Poverty Eradication in Dominica
In a significant step towards poverty eradication, the Caribbean country of Dominica is using the funds it garnered through a program called Citizenship by Investment (CBI) in order to become the world’s first climate-resilient nation. This effort would both prepare the island for the future while addressing poverty in the present. Dominica’s poverty rate is 39%, higher than that of neighboring countries, due in large part to its economy’s reliance on banana exports, an industry that extreme weather events increasingly impact. In the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017, the government committed to the construction of affordable, weather-resistant housing that strengthens the social safety net, the expansion of its health care infrastructure and the support of its jobs program, all with CBI funding. Here are seven facts about CBI and poverty eradication in Dominica.

7 Facts About CBI and Poverty Eradication in Dominica

  1. CBI: International Investment, Local Impact: CBI issues citizenship in exchange for monetary investment. According to the Financial Times, Dominica’s CBI program is the best in the world. It is relatively affordable at $100,000, efficient due to Dominica’s experience in administering the program and has a commitment to integrity, thoroughly vetting the source of every cent that goes to the country. Recipients enjoy the business and travel opportunities that having a second citizenship affords them while the issuing country is able to invest the revenue at the local level. Though the program has been in place in Dominica since 1993, it has only recently become the primary source of the climate-resilient investments that are helping to progress poverty eradication in Dominica. This shift in focus follows the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017.
  2. The Storm that Changed the Face of the Island. Hurricane Maria made landfall in Dominica, aptly known as “The Nature Island,” on Sept. 18, 2017. Winds reaching up to 160 mph battered the island, triggering landslides, destroying infrastructure, washing away crops and either razing or damaging an estimated 90% of homes, left tens of thousands of people without a roof over their head. The prime minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, took to Facebook to announce that the hurricane blew his own roof off his residence in an effort to draw attention to the crisis as it was still ongoing. When the storm abated, the government endeavored to put the CBI funds, and the people of Dominica, back to work.
  3. The Housing Revolution. In September 2018, one year following Hurricane Maria, Dominica partnered with the Montreal Management Consultants Establishment (MMCE) to build homes across the island. As of September 2020, this initiative, known as “Housing Revolution,” has built over 1,000 affordable, weather-resistant homes, with plans to ultimately construct a total of 5,000 of these units. CBI funds support the program entirely.
  4. An Emphasis on Community. The nascent neighborhoods include commercial centers, sports fields and farmers’ markets, a reflection of the Housing Revolution’s commitment to fostering communities, not simply constructing houses. To that end, the CBI-sponsored Trafalgar Community Centre, which opened in August 2020, features a sickbay, an events space, clinic and a dining and activity hall. The government heralds the Centre as “a place where at-risk youths can receive help, neighbors can socialize with each other and anyone can receive educational classes and participate in recreational activities.”
  5. Health Care: Prior to Hurricane Maria, the Dominican health care system centered on its four national hospitals. Care was specialized and reactive rather than general and preventative. After Maria’s devastation forced every sector to re-examine priorities, the Ministry decided to use CBI funds to strengthen its primary care system. In addition to a state-of-the-art hospital, Dominica is building 12 new primary health centers that will emphasize community-based care. Further, CBI funds subsidized the complex medical treatment abroad for 16 Dominican children.
  6. Jobs: The National Employment Program (NEP), which helps young people secure internships, jobs and develop vocational skills, has stayed afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic due in large part to the CBI. The NEP has provided support to 4,500 businesses and 3,896 interns.
  7. Economic Growth. An Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) report indicated that Dominica is the fastest growing economy in the region, its GDP up 9% in 2019. One can attribute this growth to both the CBI program and the rise in ecotourism as world travelers seek out Earth’s most rugged, unspoiled gems.

Looking Ahead

The rise in GDP is an indicator of the country’s economic upside, but one will soon be able to see whether it will correlate with the eradication of poverty in Dominica. The country is still rebuilding and the people are still getting back on their feet. If poverty rates do tick down over the coming years, then the investment of CBI funds into community-based, climate-resilient infrastructure and jobs could serve as a blueprint for other developing countries as they work to lift their people from poverty while investing in their future.

– Greg Fortier
Photo: Flickr

Dominica, a small country in the Caribbean, has a population of about 72,000. Currently, general taxes are what finance healthcare services in Dominica. There are seven healthcare centers and 44 clinics around the country that provide primary healthcare at no cost.

