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Fair Trade Chocolate Evening

Information for the Pow-wow

How much or how little you discuss with your Brownies will depend on their age and ability, whether they've covered the topic already in school etc. If they are completely new to the concept of fair trade it might be better to start with a game or two exploring the idea of trading. I will upload some examples here when I have a spare moment.

The difference between free and fair trade is complex. After discussing fair trade at school our Brownies had come away with the idea that fair trade is a form of charity - giving extra money to poor people (who according to them all live in Africa). They also assumed that 'poor' farmers were poor because their crops had failed and they didn't have much to sell. Be careful not to give these impressions!

What is 'unfair' trade?

Companies like Mars and M&M will buy cocoa beans at a price that reflects their market value. They will try to pay as little for them as possible, whilst the cocoa farmers try to sell them for as much as possible. If both the sellers and the buyers have an equal relationship a fair price would be reached.

Unfortunately third world farmers and international corporations do not have an equal relationship. Even without the existence of unfair trade agreements, farmers are in the weaker position. They must sell their crop to survive - the chocolate producing company can buy elsewhere. If the chocolate producing company loses out in the deal, they lose some of their profit - if the farmer loses out in the deal, they could lose everything.

Generally speaking the more cocoa beans there are, the less they will be worth. Often the price paid for the cocoa beans is lower than the cost of producing them. Even if the costs are covered, it is very unlikely that there will be any money left for future investment and development. Big business forces the price of cocoa down. Farmers suffer terrible poverty.

What is fair trade?

Companies buying cocoa beans to make fair trade chocolate will guarantee a fair price is paid. They will make sure that the cocoa farmers are getting enough money to live on - that the price reflects how much it costs to produce.

Products that display the fairtrade logo not only guarantee that farmers were paid a fair price for their crop, they also show that:
  • Any workers on the farm had reasonable working conditions (in terms of health and safety)
  • Child or forced labour was not employed
  • Environmental standards were complied with
  • The price paid covered not only the cost of production but enough to invest in development
  • Contracts allowing for long term planning and development were signed.

For more information and pictures of cocoa farmers and cocoa beans try: The Divine Chocolate website, Dubble Fair Trade Chocolate website, The Fairtrade Foundation, The Tradecraft Website, Global Gang on Chocolate

Chocolate Palminism

chocolate palminism 

This game explores where chocolate comes from and the stages it goes through before being sold.

Lay the cards face down in the middle of a table. The Brownies take it in turn to turn over a card - if it is on their board they place it there, if not it is turned face down again. The winner is the Brownie who fills her card first.

There will be a link to print out this game in the future.
(I need to redo it to ensure there are no copyrighted images in it!)

Unhappy families

unhappy families 

This game explores the idea of fairness and gives an idea of how much money from each bar of chocolate goes where.

It is played like ordinary happy families, but each family is worth a different number of points depending on where they are in the chocolate industry (loosely based on the percentage income derived from each bar). The winner is not the Brownie with the most families, but the most points. The game is weighted so that you can not win unless you start by holding a high card. After the game get the Brownies to discuss whether it was fair.

Instructions for the game (Word doc pdf)         Cards for the game (Word doc pdf)

Taste Testing

Buy several bars of different fair trade chocolate. The co-op own brand chocolate is fair trade, Oxfam shops sell several brands and Tesco and Sainsburys also have a limited selection. Get the Brownies to rate each brand out of 10. NB: Several brands of fair trade chocolate contain hazelnut oil, so check in case of nut allergies.

Human Noughts and Crosses

Set 9 chairs up as a noughts and crosses board. One team of Brownies are the noughts, the other the crosses. Ask each team questions based on chocolate and fair trade. When they answer correctly a player from their team goes to sit in a chair. The first team with 3 in a row wins.

Chocolate Pass the Parcel

At the centre of the parcel place a fair trade bar of chocolate. At each layer place information about a different stage of making chocolate, so that as the layers are taken off the Brownies find out how chocolate is made.

Role Play

Each each six is given a short senario to act out:

There will be a link to print out this game in the future - as soon as I have a spare moment!

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