Creating a Sustainable World - International Education Program

Creating a Sustainable World - International Education Program

Dominican Republic
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The course draws on dimensions of experiential learning to challenge students to think critically about their environment. Our projects within communities helps students to learn about the importance of food, dependency of petroleum based products for agriculture, vulnerability of water systems, and environmental impacts of a globalized economy and offers the opportunity to redefine prosperity

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The problem solved through the CSI educational program is the lack of environmental education experienced by young adults prior to their univeristy decision making process. High school students throughout the developed world have little or no exposure to issues concerning the environment and world poverty, and the impacts of our actions on the citizens of the world. Young adults do not recognize the impact of their ecological footprint and the potential outcomes of climate change on agriculture, energy, water, and other resource situations. The program uses experiential learning to develop solutions for these problems, and help each student recognize cultural differences and their impacts. The Dominican Republic was chosen for the project area for the many environmental issues that exist. The water routes from the mountain to the ocean pick up numerous types of waste that is ultimately deposited into the ocean. This waste is the result of cultural and industrial issues that could be reduced or eliminated through education and ecotourism experienced in this program.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The course draws on the dimensions of experiential learning to challenge students to think critically about their environment. Upon completion the students will have discovered methodologies necessary to effect disposition and behavioral change in self, family, community, corporate and political relationships and institutions. Students learn that practicing sustainable values helps a company, community and political institution to survive and it helps it thrive over the long term. First half of the course is in two rural villages along the north coast. Students participate with NGOs to support projects such as water catchment and distribution systems, solar installation, bio mass cooking devices, reforestation, environmental education, and cultural immersion for cross cultural understanding. The projects in rural communities helps students learn about the importance of food, the dependency of petroleum based products for agriculture, the vulnerability of fresh water systems, and the environmental impacts of a globalized economy, and also offers the students the opportunity to redefine concepts of prosperity. Through evaluation of the villages’ access to resources, students understand importance of national and international policy agendas and positive and negative impact corporate and political decisions have on marginal populations. Second half concentrates on urban villages adjacent to the heavily populated coastal area. Projects in urban communities help students learn about urban poverty and water, sewage, and food systems in populated areas. The course offers students the opportunity to observe marginalized communities and food, agriculture, water, environment, and energy systems in both rural and urban areas and to analyze and evaluate these systems based on the principals and ethical values of sustainability
About You
Caribbean Sustainability Institute
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Section 1: About You
First Name


Last Name



Caribbean Sustainability Institute

Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

Caribbean Sustainability Institute

Organization Phone


Organization Address

Las Canas, Dominican Republic

Organization Country
Your idea
Country your work focuses on
Would you like to participate in the MIF Opportunity 2010?


Do you have a patent for this idea?

What impact have you had on your clients and the tourism sector?

The program begins at a remote mountain village and continues through then next 10 days and is completed with 3 urban villages near the ocean. Students complete projects such as water catchment and distribution systems, solar installation, bio mass stove construction, environmental education, reforestation, and home rebuilding in each of the areas. Local populations benefit through these programs and also from the cross cultural experience of having students from numerous countries visit with them. School supplies, backpacks, and shoes have also been delivered. The students are taught respect for various cultures as well as the local flora fauna. Students benefit from the cultural immersion as well, but also from the process of redefining prosperity, happiness, and need. They are given the tools necessary to change personal consumption and consumer habits, become more environmentally and socially responsible, and to develop the systems necessary to make change in their local communities. Not only do the students and Dominicans benefit from the program, but the local environment benefits as well. Through the various projects completed; reforestation, biomass stove construction, solar installation, and environmental education, the students depart with knowledge that they have left the Dominican Republic better than when they arrived.


Two years have gone into the development of the program and a partnership has been developed with a marketing entity to bring more students through the program. 2010 was the first year for the program and 100 students from over 9 countries spent 3 months and $200,000 in the Dominican Republic. An additional program of 21 days has been developed for a more intensive sustainability education. It is anticipated that 2011 will bring 200 students through the program. We are actively seeking additional NGOs through our project area to coordinate more sustainability level projects. Additionally, a program has been developed and will be implemented in January for Dominican students to participate and learn sustainability to parallel those students from other countries.


