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There is a need to sustain strategic peacebuilding through impact investment. Such investments support social entrepreneurial endeavors that lead towards regenerative and inclusive development. This is how Coffee for Peace (CFP) and PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) operate in synergy.

We are intensifying our determination to make this justice-based peacebuilding to become more sustainable and regenerative. With a new set of strategic leadership, we want to reiterate the basic foundations of our organizations — the PBCI-CFP Tribe.

Let’s start with some operational definitions.

Strategic Peacebuilding, according to John Paul Lederach, “is a comprehensive strategy that encompasses, generates, and sustains the full array of processes, approaches, and stages needed to transform conflict toward more sustainable, peaceful relationships. It also involves a wide range of activities and functions that both precede and follow formal peace accords.  Such activities include conflict transformation, military intervention and conversion, governance and policy-making, restorative and transitional justice, environmental protection, human rights, civilian and military peacekeeping, peace education, activism and advocacy, trauma healing, and social-economic development. Reconciliation is the central component of peacebuilding.  The conflicting parties must be willing to go on a journey from resolution of issues to rebuilding of relationships.” (John Paul Lederach, Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies, USIP, Wash., DC, 1997, p. 20)

Regenerative-Inclusive Development. By regenerative, we mean a normal process of self-reproduction, renewal, or restoration of an ecological system toward a better, higher, or more worthy state. While we start with sustainability — which is the ability to maintain ecological systems at a certain rate or level — we want to seek regenerative development as a foundational principle in this development initiative. By inclusive development, we mean: (a) enjoying a high, regenerative growth to create and expand economic opportunities; (b) experiencing broader access to opportunities to ensure that members of society can participate and benefit from growth; and, (c) having social safety nets to prevent extreme deprivation. (Tala Bautista, Senior Vice President, Coffee for Peace, Inc.)

Impact Investments are “invested resources into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Impact investments can be made in both emerging and developed markets, and target a range of returns from below market to market rate, depending upon the circumstances. The growing impact investment market provides capital to address the world’s most pressing challenges in sectors such as sustainable agriculture, clean technology, microfinance, and affordable and accessible basic services including housing, healthcare, and education.” (Global Impact Investing Network)

Social Entrepreneurship “is all about recognizing the social problems and achieving a social change by employing entrepreneurial principles, processes and operations. It is all about making a research to completely define a particular social problem and then organizing, creating and managing a social venture to attain the desired change. The change may or may not include a thorough elimination of a social problem. It may be a lifetime process focusing on the improvement of the existing circumstances.” (Management Study Guide)

Our social enterprise was the 2015 UNDP-NPeace-IIXAsia Awardee.

In 21-23 October 2015, Joji Pantoja, CEO of Coffee For Peace (CFP), received an N-Peace Award from the United Nations Development Program – Impact Investment Exchange Asia (UNDP-IIXAsia) in behalf of the women who comprise the 80 percent of the farming farmers of CFP. The N-Peace Awards Ceremony was held at One UN Hotel, New York, NY.

N-Peace means “eNgage for peace, equality, access, and empowerment.” N-Peace is “a multi-country initiative of UNDP to advance women’s leadership for conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding, and for promoting inclusive peace processes.”

“The N-Peace Awards,” according to a UNDP brochure, “identifies and celebrates the power of women as agents of change, focusing on making visible the untold stories of women leaders and their male allies.” CFP specifically won the IIX N-Peace Innovation Challenge. “The challenge,” according to the organizers, “is an enterprise competition that aims to accelerate the peacebuilding agenda by supporting Impact Enterprises working to empower women, engage youth, and catalyze innovation and technology. The challenge is an opportunity for Impact Enterprises that have a positive influence in Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Nepal to show their social impact.” Coffee For Peace met the challenge based on a thorough N-Peace Diagnostic Study.

Coffee for Peace got the award primarily because it uses a unique, triple-bottom line formula to brew peace for over 800 families in the high-conflict zone of Mindanao and other critical areas in the Philippines. It’s long-term vision also contributed to UNDP-IIXAsia evaluation.

Our Mennonite sisters and brothers are our primary Impact Investors.

Our partner, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, started a one time capital investment project to help us build long-term economic sustainability in our Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) initiatives. This impact investment project contributed towards a Bella EVO-IV Coffee Roaster with an hourly production rate of 20kg of roasted coffee.

PBCI and CFP are so grateful to our sisters and brothers in Eastern Canada who initiated this capital investment project. As we look into the future, impact of this seed investment would include the following:

  • A Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved structure to house the coffee roaster
  • Training and employment for up to 9 Indigenous Peoples and out-of-school youth
  • Direct market access for 98 Indigenous and Settler Coffee Farmers
  • Improved economic sustainability for PeaceBuilders Community through Coffee for Peace, so that the ministry of Peace and Reconciliation Communities can both continue and grow throughout the Philippines.

An international assessment consortium documented our impact investment journey.

Stopping as Success Publication released a report about CFP. CDA Collaborative Learning and Stopping As Success Consortium invited PBCI-CFP, along with 20 other international participants, to share our insights and perspectives on how we are managing our strategic journey from internationally-funded peace and development project to locally-sustained inclusive development movement. The consultation was held last 12-13 March 2019 at the Aloft Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.

Stopping As Success is a collaborative learning project led by Peace DirectSearch for Common Ground, and CDA. It is focused on examining responsible and successful International Non-government Organization (INGO) exits and transitions in support of locally-led development.

The two-day meeting included a joint review of the emerging themes, a discussion of similarities and differences in participants’ experiences of transitions as well as practical and policy implications for INGOs, local partner organizations and CSOs, local governments and donors. 

“I am writing to express my gratitude for the time you have given us… for your openness and reflection, for your guidance and inspiration,” said Isabella Jean, Director at Collaborative Learning, in an email to Lakan. “Our continued analysis of case study lessons and our planning for next steps for this learning project,” she adds, “has been enriched by your invaluable insights, suggestions and wisdom.”

PBCI-CFP expects the consortium to integrate the participants’ feedback into case studies, issue papers, and publish brief summaries of the transitions that have been documented. We also hope that the consortium will share learning products with a wider network later and dive into practical implications of the lessons and resource development.

Here is the downloadable report:

Impact investments sustain the synergy of Coffee for Peace (CFP) and PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI). Impact investment is a major factor in sustaining strategic peacebuilding in Mindanao and in the Philippines. Such investments support social entrepreneurial endeavors that lead towards regenerative and inclusive development. This is how Coffee for Peace (CFP) and PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) see ourselves moving forward to the next immediate decades of the 21st Century.