PeaceBuilders School of Leadership (PBSL) started its new SouthPeace Equipping program focusing on developing individuals and groups who are ready to be trained as social entrepreneurs. The two-year program consists of Entrepreneurial Introspection & Ideation; Introduction to Inclusive Development; Basic Social Entrepreneurial Skills; and, Proposal Writing for Social Business. These skills are imparted to the participants along with a set of ethical values we call Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Principles and Practices.
The first batch of participants were the leaders of Blessed Hope Coffee Association from the Province of Capiz in Western Visayas — Argiel Oprecina, Ria Oprecina, Herlin Bienes, and Bobie Diaz. They were joined by Mary Selorio (Coffee for Peace Café Manager), and Jotham Pranza (barista trainee at CFP Café).
This one-minute trailer gives a glimpse of their 5-day SouthPeace Equipping while in Davao City and the Mount Apo vicinity.
Entrepreneurial Introspection & Ideation
Since February 2017, a group belonging to the PAR movement in Capiz started a process of self-searching — as individuals and as a group — on how to plant the seeds of peace and reconciliation in their province without external funding, with sustainable resources, and with immediate and long-term impact in their community.
They invited Tala Alngag Bautista, one of our senior consultants on inclusive development, to guide them as they process their thoughts and as they plot their journey.
Argiel Oprecina, the group’s leader, remembered well their interaction with Tala. “First, we asked ourselves: Who am I as a person? What are my skills and capacities? What products and services can I contribute through my skills and capacities? Second,” he continued, “we asked the same set of questions to ourselves as a group and as a community.”
“Many of us are skilled farmers,” said Bob Diaz, one of the farming leaders in the group. “Among them,” pointing to his fellow SouthPeace Equipping program participants, “I’m the one whose hands and feet are immersed in the soil.”
The group have identified a piece of land they can use to start a cooperative farm. The money which members of their community usually spend individually on instant coffee in one year would be enough to be used as seed capital for a cooperative farming business. They started planting coffee for long-term investment and vegetables for immediate needs.
Introduction to Inclusive Development
Last 27-31 October 2018, four of their key leaders participated in the second phase of the SouthPeace Equipping program — Introduction to Inclusive Development.
“My five days here surpassed all my expectations — your hospitality, your passion in teaching, the quality of contents and learning processes got me so motivated to continue my role in this association,” said Ria Oprecina as she evaluates her experience just before she flew back to Roxas City.
Herlin Bienes, the teacher in the group, specifically pointed at the concept of servant leadership during our final evaluation which, according to her, “made a huge impact in my heart and mind.” She further emphasized: “We can teach skills, we can teach productivity… but if the leaders do not have strong ethical values, the organization’s vision and mission will not be truly achieved.”
Next year, their association leaders will be invited again in Davao City for the last two phases of their SouthPeace Equipping Program: Basic Social Entrepreneurial Skills and Proposal Writing for Social Business.
Here’s a 10-minute video documentation of their 5-day learning experience.
The Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Community in the Province of Capiz was born in 23-26 November 2016 when fifty-six (56) community leaders – pastors, college counsellors, school teachers, entrepreneurs, civil society representatives, and various non-government organization personnel – participated in a three-day training and workshop dubbed as Peace Theology and Disaster Response.
We assigned Tala Alngag Bautista as our lead person and field manager for that specific task of PBCI. Tala has been a seasoned field team leader who successfully established PAR communities in Bukidnon, Mindoro Occidental, and Kalinga. The initial seminar caught the interest of 246 more community leaders. PBCI offered a series of basic, intermediate, and advanced seminars during various sessions within 18 months. Those who completed the advanced leadership course formed themselves as core group of a PAR movement.