As part of Fair Trade Fortnight Central England Co-op hosted a Fair Trade Quiz in conjunction with other Co-op organisations. I’m currently Chair of the Membership and Community Council for the Western Region, which includes Birmingham and so this was an opportunity to participate and contribute to Fair Trade Fortnight. I’m a long standing supporter of Fair Trade. At University I wrote an essay on Fair Trade. Unsurprisingly, my conclusion was that despite having problems, Fair Trade is an important step in introducing ethics to the consumer market. For this quiz I was recruited by fellow Membership and Community Member, Cath as well as other Co-op minded friends, Ben and Graeme were head hunted to try and win this quiz in a co-operative manner.
The Quiz itself
There was a strong turnout of participants from Co-operators. Members of Revolver, Central England Co-op, the Co-op Gardening Club, the Co-op History Group, Birmingham Friends of the Earth, the Co-op Party and the Birmingham Film Co-op all participated. I am a member or involved in all of these Co-ops in one way or another.
Our Quiz Master for the evening was John Boyle, who is the Chair of Fair Trade Association Birmingham. He was ably supported by Richard Bickle, who had the most important job of the evening of selling raffle tickets. Round number one consisted of questions about the history of Fair Trade. We correctly identified that Fair Trade originated in the Netherlands with Max Havelaar.
As the quiz progressed, it became obvious that this quiz was for the long term Co-operator only. John Boyle had made no attempt at tailoring the quiz for people who are only vaguely involved in the Fair Trade movement. John Boyle showed a lot of trust in each team, by asking each team to mark their own answers. Of course controversy followed as during a picture round, some teams blatantly used Google to find out the answers. Whilst not explicitly against the rules of this quiz, it is considered very poor etiquette to use phones during pub quizzes, unless given specific permission to do so. We decided to not use Google, but that effectively ended our chances at winning. The picture round was of silhouettes of Fair Trade countries. We identified none correctly, though I had been to Kenya, which was one of the countries that’s silhouette was in the picture round. Sunday March the 8th was International Women’s Day, so it was fitting to have a round about important women. Of course, because the quiz was about Co-operators there was a question about The Rochdale Pioneers of 1844. If in doubt in a Co-op quiz, The Rochdale Pioneers 1844 is the answer to write. This quiz ended with more controversy as more than one team claimed to have won. In true Co-operative fashion, joint winners were declared, though suspicions remain about whether these teams used Google or not for help.
The Main Event
Team “No Sweat, No Google” did enjoy the quiz, but we enjoy the rush of gambling more. Raffles are the lifeblood of fundraising events and we were only to keen to hand over money in return for a chance to win Fair Trade goods. In a delightful turn of events for Shaz, he won a selection of Fair Trade, Co-op Irresistible chocolates. Fellow team members were rewarded with bars of chocolate and members of Central England Co-op and/ or Female fans of Non League Football will be rewarded with bars of chocolate in the future.
Despite our suspicions about the use of Google, which was not against the rules, but potentially against the moral code of Pub Quizzes, we had a pleasant time at the quiz.
Most importantly money was raised for Fair Trade and we got to learn about the great work that Fair Trade has done over the past 30+ years. Fair Trade changes lives for the better. It allows people across the world to get paid a fairer price for their products and hard work, allowing more children to go to school, amongst many other great benefits to local communities. I am proud to support Fair Trade, by buying Fair Trade products whenever possible and by spreading awareness of the amazing things that Fair Trade does. For Central England Co-op, it was a fitting way to end Fair Trade Fortnight. For me it was an exceptional way to celebrate all the good that Fair Trade does and to enjoy eating some superb Co-op Irresistible Dark Chocolate.