Written by 2020 Honouree and CEO of Coffee for Peace, “Joji” Felicitas Bautista Pantoja
When we started developing the concept of Coffee for Peace as a business in 2008, we had been working on the ground and listening to the voices of the rural poor, specifically the challenges and the systemic impoverishment experienced by most farmers in the land-based, armed-conflicted areas of Mindanao.
Knowing our resource and time limitations in the field, we focused our attention on the coffee farmers.
We were aware of the many programmes encouraging farmers to produce and plant more coffee, but one thing was missing. The programmes were conceptualised in the offices of the funding organisations, lacking real consultation and deep listening on what the farmers actually need. In the end, the programmes were not the farmers’ project; they were the funders’ project. Despite the accomplishment reports of the officials, the people on the ground did not really embrace them as their own.
Coffee for Peace starts with listening. For us, listening is the first act of love. If we truly love the people, we ought to listen to them — with our ears, with our minds, with our hearts, and with our will.
We also listen to ourselves — what are lenses through which we listen, and what are resources we can access to respond to what we have heard.
We got involved by amplifying the voices of the farmers to the government. We accompanied the farmers’ spokespersons to many assemblies conducted or facilitated by various government and non-government organisations. We actively attended meetings, until they heard the farmers we were accompanying. We wrote proposals to work with the government and with other organisations by being their partner on the ground. In most cases, we served as project managers or consultants. We helped organise the farmers. We initiated trainings to bring them from the position of mere raw material suppliers to the position of being farmer entrepreneurs or ‘farmerpreneurs.’ We vouched for the farmers’ organisations as they received grants from the government. The government saw evidences of transparent, sustainable, and reproductive use of public funds entrusted to the farmers.
The training we provide are all framed in peace and reconciliation (PAR) principles and practices. The PAR training programme includes:
the fundamentals of peacebuilding
conflict transformation processes
These trainings were conducted in such a way that the farmers would understand the complex concepts using development communications approaches.
Change did not happen overnight. In our experience working with the communities who partnered with us, it would take three years to introduce a new system of thinking and working — from harvesting, processing, to having a mindset of an entrepreneur, to becoming a peacebuilding community. A family or two would apply the way Coffee for Peace, then we see their neighbors embracing the principles and practices, then we see most of the community adopting the transformative process.
Our partnership with the government and other non-government organisations helped us accomplish beyond our own organisational capacities. To increase the livelihood sustainability of the community, we helped train them to receive larger grants from the government or investments from other businesses or institutions. Right now, we see this stage of their development as a stable foundation towards further inclusive development for the next generation.
Coffee for Peace is focusing now on each individual farmer to help enhance their natural gifts and acquired skills as ‘farmerpreneurs.’ Some of them are technically inclined. Some of them are good teachers. Some of them are good with numbers. We see many more talents and skills among many of them. We are seeing the best side of each farmer and we’re facilitating how important it is for each one to work with one another harmoniously. With this inclusive and holistic view of community development, we are more confident that they can move further towards achieving greater dreams.
One big corporation operating in a conflict-affected area said that since they worked with Coffee for Peace and with our twin organisation, PeaceBuilders Community, their budget for extra bodyguards and security system significantly decreased in over a year. They saved money integrating the culture of peace in their corporate conflict management system. They were also able to develop a good working relationship with the community with whom they used to have conflicts. The high-ranking government official who was sent by our national government to observe the conflict transformation processes in this case was so happy and gave a very positive report. He saw how the mix of business and peacebuilding became a model for inclusive development especially among communities in conflicted areas.
CFP, along with our twin organisation PBCI, are grateful and glad to see a peace-framed social business contribute to an increased harmony in the community in terms of family income, sustainable livelihood, relational harmony, and the pleasure of producing and drinking freshly brewed coffee.
For justice. For peace.
