XVI National Convention on Entrepreneurship and Skill Development by Fair Trade India (FTF-I) – A Report

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Fair Trade Forum-India (FTF-I) organized the XVI National Convention on Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, with a special focus on textiles, handlooms and handicrafts in Hyderabad from 1st to 3rd December, 2016. The event was held at Katriya Hotels and Towers, Somajiguda. FTI- I works with more than 250000 producers – artisans and farmers – through more than 100 member organizations, to ensure a dignified income and overall development of artisans, farmers, workers in the unorganized sector. FTF-I contributes to poverty alleviation and sustainable development by building a broader, multi-stakeholder movement for Fair Trade, one that encompasses producers, workers, consumers, and people from various backgrounds.

xvi-ftf-i-convention-on-skill-developmentThe main objective of the convention was to promote skill development and entrepreneurship in the Fair Trade Network by aligning with the national mission on skilling India. Hence, most of the sessions focused on exploring synergies with the government’s efforts towards generating sustainable livelihoods through skill development and entrepreneurship. This also brought into the limelight sustainable models of entrepreneurship, innovative practices in inclusive development of artisans and different ways of scaling up small enterprises by exploring global markets.

Day – 1

The event began with the national Anthem, followed by a Sarv Dharam Prarthana by Ms. Pooja. Mr Ranvir Sisodia, Jt. Secretary FTF-I, conducted an “ice breaking” session where the participants introduced themselves and spoke about how they have been following the principles of Fair Trade as given below:

  1. Creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers
  2. Transparency and accountability
  3. Fair trading practices
  4. Payment of a fair price
  5. Ensuring no child labour and forced labour
  6. Commitment to non-discrimination, gender equity and women’s economic empowerment, and freedom of association
  7. Ensuring good working conditions
  8. Providing capacity building
  9. Promoting fair trade
  10. Respect for the environment

The welcome note: Ms. Sudeshna Mitra Woodhatch, Secretary FTF-I, welcomed the participants to the XVIth National Convention.

meenu-chopra-ftf-iMs Meenu Chopra, Executive Director, FTF-I, presented FTF-I and its work to the participants. She highlighted through her presentation how FTF-I was strengthening the Fair Trade Movement in India and creating an Impact by working with 100 plus members spread across India. The member organisations follow the 10 principles of Fair Trade, as laid down by World Fair Trade Organisation and invest a lot in building the capacity of the communities that they work with.

The primary producer is the core of the fair trade movement. FTF-I members work in various sectors and produce textiles, handicrafts, handlooms, food and agro, body care products etc. FTF-I supports its members through capacity building and market facilitation, and works towards strengthening the Fair Trade movement through policy advocacy and generating more awareness. It partners with government, corporate bodies and international organizations for various projects. Currently, FTF-I is also exploring tourism as a potential sector. FTFI has also launched a Retail Brand- Fair Trade India that is being used by around 30 shops across India. She concluded by saying that Fair Trade is a ‘Trade that Empowers” and it also gives consumers the power to make a difference simply through their purchases.

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