In this lesson the class takes part in a Fairtrade Olympics where they learn about the issues of unfair trade and an uneven playing field.
Fair Trade Olympics
Statistics on trade and development could be researched, collated and analysed in maths/ICT (go to www.worldmapper.org)
Students could explore where each of the countries is in the world, what they’re like and the importance of Fairtrade to producers and their families in Geography.
This lesson plan has links to Curriculum aims and/or programmes of study in Physical Education, PSHE and Geography.
To explore issues of unfair trade and its impact on producer countries
Students are able to select and use tactics and strategies effectively in a different creative, competitive and challenge-type context.
Students are able to refine and adapt ideas and plans in response to changing circumstances.
Two adults, sports equipment for events, producer stories for Sansar Chand and Chino Enriques.
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Draw/mark a line in the hall or outside. One end of the line is the 'totally agree' end, the opposite end is the 'absolutely disagree' end. The middle of the line is a neutral area. Call out 3 statements to the group e.g. Fairtrade is important because some money from each product sold is given back to producers in the developing world, trade rules are made by rich countries which means that they are unfair, trade is really important as it helps poorer countries develop. Ask students to stand at a place on the line which represents how they feel about each statement.
Before the Competition
Discuss the idea of 'Fairtrade' with the class. What does it mean? Ask them who they think makes world trade rules? Which countries have the most influence? Using the information provided, tell the group about the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Talk about the Olympic games with the class. What are the ideals behind the Olympics? Are there any similarities between these ideals and Fairtrade?
Explain that the class is going to be split into different teams representing 7/8 different countries: UK, USA, Germany, Australia, Bolivia, Chile, Malawi and India. Each team will pick one person from their team to participate in one of 4 olympic events. There will be points for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. The team with the most points at the end of the Fairtrade olympics will win. As with the real olympics all teams must agree to abide by the instructions given by the referee.
During the Competition
The olympic commentator (an adult or older student) reads out the principle and accompanying information. The referee at the Fairtrade Olympics is the WTO/IMF and they will read out one rule at the beginning of each event and record the results.
After the Competition
At the conclusion of the competition read out the medal table. Who was 1st/2nd/3rd? Debrief students’ feelings and experiences during the game. What was it like to be on those teams who found it hard to compete? How about the other competitors? Did they mind that they were getting a better deal? Was it a 'level playing field'? Was the competition in line with the olympic ideals? Why not? Explain that this is actually the reality faced by countries such as Malawi or Chile when trading with richer countries and that they get just as frustrated as the students did.
Unfair trade laws have a human cost as well. Producers who can’t sell their commodities can’t feed their families or send their children to school. Countries who are crippled by debt can’t put the social, economic or health structures in place which they need to ensure that they continue to develop.
It’s important to link this to positive actions which many people and organisations take in response to unfair trade. Fairtrade, through ensuring a fair deal for producers and the Fairtrade premium for communities is vital when we look at how we can prevent inequalities.
Read the story of Sansar Chand (Agrocel) or Chico Henriques (Apicoop). What difference has Fairtrade made to their lives?
Carry out the starter activity again and read the same 3 statements. Have any of the students changed their minds? Why?
Extension: Students decide how they can take action against unfair trade laws (e.g. buying Fairtrade food, becoming a Fairtrade school, writing a letter to their MP)