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"Eco-villages" Fair Trade Project

Program Summary

The "Eco-villages" Fair Trade project is part of the global Beyond Fair Trade Initiative conducted by the Earth Rights Institute through out developing nations.


The "Eco-villages" Fair Trade project is a research based, grass roots initiative in developing sustainable fair trade model between villages in Senegal. It further includes the commercialization of local products through improved efficiency, stability, and accessibility to outside markets.


Using research, education and community coordination, we are working with communities to propagate new ideas for a sustainable fair trade infrastructure addressing local people needs and initiated by them. The recently developed infrastructural model is designed to address obstacles such as communication, access to information, conservation, marketing and transport of agricultural products. The project stresses on conducting ongoing research that gives a clearer depiction of the economic and production activity in the villages on permanent basis.


The initiative shall engage the eco-villages (communities), the academe, the public and private sectors, and the global networks in a participatory partnership to create the system, the network and the infrastructure for sustainable resource use and multidimensional green global trade. The overall goals of the Beyond Fair Trade initiative are the eradication of poverty and hunger, as well as addressing the issue of food security and value added production. The program will also contribute to developing sustainable economic models and building global networks in support of their diffusion. The results of the research and lessons learned in the pilot project shall serve as basis for the application of the “Eco-villages Fair Trade” paradigm around the globe.


Overall Vision

We envision an organized trade network that facilitates the distribution of resources and products between villages, as well as increases revenues by promoting products with added value. The community led project will be a meaningful base for economic security and independence among rural West Africa and will serve to support further development of the Eco-villages.


Specific Objectives

1.     To collaboratively study and design an appropriate and sustainable trade model for Eco-villages in Senegal.  

2.  To empower Senegalese Eco-villages to plan and manage local economies through capacity building, access to information, social innovation for sustainable resource use, balancing between self-sufficiency and participation in the emerging local/global green trade.

3.    To improve the economic and social conditions of men and women living in West African Eco-villages, through green enterprise development, as well as inter village and global trade.

4.    To build knowledge and propagate the use of sustainable economic models through research, fieldwork, networking and alliance building.

Problems and issues the project will address



Market prices for raw materials and for processed goods in both local markets and global markets have been subject to many factors that prevent fair pricing, and limit the profitability of the agricultural market in Senegal which supports the lives of 70% of the population. Individual, small scale production as opposed to cooperative large scale production means that the marginal cost of production (raw material to consumer use) is high relative to market prices. The model will allow small scale producers to access the market and act as large scale companies.



The "Eco-villages" Fair Trade project will reduce costs of production by organizing communities and local economies while building an infrastructure for trade that will increase production potential and marginal revenues. 

For ex.: An individual producing millet may only have a small amount to sell at the market after personal consumption. Their choice is either to spend both money and time transporting their individual stock to the nearest market or they can sell to a middle man who will in turn sell the product in the market. Cooperatives create more opportunities and stability so that individuals can benefit from the support of a larger network and eliminate market related price fluctuations.


Project Design and Implementation


The project is divided in four phases.