Sunday, March 20, 2011

Top 10 Reasons to Support AWAZ and Fair Trade in the Marketplace

Top 10 Reasons to Support Fair Trade

1) Fair Trade ensures that farmers and artisans receive a fair price for their products and safe working conditions are met.
- AWAZ partners earn double and sometimes triple their peers for their work that support living wages to care for their families and unexpected needs. Minimum wage standards in India are $2 a day and on average, AWAZ partners earn $4-$6 a day, depending on work load.

2) Fair Trade invests in community development and strengthens people and communities.
- AWAZ partners now have the resources and are more likely to send their children to school, take them to the doctor and purchase more fruits and vegetables. Their families benefit and more money is invested in local economies.

3) Fair Trade provides financial and technical assistance to farmers and artisans to improve production.
- AWAZ pays for textile designers to do week long design workshops and interventions to help artisans develop more marketable products and source higher quality raw materials.

4) Fair Trade promotes environmental sustainability.
- We work with our partners to use eco-friendly raw materials, such as natural dyes, fibers and organic cotton. We do our best to find a natural product that does not harm the environment and work closely with our partners to give suggestions and guide them. Most Fair Trade food items are 100% organically grown.

5) Fair Trade promotes gender equality in pay and working conditions.
- The majority of our partners are women ran handicraft enterprises, ranging from 40 women to 600 in one organization. MESH, our trading partner for over 40 disabled artisan groups, works with both men and women, who often share production tasks. For example, in weaving, the women often spin the thread and help set up the handloom, while the mean tend to do the weaving.

6) Fair Trade promotes economic sustainability through direct and long-term relationships between producers and consumers.
- We buy from the same artisan groups today as we first started in 2008 and have been able to reach out to three more groups since then. They can count on us for continued orders which helps to ensure job security. We foster a healthy relationship with our partners by trading directly and visiting and communicating regularly about their work and needs.

7) Fair Trade mobilizes communities to make collective decisions about how to spend their funds through worker owned and democratically ran cooperatives.
- AWAZ pays living wages to artisan groups that includes a premium which groups use to invest in projects that benefit the community. Groups decide collectively how to spend premiums and invest in building schools, water pumps and needed services for the community.

8) Fair Trade provides equal opportunities for all people and gives producers a greater voice in the international market.
- Most of our groups we trade for had little or no international market presence for their work. Helping them access a larger market allows more people to know about their work, want to help and get involved.

9) Fair Trade enhances cross-cultural understanding and creates a closer link between consumers and producers.

10) Fair Trade is the alternative to ending hunger and poverty today.
- Supporting organizations that are helping communities develop small scale enterprises, helps them develop job skills so they can access good jobs and become self sustainable!