 9 Facts About Healthcare in Dominica

  1. Dominica spends equivalent to $418 per capita on healthcare. As of 2011, healthcare costs were 4.2% of the GDP. Those healthcare services are provided by the Ministry of Health. Also, as of 2017, there were 1.1 doctors per 1000 people in Dominica.
  2. There are five hospitals in Dominica. Four of these hospitals are government-owned, while the other one is privately owned. The Princess Margaret Hospital has one small intensive care unit, meaning it is most equipped to deal with emergency situations. However, the other three, the Marigot hospital, Grand Bay hospital and Portsmouth hospital, are not as prepared.
  3. Dominicans generally have somewhat long lifespans. For men, life expectancy is 74.4 years, and for women, it’s 80.5 years. Therefore, the total average life expectancy is 77.4 years, exceeding the global average of 72 years. However, as of 2019, 30.9 infants died out of 1000 live births, which is a rate of about 3.29%.
  4. There are both primary and secondary healthcare services in Dominica. There are seven health districts in which primary healthcare services are provided by clinics. These clinics serve about 600 people each within a 5-mile radius of the district in which they are located. Princess Margaret Hospital provides secondary healthcare to the people of Dominica.
  5. Some individuals are exempt from charge for medical treatment. Those who are considered poor or needy, pregnant women, children younger than 17 years old  are exempt from the medical care charges. People who may also have an infectious and contagious disease that can spread through multiple ways (such as bodily contact, contact with bodily fluids, or breathing in the virus) are also exempt from the charges that arise from medical care.
  6. The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is 0.75%. About 506 people out of a population of 72,293 people in the Dominica have HIV/AIDS. Countries that have a prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS that exceed 1% are considered to have Generalized HIV Epidemics, so Dominica is currently below that even though its rate is higher than places like the U.K. 70% of those infected by HIV/AIDS are male. In 2019, only 95 adults and children were receiving antiretroviral therapy in Dominica.
  7. The Citizenship By Investment program in Dominica helps rebuild medical buildings and infrastructure, as well as provide treatment abroad. After Hurricane Maria in 2017, the CBI program helped fund the rebuilding of six hospitals and three healthcare centers in Dominica. Similarly, the program also sponsored 16 children to receive treatment abroad in 2017-2018. The treatment was critical for the of health of the children in Dominica.
  8. The Order of St. John is an NGO project working to improve healthcare in over 40 countries, including Dominica. This international charity has over 300,000 volunteers and staff and provides multiple services such as healthcare, first aid and other methods of support. This organization, registered as an NGO in 1964, had an income of 1.44 million pounds in 2018. Its mission is to help improve the health of people around the world and alleviate worldwide sickness. Additionally, St. John works to provide volunteers with disaster preparedness training in Dominica in the case of tropical storms or other natural disasters. The organization accepts donations, 100% of which go to their programs.
  9. Another NGO, EACH, also works in Dominica to provide healthcare communication. EACH works to promote healthcare communication that is concentrated around patients. EACH also works to provide healthcare communication research, skills and tools. They strive to ensure that patients worldwide receive specialized care with regard to autonomy and safer, efficient healthcare, as well as ensuring that patients are more likely to recover from diseases. EACH became a nonprofit and charity organization in 2014.

Many organizations and hospitals are working to provide effective healthcare in Dominica. The general public can help assist these organizations through donations or volunteering. Learning more about healthcare in Dominica, as well as in different countries around the world, can help one understand both the domestic and global situation of healthcare today.

– Ayesha Asad
Photo: Unsplash

Organizations Providing Mental Healthcare
After natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and floods, most survivors focus on physical needs first, such as food, water, shelter and electricity. However, psychological needs are just as important. This leads to the need for mental health relief and psychological first aid that addresses the initial mental health needs of survivors of natural disasters. Here is some information about the situation in six different places along with the organizations providing mental health care amidst natural disasters.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is an island commonwealth located in the tropics and near a fault line that places it at risk for flooding rains, tropical cyclones and earthquakes. In 2017, hurricanes Irma and Maria affected the island chain, with the latter being one of the island’s most devastating storms in history. With health care workers leaving the island after the storm, resources squeezed tight, electricity out and pharmacies closed, issues such as anxiety, increased suicide rates and PTSD became heightened. After the storm, one-fifth of all residents were in need of mental health care. People leaving the island put a further strain on available health care resources, including mental health services. Predictions have determined that about 600,000 people will leave Puerto Rico by 2023. Additionally, about 7% of children met the criteria for PTSD.

