Building Sustainable Communities in the Dominican Republic
Themes: Public Health, Environmental Conservation
Grant Recipient: 7 Elements
The Dominican Republic faces fundamental challenges that require unique solutions. In communities where residents spend 90% of their income on food, aquaponic food production systems provide a means for producing large amounts of organic food, at a fraction of the cost and environmental impact of traditional farming. Local bateys also suffer from a severe lack of clean drinking water, so providing access to clean water filters through community distribution can dramatically improve public health and sanitation. These are just a few of the incredible projects 7 Elements tackles with support from the Global Leadership Adventures International Foundation.
1. Supported projects may include alternative food production, eco-friendly bottle schools and residences, and clean water filter distribution
2. Children often have to carry water from distant sources, 2-4 hours every day; providing clean water filters offers a chance to lift that burden from young people
3. Opportunities for change include increasing employment, reducing health issues such as diabetes and hypertension, creating accessible water sources and increasing educational opportunities
With the help of our local partner, Dr. Dave Addison of 7 Elements, GLA students contributed side-by-side with local Domincican communities—doing everything from water filtration projects to sustainably-built community center construction. And as Dr. Addison describes, "The students have the opportunity to live in and amongst the Dominican people...they cook for the students and give the students the opportunity to discuss the Dominican way of life with the local family.”
The DR is unique because it shares and island with Haiti, a country with serious economic and politics issues that have forced many Haitians across the border, where many find themselves living in rundown bateys. In many bateys in the Dominican Republic, people do not have political representation and have very little economic participation. A small number of families work in the local landfill separating trash and looking for food. Opportunities for change include increasing food sources and improving nutrition; reducing diabetes, hypertension, and waterborne diseases; creating accessible water sources; and addressing racial discrimination within the community. Community projects directed by 7 Elements and supported by the GLA International Foundation have contributed to improved community sanitation and introduced sustainable practices. Volunteers even assessed family’s homes for possible water filtration solutions and installed concrete floors. Their impacts will improve the community’s health and will lead the way to future projects in the region.