Guariquén II

Integrated project for tourist, agricultural and cultural valorization of the island of Hispaniola

icon-home Country: Dominican Republic
icon-flag Site: Las Galeras of Samanà (Dominican Republic) and Dondon and Milot (Haiti)
icon-calendar Period: 2010 – 2011
icon-group Partners: ASBEP, FONDTAH
icon-euro Sponsors: ICEI, MAE, CECI

Context
The Dominican Republic lies in the Eastern part of the island of Hispaniola (the second large island of the Antilles). The border line between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, established by numerous treaties (the latest, of 1929, known as Tratado Fronterizo), extends from the North to the South along 388 km. The province of Samanà lies in the North-Eastern part of the country, and almost entirely consists of a peninsula with the same name, reaching out into the Atlantic ocean.  The latest statistics available on the social and economic standards of the province of Samanà show that nearly 70% of people is living under the poverty line, without access to water and electricity. In addition, nearly 30-35% of people, mostly adults, are illiterate.
The major Samanà industries are fishing, coconut growing and tourism. The massive development of tourism resulted in a number of negative effects, that are now apparent: damaged natural resources, increase of prostitution and sexually transmitted diseases, neglected local traditions.
The Republic of Haiti lies in the Western part of the island of Hispaniola; it is 27,750 square kilometres  in size. The landscape is varied, including mountains and plains.
The earthquake of January 12 gennaio 2010 considerably worsened the already difficult situation of the country; mostly those urban and rural areas which were already in a post-emergency condition following tropical storms in December. The emergency requires the rehabilitation not only of infrastructure, but also of a social environment to allow a balanced development. The issues addressed are: malnutrition and bad food habits; lack of income sources and unemployment; depletion of biodiversity and environmental unsustainability; lack of innovation in the food supply chain, neglected traditions.

Objectives
The project supported an integrated local development aimed to protect, promote and valorize local resources, notably natural resources and biodiversity, as well as to engender employment opportunities by promoting sustainable tourism.The project was focused on supporting the spread of organic farming, sustainable tourism and the valorization of traditional culture.
In particular, the “Ruta del Jengibre” (Ginger Route) has been implemented in the Dominican republic as a model for managing and valorizing natural resources locally, while sustainable tourism has been promoted in Haiti as a tool for valorizing natural resources and biodiversity, and creating new employment opportunities, notably for local youths, and favouring exchanges of experience between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Beneficiaries
At Las Galeras, the direct beneficiaries were 120 farmer households in the communities of Manuel Chiquito, Colmenas, Los Tocones, La Sangría, El Rincón and Loma Atravesada (nearly 800 people), plus 100 youths who attended vocational training courses  and 10 households who converted their house to B&B. The renewed tourist offer resulted in increased tourist inflow and related revenues (direct and indirect) generated by these activities, with indirect benefits for nearly 1450 people involved in tourism.
In Haiti, the local partner FONDTAH strengthened its institutional capacity following the project implementation, gaining the skills required to promote and develop alternative tourism. Local government bodies also, in particular the municipalities of Don Don and Milot, have been enabled to promote sustainable tourism as a tool for local development.

Results achieved
In the Dominican Republic: a B&B service managed by local people have been started and the “Ruta del jengibre” has been implemented and promoted; in addition, the quality of soils improved following the spread of sustainable farming techniques among farmers. A cooperative of ginger farmers has been established to improve the organization and effectiveness of ginger supply chain (from cultivation to certification).
In Haiti: a concertation board has been established with local authorities , civic associations and private operators of the tourism industry (microbusinesses of sustainable tourism) to address local sustainable development policies, and a sustainable tourism circuit has been developed and employed the youths trained by the project.