While progress in building the mental health infrastructure has been slow since Maria, the island has made progress. When Hurricane Maria hit, the storm knocked out power to almost the entire island. According to The American Psychological Association, Hurricane Maria disrupted half of the island’s cellphone service and most internet connections. Pharmacies closed, meaning antidepressants were unavailable. Some rural towns experienced complete isolation so mental health professionals were unable to reach people in need. Moreover, staff with the Puerto Rico Psychological Association did not have full training prior to Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria made PRPA aware of the various needs. Immediately after the storm, the PRPA sent psychologists to disaster areas, set up triage and provided counseling to people in need. The big things they focused on were listening to people’s stories of survival and focusing on a positive future outlook.

Organizations Providing Mental Health Care in Puerto Rico

Save The Children established the Journey of Hope project, and the organization worked to keep children on track through education, an important opportunity to support emotional wellbeing, in addition to coping with loss and anxiety. In the year after the storm, the project helped over 1,600 children. The Hispanic Federation provided solar lamps to people who lost power after the earthquakes since power outages triggered PTSD in Hurricane Maria survivors. The Hispanic Federation also teamed up with the University of San Juan to provide mental health services to people in both rural and urban areas. Direct Relief provided counselors and medications and hosted a workshop to address mental health needs.

Dominica

Hurricane Maria also caused widespread devastation on the Caribbean island nation of Dominica. As with Puerto Rico, the storm caused catastrophic damage on the island. International Medical Corps, together with the Dominica Psychological Society and IsraAid, designed and hosted 15 one-day workshops with over 200 leaders between December 2017 and February 2018, where they learned about psychological first aid. The community leaders who participated in the workshop came from various NGOs, local government councils throughout the island and ministries in the government, including The Ministry of Health. In addition, the organizations hosted workshops for art-based psychological first aid.

Bahamas

The Caribbean Development Bank provided $1 million to the island chain nation after Hurricane Dorian to address the mental health needs of residents. This came after the organization announced a broader initiative with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to provide counseling assistance, citing the need to address the link between natural disasters and mental health. International Medical Corps assisted the Bahamas Ministry of Health by providing mental health and psychosocial support services. Because individuals tend to focus on food, water and shelter needs first, issues such as anxiety, PTSD and depression could be major long-term health crises, since most people on the affected islands lost their homes or loved ones. As a result, the organization sent mental health counselors to Grand Bahama Island, trained officials in psychological first aid and supported community-based mental health initiatives.

India

The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences in Bengaluru assisted flood victims in Kodagu after floods affected the region in 2018. A team of experts, which included psychiatrists and psychologists, went to the region where they trained people on the ground to help with local mental health needs and communication. Additionally, volunteer groups created the Kerala Floods Mental Health Support Group to connect survivors of the floods. In India, there are few resources that go to mental health care. A 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) report found that there were only three psychiatrists per million people, while the National Programme for Mental Health received less than one-tenth of 1% of the 2017-2018 budget.

Indonesia

After the 2018 Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami killed over 4,000 people, IsraAid provided mental health services and supportive activities to the communities the disaster affected. These included training individuals in the community to cope with and learn about the long-term effects of trauma. Doctors Without Borders partook in similar efforts, training volunteers on the ground to reach at-risk and remote communities. UNICEF worked to address the mental health needs of children, helping 4,500 at 60 different places through psychosocial support. More than 10,000 psychosocial kits went to children and teachers.

Southeast Africa

Cyclone Idai made landfall in Madagascar in March 2019, causing torrential flooding in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi and killing more than 1,300 people. In Zimbabwe, UNICEF and Childline Zimbabwe and the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative provided counseling to the children the cyclone affected. The organizations also established a shelter at Ngangu Primary School to cater to the victims’ material and psychosocial needs. Near Chimanimani, UNICEF worked with eight different organizations to provide counseling and psychosocial support to those the disaster affected.

In Mozambique, more than 31,000 children received psychosocial support through UNICEF after Idai and Cyclone Kenneth, which impacted the country a month later. In Beira, Mozambique, Doctors Without Borders provided counseling to the storm survivors and health care workers, and also trained psychologists on psychological first aid. Additionally, the organization undertook a public health campaign to talk about the symptoms of trauma related to the cyclone and the flooding it caused in Buzi. Meanwhile, UNICEF reached 10,000 children in Malawi through an initiative that provided opportunities for psychosocial support.

