Wednesday, July 30, 2008

S2A2 Week 7

Anne, "Sabs", and Aire at the V&A Waterfront collecting Fair Trade surveys

I cannot believe that it is my second to last week at EMG and in Cape Town. It has really started to feel like home after being here for nearly 8 months. There have been so many ups and downs, but overall it has just been incredible.

I know that I have to come back here in the near future. There's so much going on, and I want to be part of it. This week, I've mainly been working on putting together a report that summarizes the data collected from the SAMWU questionnaires about water management devices that I mentioned in an earlier post. Hopefully, I'll be able to meet with Lance or Jeff from SAMWU, sometime next week (before I leave).

It's August 1st today! Just a random exclamation. Some of my best lessons from this internship have really come from the informal conversations I've had with my supervisor and co-workers at EMG. Yesterday, Lazarus (who works in the same office as me) discussed his idea to start an NGO that focuses on education, which is run mostly by former teachers/principals. It's really inspirational to work each day with people who are so dedicated to serving others. It's a contrast to much of what I see elsewhere, but I know that there's a lot of of hope and enthusiasm from young activists. I really want to believe that some of our work will come to fruition and show results in the near future.

Last week, I helped collect surveys with my fellow EMG interns and another intern for Fair Trade South Africa. The surveys were trying to assess what South Africans know/think about Fair Trade to determine how it needs to be marketed here, if it is going to be expanded. Currently the main fair trade products are all agricultural, but there are also a lot of handicrafts that could potentially be Fair Trade certified. I wonder if it's really necessary or prudent to use Fair Trade as a means to accomplish the goals of improved worker rights/environmental sustainability, since there are local initiatives in place. Is the umbrella of Fair Trade always necessary?

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