In Oxford today – this morning as guests of Mid-Counties Co-op at their Fairtrade Fair in the gloriously ornate Oxford Town Hall. After a Fairtrade fashion parade featuring models from 6 months to 60, and their first taste of pancakes, Kuapa farmers Harriet and Fatima presented their experience of farming and Fairtrade. There were lots of questions, photos, and then African drummers from Guinea (via Stourport).
In the afternoon we jumped into a cab up to Oxfam GB (divine’s long time supporter and customer) to join their celebration of International Women’s Day. They were involving the staff in a day of talks and displays about gender issues worldwide (Oxfam is one of the NGOs contributing to the EQUALs compaign). Harriet and Fatima drew a big crowd, standing room only. This time they both gave much more personal stories about how membership of their co-operative had empowered them. They have achieved such great things and are inspiring role models for other young women in their communities. They were asked if there was any male backlash (sometimes men are jealous they say), about the size of their farms and cocoa prices. Later they were off to dinner with the buyers for all the Oxfam shops.