Revitalization of Ozama Watershed Rural Farming Communities, Dominican Republic

2013 Finalist

This project aims to train communities in the upper Ozama River sub-watershed of the Dominican Republic in order to improve their land and water supply and safeguard natural resources for the well-being of people and the environment.

Project description

The project will focus on training farmers to restore, protect, and manage their land through reforestation and sustainable agriculture technique, including watershed and soil conservation. Furthermore, community awareness of watershed issues will be increased by educating teachers (trainer of trainers approach). Additionally Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) will be established to boost financial wellbeing of the communities.

Project goal and impact

The main goal is for communities to develop agriculturally and economically while ensuring long-term health and productivity of their land.


Through its protection and the community being aware of its importance, the watershed and soil quality in the Ozama river basin can be expected to have reduced soil erosion, increased water retention and replenishing of natural springs and increased natural filtration. This leads to reducing water-related illnesses, replenished nutrients in the soil and maximized productivity of the existing land.


Increased crop productivity raises farmers’ incomes. VSLAs increase savings buffers, making emergencies and disasters less devastating and allowing farmers to further invest in their land. Small loans that allow for microenterprise creation diversify economies so people can decrease their dependence on land as a sole means of survival. With increased income, women typically invest in children's education, which leads to future economic opportunities.


The interventions improve household economic stability, helping to mitigate rural-urban migration and keep families intact. Family health improves as food security and nutrition improve. Children can attend school and receive an education. Community-building happens as associations learn to trust and work together. Further, women gain empowerment through microenterprise, which builds skills and incomes. The VSLA program also targets single mothers, who are the head of a large number of Dominican households.

Participation of the communities

Plant With Purpose works with a local partner (Floresta Incorporada). The work depends entirely on local interest and participation to determine specific training needs, locations, and formats through cooperative meetings. Local community members serve as facilitators and promoters. To measure long-term impact, Floresta Incorporada works with each partner community to develop a set of indicators to measure success and conduct an evaluation every three years.

Long term viability

This project will make watershed protection economically profitable, giving farmers reason to commit to environmental sustainability. The invaluable knowledge, training, and collaboration generated will continue to benefit beneficiaries long after the project ends. An increased capacity for working together to solve problems leads to ongoing community development.

Information about the organization

Plant With Purpose, founded in 1984, addresses poverty in rural areas caused by environmental degradation in rural contexts by working directly with subsistence farmers whose lives, livelihoods, and communities are impacted. Competencies in decreasing deforestation are especially profound.

Submitted by: 
Plant With Purpose USA
Award year: 

Plant With Purpose USA
4903 Morena Blvd., Ste. 1215 
92117 San Diego, CA 

Douglas Satre