Fairtrade Fortnight is nearly upon us.

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Fairtrade Fortnight is nearly upon us.

From the 27nd of February to March 12, the Carlow Fairtrade group is trying to raise awareness on Fairtrade products in Carlow and in Ireland more generally. Notably, this is also the ten year anniversary of the Carlow Fairtrade group.

There were successful events hosted in Irish towns and cities in the last couple of months including Derry and Cork for the annual conferences. These events included Fairtrade producers who spoke and other likeminded NGO’s and some voluntary groups from around the country present on different events/projects with which they are involved with.

Carlow will also be hosting a number of worthwhile events on Tuesday 28th of February. The first event will be in St Leo’s secondary school from 12.15pm – 1.15 pm and the second event will be taking place in Institute of Technology Carlow from 12.15pm – 3.15 pm where 200 people are expected.

The speaker includes

Heydi Janeth Espino Mairena who is a Fairtrade producer and will be visiting Carlow from Nicaragua. Heydi was born in the village San Francisco de Los Cedros in Jinotega, Nicaragua in 1993 to two coffee farmers who are members of the Fairtrade certified coffee cooperative, Soppexcca. From a young age Heydi helped out on her parents coffee farm during the harvest. She has completed many courses, thanks to financing by Soppexcca, including chocolate making techniques; norms and standards; microbiology; cocoa tasting; trade fairs and negotiations; administration and costs calculation; and traceability of food chains.

Since 2010, Heydi has been working for Soppexcca in their chocolate factory – a diversification project which was set up by Soppexcca as an addition to their new café in Jinotega. There, Heydi is responsible for the chocolate production. At the factory they produce various chocolate products, and have just had their first export to the US and Germany. The factory is in the process of becoming Fairtrade certified. Heydi is also due to study accountancy in her local university later this year.

According to a co-worker of Heydi called to Haris Ulises Lopez Picado that, thanks to Fairtrade Soppexcca can “pay higher prices for the coffee and offer special programmes for young people, training them in the cultivation of coffee. The cooperative has set up various social projects, including the construction of a school. They have also improved the road from the town to the village and support the community when landslides occur (blocking the street). The cooperative are also running various environmental activities.”

To promote the ten year anniversary of the Fairtrade Carlow group there will also be a Fairtrade Primary School competition which the voluntary group will be running. This competition is very popular amongst the primary schools in Carlow where many schools in the county enter the competition.

Details about the competition are as follows:

This competition has two categories, one for Junior Classes and one for the Senior Classes.
Category A– Junior Classes: Infants, 1st & 2nd Class – complete the enclosed worksheet.
Criteria: Pupils are asked to colour the Fairtrade worksheet which contains Fairtrade products and the Fairtrade Logo. Pupils must use the correct colours for the ‘Fairtrade Logo’.

Category B – Senior Classes: 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Class pupils are asked to design an A4 sized poster which is based on certain criteria. The prize giving is on Thursday 16th of March in the Cathedral Parish centre. The Carlow Credit Union sponsors the prizes.

If you are interested in Fairtrade and want to become involved you can follow us to keep up to date during Fairtrade Fortnight on our Facebook page; simply search “Fairtrade Carlow.” Alternatively, you can call Chairperson Bernadette Power on 087 903 1791. Please support Fairtrade products and producers in County Carlow.

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