Fair play to Fairtrade

Posted on: 6th March, 2014

Category: Features

Contributor: Mary O'Brien

Fairtrade Fortnight, an annual event that raises awareness about Fairtrade, comes to a successful close this Sunday, March 9. Clonakilty, Ireland’s first Fairtrade town, organised a number of informative events over the two weeks, one of which involved Allison Roberts and Cindy Kingston recounting their experiences visiting Fairtrade farms and co-ops on a trip to Ghana last November.

Allison and Cindy got the opportunity to represent Clonakilty Fairtrade on the two-week trip to Ghana after Clonakilty was declared ‘Best Fairtrade Town in Ireland 2013’. They speak to Mary O’Brien about their experience and the importance of supporting Fairtrade.

Fairtrade guarantees the growers fair prices for their produce, which results in the farmers being able to invest in their holdings and communities and that children attend education rather than having to work on the plantations. The Fairtrade system has also helped and encouraged producers to come together to form co-ops and these are working very well in Ghana.

Clonakilty based chocolatier Allison Roberts has always been passionate about Fairtrade, so when the occasion arose to see firsthand where the cocoa beans for her chocolate come from, she jumped at the chance. Cindy has been involved in the Clonakilty Fairtrade Committee since 2006 and says the trip was a truly humbling experience.

In Ghana, Allison and Cindy visited producers of Fairtrade palm oil, cocoa and bananas, as well as learning about the history of the slave trade in Ghana and visiting local recycling projects.

They met with cocoa bean farmers, many of whom were women, in the small rural village of Amankwatia. The local children attend a school, which was built with the aid of the Fairtrade premium.

In New Koforidua, Africa’a first Fairtrade town, Allison and Cindy met with 40 to 50 farmers who supply Fairtrade cocoa to the Kuapa Kokoo cocoa co-operative. Kuapa Kokoo’s cocoa is used in many of the big brand Fairtrade chocolate bars. “The farmers were very concerned about the future of Fairtrade produce and asked us to bring the message back to Ireland for people to continue supporting Fairtrade,” says Allison. “Fairtrade means they can improve their lives in Ghana, continue farming and continue to send their children to school.”

In Asuom, Cindy and Allison visited Serendipalm, a Fairtrade palm oil plantation and production unit. Here, they were guided through a local village where a new water pump has been installed and a new toilet block built with Fairtrade premium. “Sanitation in many of these small villages is very poor,” explains Cindy “and being part of the Fairtrade system is having huge positive impacts on their lives.”

“Entire towns are developed as part of the Fairtrade system, not just cocoa plantations,” explains Allison. “You can really feel the sense of community and pride in their traditions. In one of the weaving projects we visited, the man running it spoke extremely passionate about promoting sustainable tourism in his country.”

Throughout all the areas that the women visited in Ghana, they were met with huge smiles and even bigger welcomes. “The palm oil plantation was visually stunning,” says Allison. “All the work is done outdoors, mainly by women and everyone seemed very happy and relaxed. We were given a very warm welcome.”

“I would encourage everyone to think twice about everything that we consume in our consumer hungry society and maybe consider a simple change, such as buying fairtrade tea/coffee/chocolate, confident in the knowledge that just by having a cuppa, we can impact on the daily lives of others, positively,” says Cindy.

On Saturday, March 8, ‘Clonakilty Chocolate’, which recently received the Fairtrade Mark, will officially launch at The Lettercollum Kitchen Project Shop in Clonakilty.

Anyone interested in becoming involved in the Clonakilty Fairtrade committee can contact the chairperson Trevor Kingston on 086-2202029.

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13th April, 2018  ·  

An evening on the 'Balance of Feeling Good' by Clonakilty Gaa Club Health and Wellbeing Committee followed by Guest Speaker, Cork GAA Chairperson, Tracey Kennedy.

Paddy Duggan, former Principal of Clonakilty Community College, will be MC on the night, facilitating a discussion on getting the balance of feeling good.
Contributors on the night are Colm Sheehy, Conor Murray, David Lowney, Denis Murphy, Eoghan Deasy, Sean McEvoy, Thomas Clancy and Treasa O'Brien.
Topics covered will range from awareness and responsibility to yourself and others to the benefits of exercise and nutrition.
The evening is suitable for everyone aged 16 and over from players, members of the community, parents of young and adolescent children, etc.

This is a public event, free of charge and everyone is invited and very welcome to attend.
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12th April, 2018  ·  

The Cast of Harold Pinter’s ‘No Man’s Land’ are on their way to the All-Ireland finals, having won 26 awards, including five best of Festivals, at the Amateur Drama League of Ireland annual three act festivals. The play ‘No Man’s Land, by Harold Pinter, the Nobel Prize Winning Author is directed by Jennifer Williams.

One last opportunity to view this multi award winning play at Skibbereen Town Hall, on Saturday 14th of April, before the finals.

Having met by chance in a pub, two aging writers continue a long night of drinking and reminiscing in a stately London home. As the night wears on, their conversation wanders through memories long forgotten or invented. Is their encounter real or a delusion? Are they strangers or do they share a past history? When unexpected guests intrude upon an increasingly surreal evening, the atmosphere quickly changes from friendly to threatening, and the encounter becomes a game of survival.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by emailing schulldramagroup@gmail.com

For more information please contact hilary.mccarthy6@gmail.com
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9th April, 2018  ·  

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