Stimulating Sustainable Farming

August 3, 2017

Dominican Republic Placeholder
Dominican Republic

Stimulating Sustainable Farming

About the Implementing organization

Name: Morne Trois Piton Geotourism Stewardship Council

Country: Dominica

Year of establishment: 2011

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization, Legally recognized non-profit status, Other

Description

Establish a Botanical Centre on the site of the Flower Grower Group and use this a training site to develop skills in hillside farming, multiple cropping, seedling propagation, production of compost and organic fertilizers.
All these activities are under way but have failed to attract significant numbers of young persons even as the numbers of adult women farmers/gardeners taking advantage of these opportunities continues to increase. With women being the 'instructors and trainers' several of the young males seem 'uncomfortable' taking instructions and have stayed away.
In another village where the young men are the instructors the adults have stayed away apparently not being comfortable taking instructions from younger men.
One of the innovations has been to use persons from outside of the local village and this seems to have worked well.
Another innovation under consideration is the use of digital technology to transmit information which is expected to interest and excite the younger persons who are familiar with the technology.

Nature Element

Forests / Mountains / Rivers

Type of Action

Protection / Sustainable use / Mainstreaming into sectors / Access and benefit sharing / Awareness and education

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Disaster risk reduction / Health

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

    

Environmental Impacts

Specific training conducted by experienced foresters using classroom and field activities have been very successful at building awareness of the fragility of natural systems, the importance of land use and other planning, the value of pre-emptive action to avoid and even predict disasters.
One very interesting outcome of the work in this area has been the identification of opportunities for a new scientific tour guide armed with GPS and other digital equipment who would then double up as a first alert crew for impending disasters as well as guides for schools, researchers and scientific expeditions. In this regard, 6 young men came together after the training and established a Tour Guide Company which has offered its services to visitors and locals with some success.

Sustainable Development Impacts

The single most important sustainable development impact is the one on which the least emphasis has been placed very often. that is, the sense of awareness and responsibility that a local person would have and feel for the natural systems around their community. It is clear that the step up to being a responsible and contributing member of a local community is driven by an understanding of the vulnerability alongside the importance of these natural systems to the survival and sustenance of human community.
Real sustainability comes when this new level of awareness become a habit and almost subconsciously defines behaviour towards issues such as waste disposal and management.
The identification of 'new career' opportunities especially for the young, remains a crucial challenge and we have seen how exposure to issues of sustainability and integrated planning, for example, help these young people see career as well as business opportunities that are not at first evident.

Scalability

The best example of this has been the Flower Show and the Community gardens/Culinary Tour Caribbean to attend this Show because they have understood that this is the work of people just like themselves so they feel empowered. Visitors feel the authenticity of the efforts and the outputs on display. The explanations are simple and easy to understand. The level of competence of the persons managing these activities and their comfort with the knowledge they have is infectious and leaves the guest or visitor or student open to sharing their own experience in a reciprocal learning exercise.
It is often true that locals tend to endorse a local activity when it is endorsed by someone from outside their community.
This appears to be part of the problem.
Pouring ideas in from the top may be still the way it is done in many places but our experience is that like plants, which feed from their roots up, people also eventually make their stand for change on a firm patch of knowledge.

Replicability

Cultural and physical differences notwithstanding, people are the same everywhere. If we start there, instead of focusing on the differences between us, development becomes the task of managing and conducting an orchestra made up of different instruments all of which have a unique contribution to make to the piece of music. It is up to the conductor and the musicians to have an understanding of and respect for the diversity that makes the music so beautiful. Council believes that people are the best advocates of the change that they have experienced and our experience is that the breakthrough is achieved for lasting change when people are prepared to and allowed to be not the objects of change but the agebts of that process.
The success that we continue to have is based on this one fundamental principle of people changing people.

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