Fairtrade’s Impact on Education

In 2018, about 258 million children and youth were out of school, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Fairtrade is part of the solution to this global problem.

We are right at the start of a new school year here in the UK, and today is International Literacy Day. An astonishing amount of money is spent by parents and students on back-to-school spending in the UK, and our Fairtrade producer families are also preparing for a new academic year. For them, paying for the required uniforms and supplies is a real challenge.  Luckily, your Fairtrade purchases are helping to make going back to school a little easier for these families and ensuring that farmers can afford to keep their children in school and out of the fields.

On top of the price Fairtrade farmers and workers receive for their produce or labour, they receive an extra sum of money to invest in improving the quality of their lives. This extra sum of money is called the Fairtrade Premium and it is what sets Fairtrade apart from everyone else. Many Fairtrade producers choose to invest their Fairtrade Premiums on education. From creating scholarship funds and computer centres, to purchasing backpacks and supplies for students, the additional income from Fairtrade is giving children in remote farming communities the opportunity to learn. So when you shop with us, your purchase is helping support children to gain an education.

Read on to learn how it works in coffee and cocoa growing communities around the globe.  

Coffee

Farmers at Promotora de Desarrollo Cooperativo de las Segovias (PRODECOOP), a collection of coffee-growing cooperatives in northern Nicaragua, decided to use their Fairtrade premiums to purchase school supplies like backpacks, writing utensils and notebooks for children. On average, 3000 packages of school supplies have been given to children a year. PRODECOOP has also invested its Fairtrade Premiums into a scholarship program that benefits 80 children a year. The program has also significantly reduced the community’s school dropout rate.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, in the Ugandan Highlands, the Gumutindo Coffee Cooperative is helping to send children back to school after a devastating storm took the roof off the local school.  Members voted to use Fair Trade premiums to repair the building and to purchase 60 desks for the school.  Previously, children had to sit on the ground, which made writing very difficult.  The community also allocated funds to hold workshops and training for teachers.

Cocoa

Confederacion Nacional de Cacacocultores Dominicanos (CONACADO) is one of the Dominican Republic’s top three cocoa producing and exporting entities. For the cooperative’s 10,040 farmers, cocoa makes up 90% of their cash income. The farmers voted to use their Fairtrade Premiums to build a new school and fund school repairs in five regional sections of the cooperative. The premiums were also used for scholarships and school supplies for low-income students.

CONACADO also used Fairtrade Premiums to build a new computer room and community centre, which are now used by students to complete homework. Before the centre was built, students were forced to travel 14 kilometres to get to the nearest computer. 

Thanks to https://www.fairtradecertified.org/ for the examples from coffee and cocoa farming communities