Jun 06 2013

PEACE AND RECONCILIATION BECOMES PRACTICAL FOR COFFEE FARMERS

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Coffee farmers participate in Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) training in a community at the foothills of Mount Apo

PeaceBuilders Community, Inc., in partnership with Catholic Relief Services and Kapwa Upliftment, intensify the advancement of Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) principles and practices among the people in Sitio Pluto, Barangay Balutakay, Municipality of Bansalan, in the Province of Davao del Sur.

On 4-5 June 2013, farmers in this community felt the practicality of peace and reconciliation (PAR) in their lives.

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Freddie Abelitado, a member of our coffee farmers training team, inspects the quality of green coffee beans produced by the coffee planting community at the foot of Mount Apo in Davao del Sur.

21 farmer leaders finished the Book 1 of the PAR training which includes the topics Pursuing Peace, Understanding Strategic Peacebuilding, The Nature of Conflict, The Process of Conflict Transformation and The Process of Reconciliation. While the training was ongoing, the farmers were selling their coffee to our partner, Coffee for Peace, at a fair trade price.

Prior to that, the farmers were trained last April in proper plantation management and processing. A sample had already been shipped to Canada for cupping which would be a basis in improving their coffee quality.

As they sell, one of their definitions of peace was becoming a reality – “We want to experience a high price for our coffee because we have high quality produce. To have dignity [in our craft as farmers] and to send our children to school.”

As they receive fair price, we witness once again that peace is practical! In the evaluation, one farmer expressed gratitude for “not only teaching coffee but also the social and spiritual aspect [of peace] and the development of [the] self.”

Two more trainings on peace and reconciliation will be done in the next few months. Financial management and entrepreneurship will also be shared to the farmers.

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The mission of Coffee for Peace, Inc., our partner in this endeavour, is key to the effectiveness of PAR among coffee farmers in the Philippines:

MISSION OF COFFEE FOR PEACE, INC.

 

:: To help improve the lives of the farmers and their families

Our coffee comes primarily from various Indigenous Peoples (IP) of the Philippines.  With the help of Peacebuilders Community, an NGO whom we partner with, the IPs are trained to plant, grow, and process their Arabica coffee and civet coffee in accordance with world-class standards.  Coffee for Peace, then, buys their green beans at a fair traded price.

Most of the IPs in the Philippines are struggling to preserve their respective cultures, protect their ancestral lands, and to govern themselves in accordance with their various traditions.  The term they use to describe their vision of the future is “the right to self determination of the Indigenous Peoples.”

Coffee for Peace is committed to support their journey towards achieving the IP’s right to self determination.

:: To protect and enhance the environment

Coffee for Peace believes that economic-ecological transformation cannot be separated from peace building.  When we look at nature, we see an organic-relational world (in contrast to the modernistic mechanical-utilitarian worldview).  This is how the Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines see their environment and we are sharing their lenses.

The best coffee plants grow best under thick forests.  Coffee growing, this particular Indigenous People’s way, is natural and environment-friendly.  As fellow stewards of our planet, we will respect traditional ways of preserving our natural environment.

Coffee for Peace is also sharing some of our ways to the Indigenous People of Mindanao in the spirit of mutual sharing and respect.  We seek to be both learners and teachers when we work with them.  We recognize that modern knowledge can be harmonized with traditional wisdom from many cultures, and that this harmonized learning will enrich our mutual growth and development.

We look up to our friends among the Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines as they model a view of peace and development in terms of harmony with their Creator (spiritual transformation), harmony with themselves (psycho-social transformation), harmony with others (social-political transformation), and harmony with the creation (ecological-economic transformation).

:: To support the peace builders on the field

Coffee for Peace investors, before joining us, have to agree that 25% of their net profit will be donated to Peacebuilders Community, Inc.  This money will be used to support our Peace and Reconciliation Teams (PAR Teams) who are being trained to be agents of peace and reconciliation in their respective communities.

The PAR Teams are composed of local volunteers from conflict-affected communities who are partnered with international volunteers.  They are jointly trained in Fact-Finding Missions, Relief & Medical Operations, Peace Education, Justice Advocacy, Inter-Faith Dialogue, Cross-Cultural Communications, Conflict Transformation, Media Relations, Trauma Healing, Personal Growth & Development.

Permanent link to this article: http://peacebuilderscommunity.org/2013/06/peace-and-reconciliation-becomes-practical-for-coffee-farmers/

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