Closing Remarks

Future efforts by organizations providing mental health care will need to focus on community-based efforts and in collaboration with local figures. These modes of care will need to be integrated into the healthcare infrastructure and focus on long-term outcomes.

– Bryan Boggiano
Photo: Flickr

Homelessness in Dominica
The Commonwealth of Dominica is a small island country in the Eastern Caribbean. People know it for its beautiful mountainous landscape and jungles, which are home to several native species of plants and animals. Though Dominica has abundant natural beauty, its location in the Caribbean is along the path of annual storms, and these storms are a major cause of homelessness in Dominica. This homelessness has been hard to track as there have been no official reports or studies about homelessness in Dominica.

Poverty in Dominica

Dominica is a poor country in comparison to its neighbors in the East Caribbean. In fact, it had a poverty level of 39% of the population in 2004. Dominica’s two largest industries are the agricultural and tourism industries. Environmental challenges, such as the hurricanes and tropical storms that pass over the island frequently, have affected both of these critically. The storms have made the island less likely to attract tourists. Meanwhile, flooding and landslides have decimated crops and fields.

Homelessness and Tropical Storms

Because Dominica has a relatively poor population, homelessness often becomes a major issue after tropical storms. Many families cannot afford repairs for damaged or destroyed houses, thus leaving them in need of shelter. An example of this is the tropical storm, Erika, in August 2015. The storm caused massive flooding and landslides which devastated much of the land, small towns and villages on the island. Over 800 households became homeless in the wake of the storm. Further, over 1,400 homes either experienced destruction or became at-risk due to the storm. After Hurricane Maria in February 2017, hundreds of Dominicans became homeless including Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit himself. Estimates determined that the devastating category five hurricane damaged or destroyed around 90% of the houses on the island.

The Grotto Home for the Homeless

After storms in Dominica, shelters frequently undergo construction, but the majority are not permanent. A report also noted that the current status of NGOs in Dominica is not very robust and that the people mainly rely on the government to provide these necessary facilities. One of the largest permanent housing facilities is the Grotto Home for the Homeless. This organization is one of the few that focuses on providing shelter for homeless Dominicans, though it has faced issues with both its facility and funding. This organization helps to highlight some of the key issues surrounding homelessness in Dominica.

The home, which can accommodate 60 persons, needed remodeling which began in 2008. All of the residents moved to a temporary facility while they waited. Due to the constant storms and the lack of funds, the new home still did not reach completion by 2018. This helps to show how the services that others provide for the homeless are not always effective.

There is not much data on homelessness in Dominica, but it is clear that the severity of the weather exacerbates it. Dominica ranks 12th out of 111 countries in the Composite Vulnerability Index which analyzes a countries vulnerability based on a number of factors including population, weather, diversity of business and education. Dominica has a high risk of rapidly losing stability, which often results in spikes in the homeless population.

However, it is clear that after the devastation that Hurricane Maria caused, the Dominican government has been working to create more reliable and more permanent housing for those who lost their homes and for those who cannot afford to repair damages.

 – Jackson Bramhall
Photo: Flickr

Hunger in DominicaThe Commonwealth of Dominica, better known as simply Dominica, is an island nation located just north of Venezuela in the Caribbean sea. Dominica is known for its breathtaking views and tropical climate. Unfortunately, the country struggles with issues of malnutrition that have led to other pressing health problems. Hunger in Dominica has largely gone unreported due to the small size and population of the country. Understanding the issues of hunger in Dominica can help the United States and other supporting countries better understand how to assist the struggling country.

