Coffee for Peace is creating a system for the indigenous people of the Philippines to give them a way to succeed and to help them achieve things that they would not be able to do without the training that they receive from the company. They help people solve their own personal disputes with others while also helping them to earn a livelihood in order to provide for their families. This, in our opinion, is their biggest innovation: instead of having a physical innovation, they help connect people and give them hope.
Coffee for Peace promotes the development of peace, equality, justice, and enhancement of the environment. This business has incorporated all these components through selling coffee. Coffee for Peace has given both Christian settlers and Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines a chance to earn money by growing coffee beans.
Kieran Guilbert of Thomson Reuters Foundation — the philanthropic arm of Thomson Reuters, the world’s biggest news and information provider — visited and interviewed our farming partners and fieldworkers in Mindanao. This foundation establishes strategic partnerships “to tackle some of the world’s most pressing socio-economic issues” engaging businesses, governments, thought leaders and civil society.
Having learned how to grow, harvest and process high-quality Arabica beans at a time when global demand for coffee is soaring—it is set to hit a record high this year —Dubria exports her crop to buyers as far away as Seattle for at least $5 per kilo.
“But it’s not all about the money—it’s about taking responsibility for the environment and other communities,” Dubria told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in her home on Mount Apo while brewing a pot of thick, aromatic, treacle-like coffee.
Beyond helping coffee growers get a better deal, CfP aims to encourage dialogue between communities, with tensions ranging from colonial-era conflict between native Muslims and Christian settlers to land and resource disputes between ethnic groups.
Our friend, Prof. Jonathan Rudy, Senior Fellow at the Pennsylvania-based Social Enterprise Group, led a team to visit Mindanao for the purpose of exploring partnership with Coffee For Peace. With him were Deborah Drury, Jason Biesel, and Rachel Craft. Last 07-12 January 2018, they travelled from Pennsylvania to Davao. They visited our farming partners in Mount Apo area and in Mount Matutum area. They also interacted with our social enterprise partners in Valencia, Bukidnon.
Through field visits, formal presentations, and informal conversations, we have presented to them the current state, movement, and direction of Coffee For Peace Corporation:
:: We are implementing positive actions to improve the quality and consistency of the coffee supply; this is our current focus that would sustain the long-term development of both the producers and CFP.
:: We are streamlining and codifying the organizational structure and the operational system of CFP as a for-profit corporation.
:: We are transitioning from our current level of small-sized business to becoming a medium-sized business by 2020.
We also felt that these new friends from the Social Enterprise Institute, Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania listened to us and heard what we desire as the points of convergence in this budding partnership:
:: To provide research support to CFP. The ideal researcher would be from Elizabethtown College who is able to look at Mindanao socio-economic realities and communicate such realities to various audiences in Pennsylvania. The research output should contribute to a clearer social enterprise investment partnership.
:: To proceed with a partnership concept that is best described as Enterprise for Peace Collaborative (E4PC). In this model, coffee would be the initial, major vehicle for peace education and connection. As Prof. Jonathan Rudy articulated well, “the E4PC model might be able to better support the various industries that are in the CFP sphere such as brick making, glamping (glamor camping), carbon offsets, and tribal crafts to name a few.”
We, at CFP, are anticipating with much excitement and energy where this conversations and relationship would lead us.
Coffee For Peace Bistro hosted the Social Enterprise Ideation campers during their learning tour last Thursday, 30 November 2017. We presented various concepts that was consistent with their theme: “Local Changes: Ideas to Impact Social Enterprise”.
This ideation camp is facilitated by the CSO SEED Philippines and was supported by the European Union in the Philippines and British Council – Philippines in partnership with Office of the Regional Government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ORG ARMM) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI ARMM).
Bayan Academy managed this 6-day social business ideation camp.
Mission of CSO SEED Philippines
Strengthening Civil Society Participation in Social Enterprise Education and Development or CSO-SEED aims to improve civil society participation in policy reforms to develop an environment conducive to decent work, job creation and small and medium enterprise (SME) development. The project does this by using social enterprise a s development pathway.
With a project duration of three years, CSO-SEED’s focus is the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao or ARMM, along with other Bangsamoro areas in Mindanao. These are areas affected by conflict and underdevelopment for over four decades.
