Changing Lives, One Cup at a Time

Date: May 12, 2017

Recent studies have shown that Filipinos’ coffee-drinking habit is on the rise. Of course, the same trend is evident for coffee shops. While most are likely built just for profit, there is one that was built for peace.

Located at One Oasis Davao, Coffee for Peace Bistro is a coffee shop borne to provide coffee farmers from high-conflict zones of Mindanao a venue to sell their products.

The CEO, Ms. Felicitas “Joji” Pantoja, said “One cannot discuss peace when one is hungry. In 2006, when our Peacebuilders Community (PBCI) group was having a peace-building mission for the government and MILF, a conflict arose between a Muslim landowner and migrant farmer. During the discussion, I noticed that they were serving coffee. And I thought that maybe peace and a sense of community can be attained if they joint forces in learning how to grow coffee and turn it into their livelihood. We transferred the skills for growing coffee to the farmers in Mindanao. It takes 3 years for a tree to bear fruit. In 2008, we need a shop to brew and sell coffee so Coffee for Peace was first opened at Matina, Davao.”

Fortunately, it turned out that the coffee beans had a grade of “premium” and “specialty” when brought to US and Canada. With no surprise, the premium quality attracted coffee lovers, making the first Coffee for Peace café always packed with customers. Thus, the need to move to a bigger space.

“We were renting in the first café. But I felt that for the second store, it is better if the money we put out monthly goes to something that will belong to us in the end. An agent of Filinvest offered the retail spaces of One Oasis Davao and we did an ocular last year. The location is good since we will have a captured market with those who live in the condo units. We are the only café in this commercial strip. It is also beside one of the big malls in Davao which closes at 9pm. Their customers transfer to Coffee for Peace Bistro because we are open until 11pm.”

The ethical and viable social enterprise behind Coffee for Peace has been noted by several award-giving bodies like United Nations Development Program, Price-Waterhouse Cooper, Asian Development Bank Philippine Business for Social Progress-Citibank Phils, UST Alumni Association and most recently, by Go Negosyo’s Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs 2017.

Coffee for Peace business model has been duplicated in Baguio and Bukidnon, and soon, in Panay Island and Saranggani.

Ms. Pantoja adds, “CFP is also looking for impact investor partners who are interested in building a just and fair business. For those who are interested, we can discuss this over coffee at the CFP Bistro at One Oasis Davao.”

Related stories: http://bit.ly/2pFgaAB

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