20 Oct 2020

Campaigners honoured in Fairtrade Awards

In a series of articles leading up to the 2020 International Fairtrade Awards on October 29, we take a closer look at the finalists in the four categories: Small Producer Organization (SPO) of the Year; Hired Labour Organization (HLO) of the Year; Trader of the Year and Campaign of the Year. This week we feature the work of the three finalists in the Campaign of the Year category.

An excited bunch of girls and boys kick up clouds of dust as they chase footballs on a training pitch in Goa, India. Some of them are so small their football shirts reach down to their knees. Just another bunch of soccer-mad youngsters enjoying a kick-about? Not quite - these are the kids of the Forca Goa Foundation, and they’re playing with Fairtrade footballs.

“Two years ago the we had the opportunity to source only Fairtrade footballs,” says Ishita Godinho, the Foundation’s Community and Communication Manager. “We were super happy and excited at this opportunity, as sustainability is one of the pillars we plan all our programmes by.”

The Foundation, founded by Akshay Tandon, is the sister organisation of FC Goa football club which plays in the Indian Super League. The aim is simple - to use the power of football to transform the lives of youngsters in Goa. “We decided to use football as a way to bring people together and create a state-wide grassroots programme,” says President and co-owner Akshay Tandon. “We set up the Forca Goa Foundation on three pillars sustainability, empowerment and football.”

Bergendal Boerdery lies in the heart of South Africa’s famous Cape Floral Kingdom, a UNESCO world heritage area. Here they produce Fairtrade-certified rooibos tea, wine and dried soft fruit such as apricots and peaches for export all over the world. However, it’s the campaign to improve the lives of its workers which makes Bergendal Workers’ Trust a finalist

We focus on programmes for women to help them develop and reach their full potential in their jobs, their family lives and the role they play in their community,” says Beryl Malgas, a social worker employed by the trust. “We deliver social work services for both individuals and groups, and we focusing on their work and their personal problems. For example, we laid on a high tea for teenage girls, which was also an information session on teen pregnancy.”

For Levine Adams, the Chair of the Workers’ Trust, this is just a start. “We’re very privileged to be able to contribute towards empowering women and making a difference,” she says. “But we plan to build on our initiatives and continue our efforts.”

When Oxfam Fair Trade ran their Bite to Fight campaign to support a living income for cocoa farmers, they knew it had to be engaging, accessible - and above all, fun. “We thought, if we’re going to grab the attention of our audience we’re going to have to make it a bit light, a bit of fun,” says Yasmine Mertens, Head of Communications at Oxfam Fair Trade in Belgium. “It was a challenge, but also really exciting. We had to devise a campaign which was easy to understand. If you make it too heavy, then it’s not going to work.”

Bite to Fight - the third finalist in the Campaign of the Year category - ran across Belgium involving celebrities, schools, Oxfam shops - and the chance to swap an ordinary chocolate wrapper for a bar of Fairtrade certified Bite to Fight chocolate.

“If you put ‘living income’ on a chocolate bar wrapper it’s already too complicated,” says Yasmine. “We had to have a slogan to motivate people to come and join the movement.”

We will announce the winners of the Fairtrade Awards on October 29. Stay tuned!