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Principles of the Fairtrade MEL programme

Fairtrade has a committed programme of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) that supports internal learning and improvement and helps build the evidence base for assessing the difference we make. The key principles guiding our MEL work are:   Evidence: to build a sound body of evidence about the results of Fairtrade’s interventions in bringing change based on our Theory of Change. Global Scope: to put in place a clear framework for monitoring and evaluating Fairtrade’s impact globally and ensure that research from specific regions can contribute to global understanding and vice versa Coordinated Methodology: to ensure that all monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment follows key methodological principles and incorporates select core indicators to ensure consistency and build baseline data to analyse trends Learning: to provide the necessary data and analysis needed to build an evidence-based learning system that guides internal decision-making, strategy and continuous improvement Access: to ensure that all system members (including producer networks, national Fairtrade organizations) can access and analyse key data based on their needs Resource optimisation: to ensure best value of monitoring and evaluation efforts by building on structures and tools that we already have, reducing duplication, maximising the learning value of existing activities such as audit and producer support, and enhancing co-ordination and consistency. Dissemination: to ensure that the results of monitoring and evaluation processes are effectively communicated and disseminated internally and externally in collaboration with other teams and system actors. Accountability:  to support the Fairtrade system in being more accountable to all its members, participating producers and their organizations, campaigners and supporters, businesses and donors. Optimise producer benefit: to be efficient in MEL work so as to reduce the time and burden placed on individual farmers, workers and staff within producer organizations. To ensure that producers have access to their own monitoring data, and to support better data management, analysis, and learning at the level of producer organizations.

Is the Fairtrade Foundation able to accept donations?

Yes, the Fairtrade Foundation is a non-profit organisation, registered as a UK charity (no. 1043886).

Don't donations conflict with the principle of 'trade not aid'?

We believe that global trade should benefit all those involved. But often the farmers and workers who produce our food are not receiving a fair share of the value of their produce, leaving them unable to feed themselves and their families. This is why Fairtrade exists, to support these farmers and workers to receive a fairer price and a fairer wage.  ‘Trade not aid’ is a commonly used phrase that embodies the approach of Fairtrade. Enabling producers to earn more through improved terms of trade allows them to provide for their families and invest in their futures. Investment and innovation in agriculture often leads to development, jobs and higher standards of living. Conventional forms of development aid do not always have the same potential for a longer-lasting improvement in people’s lives and for further benefits. Fundraising and donations do not conflict with this approach, they actually complement it. Donations help us to run projects that bring Fairtrade to more farmers and workers, and deliver projects that enable farmers to tackle some other large threats to their livelihoods such as climate change and devastating crop diseases. Donations are not passed on directly to farmers in the form of cash handouts.  In Latin America there is a fungus that affects coffee bushes that is known locally as la roya. It can prevent the growth of berries or even kill trees. This disease can destroy the coffee farmers’ harvests, wiping out their income. A project part funded by donations to the Fairtrade Foundation provided vital training to farmers in El Salvador on how to deal with la roya. The training taught farmers how to save some trees, diagnose the disease early, and how to help prevent it from spreading. This project has transformed the fortunes of these coffee farmers and is a great example of the difference your donations can make.

Why do you prefer people to make regular donations rather than one-off donations?

Regular donations are more cost effective as they generate less administration and carry cheaper bank charges. They enable us to plan for the future and ensure money is available where it is needed most. Regular gifts mean a consistent, predictable income so we can plan and budget better. This enables us to be more efficient with the projects that we develop to assist farmers and workers in the developing world.

Why is your head office in London when office space must be cheaper elsewhere?

Our Head Office is located in London because it is necessary for us to have close access to the companies that we certify, other charities and organisations that we collaborate with, and be easily accessible to visiting farmers. The choice of head office for any charity is a compromise between costs, skill base and the need to be in an influential position. Like other charities, we follow good practice procedures and regularly review our locations and associated costs.

How will we spend your donation?

Your donation will support projects that extend the reach and deepen the impact of Fairtrade. We are carrying out much more work that goes beyond the licensing of Fairtrade certified products. Examples include: • Increased assistance to farmers and workers to join Fairtrade = better prices, working conditions and the Fairtrade Premium • Training to increase yield and quality of crops = more money to spend on basics like food and education • Climate change adaptation programmes = farmers can continue to produce the crops they rely on • Support to women farmers to take more equal roles = the chance to earn an independent income Donations help us invest in innovation and pursue new opportunities. Fairtrade Gold is one example of the difference donations can make. This is the first certification scheme of its kind to be developed in support of small-scale, artisanal mining communities in the developing world.  There are currently 16 million small-scale gold miners and a further 100 million people who indirectly rely on small-scale mining for a living. Small-scale mining is one of the most dangerous industries in the world, and miners often work in very remote and harsh conditions with little or no health and safety measures in place. Fairtrade Gold offers a lifeline to these miners, their families and communities. Fairtrade gives strict standards on working conditions, women’s rights, child labour and environment management; in return miners gain access to new markets and receive an additional premium – extra money to develop their businesses and invest in their communities.  Whilst this work has received grant support from Comic Relief, donations from the public have been instrumental in enabling us to develop, manage and deliver it.

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