Mid term recap – Young Fair Trade Advocates programme

In September 2021, the FTAO launched a brand-new learning academy for young and engaged citizens across Europe who share an interest in Fair Trade and sustainability, the Young Fair Trade Advocates programme, generously supported by the European Climate Foundation and the Erasmus Plus project EU Wise. From the numerous applications we received, we selected 146 highly talented and motivated advocates to be part of the academy. Every week, they have the opportunity to take part in modules with experts in several topics, ask their questions and dig into engagement opportunities on various fields at EU and national levels.

That way, in the past three months, they have gained knowledge about sustainable food, consumption and production, history of the Fair Trade movement, how the FTAO conducts its advocacy work at the EU level, how the EU’s trade policy affect producers, etc.

In addition to this theoretical background, they also acquired practical skills and learnt about tools they can use to influence policymaking themselves. They notably had the opportunity to discover how social media can be used for this purpose from expert and former FTAO colleague Cass Hebron, and have received guidance on ways to engage at EU level as young citizens

In the runup to the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP26, they had the chance to meet with two Fairtrade producers and Youth ambassadors, Rutuja Patil from India and Deborah Osei from Ghana, who shared their views on Fair Trade, climate change, and the UN conference.

The COP26 itself was one of the highlights of the programme. Applying the knowledge they obtained in it, many advocates took to social media to express their view that decisions taken there should take trade justice into account. Furthermore, they had the opportunity to follow our side event on “Youth and decision-makers discuss nature, energy, water and sustainability in the global economy“, where youth leaders, including Malawian Fairtrade coffee producer Rachel Banda, discussed with politicians how youth can be more involved in decision-making on climate, agriculture and sustainability. Three of our advocates were even present in Glasgow with the different organisations with which they cooperate. Here are their thoughts.

Participants in the COP26 side event -Copyright: Daniela León

Mutesi Van Hoecke, Oxfam ambassador in Glasgow, carrying the voices of the Most Affected People and Areas by the climate crisis:

Daniela León, Peruvian organisation AIDESEP, dedicated to defending indigenous communities:

  • “For me COP26 was an opportunity to come together with other young people and work together to demand action from world leaders and hold them accountable for their decisions that have a global impact. I went to COP with an organization of indigenous people from the Peruvian Amazon and getting involved with different indigenous leaders and hearing their testimonies really gave me a deeper understanding of what the climate crisis actually is.” 
  • In her own words: “COP26 and indigenous peoples”, 25 November 2021

The Young Fair Trade Advocates is a great learning opportunity for both the fellows and the FTAO team. We are looking forward to the second half of the programme, where the advocates, as part of their national subgroups, are expected to organise local actions and engage with their communities in a more independent way.

If you are interested in the programme, follow us on social media and on our website to get all the updates on the next edition.

More information about this will be made available in the coming months.