FAIR trade was placed firmly in the spotlight as primary schools took over Tynwald to discuss the issues and find out more.
Teams from 18 primary schools took part in the first Isle of Man Fairtrade Conference, run by the One World Centre.
The centre’s director, Rosemary Clarke, said: ‘The event well really well. There was a real buzz.’
Following the success of the day she wants to see the conference become an annual event, although it would not necessarily have the same theme.
The event started with speaker Leni Lewis of fair trade shop Shakti Man, in Ramsey, talking to the pupils.
A number of workshops were held throughout the day, based on the themes of chocolate, bananas, and philosophy for children.
Meanwhile in the Tynwald chamber, the children had a formal debate in four groups, hosted by Tynwald president Clare Christian.
It was on the subject ‘Fairtrade chocolate should cost the same as ordinary chocolate’ and saw each participant having their say.
The unfairness in the world, which Rosemary says sees 20 per cent of people living at the level we do while the remainder are struggling, was highlighted when it was time for the children to have a snack.
Twenty per cent of the children received juice and a Fairtrade cookie while the rest will sat on the floor to have water and a cream cracker.
Rosemary said pupils who took part got a lot out of the day: ‘It was an opportunity to learn more about Fairtrade, to work with children with other schools, and to express what they thought.’
The aim of the event was for the children to be able to take ideas about Fairtrade back to their schools.
And Rosemary said they had come up with a range of ideas for Fairtrade Fortnight – taking place in February 2013.
Many of the pupils are keen to hold a Fairtrade day or week at their schools, with ideas including Fairtrade tuck shops, dress down days in Fairtrade colours (black, turquoise and green), and sales of cakes made with Fairtrade ingredients.
Some schools also plan to make a presentation about Fairtrade and present it to another primary school.
Rosemary thanked everyone who supported the conference, including The Co-operative which provided some of the Fairtrade food and goody bags to all pupils.
The conference was funded through a grant from the Fairtrade Foundation, a non-profit organisation that licenses use of the Fairtrade Mark on products in the UK in accordance with internationally agreed Fairtrade standards.
Anyone interested in providing financial support to help the One World Centre hold a conference next year is asked to get in touch.
The One World Centre, based in St John’s, works to encourage understanding and respect for the lives and cultures of all people – to help to share a fair society that celebrates our global differences and interdependence.