CSI expienced 100 students from 9 countries in its first year, 2010. Although personal results are not quantifiable, the feedback from the students has been much more than anticipated. Environmental clubs have been developed, charitable organizations have been started, and communities have been made aware of environmental issues once the students return home. The villages visited through the project period have expressed extreme gratitude and definitely look forward to the next group of students to arrive. Deforestation and local flora fauna have definitely been positively impacted through the biomass stoves, environmental education, and solar installation. Also, many of the village local children will now have time to attend school as a result of not spending countless hours hauling water.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

The project is and will continue to be successful. My primary concern is that the students that are able to attend are typically viewed as being from a higher income family. Unfortunately, less fortunate students will not be able to attend as a result of the program cost. We did have scholarships available for the year 2010 and anticipate offering many more through 2011. This will allow some representation from less fortunate families, but it would be beneficial for all if more could attend. With my current facility I can put approximately 500 students through the program during the summer months. I would like 2/3 of those students to be represented by lower/lower middle class students. Additionally, I would like to expand the student enrollment from the Dominican Republic from its current 25 members to 250. Funds are not currently available and I am funding this part of the program from personal funds.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

The project is and will continue to be successful, but with additional funding more students could attend the program.

How many people will your project serve annually?


What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy or introduce models and tools that benefit the tourism sector in general?


What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

In what country?

, PP

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

If yes, provide organization name.
How long has this organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Our sustainability projects are through collaboration with various NGOs operating in each area. For project sustainability, it is our opinion that we support those that are opering in our area. The U.S. Peace Corps is our primary NGO partner in the area, but we have partnered numerous small NGOs and community based organizations. Weaknesses have been experienced in each, but through our commitment, they have become stronger, more focused, and far more effective. We are experimenting with the development of our own NGO for consistency in the project areas, but entertain this idea with hesitancy. There are numerous NGOs in the area which we feel are a better use of our resources.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

1. Funds for more international students. Would like to have better representation from a less priveleged segment.
2. Funds for more Dominican Republic students. Would like to have far more local students attend.
3. Greater collaboration with local NGOs

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

I realized upon the completion of my first course in my doctoral program for global sustainability that I was getting an education that was not going to be made available to those that needed it most, and more importantly, those that could have a greater impact. Sustainability remains available in very few higher education organizations and almost no pre-university ogranization. The world can benefit from the information that is available and I felt that if given this information pre- university, that academic courses could be taken that would further their knowledge and potential impact on humanity. Experiential learning within this age group is imperative for maximum program effect.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

The program benefits numerous groups of people. First, the international students attending the program. Secondly, the local population of our project areas. Thirdly, members of the NGOs and the community based organizations that we are assisting with human and financial resources. Finaly, and most importantly, is humanity in general. These students have, and will continue to have, positive impact on their families and communities.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Email from Changemakers

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

50 words or fewer

MIF Opportunity 2010
Has your organization been legally constituted or registered in your country or one of your target countries for at least three years?

Does the applicant organization have sufficient financial resources to guarantee the co-financing required by MIF during the execution period of the project? (This amounts to at least 50% of the project’s total budget with 25% in cash and 25% in-kind.)


Does the applicant organization have experience managing projects co-financed by international organizations? Please describe below


Please classify the applicant organization according to the options below

Non registered Organization

What problem-area does your project address?

Access to knowledge and training.

How will your project address this problem?

The program provides sustainability education to students from various countries throughout the world.

Who is benefited by the initiative? (Please highlight the type and number of beneficiaries, and their role in the tourism value-chain.)

Local village populations.
International students.
Local Dominican Republic Students.

How will the project's results assist the region’s tourism sector and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises?

The program brings students to locations that otherwise would not be the recipient of tourism and/or the resources that brings. The project begins in remote village areas in the mountains, and follows the watershed are to the ocean.

A. Total Budget (100%)


B. MIF Contribution (up to 50% of total budget and US$. 500.000 max)


C. Cash co-financing (at least 25% of total budget)


D. In kind co-financing (at least 25% of total budget)