President & CEO
Coffee for Peace, Inc.Davao City, Philippines
As our holidays worldwide look different this year, we want to do something different, too. That’s why we are sharing our first-ever ethical gift-giving guide. We support all socially conscious businesses globally. Our mission is, after all, to recognise, inspire, and accelerate businessworthy leadership. By shopping consciously, you help to accelerate positive social, environmental, and ethical change. We know, it’s “just shopping”, but your purchases can help provide income to disadvantaged women, people in rural, remote, and conflict-affected areas, and others to whom every bit of income matters.
Our Honourees are constant sources of inspiration, and that’s why they are leading our list of ethical gift ideas. We hope this guide empowers you to give generously, and give consciously.
Gifts that ship globally
Coffee for Peace
Founded by our 2020 Honouree Felicitas Bautista Pantoja, Coffee for Peace is a social enterprise that uses coffee production as a tool to address economic and conflict challenges in the Philippines. The company provides sustainable livelihoods for Indigenous and migrant groups in rural areas, helping local farmers escape poverty. You can feel even better about your morning coffee habit :)
Dilmah is a premium quality tea brand founded in 1988 by 2015 Honouree Merrill J Fernando. Dilmah has committed themselves to environmental sustainability and equal opportunity employment. By purchasing Dilmah, you support responsible farming and employment practices in the highlands of Sri Lanka.
Sarah’s Bag is a Lebanese fashion house and social enterprise that empowers women, employing over 200 prisoners, ex-prisoners and underprivileged women. Their artisan handbags have been spotted on the arms of Beyoncé and Amal Clooney. Founder and 2016 Honouree Sarah Beydoun has done everything she can to keep operations running during this very challenging time for Lebanon, ensuring income for her workers. It’s a purchase that you can feel good about, and look great with.
“Trailblazer” is the book that is currently circulating its way around our office. Marc Benioff, a 2020 Honouree, is an advocate for LGBTQ rights, education inclusion, and alleviating homelessness. It’s an inspiring book that helped spark passion for action in an otherwise tough year. A good read for all aspiring CEOs.
Anders Dahlvig Reflecting on his 26 years at IKEA, former CEO and 2009 Honouree Anders Dahlvig describes how to combine traditional business goals and the goal of contributing to a better society. He does this while bearing in mind global supply chains and sustaining profitability and corporate responsibility. His book “The IKEA Edge: building global growth and social good at the world’s most iconic home store” is on our bookshelf. Maybe you know someone who should also have it on theirs?
Sir Richard Branson
Author of several books, this one from 2014 Honouree Sir Richard Branson is a favourite from his line-up. “Screw business as usual” shows how easy it is for both businesses and individuals to embark on a whole new way of doing things, solving major problems and turning work into something we both love and are proud of.
Give a different kind of gift – make a donation in your name or on behalf of someone else to really spread the holiday spirit.
#SheisMore young artists
The perfect donations are those which help young people get the education and support that they need. We particularly like IIX Global’s option to sponsor young artists. Our 2017 Honouree Durreen Shahnaz is the Founder. Every USD100 donated will help offer youth artists with the opportunities for artistic development and education through their #sheismore campaign.
The late Dr Ibrahim Abouleish was the founder of the comprehensive development initiative SEKEM. The SEKEM school pledges to provide education to as many children as possible, giving them a stronger foundation for their future.
Through her important work, Dr Jennifer Riria brings economic empowerment to marginalised women, contributing to build peace even during times of conflict. The 2014 Honouree founded Kenya Women Holding, now Echo Network Africa. You can make a donation to support mentorship for young women, maternal and child health programme, or for women entrepreneurs and leaders.
For our readers in the U.S., Dean’s Beans is at the top of our list of good coffee products that are as fairly and sustainably sourced as it gets. 2013 Honouree Dean Cycon founded Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company in 1993 after working as an environmental and indigenous rights lawyer. He set out to prove that business could create meaningful change through ethical business practices. We think it’s safe to say he proved his point.
Corpocampo is dedicated to the sustainable production and distribution of Açaí Berry and palm heart. Founded by 2018 Honouree Edgar Montenegro, Corpocampo has provided jobs for over 240 female-headed and indigenous households, and is helping to bring local communities out of poverty. Corpocampo doesn’t ship abroad, so this one is for the lucky few in Colombia.