Fairtrade Fortnight Facts for Children and Teachers
What is fair trade?
This is when companies in developed countries pay a fair price for products that have been made by producers in developing countries. By a ‘fair price’, this means that the producers are paid enough to be able to afford essentials like food, education and healthcare.
What is the Fair Trade Movement?
Started in 1992, Fair Trade is a global movement made up of producers, companies, consumers and organisations, whose aim is to support farmers and workers in the developing world by giving them a voice, and helping them to stand up for their rights. The Fair Trade movement works towards achieving better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for these people. To date, 1.7 million farmers and workers are in Fairtrade certified producer organisations across 73 countries.
How can you tell if a product is Fairtrade?
If a product is Fairtrade, you will see a label somewhere on the packaging that looks like this:
In the UK, there are over 4,500 Fairtrade certified products available for sale, from food and drink to homeware and fashion. Some Fairtrade certified brands you may have heard of are: AMT Coffee, Clipper Tea, Arena Flowers, Co-operative wine and Divine Chocolate. Divine is the only chocolate company in the world which is 100% Fairtrade and owned by cocoa farmers.
What is Fairtrade Fortnight?
The first Fairtrade Fortnight was held in Edinburgh in 1997, in order to increase awareness of both Fairtrade principles and products. It is now celebrated in many countries around the world, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and schools everywhere are encouraged to get involved too. In 2021, Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 22 February to 7 March. It is a chance for children to learn about and celebrate the people who grow so much of our food and drink. This year’s topic of focus is ‘Climate, Fairtrade and You’.
Why should children learn about Fair Trade?
It is so important for children to be aware of what is happening in the wider world, and what life is like for other people in different countries. Fairtrade Fortnight is a great opportunity to teach children about where some of the food on their plate comes from (not just the supermarket shelf!) and the people and processes involved in making that happen. Learning and talking about the Fair Trade Movement, and why there is the need for it, can lead to a better understanding of the wider world around them, and help to develop their skills in empathy.
If you are looking for a child-friendly introduction to the topic of Fair Trade, check out our Fair Trade Facts for Kids blog.
Fair Trade Games
Providing fun and engaging activities to help children learn about fair trade will make the important lesson memorable. Here are two easy fair trade games you can play with children.
Activity 1 - Explain to children they will be paid in building blocks for completing a task. Set them a simple task, eg draw a picture or jump 5 times. When the task is completed pay some children lots of blocks and the rest only a few blocks. Now ask the children to build a tower with their blocks and tell them the best tower will be the tallest tower. Is this fair? Why? How did the activity make them feel? You could repeat the activity a few times to show how quickly some children are left behind the others. Bring the activity back to fair trade and explain some farmers are not paid fairly for the crops they grow. Is this fair? How might it affect them and their families?
Activity 2 - Challenge children to find out the price of fair trade and non-fair trade bananas in a few different shops. What is the difference in the average price of fair trade bananas compared to other bananas? Encourage children to find out how the farmer benefits when we buy a fair trade banana. Debate if the extra cost to the consumer is worth it.
How can we teach about Fair Trade?
If you are looking for more in depth lessons for your primary class, you might want to take a closer look at PlanBee’s ready-to-teach ‘Ethical Trading’ schemes of work. These 3-lesson packs will help your KS1 and KS2 children become ethical consumers, understand what fair trade is, and learn about the impact of 'fast fashion' on the lives of others around the world.
Children are introduced to the concept of ethical trading by thinking about where items come from, who made them, and how we should appreciate what we have.
Children will learn about fair trade and its importance to farmers, workers and local communities in developing countries, as well as thinking about ways in which they can support the fair trade movement.
Children will consider the human and environmental impacts of the fast fashion industry. They are encouraged to reflect on their own clothing habits, and discuss ways to combat the negative impacts this industry is having on a personal, local and global scale.
Did you know?
There are more than 1,000 Fairtrade schools in the UK. If you would like to find out more about this, read our blog: How to Become a Fair Trade School.