Peacebuilder Joji Pantoja honoured again

by
Deborah Froese
;
May 8, 2017
;
Mennonite Church Canada
Joji Pantoja holds awards from the University of Santo Toma.
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Joji Pantoja’s commitment to developing a culture of peace through entrepreneurship in Philippines just garnered her another award.

The University of Santo Tomas (UST) College of Education and the UST College of Education Alumni Foundation in Manila recognized Pantoja as an Outstanding Alumna. The award was granted for “her exemplary and inspirational track record as an entrepreneur advocating for inclusive business practices” through Coffee for Peace.

Coffee for Peace was designed to protect the environment, empower local Philippine farmers with a living wage, and foster reconciliation in a country rife with conflict over land issues by supporting the development of Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) teams. Team members are trained to be agents of peace and reconciliation in each of their respective communities.

Founded by Pantoja, Coffee for Peace emerged through the work of Peacebuilders Community, Inc., a ministry supported by Mennonite Church Canada. Investors in the Coffee for Peace business have agreed that 25% of their net profit will be donated to Peacebuilders Community, Inc. to support PAR teams. Peacebuilders plans to establish a PAR Team in each of Philippines’ 81 provinces by 2020. Since roughly 2012, PAR Teams have been established in 33 provinces.

Recently, Pantoja was recognized as one of 26 Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs 2017. In 2015, she was awarded a Certificate of Achievement from The United Nations Development Programme. Coffee for Peace was one of 6 winners in the UN’s IIX N-Peace Innovation Challenge for “sustainable, scalable, inclusive peacebuilding, that has long-term and transformative impact.”

Pantoja graduated from UST in 1979. In March 2017 she finished preparing a thesis, “Establishing Coffee for Peace Communities in strategic areas in the Philippines” for the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.

Photo Credits: 
Provided.