JTS is a not for profit organization seeking to improve the lives of small-holder farmers in some of the world’s poorest countries by creating a sustainable market in the UK for their produce. Our organization’s main focus is supporting small-holder rice farmers in the north of Malawi. We see trade as a vital key to rectifying the injustice of global poverty.
At its best, trade creates international networks of people who work to develop their skills, their resources and their communities; through trade, they can work their way out of poverty, develop economically, educationally and politically.
Enterprise activity in schools
The main way we interact with schools is through the 90kg challenge. The 90kg Rice challenge consists of challenging a group of school pupils to sell 90kg of rice – the amount of rice sold that would enable a Malawian farmer to pay for a year’s basic secondary education for one child.
Through this, the participants are challenged to come up with enterprising and inventive ways to both market and sell the rice, if the 90kg target is surpassed they are free to order more and further grow their business. The challenge is flexible for all age groups and is intended to provide participant’s with work-related experience while increasing their problem solving, financial management and team working skills.
At the same time, pupils are able to increase their knowledge about Malawi and its citizens and through this further understand their place in the global community. Its curriculum focus is centred on increasing the enterprising and entrepreneurial acumen of participant’s as well as increasing the pupil’s awareness of their role as a global citizen by providing a deeper understanding of the livelihood of a Malawian farmer. Accompanying the rice there is an educational resource pack which explores several different themes of Malawian Life.
Taking part in the challenge counts towards your school’s attainment of an Eco-flag, a Fairtrade schools award and is easy, fun and educational. It is easy to do at any time of year, but Fair-trade fortnight provides a particularly good opening for taking part in the challenge.
The Rice Challenge was also key in the institution of the Fair-trade nurseries scheme.
The programme was developed with local nurseries and the East Dunbartonshire Early Years Team with support from the East Dunbartonshire Fair Trade Steering Group and the Scottish Fair Trade Forum with funding from the Co-operative Membership.
The project envisioned three main areas of activities: work with children to teach them about trade and the Fair Trade movement; promote Fair Trade among their families and the wider community; and, use Fair Trade ingredients in nursery catering for children.
For Fairtrade Fortnight 2013, East Dunbartonshire’s nurseries were challenged to sell a ‘Fair Trade Tonne’ of Kilombero Rice via a collection of 90kg Rice Challenges, each of which generates proceeds that allow a child in Malawi to attend high school for a year. 14 nurseries rose to the challenge, buying over a tonne of fair trade rice to sell at open days and events; their collective order of just over 1200kg will enable 13 children in Malawi to attend high school for a year.
Millersneuk Primary School
Millersneuk Primary School were able to sell an incredible 1200kg of Kilombero Rice. The challenge was introduced by the Pupil council and a JTS representative visited the council in order to provide an explanation of the reasoning behind undertaking a 90kg challenge. The school then established an inter-house competition where each house was tasked with completing a 90kg rice challenge. The challenge was advertised to parents and families through schools newsletters, after this, the children helped to design order forms which they took home on a Friday and brought back to school on Wednesday. The challenge ran for 5 weeks and there was a league table of how each house was doing which was updated every Wednesday after the orders had been tabulated, this helped to keep the challenge competitive and engaging and contributed hugely to its success.
Bishopbriggs Academy’s approach to the rice challenge focused heavily on fulfilling the social enterprise criteria of the curriculum for excellence. Children from an s2 class where formed into teams of eight and then within the team individual roles ranging from Managing director to sales executive to marketing director where delegated depending on the pupil’s preferences. From here the pupils were then challenged to come up with a unique selling point for their rice and produce advertising materials consisting of 3 leaflets and 3 flyers. The pupils then delivered a presentation to a Teacher outlining why they should be given the money necessary to buy the 90kg of rice.
After this was successfully completed the kids where then able to market and sell the rice. The school enjoyed great engagement from the community with business leaders offering to come in and speak to the kids about how to increase their sales acumen. In this context, the 90kg challenge was a valuable teaching tool for how businesses are able to make a positive impact on solving global problems.
Five Lanes Primary School
This primary school was able to raise a fantastic amount of money by not only directly selling rice to parents and families but also by holding a “Fairtrade market” where the community was invited to attend and purchases dishes that the children had made with the rice, the popularity of this event was increased by the schools engagement with a local choir who allowed the rice to be sold at their concert.
“To successfully complete the fair trade rice challenge was a great achievement and the children were delighted to meet Howard and Henry and to find out a bit more about rice farming and children living in Malawi.”
Lord Provost of East Dunbartonshire