Towards a next fair trade generation in Egypt

  Towards a next fair trade generation in Egypt Egypt Crafts Center/ Fair Trade Egypt is striving to drive the Fair Trade movement in Egypt towards a sustainable and stable future. In the road to empower communities through Fair Trade, it is extremely important to work on the advocacy of the Fair Trade concept and its principles. Hence ECC/FTE is organizing for the second year in a row an event for promoting the concept of Fair Trade and providing the Egyptian civil society with knowledge, tools and information on the application of this concept. This year the Fair Trade event is focusing on the youth through their participation in the conference as speakers, delegates and volunteers in the organizing committee.
Egypt Craft Center / Fair Trade Egypt is organizing the event together with the Italian Cooperation and Cospe.

Later events during the week include a World Trade Game with audience participation, craft workshops with the artisans, and a two day conference packed with guest speakers. A crafts and photograph exhibition will also run throughout the entire course of the expo.

Fair Trade Egypt: empowering Egyptian artisans
Fair Trade Egypt is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to empower Egyptian artisans through the practice of Fair Trade. FTE surveys the developing areas of the country, finds local treasures that have been traditionally manufactured for centuries and brings them to the consumer. The organization carry products from all corners of Egypt; everything from extra virgin olive oil cleansing bars from the bright oasis of Al Fayoum, to cotton embroidered sheer sheaths from the Western Desert ancient oasis of Siwa. All in all, their inventory covers all of Egypt, with more than 30 artisan groups in seven different regions. Their goal is to assist the talented but struggling Egyptian artisans, who have been particularly hard-hit by massive industrialization and globalization. They attempt this in several ways. Firstly, they help expose artisans’ goods to new customers via their Cairo store, which always showcases a wide and diverse inventory. Secondly, they act as a liaison between the artisans themselves and importers from all over the world. Thirdly, they help modernize artisans’ operations by training them in all aspects of business, such as production, management and marketing. FTE has also become a vital link to Egypt’s cultural richness, by safeguarding techniques and products that were on the brink of extinction because of their mass-produced counterparts. Every one of our more than 500 products comes with its own introduction card, a note that educates us on its origin and function. By purchasing one of their goods, you will not only acquire an original piece, virtually impossible to duplicate, but you will also do your part to help save an art form, a family, a community. For more infos on the organization: Towards a next fair trade generation in Egypt ________________________________________________________________
Programme of “The next Fair Trade Generation”
Day 1: Sunday 25th of June:
- Fair Trade worldwide: A general view on the Fair Trade in the world, the meaning of the concept and the market opportunities. This will be conducted by a group of young students that were mentored by Fair Trade Egypt. (Speakers: Lina Youssry, Dina Barsoum, Josephine Georges & Youssra Mohamed Ali- Ain Shams University)

- Make it yourself: During the coffee break the participants will have the opportunity to interact with some of the producers of handicrafts who will be present and making their crafts on site. The producers will also be the ones who will be teaching the crafts to delegates of the conference, so as to learn how to make their own crafts. (Facilitators: Abdel Sattar Pottery of Fayoum)

- From Producers to Consumers: The journey of the product from raw material to finished product. This session illustrates in details examples of how the product life cycle happens. This is an interesting session that was held in our last year Fair Trade conference and many people requested to repeat it again during this year’s conference. (Speaker: Mr. Mohamed Shihab, Producers’ relations’ officer- Egypt Crafts/Fair Trade Egypt)

- Empowering communities: Fair Trade Egypt ultimate vision is to empower marginalized communities through Fair Trade. In this session, we will profile examples of communities that have progressed because of the support of several community development projects through ECC/FTE and/or like-minded organizations. A large focus of this session will be on gender issues. (Speakers: Ms. Rania Hassanein- Donors coordinator-ADEW- A women rights organization. Ms. Nicole Asaad- Association for the Protection of the Environment APE Ms. Hemmat Salah El Din- Consultant for the Institute of Cultural Affairs ICA and owner of a project on bamboo production in Namous village in Fayoum region

Day 2: Monday 26th of June
- Environmental sustainability: One of the most important differential characteristics of the Fair Trade is the environment orientation. Agricultural products represent almost 80% of the Fair Trade goods traded worldwide. Hence, organic production is a big focus of the Fair Trade movement. We will highlight few examples of organic productions in Egypt; the first being Wadi Foods who are internationally accredited for their quality products. They will be exhibiting their products as well all through the days of the event.
The second intervention will be on FLO (Fair Trade Labeling Organization) certified farms in Egypt, the North Africa FLO inspector. (Speakers: Ms. Hala Freiji- Manager of Wadi Food; Mr. Mohamed Youssri Hashem- FLO inspector for North & West Africa)

- Make it yourself: During the coffee break the participants will have the opportunity to interact with some of the producers of handicrafts who will be present and making their crafts on site. The producers will also be the ones who will be teaching the crafts to delegates of the conference, so as to learn how to make their own crafts. (Facilitators: Brass group & Behera buffalo horn group.)

- The next Fair Trade generation: As we started the conference with an intervention from Ain Shams University, we end it up by an intervention from Cairo University students. They will highlight the importance of social responsibility to our society and the relevance of the Fair Trade movement to the Egyptian society.
(Speakers: Tamer Refaat- Cairo University)

Cultural Heritage event: Preserving Cultural Heritage in Cairo
This will be a one-day seminar on the role of crafts in preserving the cultural heritage of the country. The speakers will talk about their experiences in preserving the cultural heritage in Cairo.
There will be three interventions by Mr. Seif El Rachidy- Senior planner- Agha Khan/El Darb El Ahmar Community Development Project; Mr. Gérard du Puymége – Mediterranean Programme – UNESCO Cairo, Dr. Adly Bishay – Head of FEDA (Friends of the Environment and Development Association)

Hand made Crafts exhibition
An exhibition for the whole 10 days of the hand made crafts of 39 producer groups from all over Egypt dealing with Fair Trade Egypt. Other crafts producers from El Darb El Ahmar and Gammaliya will be also invited. The exhibition might include as well some organic agriculture products from Wadi Foods.

The Photo exhibition
During the event, a photography exhibition will be held with a selection of some pictures of Handicrafts producers. The pictures of the contributing photographers can also be bought in the event.

Other activities
There are some other activities that will be held aside from the main ones; among those activities is a possible music band in the opening and closing. Also a ceremony for awarding the photo contest winners and a crafts contest for school, however this contest will have a core part in the program and will be in the mainstream agenda. In addition to a film on crafts’ producers that will be shown during one of the nights after the sessions of the Fair Trade conference.
Babelmed editorial team

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