by Torrye Mckenzie, Program Manager, Canadian Fair Trade Network
Thanks to Torrye Mckenzie of CFTN for this guest blog about International Development Week 2018 – February 4 to 10th.
International Development Week (IDW) is here! From February 4 to 10, 2018, individuals and organizations across the country are asked to engage others in learning about – and contributing to – efforts that empower and support disadvantaged communities across the globe. One particular effort could be using your purchases, investments, and policies to support fair trade and empower producers and workers across the Global South.
From our experience and travels at the Canadian Fair Trade Network (CFTN) we have learned three things. 1 – That people are people, no matter where you go. 2 – That we all have the same basic wants and needs: Food, water, shelter, clothing, health, education, security, purpose, and meaningful relationships. 3 – That people are resilient. Sadly, regardless of these common threads, many people lack basic rights and freedoms including freedom of thought, freedom of association, right to peaceful assembly, right to vote, ability to travel, basic security, and a free press. Some of the most marginalized populations being small-scale farmers who produce over 70 percent of the world’s food. It’s time to change all of this, put producers in the drivers seat, redistribute power and wealth and build a more fair and sustainable future for everyone.
The theme for IDW 2018 is ‘Partners for a Better World’ and we are encouraging all Canadians to be partners in building something better, something more inclusive, something grounded in collaboration, something that benefits people on both ends of the supply chain! Whether you’re an individual, a business, an organization, a public institution, an elected official, you have a part in building solidarity with producing communities across the Global South.
How can you support producers and farmers that potentially live thousands of kilometres away from you? The answer is simple, when you’re re-stocking on coffee, sugar, bananas, chocolate, wine, spices or other imported items, choose products that have the FAIRTRADE Mark! This Mark means producers have received a fair price for their crops, which empowers them to take the lead in developing their communities. It also supports the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, addresses climate change through improved agricultural techniques and empowers women and girls.
Apart from using your purchasing power to demand change, you can also help increase the visibility and awareness of the fair trade movement in your community, and thus drive the demand for Fairtrade products. Currently there are 25 Fair Trade Towns, 30 Campuses, 18 Schools, 43 Workplaces, and 7 Faith Groups across Canada who are educating their inhabitants, elected officials, students, faculty, staff and congregants on their roles and responsibilities as a global citizen. Get involved, join in!
This IDW the CFTN is asking you to be a partner, be part of the conversation and advocate for the change you want to see in the world! Support empowerment, choose fair trade!