The mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council joined the pupils of Knockavoe School in Strabane this week to celebrate the area achieving full Fairtrade status.
Councillor Maolíosa McHugh visited the school to find out more about the work they have been doing to discover how Fairtrade operates and promote the Fairtrade message.
In 2014 the former Derry City Council was awarded Fairtrade City Status and building on this achievement Derry City and Strabane District Council passed a resolution in 2015 to demonstrate council’s support for a campaign to achieve Fairtrade status for the whole Council area.
The local authority is now the first council in Northern Ireland to achieve Fairtrade District Status. The accolade was awarded jointly by Fairtrade Foundation and Fairtrade Ireland.
Mayor McHugh said he was delighted that Council is taking the lead in raising awareness about responsible trading and supporting disadvantaged producers and workers in developing areas. “I think it’s fantastic that Derry and Strabane Council is taking an active approach to changing people’s trading habits by raising awareness of the issue.
“If local people choose Fairtrade products it will directly impact on improving the livelihoods and working conditions of people living in developing countries, ensuring sustainable production and reducing opportunities for exploitation.”
Roisin Bradley, the Rights Respecting School Coordinator at Knockavoe School in Strabane, said their pupils had been working hard to promote the values of Fairtrade, and encourage people to consider buying Fairtrade products such as tea, coffee, sugar, chocolate and bananas.
"We are a Rights Respecting School Level 2 and the rights of pupils are at the heart of everything we do,” she explained. “We actively promote Fairtrade awareness and support. “The pupils enjoy various multisensory activities to enhance their understanding of Fairtrade. By taking an active approach and encouraging others to make better shopping choices and to purchase Fairtrade goods we are helping to ensure that the rights of workers are also supported in both the local and wider community."