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Archive for November, 2009

Fair Trade

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

I have been buying Fair Trade products for many years, although I was maybe not aware of the wide range that is now available.  I remember trying the coffee for the first time many years ago, and not really being that thrilled with it.

Chocolate with the Fair Trade logo

Chocolate with the Fair Trade logo

That said, there was a time when I regularly bought the orange juice and the quinoa.

I returned to the subject a couple of weeks ago during a seminar in Frankfurt, where there was not only a presentation about the Fair Trade principles and organisation, but a chance to try some of the chocolate that is produced, one type of which was actually very good.

One question that came up was whether there were coffee pads with the Fair Trade certification – and apparently there are.  So I set off in search of them.

For a while now my company has been buying a brand of sugar that carries the Fair Trade logo, and now – after visiting several supermarkets in the area – I can happily say that we have switched to the coffee pads as well.  Not only do I think that the coffee tastes better than when I first tried it all those years ago, but the pads are actually cheaper than the brand we were using before!

Which products do you buy?

¡Tenemos derechos! – Wir sind Rechthaber!

Monday, November 9th, 2009

I have just spent the past three days in Frankfurt learning about a campaign that will be one of the focal points of the German Catholic Scouts (DPSG) in 2010.  The campaign is called ¡Tenemos derechos! which translates as “we have rights!”.

As is usual for the annual DPSG Jahresaktion, the whole thing that be split into two parts:

1. Raising Money

The easy part, you might say.  Not that raising money in itself is necessarily easy, but the goals are pretty much well defined.

There are 8 projects in Bolivia that require funding.  Each of these is in some way connected to children’s rights, 7 are in the different Bolivian regions (Distritos) and one is a national project.

I say that this is the easy part, because these are clearly defined projects and it is a matter of asking for donations, holding an event to raise money or even just selling some of the merchandising that will be available.

My previous experience with such events is that even if Groups do not want to get involved with the second part, they will at least contribute in some way to the fundraising part.

2. Politics

“Politics” may not be the best word to describe what I mean, but it sort of does the job.

The second half is more directly to do with children’s rights – both in Germany and in Bolivia.  Here the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) plays a pivotal role as although Germany has signed and ratified the treaty, it places German asylum law above the requirements of the treaty.

This apparently makes it one of only two countries in Europe that take children into custody pending deportation.  We were also told that this can mean children of asylum seekers not being able to go to school as the right to schooling underlies the asylum process.


On the Bolivian side, children’s rights also play a role in the projects that will be funded, however here topics such as the right to education, cultural identity and participation play a stronger role.

Ideally the Groups in Germany will not only be raising money for the projects, but dealing with the political side at all levels in a way that is suitable for the different age groups.

To help them do this there is the annual Jahresaktionsheft – a booklet full of information and ideas for things to do, and a network of people to disseminate the information and assist where necessary.

Since I am now one of those myself, I will no doubt be blogging quite a bit more about this topic over the next 12 months.


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