In the past few months, I’ve been leading the Field Operations Team of PeaceBuildersCommunity.Org and CoffeeForPeace.Com. We have been immersing ourselves among the farmers around Mt. Apo, specifically among certain Bagobo Tagabawa indigenous communities and certain Settlers’ communities. As we listen to the people on the ground, we adjust our inclusive development policies based on the contexts of the communities we serve.
These are some of my team members’ reflection notes:
• We have to lead with empathy and amplify the voices of our partner farmers.
• We have to cultivate teamwork and collaboration with the different coffee and vegetable players to avoid duplication of projects. With collaboration with different government agencies, we can align our efforts towards one direction and manage resources well.
• We have to learn how to delegate and mentor others, so we can create new leaders that can pass on knowledge to others. This is how PeaceBuilders Community and Coffee for Peace grow. We mentor leaders in the community, so that when we leave, they can continue on the work.
• We have to produce more change-makers by diving into the root causes of the problem, and raise the level of conscientization, so that they will continue to work, not because we say so, but because they wanted to be change-makers themselves.
• We want to see a new ecosystem that is not just for profit, but also the advancement of balance in the ecology and equal opportunity for all. When we do business, we have to consider our partner supplier if they are happy with our payment; we have to see that our distributors also make money from selling our coffee and vegetables; we have to make sure that we are treating our employees right, giving them all the required benefits as advised by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); we have to treat our financiers and investors well, and demonstrate that our work has a mission and not just for profit.
• We have to make sure that the consumer gets their money’s worth when they pay for the products.
Here’s a one-minute video sharing the highlights of our interactions with the people.