Hunger in Dominica: 5 Fast Facts

  1. Obesity: Hunger in Dominica has directly led to obesity in many people throughout the country. Studies show that 35.6% of women and 19.9% of men are considered obese in Dominica. The high rates of obesity are most likely due to a deficiency in the consumption of vegetables. Compared to the global and regional averages, people in Dominica are consuming significantly fewer vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids.
  2. Anemia and Diabetes: Anaemia is a condition in which people suffer from an iron deficiency in their blood. The rates of anemia are steadily growing in Dominica. Reports show that about a quarter of all women in Dominica suffer from anemia. Furthermore, diabetes is also a growing issue. This may be due to the consumption of high levels of some fats, such as polyunsaturated. It was reported that 13.6% of women and 8.6% of men in Dominica have been diagnosed with diabetes.
  3. Dependency: Much of Dominica’s access to food comes from outside countries, such as the United States. Because Dominica has a small population (about 71,000 as of 2019), it is difficult for people to produce their own food that is healthy enough to sustain life. The dependency on other countries started in 1986. At this time, the country’s population steadily decreased until it reached one of its lowest points at the end of the decade. Dominica people consume about 55% of imported food, leading to a mainly Western diet. As a result of this, Dominica is susceptible to similar health issues as their Western counterparts, such as diabetes.
  4. Effects of Climate Change: Because of its location in the Caribbean, Dominica is susceptible to various natural disasters, most notably hurricanes. Hurricanes damage the economy of Dominica, as the country is subsequently unable to export goods essential to its economy. CO2 emissions have also affected the area, as they have been increasing steadily. In 2014, Dominica produced 1,909 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. These changes have affected the production of resources, which has also affected the citizens’ diets.
  5. Outside Assistance: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is active in Dominica through various relief efforts. The FAO provided support for Dominica following the tropical storm in 2015 that cost the country millions of dollars in damages, and have been working to regulate the food imports to prevent hunger in Dominica. Their relief efforts have been working in Dominica from 2016 to 2019. They hope to develop long term strategies to teach citizens how to maintain a healthy diet. They also can assist the country’s financial stability in the event of another natural disaster that greatly affects the economy.

Dominica is a country in the Caribbean that has steadily been struggling with consuming more nutritious foods for sustainable health. Compared to the rest of the world, hunger in Dominica is not a pressing issue. However, because of the country’s dependence on imports, Dominica people see a high rate of obesity and related health issues. Coupled with the effects of climate change, Dominica can benefit from developing long term strategies to assist its citizens.

Alondra Belford
Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Dominica 
Dominica, a 290-square-mile piece of paradise, is picturesque and surprisingly untouched. This small island has a population of 73,286 and has supported itself on its own agriculture rather than tourism. Its life expectancy is high and a record number of residents live well into their 100s. Here are 10 facts about life expectancy in Dominica.

1o Facts About Life Expectancy in Dominica

  1. Dominica boasts the sixth-highest life expectancy in the Americas, which stood at 77.4 years for the total population in 2018. The average male lives 74.4 years and the average female lives for 80.5 years.
  2. Historically, Dominica has had low mortality rates although those numbers have been fluctuating over the years. In 2000, mortality rates were 7.3 per 1,000 in the population. This number rose in 2007 to 8.44 and came back down to 7.9 in 2018.
  3. From 1990 to 2017, the mortality rate of children under age 5 has increased from 18.8 to 30.3. In addition, the mortality rate rose from 15.7 to 26.4 for children under age 1. These numbers seem high, but when one considers the island’s small population, the combined number of deaths is surprisingly low. For instance, the three leading causes of death for children and infants under 5-years-old from 2006 and 2010 were respiratory disorders specific to the perinatal period, congenital malformations and bacterial sepsis of the newborn. This resulted in only 99 deaths amongst this age group in those four years.
  4. Since 2000, trained health personnel has seen all pregnant women. No cases of vaccine-preventable diseases in children occurred between 2006 and 2010. Immunization coverage in 2009 remained at 100 percent for MMR, 99.4 percent for polio and 98.6 percent for BCG. In 2009, 96.8 percent of women visited public health facilities. In addition, around 3.4 percent visited private medical practitioners for prenatal care. Around 99 percent of births took place in a hospital. Moreover, mothers exclusively breastfed around 26 percent of babies for six months.
  5. From 2007 to 2009, there were 296 adult deaths between ages 20 and 59 and there were 40 deaths of young adults ages 15-24 from 2005 to 2009. Fifty percent of these deaths were from external causes like car accidents and homicides.
  6. Thirteen percent of Dominica’s total population was reportedly elderly in 2010 and the number is steadily increasing. The Yes We Care program launched in 2009. It provides relief to the members of the elderly population that need it the most. This program offers income-tax-free pensions, free hospitalization and a minimum pension for all non-pensionable persons retiring from the public service.
  7. People have cited Dominica’s pristine, unspoiled environment as the main reason for longevity on the island. Dominica’s waters are unpolluted and its vegetation is pesticide-free. A healthy diet also contributes to a high life expectancy. Traditionally, Dominicans’ diets include natural products from the forest, herbs and herbal medicines.
  8. Dominica holds the record for the highest number of centenarians in the world. Some call this island the home of the fountain of youth. At one point there were four centenarians on the same street. Surprisingly, there were 27 centenarians on the island. That is nearly four people per 10,000, 50 percent higher than Japan, and three times as many as in Britain. Moreover, the U.S. Dominica was the home of the oldest documented person, Ma Pampo who died in 2003 at age 128.
  9. Most of the physical fitness that some attribute to the people of Dominica is due to the mountainous nature of the island with its interior covered in thick rainforest. The islanders worked the land for years and today’s elderly had to walk long distances on rough terrain in their youth because there were few roads until well into the 1960s. Walking was a necessity of everyday life, along with hard physical work.
  10. Some fear that the story of Dominica’s remarkable centenarians will come to an end in another decade. This is because of the lifestyle changes of the island’s younger generation including American-style fast-food restaurants popping up and televisions in even the poorest households. One in four of the population owns a car and toiling on the land is a last choice job for the young. Benefiting from better medical care and improved public health, while living a pre-modern lifestyle is coming to an end. The new generation is becoming obese. In contrast, Dominica still has a large number of the older generation who have not known bad habits.

