees are very welcome.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2012 will take place from 27th February – 11th March 2012 and will mark the 20th anniversary since the launch of Fairtrade in the UK. It’s a great opportunity for community groups, workplaces, schools and local businesses to celebrate Fairtrade by running events and activites or special promotions.

The Oxford City Fairtrade Coalition is the space to come together and collaborate with others on Fairtrade Fortnight Activities.

We’re particularly keen to get involvement in this meeting from local businesses with ideas for how we can work with you to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight, and volunteers with publicity expertise to help make sure Fairtrade Fortnight makes a real splash – and that everyone in Oxford is aware of it.


1. Apologies

2. Notes of the last meeting

3. Feedback from EU Networking Project

4. Fairtrade Fortnight 2011

5. Improving publicity

6. Fairtrade at the Town Hall Museum

7. Any Other Business

Bunting goes to Brussels

October 27, 2011

Do you remember the Fairtrade Bunting we made for Fairtrade Fortnight?

Well, not only has it made it into the Guinness Book of Records but it’s also been taken to the European Parliament in Brussels to make the case for stronger Fairtrade policies there.

You can see it make the journey in the video below:

An Evening of Indian Spices

October 16, 2011

Saturday 22nd October from 6-8pm at The Friends Meeting House, 43 St Giles, Oxford  OX1 3LW

A range of Indian spices in a handmade basketJust Change tea grown by a tribal co-operative in Gudalur, in the Nilgiri Hills, South India, has been available in Oxford for some time. Now we are delighted to announce the arrival of Just Change Spices – including cardamom, chilli powder, turmeric, peppercorns, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves plus ground ginger.

There will be a cookery demonstration to give you some ideas about how to use the spices in curries, masala chai and hot mulled apple juice – which you are welcome to taste. Gift baskets and loose packs of individual spices – as well as tea – will be available to buy, at a fair price for the producers and for you.

Dr Alex Nicholls MBA, lecturer social entrepreneurship at University of Oxford’s Said Business School, will discuss the benefits and challenges of the revolutionary Just Change trading system. Dr Nicholls is co-author of a major research book on Fair Trade (with Charlotte Opal, Sage, 2005) and the editor of a collection of key papers on social entrepreneurship (Oxford University Press, 2008).

A word from the producers:

“Here in Gudalur, putting together the JCUK spices pack was fun and exciting, as this time we were able to purchase our goods directly from producers! Peppercorns, cardamom and of course, tea, are from our members in Gudalur. Chillies and coriander are from our partner, Aharam, whose farmers are around Madurai, in Tamilnadu. Turmeric is from Organic farmers in the Sittilingi Valley of Tamilnadu. All these were processed into powders by women members of BVM branch of the Just Change Company in Kerala. The adivasi soap unit, in Gudalur, took a few days off soap making, to pack and parcel the spices to send to JCUK. We are glad that they were a runaway success, and look forward to sending you more spices next year! We have sourced some handmade baskets as well!”  For more information see 

Places are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment.  To book email or call 07773 949 787

Fair Trade at the Frontiers: report on talk by Maryam Bibi of Kwendo Kor

October 10, 2011

Elma Sinclair reports on a recent OFTC event.

At the beginning of July, the OFTC and Oxford Quakers hosted a talk by Maryam Bibi, Chief Executive of Khwendo Kor (KK) in which she described its work on the Afghan/ Pakistan border, where its staff have faced bombs, army campaigns, the Pakistan floods and the biggest movement of refugees since the partition of India. However, as Maryam told us, life has never been easy for women in this patriarchal and conservative area, where purdah means not just wearing the burquah, but being confined within the household, unable to meet even with women from other families. In 1993, Maryam, herself from the Tribal Areas, determined to make a better life for her fellow women and founded Khwendo Kor (Pashtun for “Sisters’ Home”).

As its work progressed , KK became aware of the need to provide a holistic solution, involving both men and women. Men control access to women but when they realise that villages where KK works produce healthier sons, they become willing to allow KK access. So KK runs medical camps and has trained hundreds of the traditional birth attendants to provide health education and safer deliveries. (Traditionally, the umbilical cord had been sealed by rubbing earth into it. Women had not been allowed to be treated by male doctors or to travel to the towns where female doctors were available. Infant and maternal mortality rates were among the worst in the world.)

Access gained, KK starts girls’ schools (now over 200). The informal nature of many of these schools, often in village houses, has enabled them to be kept open when Taliban rockets have forced the closure of government schools. Moreover, KK’s insistence that Village Women’s Committees should run the schools has given women the chance to meet together and gain confidence. Eventually, they ask for education for themselves, so KK now runs adult education centres also.

KK provides further opportunities for socialisation in classes training women, not only in agriculture and horticulture, but also to produce marketable goods. It shows them that items they traditionally make from dried grass (mazari), which can be
harvested even in desert areas, can be adapted and improved for a more lucrative foreign market. Thanks to Fair Trade, for the first time, these women have a little income of their own with which they can improve the living standards of their children (65% of the people of the Tribal Areas live below the official UN poverty level) and gain respect within the family.

The villagers’ trust won, they are ready to respond to KK’s further mission. Classes in subjects varying from women’s rights to inheritance and choice in marriage, to how to register to vote and how to hold local authorities to account for services, enable them to take on responsibility for their own further development. Even in war-torn, Taliban dominated areas, the villagers are finding a voice to demand peace and democracy. With increasing frequency, when army operations and Taliban bombing have forced KK staff to withdraw temporarily, they have returned to find that services have continued to operate under the supervision of the villagers themselves. That is when they know that they are winning the most important battle.

In Oxford, KK basketware can be bought from Fair Trade at St. Michael’s and the Windmill. A contact made at OFTC’s AGM has resulted in the New Internationalist adding some baskets to their online catalogue. See and

Why not support Pashtun women’s independence by buying some Christmas presents from them?