World Fair Trade Day May 9 2009
World Fair Trade Day is a global festival of
Fair Trade with events organized worldwide, on and around the second
Saturday of May.
Events include Fair Trade breakfasts, talks, markets, live
performances, fashion shows, carnivals, processions and protests, to
drive Fair Trade sales, and campaign for justice in trade and promote
sustainable environmental policy. Fair Trade products and produce from
communities are showcased on the day.
These case studies are typical examples of the sort of projects that we undertake. They are usually exercises in Business Development for food and craft fair trade NGOs.
The Alola Foundation is idea of Kirsty Sword Gusmoa, the wife of the former President and current Prime Minister of East Timor. It was founded in 2001, and currently runs 7 projects including the Economic Development project. Other projects include anti-trafficking, mother and baby, maternal education etc. It employs 85 people and has a significant multi-million dollar budget.
East Timor is a former colony of Portugal, and was occupied by Indonesia for 24 years. It was granted independent status recognized by the United Nations in 2003. The traditional woven fabric of East Timor is Tais, and is a traditional cloth worn by men and women, and also used in funerals. Derivitive products like bags, scarves, and accessories are manufactured by Alola and other producer groups.
As always the challenge is to find new markets for the products of the various producer groups. Some exports have been made to Australia and a couple fo European countries, but levels are low. Production has been often been disrupted by civil unrest and fighting. The country is at present occupied by UN and Australian troops and policemen to keep law and order.
The Economic Development program employs around 20 people, and sustains around 15 producer groups out in the country. One consequence of the fighting is the growth of Refugee Camps of internally displaced persons (IDP). An exciting development has been the creation of new Tais weaving groups by Alola.
Fair Trade Projects
There have been 4 visits to Alola to educate the organization about Fair Trade, teach Marketing Principles and improve the Business Efficiency of Alola.
Silence, Kolkata, India
Silence addresses the needs of the "differently enabled". These words address the issues of disability and handicap, but in a gentler way. The driving mission of Silence is to generate work and income for the differently enabled, which has the major benefit that they become valuable members of their family and community, instead of being regarded as worthless. A majority of workers at Silence are deaf and/or mute.
Silence focuses on craft items produced for primarily northern fair trade retailers. Examples of these projects are bangles, jewelry, cards and candles. Some of these are designed by Silence, and some by the buyers. In recent years more and more product is being sold to the southern markets. Silence does have a small shop in its offices. Production takes place in a center on an industrial estate, and has recently been extended by adding 2 stories to the building. They have around 120 employees.
The main challenge in Silence is to find new markets for Silence as well as correct and improve their operating efficiencies. Also they need to understand their cost structures to ensure ongoing viability.
Fair Trade Projects
A comprehensive review of the organization and business was undertaken by HWC. This resulted in several recommendations around expanding their marketing efforts, as well as meeting higher standards in quality and manufacturing areas. These are being implemented.
Apikri, Jogyakarta, Indonesia
Apikri is a long established craft company in Indonesia. Their producer groups cover all kinds of craft articles. Apikri does not manufacture directly themselves, but buys from its cooperatives and producer groups within 50 miles of Jogyakarta.
Apikri looks to generate income based on Fair Trade principles among its producer groups. There are around 70 groups making wooden crafts items (animals, figures, etc), woven basket ware, textiles and some furniture.
Apikri is in steady state - sales are flat and products are relatively old-fashioned in design. The challenge is to reinvigorate the company, find new customers with innovative well designed products, Also there was a dependency on one makor buyer.
Fair Trade Projects
A complete review of the organization, products and markets was carried out by HWC as part of the PCI Asia Fair Trade Forum program. It successfully identified a number of problems and made recommendations about their improvement. There was also a quality audit both at the producer group level as well as at the warehousing/packing centre for Aprikri. This also resulted in a number of significant recommendations. The key objective was established of generating a Marketing Plan as soon as possible.