Aimable Nshimiye with staff from the University of Strathclyde, the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, Matthew Algie and Challenges Worldwide. Photo credit: Martin Shields
The Scottish Fair Trade Forum participated in another exciting Fairtrade Fortnight.
This year's programme of events was particular rich, with many activities across the country and a huge turnout.
We gave voice to three Fairtrade producers: Aimable Nshimiye from from Rwanda, and Khader Khader and Taysir Arbasi from Palestine, who came to Scotland to speak about how Fairtrade is helping their business and communities to thrive.
Let's see some details.
Aimable Nshimiye is the Managing Director of Abateraninkunga Ba Sholi, a cooperative of 386 Fairtrade coffee producers (40% of women) in Rwanda.
He spent two days in London and nine days in Scotland, attending 17 events overall.
After a couple of days in London where he attended a parliamentary reception at Westminster, he travelled to Scotland and made his first appearance at the Gavin's Mill ( Milngavie) on the occasion of the 2nd birthday celebration of this fair trade shop and café.
The next day, he headed to our first West Regional Session where he had the opportunity to deliver an in-depth presentation about his Fair Trade business in front of an audience of about 30 people. On this occasion, he highlighted the benefits of trading Fairtrade for his business and the positve efffects on the local community (job creation, more investments in infrastructure, etc.)
This event also turned out to be an opportunity for our guest to establish new business relationships with local Fair Trade groups and companies.
The following week was very busy with events where Aimable had several occasion to champion the importance of Fairtrade, such as:
• a public producer talk in Glasgow;
• a staff/ Volunteer seminar at the Scottish Fair Trade Forum;
• presentations to several schools across Scotland (Carlogie Primary School in Carnoustie, Dunbar Primary School in Dunbar, Mary Russell Secondary in Paisley, Hill of Beath Primary in Cowdenbeath);
• St. Andrews University public event;
• One World Shop talk in Edinburgh;
• Cross Party Group at the Scottish Parliament;
• a visit to Matthew Algie;
• the Edinburgh Fair Trade Festival.
Additionally, AImable participated in two coffee roadshows, which were organised in partnership with Challenges Worldwide as part of the Rwandan Coffee project.
The first Roadshow took place in Edinburgh and was attended by Ben Macpherson MSP, Scottish Minister for International Development, who gave the welcome speech and highlighted the importance of partnership working.
The second Roadshow took place in Glasgow and was opened by Ewan Reid, Director of Matthew Algie.
On both occasions, Aimable spoke about the difficulties faced in producing and trading his coffee and the benefits of Fairtrade.
That tuned out to be also a good occasion for the guests to taste the coffee produced by Aimable's Sholi co-operative, kindly supplied by Matthew Algie.
Before heading to London to take his flight back to Rwanda, Aiamble told us that he was very grateful for this opportunity to visit Scotland, and enjoyed spending 10 days surrounded by Fair Trade supporters.
Khader Khader is an olive farmer and board member of the Palestine Fair Trade Association.
Taysir Arbasi Zaytoun is the Palestinian Director of Zaytoun CIC, a social enterprise and Community Interest Company importing and selling Palestinian artisan food products in the UK.
It is now been 10 years since the first Fairtrade certified (Palestinian) olive oil went on sale in the UK and Zayton decided to send Khader and Taysir to Scotland to celebrate this achievement during the Fairtrade Fortnight.
Our two guests spent a week in Scotland telling their story and how Fairtrade helped them to overcome various challenges in trading their oil abroad.
They presented at several events, schools and colleges including:
• Community events in Orkney;
• Glasgow Clyde College;
• Bonhill Primary, West Dunbartonshire;
• A evening supper with Greencity (Glasgow);
• A community event in Stirling;
• The Cross Party Group at the Scottish Parliament
• Public event at Hadeel, Edinburgh
“She Deserves a Living Income” was the main campaign that Fairtrade Foundation chose to support this year for the Fairtrade Fortnight. It calls for living incomes for cocoa farmers in West Africa, especially women.
During Fairtrade Fortnight, Colleen Tait (from the Forum) and Tracy Mitchell (Scotland Representative on the National Campaigner Committee) attended the Foundation’s Parliamentary Reception in Westminster to support this initiative.
If you want to support this campaign don't forget to sign up this petition.
The Scottish Fair Trade Forum was very pleased with the results of this year's Fairtrade Fortnight and appreciated the fantastic speeches delivered by our guests and local speakers during the many events we had the chance to attend during these two weeks.
We also know there were lots more events organised throughout Scotland and we would love to hear from you about any events which you organised or attended. So please get in touch and send us your Fairtrade Fortnight photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are commited to bringing in Scotland more Fair Trade testimonials from around the world over the next years to continue showing to our community how Fair Trade is hugely impacting people in underdeveloped countries.
We are looking forward to Fairtrade Fortnight 2020!