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Raising awareness of Fairtrade at the Co-operative Academy of Leeds

Co-operative Academy of Leeds Young Co-operative

Even though many people now have some sort of awareness of ‘Fairtrade’, the majority of people are not aware there is a specific fortnight from February-March, which is dedicated to the Fairtrade movement. However, this soon changed when students at the Co-operative Academy of Leeds were familiarised with ‘Fairtrade Fortnight’ in their business lessons.

Co-operative Academy of Leeds logo

Shadreck Sachikonye explained: “Firstly, we were briefed on the details of Fairtrade and what its aim and main purpose is and then our knowledge of how Fairtrade is celebrated and encouraged was developed further as we were told about Fairtrade fortnight. We did various tasks and watched a couple of videos of the changes that Fairtrade has made possible and how it has had a profound impact on the way people in third world countries live. We also delved into deeper detail of how Fairtrade is making things better for those that produce our raw materials and crops, for example, cocoa beans for chocolate, coffee beans and many other crops and fruits.

“The Young Co-operatives at Co-operative Academy of Leeds then decided to contribute towards Fairtrade this year by helping raise the brand awareness of Fairtrade. Along with the help of our teacher, we decided to open up a Fairtrade café in the business department during the morning break; this sold only products which adhere with the Fairtrade set up and are part of the increasing list of fair trade foods. This included two types of Dairy Milk chocolate, Kit Kats, coffee and hot chocolate. Business was going so well that we decided to set up a mobile store going round the Academy during break time and lunch time. We hoped that by opening up the café it would raise awareness of Fairtrade Fortnight to those pupils that previously did not have knowledge of the event.

“This then also meant that we were abiding by and practising our co-operative ethos, which is ‘equality and community’. It was a perfect example of these values in practice. This also helped set an example for the younger students of what is expected of them and made this café a morally strong thing to do as we were doing it for more than making a profit; the benefit of the people who have worked hard to push this programme to limitless heights. For everyone that was involved, this was a good learning experience and one that taught us more about the value of contributing back to the community.”

Participants in the Young Co-operatives included: Shadreck Sachikonye; Paul Mann; James Smart; Chloe Lacey; Rhodiah Daud; Makda Biniam.