We give all the glory to God for the awards we have received. According to the Philippine government, we’re the national winner for fair employment and productivity among the micro-establishments in the service industry. And according to an international sustainability awards organization, we demonstrate in the Philippines how a sustainable business benefits companies, the environment, and all stakeholders. Here’s our reflection on why and how these awards were won.

Local and international students come to the humble home of PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. and Coffee For Peace in Davao City to learn about Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Principles and Practices — the values that help sustain our inclusive development and social entrepreneurial movement.

We Praise God for the Awards We Received

Last 07 October 2019, Coffee for Peace bagged the Best Social Enterprise award and the Best Flagship Initiatives award at the 2019 Sustainable Business Awards during a banquet at the Peninsula Manila Hotel. “The Sustainable Business Awards recognise companies for their outstanding performance on environmental and social sustainability, highlighting their successes and providing others with examples of best practice that can be emulated and replicated.”

It was an honor to receive from the officials of the 2019 Sustainable Business Awards their recognition of the performance of Coffee for Peace — Best Social Enterprise and Best Flagship Initiatives. 07 October 2019. Peninsula Manila Hotel.

Also, in 04 October 2019, during the Productivity Olympics gala awarding ceremony at the Sheraton Manila Bay, the National Wages Productivity Commission of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-NWPC) of the Philippines recognized Coffee for Peace as National Winner for fair employment and productivity among the micro-establishments in the service industry. The Productivity Olympics is a national competition of best productivity practices of micro, small and medium enterprise nationwide. This is organized by the DOLE-NWPC in coordination with all its Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards. Its objectives are: (a) to intensify national awareness and commitment to quality and productivity; and, (b) to showcase the best productivity improvement practices.

The Department of Labor and Employment’s Productivity Olympics recognized Coffee for Peace as National Winner for fair employment and productivity among the micro-establishments in the service industry. 04 October 2019. Sheraton Manila Bay, Philippines.

Behind these awards is Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Theology — the heart of our ministry. PAR fuels all our field activities. PAR is the energizer behind the enthusiasm of both our full-time and volunteer staff. PAR is the set of values that brings cohesion and sustainability among the community leaders, farming partners, and organizations with whom we’re working. PAR is the framework of our Inclusive Development and Social Entrepreneurial endeavors. PAR is the motivating factor behind the awards and recognition we’ve been receiving as PBCI-CFP Tribe.

We see these awards from the lenses of our theology and missiology.

Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Theology

Our mission is to propagate Peace and Reconciliation Theology. We are PAR missionaries.

When we talk about peace, we mean harmony with the Creator (spiritual-ethical transformation); harmony with our Being (psycho-social transformation); harmony with Others (socio-political transformation); and, harmony with the Creation (economic-ecological transformation).

And when we mention the word reconciliation, we mean building relationships between antagonists. “The primary goal,” according to our peace and reconciliation teacher, “is to seek innovative ways to create a time and a place to address, to integrate, and to embrace the painful past and the necessary shared future as a means of dealing with the present.”

Datu Ayunan Barat, a traditional leader among the Erumanen Ne Menuvu on Mt. Agkir-Agkir in Central Mindanao, have been our partner in Inclusive Development. “We are very careful about development from the outside,” he warns us indirectly and politely in his native tongue through the translation of our field worker. He further explained: “We do not want our culture to be destroyed or erased by the values of the lowlanders. We want the next generation to preserve our indigenous values.” Most lowlanders who destroyed their culture in the past, wittingly or unwittingly, were Christians.

Vehicles of Peace and Reconciliation Theology

INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT. We see inclusion as both a process and as a goal. Inclusion for us is about society changing to accommodate difference and to combat discrimination. It sees society as the problem, not the person. To achieve inclusion, a twin track approach is needed: First, we focus on the society to remove the barriers that exclude — i.e. mainstreaming. Second, we focus on the group of persons who are excluded, to build their capacity and support them to lobby for their inclusion. Because inclusion involves everyone in society at all levels, collaboration and networking are core strategies to achieve inclusion.

PBCI-CFP looks at being inclusive based on three pillars:

  • High, sustainable development to create and expand spiritual, psycho-social, political, and economic growth of both individuals and communities;
  • Broader access to opportunities to ensure that members of society can participate and benefit from holistic development; and,
  • Social safety nets to prevent extreme deprivation.

Genuine inclusive development is sustainable development. We understand Sustainable Development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainable development calls for concerted efforts towards building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future for people and planet.

For sustainable development to be achieved, it is crucial to harmonize three core elements: (a) economic growth; (b) social inclusion; and, (c) environmental protection. These elements are interconnected and all are crucial for the well-being of individuals and societies.

Pembain Olimpain, a Bangsamoro woman, receives hands-on training on coffee farming and entrepreneurship from our Central Mindanao PAR Facilitating Team. As a Muslim mother, she is energized by the idea that her coffee business is an expression of being in harmony with Allah; harmony with her being, as a Moro ‘farmerpreneur’; harmony with her neighbors from the Christian and Indigenous People’s communities; and, harmony with Allah’s creation. PAR Principles and Practices can be contextualized according to one’s religion.

SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP. We have been building a fellowship of social entrepreneurial mentors. We constantly seek the Creator’s guidance to connect us with common farmers who have dreams and have potential talents to become farmer-entrepreneurs or ‘farmerpreneurs.’

We focus 80% of our efforts, energies, and resources to the 20% of the farmers who have the potential to become fellow mentors of ‘farmerpreneurs’ so we can multiply our mentoring effectiveness and reach more farmers exponentially. We envision to help develop as many farmerpreneurs in our life-time. This way, we’ll accelerate the exponential growth of social entrepreneurs and social enterprises in this country. This is our shalom-based revolution.

The Beatingo Family, our farming partner from Alamada, North Cotabato, takes a moment here to have these souvenir photos of their visit at the PeaceBuilders Community Center and at the Coffee For Peace Café in Davao City. We do not have mere coffee suppliers — we only have Coffee Farming Partners. We treat them as VIPs when they visit our offices in Davao. We make sure that they enjoy their finished products while being treated as special guests at Coffee For Peace Café.

The social enterprise, to us, are businesses that make money and work toward improving the peace and reconciliation journey of our land. By selling quality goods and services to consumers, which we determine through market research, we seek to help solve conflicts in our land in a sustainable way.

We’re convinced that there are enough people who are often attracted to social entrepreneurial principles and practices — those dreamers who are willing to work hard and smart towards solving a social problem. We also have enough reasons why the Philippines is so ripe for the blooming of social enterprises.

We rejoice, with grateful hearts to our Great Creator, to receive The Best Social Enterprise Award from the officials of the 2019 Sustainable Business Awards Philippines last 07 October 2019 at The Peninsula Manila. The Sustainable Business Awards recognise companies for their outstanding performance on environmental and social sustainability, highlighting their successes and providing others with examples of best practice that can be emulated and replicated.

Reflection in a Capsule

We are here in the Philippines because of our existential response to what we perceive as a divine calling. We are a community of Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) missionaries — this is who we are. Inclusive Development is our approach to serve the people — this is what we do. Social Entrepreneurship is the primary set of skills we offer — this is what we have. PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) is the part of us who explores cross-cultural connections, builds relationship, and exchanges learning, with the people. Coffee For Peace (CFP) is the part of us that establishes sustainable economic and ecological partnership with the people. We give back all the glory to the Great Creator for the awards we have received for being who we are, for doing our work, and for having the resources entrusted to us.

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