The First Fair Trade Tour of Palestine May 2018

July 26, 2018
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(Picture: Delegates were invited to wear the traditional dress of Palestine)

By Carol Wills

In early May 2018, Elizabeth Laskar and I joined the first ever Fair Trade Tour of Palestine, culminating in the celebration of World Fair Trade Day at the University of Bethlehem Fair Trade Resource Centre on Saturday 12 May.

We saw how Fair Trade enterprises support Palestinian traditional culture, preserve traditional crafts and provide thousands of farmers and other producers, many of them women working from home,  with a much needed income and with hope that a better life is possible.

Our tour took place in the West Bank (also known as the Occupied Territories) where Palestinian Fair Trade producers live and work in extremely difficult circumstances under a military occupation that has gone on for over 50 years.  Alongside our Fair Trade visits we heard many heart breaking stories of people who had lost loved ones and suffered injustices. On top of this, the economic situation is harsh and unemployment is high.

Nevertheless, we were made hugely welcome wherever we went, drinking little cups of mint tea and very strong black coffee and eating enormous quantities of local couscous, hummus and tomato, cucumber and mint salad.  Our tour started at Canaan Fair Trade which produces the olive oil sold by Zaytoun and where we enjoyed an olive oil tasting before touring the impressive facility.  It is a cooperative of more than 2000 olive farmers.

At the Palestinian Agricultural Research Centre in Jericho, a member of the WFTO, we saw how grapes are dried to produce Fair Trade sultanas and raisins and met a group of women rolling couscous by hand.  The Women of Hebron Cooperative Association produces fine, traditional embroidery and backstrap loom woven wool carpets.  Most women work from home but come to the Centre with their work, to attend meetings, take part in decision-making and have the chance to gossip.   Men work at the Hebron glass and ceramic factory nearby, where Traidcraft places orders.

In Jerusalem we visited Sunbula Fair Trade, also a WFTO member, working to bring fresh designs and colour to traditional embroidery  and providing an income to several thousand women.  Sunbula means “spike of wheat” in Arabic (i.e. the flower that makes bread) and Sunbula’s mission is  to provide its producers with the gift of a more dignified life.

Finally we reached Bethlehem and the Holyland Handicraft Cooperative  Society where we saw some fine olive wood carving in their magnificent shop by the Field where the shepherds watched their flocks by night not far from the appalling wall where Banksy has his Walled Off Hotel.

On World Fair Trade Day we donned traditional Palestinian dress to celebrate at the University.

We came home convinced that if Palestinians are going to have any chance of a sustainable future at all, we must tell their stories and buy their products.

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Oxford Fair Trade Coalition – Womens Voices in Fair Trade

February 19, 2018

Exploring gender and fair trade  – What influences women to take action and have a lasting impact?
A short documentary will be followed by a panel discussion

Tuesday 6 March 2018
7pm – 9pm

Christ Church College
The Undercroft Bar
St Aldates .  Oxford  . OX1 1DP
Free event

An evening exploring gender, fair trade and the ‘tipping point’ – what influences women to take action and have a lasting impact in the fair trade movement.

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Gender and Fair Trade: The Story of Women Cocoa Farmers in Fair Trade
This short film produced by Dr Roy Maconachie from Bath University at the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) highlights the impacts of Fairtrade for female cocoa-producers in Ghana and illustrates the significant challenges which remain in promoting greater gender equality in agriculture.

Kwame Banson, Member and Partnership Manager of Fairtrade Africa who is featured in the film, adds: “One of the recurring, important themes in Fairtrade when we try to measure impact is to look at the issue of gender to ensure that women and men get equality in responsibilities and in the sharing of benefits.”

Evening Panel will include: Jamie Hartzell, currently chair of the leading Fairtrade chocolate company Divine, which is 44% owned by Kuapa Kokoo, a Ghanaian cocoa farmers co-operative. Rachel Wilshaw, the Ethical Trade Manager for Oxfam GB. Her role involves advocacy and advice to companies on best practice in relation to labour rights in global supply chains.  David Finlay Programme Partnerships Manager at the Fairtrade Foundation where he works in partnership with international Fairtrade networks.  The discussion will be chaired by Oxford Fair Trade Coalition Chair, Sabita Banerji.

Free Event 
Light refreshments sponsored by Lady Margaret Hall and Christ Church College (Fair Trade Colleges and Members of the Oxford Fair Trade Coalition).  Special thanks to our venue sponsor Christ Church College.

Please do come along on the night.  You can also register
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/womens-voices-in-fair-trade-tickets-39006843519


Director of Zaytoun, Palestine Visit Wednesday 8th March 5pm-6.15pm

March 6, 2017


Fairtrade Fair Fun! Oxford Brookes Friday 3rd March 11am to 2pm

February 28, 2017

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Enjoy a Fairtrade Cuppa – Big Brew Saturday 11th March 2.30pm to 4.30pm

February 28, 2017

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Nicaraguan Coffee Producer Talk in Oxford 9th March 2017

February 10, 2017
two           The Oxford Leon Link and the Oxford Fair Trade Coalition
invite you to attend
a talk by Santiago Dolmus, of Cecocafen cooperative in Nicaragua
on the impact of climate change on coffee farmers and the continuing importance of Fairtrade.   
The talk will be held at 
7.30pm on Thursday 9 March at Oxford Town Hall 
and will be in Spanish with English translation.
Cecocafen  (Central Association of Northern Coffee Cooperatives)  is an umbrella co-operative in the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua with 2,600 members organised into 12 community based credit and service co-operatives.
  In the UK their Fairtrade coffee is sold through Cafedirect

Real Change (and Real Pancakes!) with Fairtrade Gold Pioneer Greg Valerio

February 4, 2017

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