Led by the British Council and co-funded by the European Union, CSO-SEED seeks to build a stronger SME sector through the promotion of social enterprise, considered a sub-category of SME. The focus on social enterprise development delivers an innovative approach to respond to issues around decent work and job creation.
Social Enterprises offer a sustainable and empowering way to support inclusive economic development, reducing barriers to economic security, particularly for vulnerable groups.
We are so encouraged to receive another citation from the Asean Business Awards 2017:
ASEAN BUSINESS AWARDS 2017
NATIONAL WINNER, PHILIPPINES
Inclusive Business Category
Coffee for Peace is a social enterprise in the areas of Mt. Apo, Bukidnon, and the Cordillera Administrative Region which envisions Peace Communities practicing relational harmony and enjoying quality life by engaging in a sustainable coffee value chain. It incessantly seeks various ways to economically allow marginalized communities in Mindanao and the Philippines become sustainable. This is not only an approach to sustaining peace efforts but also to give a better alternative to armed struggle and other destructive environmental practices just to bring food on the table.
We dedicate this award to all the farmers in the Philippines.
We will continue to pray for your liberation from all kinds of oppression.
We will continue to listen, to serve and to work, with your guidance, towards the advancement of justice for the peace of all the families toiling the land.
We honor our Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) field training facilitators — Clay & June Rojo, Twinkle ‘Tala’ Alngag Bautista, Byron ‘Bee’ Pantoja, Jobee ‘Sihaya’ Basas, Aiza ‘Wanay’ Baluyan — with this award. We express our gratitude for the administrative work of Tyron Ortiz and Chacha Denila Homez.
Coffee for Peace is also a finalist all over Southeast Asia in the ‘Inclusive Business’ category.
In behalf of Coffee For Peace, Inc. (CFP), I’m happy to report that I have signed the final plans of a small structure to be built in Valencia City. This is made financially possible through an impact partnership with GiversTrust, Inc.
I’m grateful for the release of this fund to start the building construction next week. This building is expected to be completed within six months based on a Memorandum of Agreement between Coffee For Peace, PeaceBuilders Community, GiversTrust, and our architects, Swito Designs.
This simple structure will be the home of Kapeyapaan Coffee Kiosk, Peace and Reconciliation(PAR) Movement in Eastern Mindanao, Kalinaw Youth Movement, and BeyondBorders Christian Community.
Our Mount Apo farming partners are one of the community-network of well-trained and justly-treated farmers who supply us with their premium 100% arabica coffee paid at fair traded prices.
We’re so happy to see the Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (BaCoFA) from Mt. Apo grow from being coffee cherry suppliers, to becoming post-harvest coffee processors, and now they have become green coffee bean exporters.
BaCoFA grew from 15 families to 75 farming households in 4 years.
These coffee sacks are their initial export quality products. And they are determined to produce more! These BaCoFA folks are indeed developing into being effective, self-sustaining “farmerpreneurs”.
D’ Cup Coffee Republic is a book cafe and events venue in Mandaluyong City inside Pioneer Street Market. It has a spacious dining area that can comfortably accommodate 80 persons, plus a book lounge area good for 20 persons, and an enclosed function hall good for up to 100 persons, making it a perfect venue for meetings, workshop classes, special gatherings. View our venue and function hall which you can reserve online. We also invite you to visit our site regularly for workshops, classes, and other events. [Facebook Page]
When Elizabeth arranged the meeting between us and Adette’s team, we were simply expecting to sell our coffee brand to this coffee shop. Our presentation was scheduled for only an hour. After our 45-minute story-telling and presentation, she kept asking questions — deep, penetrating questions that went beyond the quality, price, and origin of our coffee. Her questions focused on peace and reconciliation, on the dream about contributing to a God-centered, radical, nonviolent, transformation of our people and our land.
The meeting went beyond two hours.
We didn’t say good bye. We immediately talked about “What’s next?”
