Go Bananas for Fairtrade

The Fairtrade Action Group at Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate School have been working with Otesha since March 2010. In 2011 they were were shortlisted for the Shelia McKechnie Shout Out Award for young campaigners. They were invited to the awards ceremory (where they met Jon Snow) and won a small bursary and a one day workshop towards their Fairtrade project.

The group made a presentation to the board of the Governors who agreed a Fairtrade policy that will apply to the whole school. They’re hoping to make Bishop Challoner the first Fairtrade school in Tower Hamlets. Read more about their story here.

Can’t thank you enough for all the work you and Otesha did, and are doing, with the students. So proud of them. The girls have gained confidence and skills in: organisation, meeting deadlines, communication, working as a team, understanding different roles and responsibilities within a team and also how to share these, and skills on working with groups of people e.g. getting attention and motivating others, and developed mentoring skills I would not be able to teach them.
– Rhiannon Scutt, Sustainability Coordinator

The group surveyed other students and staff about their knowledge of and behaviour around Fairtrade. From this they learnt about the barriers that prevent people from buying Fairtrade (price and availability of Fairtrade goods). By taking part in the famous Otesha ‘Great Banana Chain Game’ the group members understood the difference Fairtrade makes to the producers in developing countries.

It’s not easy to persuade people to buy Fairtrade. From doing the survey I learnt why people don’t buy Fairtrade and I can see what the problem is with it, but I know how it will help other people.
- Group member

The group made flyers and visited local businesses to persuade them to stock more Fairtrade products. They started mentoring younger students to involve other year groups in the Fairtrade campaign. The Fairtrade Action Group has been led by the young people’s ideas and the members have successfully designed, planned and evaluated their own project.

I enjoyed everything, especially: working with Otesha, the discussion sessions and games, working with the year 7 and teaching them about Fairtrade.
– Group member

All the young people who’ve been part of the Fairtrade Action Group said that they would buy Fairtrade and convince their family and friends to buy Fairtrade too, and they felt that they were able to have an impact on their school.

When I start drinking coffee I’ll buy Fairtrade.
– Group member