Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A fair trade campaigner visits a coffee co-op in Uganda

From a UK paper we find this story of a fair trade campaigner visiting one of the coffee cooperates he advocates for. Jim Thomas visited the Peace Kawomera Co-operative in Uganda, a co-op that includes 25,000 farmers. The farmers have been able to put their children through school and save a little money thanks to the co-operative.

From the Bexhill Observer, we find this interview with Thomas.

"Sussex Downs College has been making links and working with communities and projects in South Eastern Uganda for over four years now.

"The college has organised study tours for students that allow them the opportunity to witness development work, as well as giving them a glimpse of what life is like for so many people in Africa and all over the world – a life trapped in poverty.

"Still, through all of the struggles and suffering we saw, there is hope. I spent seven weeks at a project called Bungokho Rural Development Centre (BRDC] and was privileged enough to go out to visit communities being trained through the centre's outreach work.

"The centre approaches vulnerable people and communities and forms a relationship. They then ask the people what problems they face, and cooperatively, as a group they try to find solutions. It is all about empowerment.

Since its establishment in 1995 BRDC has helped over 20,000 people through outreach work alone. BRDC offers knowledge and advice and does not give handouts. In the community they advise people on many issues ranging from getting safe water and making good compost for their crops to generating income from selling vegetables, etc.

"At the centre they give training in practical skills such as carpentry, building, tailoring and agriculture.

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