Koinonia Group. Elizabeth, Ramon, and Donnie are part of the leadership of the Koinonia Group. I’m grateful to these faithful friends and partners whom we consider as our long-time community. Koinonia Group started in 1982 when Dann and I were serving as community organizing workers in the City of Olongapo. I was raising our little children and Dann was a young social science teacher at the Columban College. A group of outstanding students became regular visitors in our apartment. Elizabeth was one of them. We soon became a fellowship of followers of Christ working for justice and liberation of our people from the oppressive dictatorial regime of Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. We referred to our liberation-oriented activist band as Koinonia Group.
Ramon and Elizabeth met in a workplace abroad, got married, and returned to the Philippines to continue their careers, and later started an entrepreneurial endeavor in Metro Manila.
Donnie was Dann’s fellow leader at the Koinonia Group since our days in Olongapo.
We’re now scattered all over the world. But we’re still connected. The long-distance connections grew stronger because of social media. We all update each other of our lives, family development, career development, and respective ministries.
Coffee for Peace’s journey with D’ Cup Coffee Republic. Our relationship with Adette and her team at D’ Cup Coffee Republic has been growing fast. Last 12 May 2017, she and her team visited us in Davao and observed the operation of our coffee processing yard. We also compared notes on the similarities and differences of our respective coffee shops based on our differing contexts.
As I write this blog, both of our teams are talking on how our social businesses can work together to advance Peace Reconciliation (PAR) principles and practices together so we can establish at least one PAR community in each of the 81 provinces in this country.
Joji “Lakambini Mapayapa” Pantoja, CEO
Coffee For Peace, Inc.
We’re inspired by the life and work of Joji Pantoja, our CEO at Coffee For Peace, Inc. (CFP) and our Ina (a term of respect for ‘mother’) at PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI).
The partnership between CFP and PBCI in advocating Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) principles and practices was once again affirmed last 30 March 2017 when Ina received an award from the President of the Philippines as one of the Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs 2017. The awarding ceremony happened at the Malacañang Palace. There were 26 women throughout the Philippines who received similar awards for their “capacity to be catalysts for change and progress.” Ina was one of the two in the ‘social business’ category.
According to the brochure published by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship, this annual tradition aims to recognize women and their capacity to be catalysts for change and progress. The qualifications are:
May or may not have come from humble beginnings;
A Filipino who embodies the following traits: passionate, positive, and panalo (‘can do’) attitude;
Must have an innovative business model (products/processes);
Must show the ability to genuinely care for the community and stakeholders and must have the potential to share time and talent to help spread the entrepreneurship advocacy;
Must be well-respected by their peers.
The statement in Ina’s Certificate of Recognition reflects the above qualifications:
“For engendering peace through the innovative use of coffee as source of livelihood, community-building and conflict reduction. Her unwavering commitment to improving the plight of farmers and establishing peacebuilding mechanisms in conflicted areas of Mindanao through her business Coffee for Peace has brought inclusive growth to the region.
The award is given to Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs who emulate the modern-day successful Filipina with an enterprising attitude, passion beyond measure, an innovative outlook on doing business, and heart for contributing to the inclusive growth of our nation.”
Go Negosyo also published an article about this recognition and awarding event. According to them, “Felicitas Pantoja encourages peace through the use of coffee. Through Coffee for Peace, she helps improve the lives of coffee farmers through their coffee-growing model.”
Lakan Sumulong, our CFP StoryTeller, visited our friends and partners in Kalinga last 28 January – 02 February 2017. He renewed and strengthened our relationship —
With the Alngag clan where Tala, one of our inclusive development mentors, belong. We’re especially grateful for Malou Alngag who shared her vision and enthusiasm to advance peace and reconciliation (PAR) principles and practices in Kalinga through her professional skills and expertise in the field of Public Administration.
With Aiza, our field worker in Kalinga; it was great to get to know her family and tribe through our StoryTeller — especially his father, Gilbert Baluyan — in Barangay Talalang, Balbalan, Upper Kalinga.
With the local religious and spiritual leaders there and the precious time of conversations to deepen our understanding of their worldview, value system, and customary laws.
With the leadership of the the Cordillera People’s Liberatìon Army (direct core group of the late Father Conrado Balweg), especially for the generous hospitality of Ma’am Chupan Chulsi, their Chief of Staff.
With Johnny Sawadan, a former deputy general secretary of the Cordillera People’s Alliance, and who is now volunteering to help establish PAR communities in the Cordillera Region.