WIRRAL’S Fairtrade ambassador went to Ghana to see how the initiative has improved people’s lives.
Since Katherine McAloon was awarded the voluntary position by Wirral council in March she has been busy raising the profile of the Fairtrade campaign.
As ambassador, last month the 28-year-old went to Ghana for two weeks, and met developing world producers who benefit from selling goods under the Fairtrade banner.
Katherine, from Meols, said: “The trip was part-funded by Wirral council and the Co-operative. The aim was to see how Fairtrade is changing people’s lives in a producer country.
“I travelled to different places, stayed in the capital, Accra, and visited banana and cocoa plantations along the Volca River and near Kumasi.
“Through the Fairtrade criteria, it allows farmers to be guaranteed a price for their produce and not fall below a minimum market price.
“It was great to see how people benefited and empowered their decision-making.
“The Fairtrade initiative has allowed for schools and hospitals to be built, and pay for health insurance for workers. In one village, the nearest school was 6km away before one was built.
“It was really hot and the people were really friendly. The food was spicy and delicious – fresh fish, seafood, plantain and chicken – really good food.
“It is quite impoverished in villages with very basic living standards and no electricity.
“Their message to us was ‘Thank you, and keep buying more Fairtrade because it works’.”
Katherine has since spoken about her trip at an awards ceremony at Wallasey Town Hall for Wirral council who were given Fairtrade status.
Now she will be visiting schools and organisations promoting the Fairtrade work.
Katherine added: “Being on the other end of the Fairtrade chain and seeing the produce in supermarkets, I was pleased to experience first hand how people’s lives and the community benefited from the initiative.
“I was encouraged and motivated to see how the trade agreements help give a better standard of life.
“I always knew Fairtrade worked and it was a great initiative, but to see the benefits working for the people who produce the goods at the other end of the chain is brilliant.
“It is such a privilege to be able to go on the trip, I am very grateful to be picked as a Fairtrade ambassador.”