After returning to India , buoyed by the lovely contacts and meetings in the UK, the end of the year 2017 was marked with a lot of productive activity. Firstly, a national steering committee for fair trade towns met and reviewed the work done in Pondicherry and Kotagiri (the seaside town and the town at the top of a hill , as I lovingly refer to them) ; both of which are making plenty of progress towards certification.
A one day discussion on how to be prepared for the formalization, i.e. official fair trade town certification was very encouraging, as the Fair Trade international, India office had worked on a draft of the criteria and the process of certification which was clarified and approved by the whole group.
I was , as always, happy to to play a role of an enabler at the half day workshop with the national steering commitee, which brought with brain storming of the vision, strategy and goal for 2018. We also discussed how else I can play the enabling role for the town formation and support for 2018, including fund raising for my travel, visit and capacity building role.
In December, a lovely opportunity to travel across villages from East to West (in South India) came about, where I could do a "seed-to-shirt" tracing of the fair trade dynamic, visiting farmers and factories over the span of 5 days. Absolutely fascinating and inspiring in its own right!