08-09 July 2021 — Sixteen members of Kapeyapaan Farmers’ Association (KFA) in the Municipality of Bansalan, Province of Davao del Sur have completed their six-month training in Social Entrepreneurship. This course is framed in a system of values called Peace and Reconciliation Principles and Practices. Among the 16 vegetable and coffee farmers who have graduated from the course, 6 were elected as founding officers. This initiative is part of a long term Inclusive Development partnership program between the PeaceBuilders Community, Coffee for Peace, and KFA Bansalan.
In this report, we want to share the principles, philosophies, and practices we have included towards a sustainable and regenerative community organizing. These are the concepts we have applied in organizing the Kapeyapaan Farmers’ Association.
Listening as First Act of Love
Love is the primary energizer of our long-term commitment towards Inclusive Development through Social Entrepreneurial initiatives. Love necessarily involves listening. Listening is the first act of love. We listen because we love and worship the Creator who listens. We listen because it is the initial action we know on how to demonstrate love to, and to build peace with, our neighbors.
When we listen, the whole being is involved. We listen by using our ears, mind, heart, and body. We make sure that we pause from what we’re thinking and really listen to what the community is saying to us. We seek to intellectually understand the truth—the facts, the contexts, and the stories—of the social realities we’re facing. We seek to feel the emotions involved in a community’s struggle for justice and peace. We seek to share a glimpse of their physical sufferings so that our own bodies would ‘know’ their pains and their suffering—which is called ‘compassion’ in our spiritual discipline.
Listening, for us, is a spiritual discipline. At the end of the day, we learn that it’s not about how we feel about the excellence of our talk, our presentation, our program. It’s about how the people express their assessment on how much we listened.
Concepts and Practice
We clarify the foundations, intentions, and the framing of our Inclusive Development advocacy through Social Entrepreneurship. These concepts are submitted to the community and discussed with the elders or leaders during the first day of the Orientation Seminar.
Peace and Reconciliation Principles and Practices are experienced through the six-month training and community-building. Inclusive Development processes are applied while the farmers’ association is being formed. Social Entrepreneurial skills are taught through hands-on experiences in the context of the local and provincial market realities.
Philosophy of Leadership Development
Our leadership development philosophy is focused on the person’s character:
Heart of a Servant. This is the foundational character of genuine leadership. The true leader is motivated by a loving desire to serve—service to the Creator, service to the people, service to the institution, service to the organization, service to the family. If this foundation is weak, the so-called leader would simply degenerate into a fear-based power of a boss; such power is mere positional, attached to the external title or organizational designation, not on the person’s integrity and character.
Soul of a Teacher. Because of the leader’s principled character, his or her very existence serves as the didactic demonstration of servant leadership. This person’s life, performance, and statements serve as a mentorship model for a moral, ethical, effective, and efficient leadership.
Mind of a Manager. This leader accomplishes tasks through trained and disciplined people. This leader applies effective and efficient systems so that the organization would be so energized and function like a living organism.
Strength of a Leader. All truly great leaders are humble leaders. This person’s internal strength and security in her or his being emanate as a humble attitude. This leader has proven his or her trustworthiness among followers; in turn, the followers put their trust in this leader. The synergy of the leader’s trustworthiness and the followers’ full trust becomes the ‘Yin Yang’ of the leader’s strength. It is through life-giving servanthood and humility that the leader will experience stamina, sustainability, and regeneration as a person-of-influence.
The principles, philosophies, and practices we shared here are the factors we have included towards a sustainable and regenerative community organizing we refer to as Kapeyapaan Farmers’ Association.