Fairtrade as a global system connecting farmers and workers from sourcing countries with consumers and businesses across the world, embodies a shared vision of a world where smallholder farmers and workers can secure sustainable livelihoods, fulfil their potential, and shape their own destinies. Fairtrade recognizes that certification alone is insufficient to realize this vision and, therefore, complements its services with tailored programs. Given the importance, Fairtrade NAPP has organized the Capacity-building training on Democracy, Accountability, and Transparency to enhance the capacity of small-scale producer organizations in the Phillipines to manage their resources effectively and foster inclusive governance to address social inequalities. This training was attended by 43 participants in Phillipines. Given that producers are geographically dispersed, making traditional classroom training challenging. In response to this, the organization has embraced hybrid learning methodologies, combining physical and virtual approaches. While the move to virtual learning was expedited by the 2020 global pandemic, connectivity issues remain a concern, leading to the pre-recording of modules using Microsoft PowerPoint. This approach is practical given the following challenges:

1. Internet connectivity and electricity blackouts: Some areas in the Philippines continue to experience unstable internet connections and power outages, primarily due to electricity shortages.

2. Participant distractions: Virtual training sessions can be disrupted by participants’ household responsibilities, such as chores and child-rearing. Limited space availability at home can also affect participants’ attention.

3. Varied resources: Some small-scale producer organizations have their own facilities and wifi, while others lack such resources. This discrepancy affects the quality of virtual learning sessions.

The training module various aspects encompassing living incomes, climate resilience, gender equality, opportunities for youth, and the protection of human rights that would enable them to make wise decisions about their futures for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Leadership and governance play pivotal roles in determining how resources are utilized and assets developed to achieve inclusive outcomes. A solid leadership foundation translates the vision of social inclusion into a reality. Inclusive institutions with effective governance are necessary to enforce policies addressing social inequalities, especially concerning underserved and vulnerable groups. Transparency and accountability are vital components of good governance, building trust within the community. Modern communication tools and easy access to information contribute to an interactive and collaborative governance environment. Furthermore, the attitudes and behaviours of decision-makers and professional staff, whether conscious or unconscious, are influential. Training and education can equip personnel to better understand and address the needs of vulnerable groups, strengthening the capacity of organizations.

This training also targeted capacity-building endeavours that can provide underserved or vulnerable groups with the information, knowledge, and skills required to access wider benefits from infrastructure, such as markets, employment, and services. Fairtrade’s capacity-building program seeks to achieve this by offering training sessions that encompass various modules, including inclusive leadership, good governance, business model development, parliamentary procedures, and financial standard operation procedures.

The modules developed for the capacity-building program have the potential to become valuable learning materials for newly certified or organized producers within the network. By leveraging these resources, Fairtrade can further empower smallholder farmers and workers and promote sustainable, inclusive governance in the pursuit of its vision for a fairer, more equitable world. Fairtrade’s commitment to empowering smallholder farmers and workers is exemplified by the Capacity-building training on Democracy, Accountability, and Transparency. This program underscores the importance of leadership, governance, and targeted capacity building in addressing social inequalities and promoting inclusive institutions. In the face of challenges such as internet connectivity issues and participant distractions, Fairtrade’s adoption of hybrid learning methodologies ensures continued progress. By capitalizing on these opportunities, Fairtrade can make a lasting impact on the lives of those it seeks to empower, contributing to a more just and sustainable global trade landscape.


“Managing our organization is not a simple job. As leaders, we need continuous learning to increase our knowledge and understanding to better equip ourselves in leading our organization. The capacity-building training on democracy, transparency and accountability is a must-have training for SPOs. We thank Fairtrade NAPP for always supporting our development.” – Antero Embang from Maria Cecilia Farm Workers Association (MACFAWA).

It is very important for every organization to set up their policies and processes that will be a written guide for all of the members and officers to follow. I like the online sessions because of the practical examples given by the trainer. We also received the recorded sessions which we can review while answering our assignment. I hope there will be more training like this in the future. I also hope for Fairtrade NAPP to conduct training per SPO so we can also focus on what needs to improve in our current policies. – Editha Buban from Samahan ng organikong Magniniyog ng Albay.

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