Filipino social enterprise: ‘when there’s coffee served, there’s less fighting’
By Cristyn Lloyd
There’s nothing that can’t be solved over a good old cup of coffee. This is the firm belief of Joji Pantoja, founder of Coffee for Peace, a Filipino social enterprise using steaming-hot brews to encourage warring communities in the conflict-ridden southern island of Mindanao – rocked by decades of violent separatist insurgencies – to put down their arms in the name of peace and reconciliation.
As a peace advocate, Pantoja realised the symbolic power of coffee when encouraging dialogue between the separatist rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front and government forces over the military’s disputed crossing of a designated peace line.
“I noticed that they served us coffee,” says Pantoja. “When there’s coffee served, they sit down, they talk more and there’s less fighting – and there’s less death. So coffee can now serve as a vehicle for peace.”
Photo courtesy of Bryon Lippincott.