BLINC asked Jitzy to complete an evaluation of her visit to Bristol during Fairtrade Fortnight. Here are a few of the questions we asked, and Jitzy’s responses (translated into English) about the programme that was arranged.
Did you acquire new skills during your time in Bristol? If so, what skills did you acquire?
I learned so much. Part of what I learned was to be able to give feedback from activities which I’ve completed, and to share the work that the cooperative does in relation to the Fairtrade system. I learned and improved my ability to handle different groups (in respect to other cultures and ideologies), and control myself as well by effectively overcoming the fear of speaking publicly. I improved my ability to communicate and relate to those that surrounded me. I improved the structure of my responses to questions by striving to respond logically and not instinctively. I learned to quickly adapt to my surroundings. I also learned to enjoy the work that I was doing, taking advantage of both time and opportunities. I improved my ability to be autonomous by making my own decisions and not depending on others to fight for my goals (for example, having the will to participate in the event, overcoming the fear of travelling such a long way by myself, and being ready to work cooperatively in order to reach the next level of development in our lives).
How will you share your experience in Bristol with other women in the cooperative?
My promise is to build on my experiences and what I’ve learned and share it with the women through an assembly in my cooperative and a meeting with la FEM and other directives from the other cooperatives to discuss all the work that has been carried out in Bristol, and to evaluate our participation in the event. I think that besides sharing my own personal experience, it would be really useful for us to pause for a moment, because it would be very beneficial for us to emphasize and reflect on the benefits and opportunities that we have achieved by being part of the Fairtrade system. Now, the six small cooperatives are working united for better representation of the associated cooperatives negotiating for and arranging, in a more centralized way, resources for their own development, which is at the core of our continued efforts to sell a greater quantity of our products in a Fairtrade market.
Do you have any other comments you’d like to make?
I am very satisfied with my trip to Bristol. With respect to the activities, it was a very rich experience to have the opportunity to talk with the children, the teachers, and people in general about life in Nicaragua, specifically the work that we do in the cooperatives to be able to make changes in the lives of women, and in our community as well. Also, I think the fact of having participated in these activities is relevant because we are more informed on how Fairtrade products are distributed throughout Europe, specifically in Bristol. This motivates us to improve and persevere every day to sell our products into this market, and involve ourselves more actively in order to improve this system, which still is not fair enough for us. I think it is very important that BLINC continues to include the participation of women in Fairtrade Fortnight. It showcases the work that we do to be active subjects of change, as demonstrated in our work as cooperative members, and liberates us from total invisibility.
I thank you all enormously for this opportunity, and wish you luck in your every day work, and in the rest of the events that you have planned.