I am Lawrence, a student of Community Development Work at Centennial College.
We went on a FLIP to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic to bring our studies of Community Economic Development (CED) to life and to learn from the locals’ experiences. Interestingly, all the contents and principles of Community Economic Development that was taught in class really did come to life in this context as we observed real people put these principles into practical application.
On our trio we learned that tourism is one of the mainstays of the economy in the Dominican Republic, after remittance.
The principles of CED focus on the use of local resources, by the local community to create wealth for the benefits of all, improve quality of life and enhance socio-economic well- being for people. The principle I would specifically like to focus on are the use of and benefits to the physical environment. There are many rich ecological resources present at different locations of the Dominica Republic that help to drive the citizens’ collaborative efforts. For example, natural vegetation within a lush nature provides fresh and unpolluted air, fertile soil for agricultural produce (cash crops i.e. coffee, cocoa) and food crops such as bananas and so many other varieties of tropical fruits.
Mineral resources such as Amber, the sand, sea, and sun are also all natural resources that stimulate the economy and the community members’ enterprising spirit.
I observed that the Dominicans are very friendly and entertaining, they also make good use their local resources to promote the growth and development of their tourism industry. They have been very successful as many of the citizens are gainfully employed in the industry of tourism. The increases in the tourists arrival was also noticed both at airport and on a visit to one of the popular beach in a town called, Sosua.
I really appreciate this great privilege from Centennial College. Travelling to the Dominican Republic to see and observe community development principles in real action was incredible as a learning experience. This exposure is an indelible asset for me. I will apply the knowledge acquired from this trip to foster, promote and stimulate the growth of any community that I will have to work in future by helping them to identify the local resources, emphasize on their strengths, promote themselves and encourage economic self-reliance through their natural assets and resources.
Blog design & Photo credit: Hasan Mahbub, Faculty- Community Development Work.