Co-operative Academy receives a guest from Guatemala

Year Seven students at The Co-operative Academy of Manchester took time out from traditional lessons on Monday 25 February as they discovered what life on a Central American coffee plantation is really like.

As part of Fairtrade Fortnight celebrations (25 February – 10 March), The Co-operative’s Green Schools Revolution team visited the academy with a special guest, all the way from Guatemala.   Douglas Recinos, a coffee producer from the Fedecocagua co-operative, spoke to the students about how achieving Fairtrade certification for the company has enabled the business to expand, access new markets and, in turn, make significant improvements to his local community.

Fairtrade helps producers in developing countries by guaranteeing fair prices and providing an additional social premium to fund vital community projects. The Co-operative’s unique sourcing policy goes beyond delivering typical Fairtrade premiums, meaning the business also provides additional investment to communities across the globe, helping them improve sanitation, productivity, education and training.

Isabelle Bryan, The Co-operative’s Green Schools Revolution Project Officer said: “One of the key elements of our Green Schools Revolution campaign is to educate children and young people about the Fairtrade movement. Whether a vanilla grower in India, a sugar producer in Paraguay, or a coffee producer in Guatamala, Fairtrade enables people living in some of the world’s poorest countries to escape poverty and empower themselves and their families.”

Lee Davies, Community Officer at The Co-operative Academy said: “Hearing Douglas’ story was an incredibly moving and powerful experience for our pupils. Living here in central Manchester it can sometimes be difficult for young people to connect with the issues that affect communities that are so far away, but having Douglas with us in person really helped to bring those issues alive. “All the pupils left the session feeling very inspired and I am sure they will be encouraging their friends and families to find out more and make the switch to Fairtrade products so we can support such vital community projects.”

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