Dominica is the perfect example of how lifestyle affects longevity. The fact that Dominicans have found ways to sustain themselves without giving into large scale tourism has preserved their way of life and extended many of their lives. These 10 facts about life expectancy in Dominica highlight and support the importance of a healthy diet and proper exercise.

– Janice Athill
Photo: Flickr

Living Conditions in Dominica

Dominica is one of the islands in the Caribbean that suffered from two destructive hurricanes within the last four years. The hazardous climate in this region has been a catalyst for the building of resilient infrastructure. These top 10 facts about living conditions in Dominica highlight the benefit of disaster relief.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Dominica

  1. Dominica’s government is funded through the exchange of passports through the Citizenship by Investment Program. This program invites foreign residents to come and live on the island under certain agreements. One-third of the population of 74,027 lives on the coastline. The rest are scattered inland.
  2. Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has expressed concern for the living situations caused by Hurricanes Erika and Maria. The Citizenship by Investment Program is funding projects for housing developments that brave Dominica’s natural hazards. The residential reconstructions include electrical, cable and telephone lines that run beneath the surface.
  3. The state has an international disagreement with Venezuela’s dominion over Aves Island. This calls into question whether the circumstances fall under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. But instead of a military, the Commonwealth of Dominica has a police force that includes a coast guard.
  4. Dominica has subtropical valleys and cool coastlines. However, the mountainous parts of the island can experience flash floods. Between June and October, hurricanes pose a major threat. These natural hazards contribute to soil erosion.
  5. Dominica suffered disruption in more than 40 of its water systems as a result of Hurricane Maria’s destruction. The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance has partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to provide support with water, sanitation and hygiene. Access to safe drinking water was an urgent need for hurricane survivors.
  6. The Japan Caribbean Climate Change Partnership donated wood chippers, tillers, brush cutters, seeds, water tanks, soil testing equipment, machine-powered mist blowers and laptops to 40 Roseau Valley Farmers. The total cost of the project to equip farmers affected by Hurricane Maria’s devastation of agriculture $390,000.
  7. In an effort to sustain school feeding programs and engender the value of farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture is working to form an agro-entrepreneurship program in schools nationwide. The ministry has invested $70,000, not including other resources. The Junior Achievement Agricultural Program will use this opportunity to give students the experience of fundraising to cultivate their own food.
  8. The World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme assisted the Dominican government in the maintenance of public services following Hurricane Maria. The restoration of four hospitals, five medical clinics, three schools and six structures at the Dominica State College took place in the summer of 2108. More than 400 contractors learned the methods of climate resilient reconstruction.
  9. Plastic pollution has affected the island’s coast. In an effort to heal Dominica’s ecosystem, the country will have to restrain from using plastic through a plastic ban that the Prime Minister has introduced. The U.K. government is also funding the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme (CME), which will improve the economy’s tourism sector by developing navigation charts to reduce the damage to Dominica’s coral reefs.
  10. The U.K. government’s CME Programme will also restore a tide gauge at Roseau’s port to detect unsafe sea patterns. Instructions on the conservation of data equipment, like the Tidal Analysis Software Kit, and connections to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, as well as to other experts, will contribute to the region’s tsunami warning system. These foundations and skills will bring stronger pre-disaster security.

