The Scottish Fair Trade Forum participated in another busy Fairtrade Fortnight this year, which included hosting two visiting representatives from Mzuzu Coffee Planters Co-operative Union in Malawi and attending a wide range of events across Scotland.
Our guests from Mzuzu Coffee Planters Co-operative Union were Bernard Kaunda (Acting Chief Executive) and Christopher Gondwe (Quality and Processing Executive). Mzuzu champions the economic empowerment of their smallholder farmers and has been Fairtrade certified since 2009. It was great to hear from Bernard and Christopher about the importance of Fair Trade to Mzuzu and they enjoyed telling the story of Mzuzu coffee at lots of different events over the fortnight.
The first event which Bernard and Christopher attended was held at the One World Shop in Edinburgh which sells Mzuzu Coffee. Customers enjoyed chatting with Bernard and Christopher and finding out more about the coffee they drink. We had planned to be at events in Dundee, Stirling, Perth and Aberdeen over the next few days of Bernard and Christopher’s visits but unfortunately these events were unable to go ahead because of the heavy snow and consequent travel disruption across Scotland. Instead, Bernard and Christopher had the chance to do lots of sightseeing in Edinburgh with local Fair Trade campaigners and volunteers. This included a trip to the ‘Coffee: A Global Success’ exhibition at the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh where Bernard and Christopher were delighted to trace the first ever Mzuzu coffee plant back to the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh!
Thankfully, the second week of Fairtrade Fortnight brought better weather and meant that all our events could go ahead as planned! On Monday 1st March, Bernard and Christopher attended the launch of the Scotland Malawi Partnership’s ‘Buy Malawian’ campaign at Kirklandneuk Primary in Renfrew. It was great to hear from politicians, school staff and Bernard and Christopher about the strong relationship Scotland and Malawi have. Guests were also treated to hearing the children singing Malawian songs in Chichewa!
Following this event, Bernard and Christopher spoke to school children in Renfrewshire at an event ran by Rainbow Turtle where Bernard and Christopher shared with the children the importance of Fair Trade and the Mzuzu story of producing coffee to be exported around the world. Bernard and Christopher then met with Fair Trade campaigners and community members over a Fair Trade meal in the evening.
On Tuesday, the Forum held a session with our volunteers and Bernard and Christopher before they headed off to an event in Hamilton to re-launch the Hamilton Fair Trade group.
Wednesday was a very busy day for Bernard and Christopher. In the morning, they met with Dr Alasdair Allan, the Minster for International Development. Following this, they spoke at a drop in session for MSPs for the Cross Party Group on Fair Trade at the Scottish Parliament. It was great to see lots of support for Fair Trade from MSPs at this event! We then headed down to Leith where Bernard and Christopher spoke at Leith Primary school before meeting with Dave Gorman, the Director of Sustainability at the University of Edinburgh. In the evening, Bernard and Christopher were back at the parliament, this time for the Cross Party Group on Malawi.
On Thursday, we visited Glasgow-based coffee roasters Matthew Algie who use Mzuzu Coffee in their blends and heard from them about why it is important to them to use Fair Trade coffee. In the afternoon, as part of International Women’s Day, Bernard and Christopher attended a session for teachers run by SCOTDEC, which explored gender in relation to sustainable development, where Bernard and Christopher spoke about Mzuzu’s ‘Women in Coffee’ project.
On Friday, Bernard and Christopher visited Blantyre, the birth place of David Livingstone as well as speaking at two school in North Lanarkshire – Greenhill Primary and Noble Primary.
On Saturday we were at the Edinburgh Fair Trade Festival which was a great event celebrating local Fair Trade businesses. At this event, Fair Trade Scotland also announced the launch of their ‘First 500’ venture with Mzuzu Coffee. A project to bring Mzuzu’s single origin, organic coffee in the distinctive gold packaging to the UK market. You can find out more about this venture on the Fair Trade Scotland Facebook page here.
Before leaving Scotland, Bernard and Christopher also attended some final events hosted by the Scotland Malawi Partnership. On Sunday, they attended the Lake of Stars Festival at Glasgow School of Art and on Monday attended a Commonwealth lunch event at Edinburgh City Chambers.
The Scottish Fair Trade Forum certainly had a busy Fairtrade Fortnight with Bernard and Christopher and despite the snowy weather still managed to engage with a wide range of community members, businesses, Fair Trade campaigners, school children and other organisations! We 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.