The frustration resulting in the crawling pace of Manila traffic was immediately rub out by spending a day catching up with the Philippine WFTO members! This most recent workshop on Wednesday, July 29 brought all of the Fair Trade members of the Philippines together, hosted by CCAP. Amidst laughs and nibbles on Fair Trade dried mango slices the WFTO-Asia office drove the conversation towards the Guarantee System (GS).
As many of the members are at the same stage in the GS we focused the discussion on the Peer Visit, Audit and Guaranteed Product Label usage. The room was intrigued to have SAFFY share their hand crafted Internal Monitoring System (IMS) document and even offered to distribute the file as IMS inspiration for those in the room. The meeting was an opportune time to share tools and best practices. We are now looking to have the next workshop focus on the members living wage calculations. Wrapping up the meeting, the ending questions included how can we increase domestic Fair Trade consumption and who is going to be the first Guaranteed organisation in the Philippines?
The following day, the meeting room was filled once again, but this time with potential member organisations. Those attending had a wide range of backgrounds and products such as traditional yet modern woven dresses, to black rice and offering vocational training programmes. Going over the applicant qualifications (Having a mission encompassing Fair Trade and two years of legal existence), showed that many are capable in taking the next step forward to becoming an applicant.
The one trip out of Manila was to the lush town of Olongapo. Hosted by ProFairTrade a tour of their programmes ensued as did awe. Unfortunately the trip was two months too late, as we missed the processing of their infamous mangoes! For a variety of reasons, another visit will need to be planned!
by Elise Hawley