Though strides are being made to establish Dominica as the first climate-resilient country, there is still danger in the unpredictability of these natural disasters. These top 10 facts about living conditions in Dominica show how proactive development of a stable infrastructure is the most effective way to respond to calamity. Systems must be put in place to overcome adversity before the blow.

Crystal Tabares
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Girls' Education In Dominica

In the Eastern Caribbean, the Commonwealth of Dominica is a small island country along the Lesser Antilles. Originally inhabited by the Kalinga, and then colonized by Europeans, the country of almost 70 thousand gained national independence in 1978. As a middle-income developing country, Dominica has taken great strides toward promoting girls’ education and the prosperity of all its citizens. Fundamental to the government’s stance that education is essential to securing political, social and economic prosperity, the conviction prevails that all citizens regardless of ethnicity, gender or class have a right to an education.

Investing in girls’ education in Dominica is one of the best investments the country can make. Educated girls are healthier, participate more in the formal labor market with higher wages, have fewer children and provide a better life for future generations of the community as a whole. Traditionally, girls faced multiple disadvantages including extreme poverty, underserved locality and belonging to a minority ethnic group, which made completing their education even more of a challenge. Since the opening of new roadways and full access to a free public education for all its citizens, replacing a historically exclusive religious system of education, girls’ education in Dominica has flourished.

Educational Opportunities

Girls’ education in Dominica is a success story among the broader educational initiatives enacted in the country. Girls face no barrier to educational opportunities in matters of gender discrimination. All children between the ages of five and sixteen are required to attend school according to The Education Act of 1997. The government provides both primary and secondary education in Dominica with minimal charges for students and their families. This includes free textbooks and special assistance for poor students as well as grant money available for those seeking tertiary programs.

As a result, net primary enrollment in 2011/20112 was at 100 percent of the youth population. In fact, inclusion efforts in schooling have been so successful, girls have often had higher enrollment rates than boys in the past. In primary school education, during the school years 2006/07–2008/09, statistics show approximately 52 percent of students enrolled in school were girls. Additionally, girls show they often do better in primary school, repeating levels half as frequently as boys, and are least likely to drop out of school. This trend continued in secondary school where, in 2007, there was a female-to-male ratio of 1.06:1 in attendance.

Gender Gap in Education

According to the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), females outperform males in secondary schooling. They often outperform in English and Social Studies as well as traditionally male-dominated subjects like Mathematics and Science. While gender segregation as a result of cultural convictions still influences the educational path of females, girls today are more likely than ever to enter traditionally male-dominated fields like agriculture and technology in Dominica.

However, pregnancy remains a contentious issue. While dropouts in secondary school due to pregnancy have declined to the lowest rate in Dominica’s history, social stigma has historically strained the Education Act of 1997, which allows girls to return to school after pregnancies. The fate of girls returning from pregnancies often remains in the hands of the religious and personal beliefs of school administrations, sometimes encouraging unnecessary dropouts, while males involved in these pregnancies continue their education regardless. Although females continue to prevail in university settings, the higher they advance in their education, the smaller the ratio of female to male enrollment becomes. This is likely due to childbearing/family responsibilities and inadequate child care facilities to assist in their higher educational pursuits.

In the 1980’s, there were no laws in Dominica requiring children to attend school. Since taking initiatives like The Education Act, education has been a successful path for girls to advance themselves socially and economically. With an economy predominantly in agriculture and marked by men, by investing in girls’ education, Dominica not only combats social stigmas limiting their lifelong opportunities but also opens up new doors in the service sector for the country as a whole.

– Joseph Ventura
Photo: Flickr

How the U.S. Benefits From Foreign Aid to Dominica
Natural disasters occur globally, and many countries overcome these disasters with the help of foreign aid. Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm, hit Dominica on September 18, 2017. USAID has sent assistance to Dominica, which becomes beneficial to the U.S. by building good relations and maintaining a positive reputation by working with other countries in providing foreign assistance to Dominica.

The U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to Dominica by Fostering Good Relations

All countries, especially impoverished ones, need help to recover from a natural disaster of Hurricane Maria’s magnitude. The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Dominica by stepping in and using its power to help, which strengthens relations between the countries. After Hurricane Maria, Samaritan’s Purse, the Pan American Health Organization and the International Federation of the Red Cross, all under USAID, were able to contribute $3.25 million in foreign aid to Dominica.

