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Public Statement 2013

Title Access to electricity services in rural communities in the Dominican Republic through the installation of four micro hydroelectric systems.
Type of organization Grassroots support organization
Country Dominican Republic
Duration  3 years
IAF funding   $312,930
Counterpart committed $1,261,595
Number of direct &
indirect beneficiaries

400 direct and 1250 indirect

Primary program area Environment/Education and training 

Organizational background:

GUAKIA AMBIENTE formed in 2008 in conjunction with the Small Grants Program (PPS) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2008 and became legally constituted on Aug. 5, 2011. It promotes development in communities through the responsible management of natural resources. Before forming GUAKIA AMBIENTE, its founder collaborated with PPS to provide to hundreds of rural communities training in natural-resource management and related technical support, including for 15 micro hydroelectric systems directly benefiting more than 1,000 families. Since its incorporation, GUAKIA AMBIENTE has successfully applied the same process it is proposing to three projects involving micro hydroelectric systems, via a “learning through doing” approach. GUAKIA AMBIENTE doesn’t install these systems for communities. It provides training, accompaniment and technical support throughout a long, slow process that lets the communities gain the skills and expertise to manage the installation, use and maintenance of the systems. Participants also learn through exchanges with other communities.

GUAKIA AMBIENTE’s technical team includes an expert in community-managed micro hydroelectric systems, an accountant, an administrative assistant and three specialized agronomist-engineers who are contracted as needed. The engineers are experienced in providing support for development initiatives with a focus on community participation. A general assembly of GUAKIA AMBIENTE’s members meets annually or as needed and has final say in the direction and management of the organization. The board of six directors members oversees administrative functions and represents the organization externally. In addition to PPS, the governments of Japan and France as well as the Dominican Secretariat for Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic (MARENA) have funded GUAKIA AMBIENTE.

Project objective:
To improve access to clean water in four communities in the provinces of La Vega, Duarte, and San José de Ocoa in rural Dominican Republic. 


GUAKIA AMBIENTE will work with the communities of Mata de Café, Arroyo Frío, El Higuito, and Chinguelo to construct, maintain and use community-run micro hydroelectric systems that generate energy using the natural flow of water. Residents will acquire a clean and reliable source of electricity, opening opportunities in education, healthcare and income- generation. The project should benefit 400 Dominicans and their community organizations directly and another 2,400 Dominicans indirectly.

Learning opportunity:
While funding a micro hydroelectric project would be a unique addition to the IAF’s portfolio, the way in which the community assumes responsibility for the system is even more important. The knowledge and confidence resulting from participation in construction, maintenance and the creation of a system of payment and savings, as well as access to la Red Dominicana para el Desarrollo Sostenible de las Energías Renovables (REDSER), a large and innovative network of grassroots groups and specialists working in sustainable electric power, offers insights into the way communities to build agency and develop initiatives.