Missions in the Dominican Republic and their quest for inclusive and sustainable development of rural territories

Workshop during one of the missions in Barahona.

 

The ETEA-Instituto de Desarrollo Foundation has started with enthusiasm the intervention project in Pedernales and Barahona, two provinces in the southwest of the Dominican Republic. Since last February, the entity has carried out three missions to strengthen governance for the inclusive and sustainable development of rural territories in both provinces. The improvement of public policy conditions for territorial rural development, the creation of stable and quality employment, and the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women are some of the main objectives to be achieved through this project.

Problems to be addressed

Located in the poorest region of the country, the territories targeted by the project have a low development index and a high percentage of the population living in rural areas. In Pedernales, 54.1% of households are poor, making it the second poorest province in the Dominican Republic. In the case of Barahona, 53.2% of households are poor. These high poverty rates, linked to the distances of these provinces from the country’s capital and poor communications, have influenced their low development.

In this context, territorial rural development (DRT) may be appropriate to advance and grow socially and economically. For this reason, actions have been aimed at strengthening governance for inclusive and sustainable development, promoting the involvement of local stakeholders in their own development, job creation, enriching education, training technicians, providing technical assistance, supporting the improvement of public services and, in general, planning territorial rural development by strengthening institutionalism and social commitment.

Start of work with local stakeholders

During the first mission, the project was presented and initiated, making it known to the local stakeholders of the three territories and the authorities of the two provinces, and involving a large number of representatives of local organizations.

Following the presentation, several meetings were held with local stakeholders, which allowed the design of a development plan and the promotion of intermunicipal public-private institutions. In addition, training and planning workshops were held with the technical team of the Ministry of Agriculture to evaluate the work carried out and the results of each mission.

During each period of work with local stakeholders, actions are carried out at both the national and territorial levels. At the national level, the logistics of the activities are organized with the Ministry of Agriculture and the content and progress of the project are shared with the national sectoral institutions. At the same time, the actions in Barahona and Pedernales allow progress to be made in the formulation of territorial rural development plans with the support of technicians from the Ministry of Agriculture and local stakeholders, and by promoting and encouraging the involvement of representatives of community organizations in the activities.

The way forward

This project aims, through its activities in the provinces of Pedernales and Barahona, to have an impact on the formulation of a public policy for the development of the country’s rural territories. Secondly, it aims to exemplify how, with the involvement of local actors organized in a local public-private partnership, it is much easier and more effective to implement sectoral policies aimed at social inclusion, mitigating the effects of climate change, achieving gender equality and launching economic and social initiatives by the local actors themselves. Finally, the project seeks to make visible the strengthening of governance for the inclusive and sustainable development of the rural territories of Pedernales and Barahona by sharing the lessons learned, and that their example contributes to democratic governance, inclusive and sustainable rural growth in the Dominican Republic.