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Southern Command worked with USAID’s Caribbean Hurricanes Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to help repair roofs in Dominica that were damaged by the hurricane. USAID provided plastic sheeting and DART taught a group of local builders how to use the tools provided to fix the damaged roofs properly. Through donations and direct assistance to individuals, the U.S. is building good relations with other countries.

International Collaborations Build a Positive Reputation

The U.S. has worked with other countries to provide water, food and tools to rebuild Dominica immediately after Hurricane Maria hit the island. The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) contributed about 10 metric tons of food, which fed around 25,000 people in Dominica over three months. By assisting with the WFP’s food distribution, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Dominica by using its resources to help impoverished countries, which grows a positive international reputation.

Collaborations with other countries to help provide foreign aid to developing countries do make a difference and help the U.S. maintain a positive reputation. According to Diálogo Digital Military Magazine, the prime minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, commented positively on the progress the U.S. and other countries have made. He stated, “We have many allies. Thanks for helping my people, without you, our partner nations, it would not have been possible to get past the first phase of this emergency.”

Countries dealing with poverty and disasters benefit from other countries stepping in to help via foreign aid, and that help allows the affected country to get back on its feet. The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Dominica through maintaining its positive reputation by doing good for poor countries.

While natural disasters can do great damage to countries dealing with poverty, those countries can also recover promptly with the foreign aid provided by other countries. The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Dominica by connecting with its people to encourage good relations, as well as ensuring a positive reputation by reaching out to less developed countries in times of need. The U.S. can retain in its positive relationship with the government of Dominica by continuing to support the country, especially when natural disasters hit.

– Kelly Kipfer
Photo: Flickr

How Credit Access in Dominica Ensures Growth

It is particularly important for people to have credit access in Dominica. Borrowed money is the main reason why Dominica has been able to rebound following Hurricane Maria individually and on a national level.

Two Category 5 hurricanes devastated Dominica in September and October of last year and caused heavy damage to the country’s infrastructure and the livelihoods of its citizens. Half a year later, the situation in Dominica has improved. A majority of water systems have been repaired, most schools have reopened and diverse foodstuffs have reappeared on market shelves.

There is still a need for reconstruction. Forty-four percent of the buildings on the island were destroyed, and another 55.5 percent had some degree of roof damage. As of early February, electricity was unavailable in 80 percent of Dominica. Credit access in Dominica functions as an important crutch to help people rebound during this time of reconstruction. A large portion of the population had their livelihoods threatened, especially those in agriculture and tourism.

Dominica’s national bank requires that individuals be employed for a continuous one-year period with their current employer in order to qualify for a personal loan. For people who depended on tourism and agriculture to survive, meeting this requirement is a high bar. The hurricane ripped plant life out of the ground, damaging crops. The tourism industry experienced hard times as well, with all tourism halted for months.

Corporations have recognized the high level of need for credit access in Dominica and have done their part to allow borrowed goods and services. Flow, a subsidiary of Cable & Wireless Communications, began operations to restore mobile services to Dominica in good faith, even extending free credit to help mobile customers communicate with friends and family.

Ensuring credit access in Dominica is beneficial to the companies that provide it. Dominica’s economy as a whole was on the rise in early 2017, with a decrease in government debt and an increase in tourism. Negative growth in Dominica was estimated at 6.4 percent due to Maria, but the island’s economy is expected to rebound, with an estimated 6.9 percent growth in 2018 as it rebuilds.

Credit access in Dominica comes in the form of both individual and national needs. Over 400 higher-ups from governments, civil society organizations and the private sector mobilized to support reconstruction efforts following Maria. Support for Dominica totaled over $1.3 billion in pledges and over $1 billion in loans and debt relief.

Despite the setback from the hurricanes, Dominica’s economy is still expected to trend upward, which bodes well for those supplying lines of credit. The Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) is one such company supplying financial aid to the people of Dominica.

The ECCU recorded slow growth in the country’s economy, and Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit noted that the potential capital of banks in the ECCU has improved since non-performing loans are trending upward as a consequence of recent hurricanes.

Dominica has a long history of bouncing back from natural disasters. Credit access in Dominica ensures that the nation becomes stronger and more resilient, as well as offering an immense opportunity for those providing capital.

– Sam Bramlett

Photo: Flickr