Last 16 December 2013, 11 PAR seminar graduates, who are also our coffee farming partners on Mount Apo, delivered 1,200 kilos of beans and 320 kilos of cherries to PBCI Office, Davao City. The farmers were paid at fair trade prices.

It all started in 4-5 June 2013.  A group of farmers on Mount Apo felt the practicality of peace and reconciliation in their lives. 21 farmer leaders finished the Book 1 of the PAR training which includes the following topics:

:: Pursuing Peace. This is an in-depth discussion of the differences and similarities in various conceptions of peace. Peace will be discussed from theological, psycho-social, political, and economic-ecological perspectives.

:: Understanding Strategic Peacebuilding. Strategic peacebuilding is protracted peacemaking. It is the opposite of protracted warfare. Learn the concepts, processes, and strategies of building peace from a conflicted situation to reconciliation. Get familiarized with various components of peacebuilding and why reconciliation is its main component.

:: The Nature of Conflict. Conflict is like a tree. It has leaves and fruits, trunk, and roots. Learn how this analogy crystallizes the various conflicts we’re experiencing—at home, in our communities, in our neighborhoods, in our towns and cities, in our province, in our country and in our world.

:: Understanding Peace in the Context of Globalization. What is Globalization? How do global realities affect our local life? This is a discussion of global realities from the perspective of local people. This is also the context of our peacebuilding task among the various social-political groups, state forces, and non-state armed groups in our country.

:: Conflict Transformation. How do we transform the crises of conflict into relationship-building opportunities? The violent expression of conflict is like a social cancer. Before you know it, it may have affected the larger system—marriage, family, church, government, business, etc. Learn some practical ways to detect the negative effects of conflict during its early stages.

:: The Process of Reconciliation. Is it possible to rebuild positive relationships between antagonists? Does reconciliation really work in the healing of emotional and psychological aspects of the conflict? Hear stories of people who chose to journey from violent conflict to harmonious reconciliation.

While the training was ongoing, the farmers were selling their coffee to Coffee for Peace at a fair trade price. The farmers were previously trained by PBCI technical staff 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 is 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!

During the evaluation, one farmer expressed thankfulness for “not only teaching coffee but also the social and spiritual aspect of peace and the development of our being.”

Last 19-20 July 2013 the group finished Book II of the PAR Seminar Series. The topics include:

:: Fundamentals of Trauma Healing. Understand the basic concepts of trauma and trauma healing. After a lecture presentation, you will be exposed to true-to-life case studies to apply the principles you’ve learned.

:: Communicating Cross-Culturally. The Philippines is a multi-cultural country. How do we communicate the Culture of Peace across these cultures? How does cross-cultural communication contribute to peacebuilding?

:: Learning the Art of Conflict Resolution. Get exposed to the various approaches and stages of Conflict Resolution—i.e., informal discussion, negotiation, conciliation, facilitation, mediation, arbitration, litigation, legislation. Find out what works best in certain situations. Experience simulated scenarios where you will be prompted to learn the following:
:: Fact-Finding Skills
:: Listening Skills
:: Conflict Mapping Skills
:: Conflict Energy Management Skills
:: Resolution Approach Skills

:: Asserting Your Rights through Peaceful Negotiation. Learn the art of being assertive without being abrasive or offensive. Sharpen your skills in distinguishing the other parties’ real interests from their officially stated position. Find out the characteristics and qualities of a good negotiator.

:: Bridging Conflicting Parties through Mediation. Mediation is the art of facilitated negotiation. It is a process by which a mediator assists disputing parties to collaboratively discuss their concerns through problem-solving. Find out how to assist in documenting mutually acceptable points of agreement the parties may reach. This is a fascinating experience where a mediator, who does not have authoritative decision-making or enforcing power, becomes an effective peacebuilder because of the voluntary, private, and face-to-face participation of the parties-in-conflict.

Then in 20-21 August, these Mount Apo farmers completed the Book III of PAR Seminar Series. The content of this book is as follows:

:: Qualifying People for PAR. Learn the process of prospecting, qualifying, training, and developing volunteers for Peace and Reconciliation (PAR). Test yourself how you’ll fit as a member of a PAR Community.

:: Organizing Peace and Reconciliation Communities. How do we share the vision of Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) with others? Is your community or organization ready to launch a PAR Community? What are the mission objectives of a PAR Community? How do we inspire and challenge others with this vision and mission?

:: Armed-Conflict Area Survival Training. This is an outdoor experience. Participants will be exposed to a simulated armed-conflict situation and will be taught how to react, using the principles of active non-violence, with clarity of mind and discipline.

:: Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws. In a conflicted situation, it is important to be aware of our legal rights as human beings. The signing of Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law into law last December 11, 2009 was considered by many human rights groups and activists a landmark legislation. RA 9851 mandates both state and non-state armed groups to observe international humanitarian law standards, giving victims of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity legal recourse.

:: Dealing with Torture and Human Rights Violations. In an act to safeguard the rights of people engaged in armed conflict, the Republic Act No. 9745, otherwise known as the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 was passed on September 2, 2009. To ensure that all the rights of the detainees, suspects or prisoners are respected, RA 9745 penalizes torture or any degrading treatment of captives that would cause physical or psychological harm. Family members or any persons related to the captive are also given protection by imposing penalties to any maltreatment done upon them. Captives are expected to be treated humanely and are to be provided with essential needs. Any deviation from this normalcy would become grounds for the penalty of prison to be imposed both to the torturers and to the head of their department.

:: Volunteer Evaluation. This is a tested tool to assess the ability of a volunteer-candidate to effectively do the task of peace and reconciliation in the context of Philippine realities. This will also provide leaders with additional tools to be active in multiplying peacebuilding workers.

All seminar facilitators used the local language, used stories based on the local communities’ contexts, and used active-participation methods of learning.

Soon, another set of training will be given by PBCI to the farmers: Financial Management and Entrepreneurship. All of these are in partnership with two other organizations that resonate our vision and mission–Catholic Relief Services and Kapwa Upliftment Foundation.

Last 16 December, coffee farmers visited the Coffee For Peace and had a drink of their own coffee. They were shown a Cafe Latte which was designed by our baristas. They were also brought to our coffee processing yard to observe how the actual coffee depulper and dehuller machines work.

The farmers were challenged to dream and to envision to have their own business cooperative who will operate their own coffee processing area in Mount Apo.

PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. is committed to share our dreams for transformation, our technical knowledge, and our fair trade perspectives to the coffee farmers in the Philippines. Coffee For Peace is committed to buy their global quality coffee beans at fair trade prices.




Permanent link to this article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


We are sent by Mennonite Church Canada Witness in partnership with our international community.