Local work places and community organisations including places of worship, schools, universities, colleges and other community organisations support Fairtrade and use Fairtrade products whenever possible. Populations over 100,000 will also need a flagship employer.
East Dunbartonshire runs its own Fair Trade Nurseries Programme
By identifying a need for ‘Fair trade Nurseries’, despite the lack of a national scheme, the Fair Trade steering group in East Dunbartonshire took the initiative to develop and pilot their own programme for working with young children. The Fairtrade Foundation has schemes for schools, colleges and universities, but East Dunbartonshire took this one step further.
Launched in September 2012 together with the council’s East Dunbartonshire Early Years team, the programme creators hoped to make it a Scotland-wide initiative.
The idea came from Tracy Mitchell, a board member of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum and mum, who became inspired by her two-year-old daughter’s early awareness of the FAIRTRADE Mark.‘
Based on the Fairtrade Schools Programme, the scheme encouraged children to take part in a wide range of activities in order to teach them about trade and the Fairtrade campaigning movement, use fair trade ingredients in nursery catering and promote fair trade within the wider community. Parents and the wider community were also involved by supporting events such as baking and coffee mornings, games, fair trade stalls, creating artwork, putting on plays and visiting local shops to source ingredients.
Several activities were particularly innovative – for example, the creation of fair trade playdough, songs and games. During Fairtrade Fortnight, the ‘Fair Trade Tonne’ initiative saw 14 nurseries collectively purchase over 1200kg of rice to sell through their networks. To mark their success at the end of the year, nurseries hosted Kilombero Rice farmers from Malawi.
Sylvia Gray, an active campaigner from East Dunbartonshire Council, reveals how the nursery scheme was received: ‘We had a great reception not only from nurseries but from the Early Years team from the council. In the first year two thirds of nurseries participated and now in year two that has risen to 80%.’
Good communications were central to the success of the scheme. Forum meetings were held in the February, well before the launch of the programme, for nurseries’ Head Teachers and Managers, both to inform and also invite questions. A working group was established to oversee the project and enthusiastic staff from nine nurseries helped to manage and run the programme.
Workshops helped nursery staff to identify which resources would be most useful, which were then created and developed by those behind the campaign. They consisted of a mixture of website links, activity ideas and case studies as well as stickers, posters and inflatable bananas. The council ensured that all materials were distributed to each nursery and local libraries.
The success of the programme also rested on monitoring and evaluation, encouraging flexible and positive feedback and awarding ‘certificates of participation’ to ensure that each nursery felt part of a wider movement.
Following its success in East Dunbartonshire, the Fair Trade Nursery Programme is now being rolled out across Scotland, a fantastic example of Fairtrade campaigning taken to the next level. Tracy explains why it’s so important to engage younger children with Fairtrade:
‘It’s key to get young people involved because children are the decision makers of the future. It also makes a real difference in the short term because people listen to children sometimes more than adults.’