Building Sustainable, Healthy Communities in the Dominican Republic

Themes: Public Health, Environmental Conservation

Related GLA Programs: Dominican Republic: Building a Sustainable World™Dominican Republic: Global Health Initiative™, Dominican Republic: International Development Initiative, Dominican Republic: Sports Service Adventure, Dominican Republic: Caribbean Service Adventure, Dominican Republic: Spring Break Service Adventure

Grant Recipient: 7 Elements

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. In addition to this, 7E works to provide essential vitamins and access to health care to these marginalized communities.


1. Supported projects may include medical brigades, alternative food production, eco-friendly bottle schools and residences, and vitamin 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 resulting from poor nutrition, and increasing educational opportunities

Additional Information

With the help of our local partner, Dr. Dave Addison of 7 Elements, GLA students contributed side-by-side with local Dominican and Haitian communities—doing everything from working on water filtration projects to constructing sustainably-built community and health centers. Dr. Addison puts it perfectly when he says, "The students have the opportunity to live among the communities...they cook for the students and give the students the opportunity to discuss the local way of life with the family.”

Due to a wide range of economic and political challenges, many Haitians have been forced across the border into the Dominican Republic; there, 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 in both the Dominican Republic and Haiti have contributed to improved community sanitation and introduced sustainable practices, as well as focused on malnutrition outreach and health care access. Their impacts will improve the community’s health and will lead the way to future projects in the region.