This is a new phase in our work as justice-based peacebuilders and inclusive development workers here in Mindanao. We are working with the University of the Philippines – Mindanao (UP Mindanao) and with the Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) to further develop our capacity to preserve, systematize, teach, and share what we have been learning in the area of peacebuilding, inclusive development, and social entrepreneurship – all framed in justice-based Peace and Reconciliation Principles.
This development started when our Inclusive Development Team was invited to get involved with a program by the University of the Philippines in Mindanao called Growing and Developing Enterprises(UPGraDE). In 27 March 2021, the academic leaders behind UPGraDE invited Lakambini Mapayapa (Joji) as one of the speakers in a webinar dubbed as Breaking Barriers: A Storytelling of Women Startup Founders. The webinar aimed “to share the inspirational stories and journey of thriving women entrepreneurs in Davao Region who have continuously broken barriers and empowered other women to a sustainable personal and career growth.” The webinar also intended “to mainstream the importance of challenging biases and misconceptions about women in creating a more inclusive and gender-equal world.” There, Lakambini showcased women’s critical roles as decision-makers, front liners of development, and conflict transformation agents.
Since then, PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) and Coffee for Peace (CFP) got included in the mailing list of UPGraDE as “a valued stakeholder of the Startup Ecosystem in Mindanao,” as indicated in most of their communications with us.
Partnership with social enterprise researchers from the academe
Early in January, we received an email from the University of the Philippines in Mindanao: “The UP Growing and Developing Enterprises (UPGraDE), a Technology Business Incubator in UP Mindanao that aims to build, launch, and accelerate impact-driven profitable and scalable startups in the region is conducting a 5-day face-to-face strategic planning on January 17-21, 2022 at Waterfront Insular Hotel, Lanang, Davao City.
As a valued stakeholder of the Startup Ecosystem in Mindanao, we’d like to invite you to the above-mentioned event to ensure the success of the project… and to prepare its project management teams in implementing two nationwide and one region-wide programs, funded by the DOST (Department of Science and Technology).”
Lakambini (President & CEO at CFP) and Tala Alngag Bautista (Senior Vice President at CFP) represented our team. They were also introduced to another academic team involved in this project. Mindanao State University—Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) currently implements a DOST funded program, “a customized business incubation program for women-led social enterprises in the Philippines.”
Our PBCI-CFP Inclusive Development Team has been invited to help these academics in one of the components of their project: “to help develop an incubation program for IP communities who are interested in building an enterprise.”
Learning from the Indigenous People
These academic researchers shared with us that they need a direct cross-cultural experience with the IPs. They requested that we introduce them to an IP community for a two-day learning tour.
We suggested that we visit the Talaandig IP community.
In 26-27 January 2021, the Talaandig elders welcomed them into their ancestral territory, accompanied by our PBCI-CFP Inclusive Development Team.
The tribal elders gave them permission to document certain allowable areas, to be recorded by Tala Alngag Bautista of Coffee for Peace, who is an IP woman from the Sumacher Tribe in the northern part of the country.
Two-year partnership program
Our Inclusive Development Team have agreed to serve as a partner to this joint team from the University of the Philippines in Mindanao and from the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology to develop a social entrepreneurial incubation system specifically contextualized for IPs.
Tala Alngag Bautista, who just returned with her MA Conflict Transformation degree from Eastern Mennonite University, leads this endeavor. Sihaya Ansibod, Field Operations Director at PBCI, is supporting Tala with ground logistics.
We feel blessed because of this development: our years of experience and learnings will be preserved in an academic knowledge bank and research institutions, to be taught in two major universities in Mindanao.
For this, we glorify our Creator-Sustainer!