Moving Forward as a Community

Hilary MashasDominican Republic, Tools Stories

Top: Angela working at the plant nursery Middle: Program participant tends to plans Bottom: Angela and her daughter

Working as a team can be a fun way to get a job done efficiently and effectively. Teamwork is at the heart of our agriculture and livelihoods programs in the Dominican Republic. These programs mainly serve women, youth and older populations and give them the tools to move forward while bringing their community with them.

We recently met Angela Ramirez, who works at a plant nursery that was developed through the program. Angela is 21 years old and is described by her community as a hard-working young woman who often has a smile on her face. At the plant nursery, Angela is responsible for filling up bags of fertilizer for plants and vegetables. With the help of her coworkers, she has reached nearly 30,000 bags! Her job is not an easy one, but she does it happily with dedication while using the time to learn and get to know her community.

Angela is one of 155 participants who have been invited into our Cooperative Business Development Program. The objective of the program is to strengthen the skills and abilities of the participants so that they can grow and sell coffee, avocados, lemons and other foods. Angela shared, “work helps me forget about problems because I am spending time with my community. I feel happy here and like to help as much as I can.” She added that working at the plant nursery has been like therapy for her and allows her to cope with challenges she might face in her day-to-day life.

Angela’s coworker at the nursery, Damiana Ogando, shares her gratitude for the program and stated, “The nursery is the best thing that has happened to the community. It’s a very good thing for everyone and we hope that our grandchildren will also be able to enjoy it.” Another one of her coworkers, Crusely Valdez, explained that at the plant nursery, the women in the community have learned how to transplant, germinate and graft plants. She said, “We leave the nursery as business women and teachers ready to teach other people who don’t know these skills we have learned. I’m working here for myself, my family and my community.”

In addition to the creation of the plant nursery, through the program, community leaders have learned marketing techniques, how to create a business plan and information on credit and savings. A new water pump was also installed near the nursery and a seed germinator with the capacity to germinate 40,000 different seeds was constructed.

The participants in the plant nursery are using their new skills to support one another and move forward together. We are thankful for the support of our program partner, Servicio Social de Iglesias Dominicanas and Growing Hope Globally.