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ToughRoad is designed for high school students, but can also be adapted to university level.
Sagt om ToughRoad
"ToughRoad is innovation. The academic standard is high and the price is very reasonable." Lars Kofoed-Jensen, Principal at Haderslev Katedralskole, 2012.
The ToughRoad event
ToughRoad demonstrates during a single day how the consumers in North are related to the poor society in South through global trade. An enormous and abstract issue can suddenly become tangible. The participants, usually ranging from 75 to 250, each get a specific role and tasks to complete. ToughRoad takes around 6 hours.
The participants must have a long-term strategy in order to be able to survive. They must take important decisions. The competition is dangerous and the challenges many – a tsunami may strike, a beetle infestation may hit the fields or another mouth may have to be fed.
The everyday life is replaced with decorative roll-ups and beautiful and functional cafés.
The participants communicate via computer and mobile, but they also meet to trade and negotiate with each other.
One day with ToughRoad costs DKK 115 per participant or at least DKK 10,000 plus transportation. The amount includes the cost of four external instructors, preparation, computer network, decoration and materials.
In order for ToughRoad to work optimally, it requires many participants – including organizers and players. As an event, ToughRoad may be in the interest of, for example, local media. Thus, it can brand educational institutions, associations, municipalities etc. that prioritize global issues.
ToughRoad and global trade
ToughRoad gives an insight into the international trade system for better or worse. The participants each have a role in the coffee’s global “commodity chain” – as peasants, traders, exporters, coffee companies or cafés representing the consumers. Other participants are assigned a role either in one of the banks or the stock exchange, where the coffee price is determined through trade with futures contracts.
The tasks and dilemmas of the participants depend on which role they have in the commodity chain. Coffee companies are competing for the consumers support, brokers need to be able to predict the market development, bankers need to evaluate whom it pays to borrow money etc. etc.
For the peasants, growing coffee is an opportunity to not end in poverty and perhaps ensure the children a better future – and thus deeply connected to global issues such as poverty, development, overpopulation, migration and the environment.
Annually, the consumers buy coffee for 90 billion dollars. Each player in the coffee chain compete for the largest possible share, including by positioning themselves in a way so that they can control the rest of the chain. Today, half of the world’s coffee is sold by just two companies which own a number of well-known brands.
The peasants have tried to secure their rights by building cooperatives and participating in schemes such as Fairtrade.
The global trade system is not always a help. It is driven by international agreements and thus of power between the world’s countries. Coffee trade is, for example, affected by liberalization of commodity markets that occurred after the Cold War. Both current and historical aspects are incorporated in ToughRoad.
Formal and informal learning
ToughRoad requires no preparation or follow-up, but both would be good to do.
Participants who die along the way (or have not been assigned a role) get the role as a journalist. Comments, interviews, photos etc. are uploaded on the game’s own blog for discussion afterwards.
A central server generates statistics on how coffee prices, economic growth, child morality develops during the day. This gives the participants the opportunity to compare their own destiny with the general developments.
The themes and materials of ToughRoad are designed for high schools, but it can also be used at university level, folk high school level and for courses in civil society organizations.