Song Stories: Be An Agent For Change

Fairtrade women in Halifax Minster

In 2016 I was asked by Helen and Sophie from fairandfunky to run some composing workshops at one of their Fairtrade Schools Conferences in Halifax Minster. fairandfunky is a company in Yorkshire promoting Fairtrade and recycling projects, particularly with schools and community groups.

You can find out more about fairandfunky here.

I wrote a song for the workshops based on one of the main slogans of the World Fair Trade Organisation at the time “Be An Agent For Change”. You can read more about the ideas behind this slogan in this document which was produced by them for World Fair Trade Day in 2015. Click on it to enlarge!

In this song, Be An Agent For Change, four different fairtrade stories from around the world are referenced, and each workshop group chose one of these stories to focus on. I had props to help me illustrate the stories, and the groups of children composed music to illustrate the stories. They also learned the chorus of the song and also their articular bit of the verses so that we could sing the whole thing at the end of the conference.

They asked me back in 2019, and again I used this song as the focus for the workshops. You can hear our 2019 end-of-conference performance here:

The four Fairtrade stories we heard about were these:

  1. Banana producers in Colombia used their Fairtrade premiums to train some of their workers in leather-working and they in turn were able to make leather shoes and sandals, thereby providing an extra income for the community. “Turn your bananas into leather sandals!”
  2. Tibetan refugees who have fled to India from their homeland keep their culture alive by making traditional Tibetan sacred objects, such singing bowls and gongs. ” Ring your bowl and keep the culture singing!”
  3. Villagers in Thailand were encouraged by the government to produce colourful traditional handicrafts to sell to tourists and for export markets, as an additional means of income so that they would not continue to engage in slash and burn agriculture in the forests and on the hillsides. “Party with your coloured hats, rescue the forests!”
  4. Workers in Fairtrade flower producing companies in Africa used their Fairtrade premiums to set up nursery schools in their communities so that women could work at the companies and so that their children could start their education earlier. ” Smell the roses, see the children blooming!”

Be An Agent For Change

Be, be, be an agent for change!
Be an agent for change!
Be be be be be an agent for change,
Be an agent for change, change!

Convert your banana into leather sandals!
Fair trade – an agent for change!
Ring your bowl and keep the culture singing!
Fair trade – an agent for change!

Party with your coloured hat, rescue the forest!
Fair trade – an agent for change!
Smell the roses, see the children blooming!
Fair trade – an agent for change!

If you’d like to sing along to a backing track for this song, here’s the very thing!

Be An Agent For Change Backing Track

If you would like to listen to the results of the composing workshops Cheryl ran in 2016, you can listen here:

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