PAR VALUES WORK IN OUR INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURIAL TASKS

Our Inclusive Development and Social Entrepreneurial endeavors are framed in Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Principles. PAR is the heart of all our field activities and the energizer behind the enthusiasm of our employees and volunteers. 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 motivating factor behind the awards and recognition we’ve been receiving as PBCI-CFP Tribe.

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 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.

Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Values

PAR is the heart of our ministry. Our mission is to propagate Peace and Reconciliation. We are PAR missionaries.

Listening is our first act of love. Our initial approach towards exploring a partnership with a community, in accordance with Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Principles and Practices, is to do a listening session. We listen to the people’s worldview, value system, and customary practices. We listen to their position, interests, and needs with one ear, and to their context, attitudes, and behavior with the other ear.

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.”

Inclusive Development

At the forefront of this endeavour is clarifying what inclusiveness means. Is it equity? Empowerment? Opportunities? Participation? Satisfaction? A combination of these? Or something else?

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.

We see inclusion as both a process and as a goal.

We do not, however, close our eyes to diversity as a fact of life. Difference is normal. Some people are excluded from society because of difference. Difference can be due to a range of factors — some universal, some cultural and context specific.

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, focus on the society to remove the barriers that exclude — i.e. mainstreaming. Second, 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.

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.”

PBCI-CFP looks at being inclusive based on three pillars:
1. High, sustainable development to create and expand spiritual, psycho-social, political, and economic growth of both individuals and communities;
2. Broader access to opportunities to ensure that members of society can participate and benefit from holistic development; and,
3. Social safety nets to prevent extreme deprivation.

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.

Eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions is an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. To this end, there must be promotion of sustainable, inclusive and equitable economic growth, creating greater opportunities for all, reducing inequalities, raising basic standards of living, fostering equitable social development and inclusion, and promoting integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems.

Social Entrepreneurship

By the grace of the Creator, we are now recognized by the 2019 Sustainable Business Awards Philippines as The Best Social Enterprise.

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.’

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.

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 quiet revolution.

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.

Permanent link to this article: https://peacebuilderscommunity.org/2019/10/par-values-work-in-our-inclusive-development-and-social-entrepreneurship/

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