16-19 March 2023. The Inclusive Development Team (IncluDev Team) of PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) and Coffee for Peace, Inc. (CFP) was invited by the Mandaya Coffee Producers Association (MaCoPA) to conduct a leadership training among their officers. This two-day seminar and workshop included a review of the technical aspects of coffee production, from crop to cup. It also included psychosocial and legal aspects of organizational development. This activity was done in partnership with TriPeople Development and Service Foundation. While PBCI focuses on the community development, CFP is committed to buy one ton of coffee cherries per community during their first harvest and to link the farmers to local, national, and international markets when the quality and quantity of supply is sustained.
A culmination of a two-year series of trainings
This program was initiated two years ago by the Tri-People Development Foundation, in partnership with PeaceBuilders Community Inc. (PBCI) and Coffee For Peace, Inc. (CFP). The objective was to develop a sustainable coffee production and champion farmers in Pantuyan and Pichon communities. The training and engagement of PBCI started with relationship-building through listening and socio-cultural engagement as its central focus. Peace and reconciliation (PAR) are the core values that were introduced, summarized as follows:
- Harmony with the Creator (Spiritual-Ethical Transformation)
- Harmony with being (Psycho-Social Transformation)
- Harmony with others (Social-Political Transformation)
- Harmony with creation (Economic-Ecological Transformation)
This program respects inter-religious and inter-worldview similarities and differences as expressions of equality and inter-cultural cooperation among Indigenous People (both Christianized and those practicing Natural Spirituality), Bangsamoro (mostly Muslim), and Settlers (mostly Christians in various sects and denominations). The participants in this program did abide by the customary laws of the Mandaya people, the laws of the Republic of the Philippines, especially the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The participants in this program agreed to pursue social change as well as justice-based peace and reconciliation, through active nonviolent approach.
What the leaders envision for MaCoPA
The MaCoPA leaders, during the closing ceremonies of this two-day training, expressed hopes for the socio-economic upliftment in the lives of the Mandaya Indigenous People.
First, the program’s emphasis on training and mentorship in coffee production and processing will provide the Mandaya people with new skills and knowledge that can improve their livelihoods. By developing champions in coffee quality production and processing, the program can help increase the income of the Mandaya people, leading to economic empowerment and poverty reduction.
Second, the development of a contextualized Peace and Reconciliation Community among the Mandaya tribe is critical in promoting socio-political transformation. Through the PAR training series, the program aims to promote social change and justice-based peace and reconciliation through an active nonviolent approach. The formation of a PAR community that respects inter-religious and inter-worldview similarities and differences can help promote inter-cultural cooperation among Indigenous People, Bangsamoro, and Settlers.
Third, the program’s commitment to respecting the customary laws of the Mandaya people, the laws of the Republic of the Philippines, the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is essential in promoting social justice and human rights. By acknowledging and respecting the Mandaya people’s identity and culture, the program can help advance their Mandaya identity and culture.
The leadership training program has significant socio-economic implications for the Mandaya Indigenous People in Davao Oriental, Philippines. The program’s emphasis on training and mentorship, the development of a contextualized Peace and Reconciliation Community, and its commitment to respecting the Mandaya people’s customary laws, the IPRA, and the UNDRIP lead to economic empowerment, social change, inter-cultural cooperation, and the advancement of the Mandaya identity and culture.