Part of our dream at the PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. and Coffee For Peace (PBCI-CFP) is to be economically sustainable in our service tasks in the Philippines.
But we don’t want to remain in a dreamworld. With God’s grace, we will continue with our labour of love to worship God and to realize our dream of peace and reconciliation in our land. In order to accomplish the vision of having Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) among our people, we must have a sustainable support system. A sustainable support system has to be a genuine partnership between national and international resourcing. Our global Mennonite family has been helping us in the initial stages of our vision and mission.
Now, we have to explore and build local economic programs to help sustain this peace and reconciliation movement. Here are some of the steps we’re making to build a sustainable, national PAR movement:
- We have established a department at PBCI called “PAR Resource Development.” This department is dedicated to the on-going development of sustainable support programs of PBCI through the following endeavours: (a) new social business development; (b) promotion and marketing of our current coffee products and consulting services; and, (c) global trading of our coffee beans and other related products. We have appointed a PAR Resource Development Coordinator. She is Dawn Albert Pates. Dawn started working with us as a volunteer in 2008. As a member of the University Peace and Reconciliation Team, she helped in peace education activities among students in various universities in Davao City. In 2013, she became a full-time staff member at PBCI. She excels in conceptualizing, organizing, and mobilizing resources for income generating projects to support our peacebuilding work. Dawn will help Joji in initiating and developing relationships with business corporations, civil society organizations, religious organizations, government agencies, and other possible partners or clients to promote our products and services. She will also take part in the PBCI Management Team.
- We are intensifying the multiplication of our coffee farming communities among Indigenous People (IP). PBCI is now in partnership with 27 IP communities–we train them how to plant, grow, harvest, and process Arabica coffee. Our social business organization, Coffee for Peace (CFP), buys them at fair trade price. CFP then exports their coffee to Level Ground Trading in Canada.
- We have entered into partnerships with business families who own real estate properties to develop model coffee farms and shared service facilities for farmers. Last month, we have signed a memorandum of agreement with a family to use one hectare of their land to build shared service facilities. This month, we will sign another memorandum of agreement with a business family in the Province of Bukidnon to use a 15-hectare land to develop a model farm for Arabica coffee. Both projects will be funded by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry to develop the IP communities in this province. PBCI will be the managing organization for these private-public partnerships.
- We are beginning to be active in various business circles who are involved in the coffee industry. Last 25-26 of June, PBCI and CFP attended the First Philippine Investment Conference at SM Convention Center, Lanang, Davao City along with more than 1,000 participants. The event’s theme was “Investing in Priority Industry Cluster for Small and Medium Enterprises.” CFP products were put on the exhibit. During the event, the team was able to build relationships with organizations and people with the same vision of helping the farmers who are at the bottom of the pyramid. In this conference, we noticed that the term “inclusive growth” is becoming a byword in the business world.