Fairly Educated is a not for profit initiative that aims to unite university Fair trade movements across the globe.
Fairtrade is a certification system that guarantees producers a minimum price, provides a ‘social premium’ for community development and ensures there is no exploitation in the production of goods. In addition, Fairtrade certification of products has fostered environmentally sustainable practises, the removal of child labour and human slavery.
Universities are, and have historically been, the location from which society as a whole evolves. As such Fairlyeducated wishes to support the growth in ethical consumerism exploding out of the tertiary education sector. We believe that for the first time in history, students and staff at universities across the globe can play a leading role as part of the solution to, as opposed to the cause of, exploitation, inequality and absolute poverty.
The Fairly Educated initiative is NOT another Non-Government Organisation (NGO). On the contrary, the Fairly Educated initiative aims to re-enforce the work of existing NGO activist groups, such as Vision Generation (World Vision’s Youth), Oxfam, Oaktree and many more. By better equiping these groups with materials specific to getting universities to provide 100% fair trade products, these NGOs campaigns can be even more successful. Therefore Fairly Educated is here to reinforce the fantastic existing work of NGOs, as opposed to trying compete/replace them. Fairly Educated looks to partner with other not for profit entities in the crucial role of getting 100% of products sold on university campuses around the world, Fairtrade.
History of Fairly Educated
The Fairly Educated Initiative was born in late 2010 as the need for a global platform of tertiary fair trade campaigns became clear. University and other tertiary student and staff groups all over the world are increasingly seeking Fair Trade Accreditation for their universities. Campaigning for Fair Trade can often be a difficult task. Issues regarding supply chains, slave labour, consumer power all need to be carefully and easily explained to many different audiences associated with tertiary education. The system of Fair Trade certification and how it compares to other types of ethical or environmental certification also needs to be explained. Information regarding suppliers of Fair Trade goods to buyers, the number and types of contracts held by tertiary institutions, contractual obligations and information needs to be discovered. The interests of many different parties (even on the one campus) needs to be addressed.
However much of this information will be similar for many different universities and tertiary institutions. Similar strategies are employed in campaigning, similar barriers and challenges are faced, and similar stories of triumph should be shared.
Fairly Educated seeks to build a network between Fair Trade university movements in order to aid information and resource sharing and offer encouragement in campaigning. Many resources from different universities including flyers, photo’s, formal documents and research papers can now be found on this website. Our facebook group has some of the most up to date information regarding progress groups are making and events they are holding. Soon we will start a blog to aid in the sharing of this information.
In July 2011, Fairly Educated held it’s inaugural conference at the University of Sydney. Around half the universities from across Australia and New Zealand had representatives attend. We heard from a number of NGO’s working in Fair Trade as well as the experiences of a number of universities in Australia, New Zealand, North America and Europe. We had workshops on how to run campaigns, how to use social media and in depth learning on Fair Trade. We had a commitment session in which the participating universities made statements on what they wish to achieve in the coming year. We also awarded small prizes to assist three universities in their campaigns.
In September 2011, Fairly Educated presented to over 200 people at the first Fair Trade USA Towns and Universities Conference in Philadelphia. We got to hear about many of the great things that are happening around the United States and share our experiences with many wonderful individuals.
In March 2012, Fairly Educated will be presenting at the United Students for Fair Trade conference in Maryland, USA. This will be a wonderful opportunity to talk to more students in the USA about Fair Trade University Campaigns and share information and experiences.
In April 2012, Fairly Educated will be presenting at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) conference for Universities. To learn more about what CGI is doing in the university space, click here.
In July 2012 Fairly Educated will be holding its second conference at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia, hosted by the Melbourne Universities Fair Trade Consortium. The Melbourne Fair Trade Universities Consortium is comprised of La Trobe University, RMIT University, the University of Melbourne, Monash University and Deakin University. The 2012 Fairly Educated Conference will focus on inspiring new and existing Fair Trade University Campaigns, as well as discussing how a University continues to address the issue of Fair Trade once it has achieved Fair Trade Accreditation. The conference will bring together: students, academic and professional staff, campus and fair trade suppliers of coffee, tea and chocolate; to discuss Fair Trade Products and University Fair Trade Accreditation.
The 2012 Fairly Educated Conference is sure to be a wonderful event that brings universities from the Australia, New Zealand and beyond together to promote social justice and sustainability through ethical consumption. Please stay tuned for more details and we look forward to seeing you there!
Founders of Fairly Educated
Chris has a strong passion to see the end of Extreme Poverty. This can be seen through his involvement in many initiatives related to this important cause. For over five years he campaigned for the University of Sydney to become a Fair Trade University, which included co-leading a referendum in which over 5500 students voted in favour of 100% of coffee sold on campus being Fairtrade. He has also volunteered and/or worked for number of not for profit organisations, including World Vision and Oxfam. In addition, Chris has focused his studies on poverty reduction, specifically how it relates to trade, and is currently in his final semester of a Master of International and Development Economics at Yale.
Likewise Victoria loves all things anti-poverty related. She too co-lead the campaign to see the University of Sydney become a Fair Trade university, including co-organising the referendum. She has volunteered in Kenya and for an number of organisations in Australia including the Oaktree Foundation and World Vision. She is currently interning at the Global Poverty Project in the New York office and with the not for profit, GiveWell. She is also volunteering time for One Village Planet-Women’s Development Initiative and writes daily at: http://learnchange.tumblr.com/