The peer visit is a participatory component of the Guarantee System (GS) monitoring requirements. The WFTO GS depends on the reputation of its members and so we all have a vested interest in helping each other to comply with the Fair Trade Principles and ensuring that non compliance is noted and corrected. Peer visits are intended to identify any issues and to help their peer achieve and improve. The goal is to have the peer visit be a mutual learning experience.
After the SAR has been accepted, you can arrange the peer visit. But this must be planned with the Global office. The Global office will then discuss with the peer the requirements and activities of the visit. They will receive the organization’s SAR, Profile and additional information if requested.
Ultimately, the peer visit is similar to the audit as the individual should check to see how the FTO is implementing Fair Trade on the ground. The Peer visit will include meeting with the FTO, reviewing records, interviews, production site visits, review of promotional materials, for example. A full guideline will be given to the Peer before their visit, plus a document to write a post visit report.
Peer visits costs should be covered by the hosting organizations, including accommodation, transportation and food. Costs can be kept lower by having a local organization do the visit or have the visit be in exchange with another member.
The peer visit is not mandatory during the first monitoring cycle, but they are highly recommended because they can make sure that you are well prepared for the first Audit.