Sihaya Ansibod, PBCI Director of Field Operations, has been updating me on her activities. At this point, she’s directing our Inclusive Development Consulting with a corporation and with a government agency, working in three provinces in Mindanao. As far as our team is concerned, her trustworthiness is at 100 per cent level. Sihaya speaks for PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) in the area of field operations.

In one of Sihaya’s field reports, she said: “My faith-based view of myself as a funnel of the Creator’s love strengthens me and keeps me patient as I lead a new team of Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) field workers with members coming from various ethno-cultural communities.” 06 May 2019. Summit of Mount Agkir-Agkir.

PBCI Field Operations is all about applying Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) principles and practices in various Inclusive Development partnerships entered into by PBCI with various organizations. All our field activities are PAR-framed. Sihaya Ansibod directs this major aspect of PBCI’s Dreams.

IncluDev Project with Obo Manobo continues

Last 19 July 2019, Sihaya gave a report on her journey of relationship-building with the Manobo Apao Descendants of the Ancestral Domain of Mount Apo (MADADMA), in partnership with the Corporate Social Responsibility Department of the Energy Development Corporation (CSRD-EDC). That journey led to a Memorandum of Agreement to accomplish the following objectives:
:: to develop one Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Community in the Madadma ancestral domain composed of Ilomavis, Balabag and Magpet communities;
:: to train 30 coffee farmers in Madadma and five workers of EDC in quality coffee production and processing;
:: to select at least ten coffee farmers who are ready for further mentoring in sustainable, inclusive agricultural enterprise by engaging them in the fair trade coffee value chain;
:: to identify the indigenous leadership system and values that will be the basis of the PAR Community and other programs the community would like to implement; and,
:: to help market the coffee of the farmers in Madadma, starting with the purchase of at least four tons of coffee cherries during that harvest season.

By September, the program began to take off. With the excellent logistical and social preparation by Sihaya’s field operations team, PBCI-CFP IncluDev Team began to conduct a series of training seminars in Inclusive Development, Financial Management, Sustainable Agricultural Enterprise, Quality Coffee Processing, and Coffee Marketing. The participants in this 6-month program were key farmers, forestry specialists, and traditional tribal leaders.

After the “Pama-as” — the Obo Manobo indigenous ritual to initiate a project — the leaders of the Manobo Apao Descendants Ancestral Domain of Mt. Apo (MADADMA), the Inclusive Development Team of PeaceBuilders Community & Coffee for Peace (PBCI-CFP IncluDev Team), and the Corporate Social Responsibility Division of Energy Development Corporation (EDC) posed for a souvenir photo. 25 September 2019. Madadma Tribal House, Ilomavis, Kidapawan, North Cotabato.

Despite the devastation caused by a series of earthquakes, the budding PAR Community among the Obo Manobo decided to proceed with the inclusive development journey. Sihaya and her team organized a one-day consultation; and there, the community expressed their determination to continue with the journey.

Because of their expressed commitment, Sihaya included the Madadma community in a direct meeting with our Canadian impact investment partners last January.

Right now, Sihaya and her counterparts at EDC and MADADMA have signed a new Memorandum of Agreement, enhancing this program in the context of CoViD19 realities. They are now working on an implementation process integrating public health protocols.

Consulting with DTI RAPID Growth begins

Our PBCI-CFP IncluDev Consulting Team is a nationally accredited Business Development Service Provider under the DTI-RAPID Growth Project — that is, the Department of Trade and Industry’s Rural Agro-enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth Project. Joji Pantoja, in her capacity as CEO of Coffee for Peace, Inc. (CFP) and as Executive Vice President of PBCI, arranged this partnership. The authority and responsibility of implementing this partnership in the field has been officially entrusted to Sihaya during an online meeting last 16 June 2020 with the officials from DTI RAPID Growth Project. Joji and I personally endorsed Sihaya and announced that she speaks for us with regards to the field implementation of this partnership.

DTI-RAPID Growth Project “aims to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic development for rural farming communities in the country.” PBCI-CFP IncluDev Team participated in this program as a training service provider specifically for coffee because we are convinced that it will help small farmers and micro-entrepreneurs who are engaged within selected commodity chains. We also saw that this program would reach out to the unemployed and underemployed rural women and men. We, at PBCI-CFP IncluDev Consulting Team, saw the freedom for us to specially focus on women, youth and indigenous people.

DTI-RAPID Growth Project “aims to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic development for rural farming communities in the country.” Photo courtesy: DTI RAPID Growth Project.

Sihaya and her counterparts at DTI-RAPID Growth are now working on PAR-framed training programs in strategically-selected communities in the provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat. I have approved her training designs that take into consideration the necessary public health protocols in the context of CoViD19 realities.

Online marketing support to ProducePeace+ continues

During the first two weeks of March 2020, we started dreaming and working towards a social enterprise that would build a justice-based sustainable food supply chain between the farmers in the rural areas and the vulnerable communities in Metro Manila’s urban poor areas. The idea was sparked by the crises brought about by CoViD19. The PBCI leadership team saw this as part of its peacebuilding journey from the rural context to the urban context.

In April, a group of PBCI volunteers in MetroManila tested this idea. It worked. It developed into a social enterprise we now call ProducePeace+. We’re inspired by their journey: “ProducePeace+ buys fruits and vegetables directly from farmers at justice-based prices. They sell them to solidarity markets mostly belonging to upper-middle class families. They use a big chunk of their net profit to provide nutritious food relief for the urban poor. ProducePeace+ is building a justice-based relationship between socio-economic divide through social enterprise. This opens a way towards conscientization, transformation, and healing of both the people and the land.

Sihaya’s office supports the founders, Bennette Grace Tenecio Mañulit and Maimai Lim, in developing their company identity and online marketing materials.

Sihaya and Aldren develop their own farm

Sihaya and her business partner are also starting their own coffee and vegetable farm. We encourage our staff to be ‘farmerpreneurs’ and we’re committed to support them as they build up their own equities.

This is a personal investment between Sihaya and Aldren Banal. It is located at the foot of Mount Apo, within the Ancestral Domain of the Bagobo Tagabawa Indigenous People. Sihaya’s and Aldren’s farm will be developed as a model PBCI-CFP inclusive development site.

The Tagabawa Tribal Council of Barangay Alegre welcomed Aldren, Sihaya, and the PBCI-CFP IncluDev Team to establish a model coffee farm in their area. Sihaya belongs to the Erumanen ne Menuvu Indigenous People. As an advocate for the IP rights, she went through the process of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as required by law. The municipal, provincial, and national authorities protecting the Indigenous Peoples’ rights gave their respective affirmations and blessings to their project.

Finally, as President & CEO of PeaceBuilders Community, Inc., I want to formally and publicly reiterate that Sihaya Ansibod (Jobelyn Palo Basas) is fully authorized to speak and make decisions on my behalf concerning the field operations of our organization.

Permanent link to this article: https://peacebuilderscommunity.org/2020/07/our-director-of-field-operations-pursues-inclusive-development-projects-amidst-covid19-realities/

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