Fair Trade Lessons From Malawi – towards a dramatic expansion of the 90kg Rice Challenge

by Just Trading Scotland (JTS) trading arm of Balmore Trust
Rewards

About the project

Goals

Tipping Point £2,000
Final Goal £4,000
£2,217.5
tipping point
£30.000
20%
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!
tipping point
25 hrs
12hrs
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!

More about the project

What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?

Malawi - Farmer empowerment and development and children’s access to secondary education.
UK: consumer education and empowerment, helping to inform pupils about their role as global citizens.  
We will accomplish this through a radical improvement of our 90kg challenge resource pack.
The Challenge is to sell 90kg of fairly traded Kilombero rice - the amount of rice sold that would enable a Malawian farmer to pay for a year's secondary education for one child. In taking the challenge children learn about the life of farmers, the difficulties they face and how opening up new markets for them can bring new life to their communities.

Although the challenge has been running for almost 7 years, we have had feedback from teachers and community leaders that the pack is not easy to use. We want to develop and re-design the resources to address this and provide a more impactful and transformative resource.

Can you give us some statistics on this problem?

Over the last 7 years, the 90kg Rice Challenge has been taken up with enthusiasm by over 1500 schools and community organisations. The Challenge was developed on a shoestring and it is time to improve it – starting with its promotion and the resource pack’s accessibility and presentation – so we can try and reach some of the remaining tens of thousands of schools and youth groups that haven’t yet taken part.

What is your solution?

Our project will involve:
• End user research and evaluation in order to establish views, particularly from teachers and school pupils, on the resources and how best to improve the resources offered.
• Designing the new pack, including production of quality posters and producer photographs to bring the learning to life for a wide age range of children and young people involved
• Developing engaging fact sheets and activity/worksheets in both booklet and electronic format
• Developing DVD resources with “easy to navigate user interface”
• Printing and production of new resources and packs

How will you deliver this?

We promote understanding through educational work. When groups order the 90kg Rice Challenge from JTS, they will receive the redeveloped pack along with their 90 bags of rice. Then it’s time to get creative! Groups have sold the rice through curry nights, stalls, inter-house competition, school recipe books, as part of the Guide badge-work and various other Fairtrade events! The pack will include refreshed and easy to use resources to support people in their sales and through this to develop a sense of global citizenship by learning about where food comes from and more generally about global trade.

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Quotes from partner organisations:

'What better way to contribute to the unique and valuable relationship between Scotland and Malawi by supporting fair trade farmers there? The 90kg JTS Rice Challenge allows pupils to learn about Malawi in a meaningful way, hear about the lives of real people who live there and the livelihoods that they rely on. The fact that they can do this whilst helping promote sales of the rice, which will in turn increase profit for a rice farmer and empower them to support their family, means pupils can learn in an engaging way and really make a difference. Many of the 180 schools who are currently members or ours have completed the challenge and do so every year. It is achievable and very easy for the pupils to see exactly how their campaign is making a difference and to exactly how many people, real people with children just like them who they have helped access education'

Scotland Malawi Partnership Education Officer

“The Scottish Fair Trade Forum appreciates the way JTS adds value by promoting understanding through educational work. JTS support children and young people to develop a sense of global citizenship by learning about where food comes from and who produces it. Learning about Fair Trade, and more generally about global trade, can often be quite abstract. The 90kg Rice Challenge is a really practical way for young people to develop organisational, financial and communication skills; a sense of fairness; and of the individual's place in the world; while working as a team towards a common goal can give a sense of personal responsibility, empowerment and pride. “

SFTF Director

“The Fairtrade Foundation welcomes participation in the Rice Challenge as a contribution to Fairtrade Town or Church status or towards one of the Fairtrade Schools awards. The Fairtrade Town, Church and School core goals are specifically about promoting greater understanding, support for and availability of products with the FAIRTRADE Mark. The Foundation welcome the fact that many Fairtrade campaigns choose to make their local campaign much wider - promoting issues of trade justice, recognizing fairly traded goods and particularly Fair Trade shops and also local produce and the need for farmers wherever they're based to get a fair deal. All of these complementary activities, learning about trade injustices and promoting alternatives are a core part of what a Fairtrade Community should be. 
As such, community organisations taking part could be recognised under goal three or four as appropriate. Schools could use the learning resources around the Rice Challenge as their Learning Challenge to get the FairAware Award. The Rice Challenge could also be used under various other challenge headings (eg. involving the wider community) for the FairActive or FairAchiever awards. We recognise that it is the prerogative of autonomous Fairtrade steering groups to identify such fairly traded products and to support them in furtherance of their support for smallholder farmers and small producers. “

Fairtrade Foundation Campaigns Team

Get involved

Here are some great ways to get involved with the project and help out. If you have...
  • 2 minutes
    Share this post with your friends and encourage them to support the campaign
  • 30 minutes
    Email your children’s head-teacher and ask them to take part in the 90kg Rice challenge
  • Regular time commitment
    Please get in touch with James at james@jts.co.uk for details of a variety of volunteering opportunities ranging from office work, to warehouse support, giving talks to schools to helping out on stalls.

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About the organisation

Vision and mission

Our trading arm, JTS has the following vision, mission and values: Vision We see a world where inequalities are overcome and fair trade unlocks the potential of people and communities Mission JTS empowers and educates producers and consumers, through the fair purchasing and sale of delicious food products from the developing world. We seek to provide sustainable incomes for small holder farmers. Values The values that underpin our business are: • Trust - conducting our business in a transparent way according to fair trade principles • Justice - treating our stakeholders fairly and building strong relationship across the supply chain • Quality – sourcing great products • Empowerment - developing people’s potential within JTS, our suppliers and our customers • Innovation - a willingness to try new approaches and products

Geographical coverage

Within UK

Who do we help?

JTS empowers and educates food producers in developing countries and consumers throughout the UK, through the fair purchasing and sale of delicious food products from the developing world. We seek to provide sustainable incomes for small holder farmers. The small holder farmers we source rice from are based in Malawi, other products are sourced from South Africa, Swaziland, Sri Lanka, and India.

How do we deliver this?

JTS empowers and educates producers and consumers, through the fair purchasing and sale of delicious food products from the developing world. We seek to provide sustainable incomes for small holder farmers. We do this by • building a strong UK based business that clearly embodies our values and focusses on fair & fine foods • working particularly with producers who are not yet Fairtrade certified providing them with market opportunities and support in development • promoting understanding through educational work • working in partnership with civil society groups and the fair trade and development movements

Awards And Recognitions

Our trading arm JTS is an accredited member of BAFTS (British Association of Fair Trade Shops & Suppliers) as well as a member of the Scotland Malawi Partnership and the Scottish Fair Trade Forum. Our founder and Chair, John Riches, has received a Lifetime Achievement award for services to fair trade from the Scottish Fair Trade Forum and for services to Malawi from the Malawi Association of the UK.