Community-driven Micro Hydropower Systems in the Dominican Republic and Haiti

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Community-driven micro hydropower systems have proven to be a very effective solution in addressing basic needs of vulnerable groups, while contributing to climate change mitigation and environmental protection. The Dominican Republic has experience in installing 46 community micro-hydropower systems. Due to the adaptability and replicability of the model, and based on local empowerment and multi-stakeholder cooperation, the project has great potential to be scaled through South-South cooperation. In fact, this experience has encouraged Haitian communities and institutions to start similar processes in their country.

No Poverty , Zero Hunger , Good Health and Well-Being , Gender Equality , Affordable and Clean Energy , Sustainable Cities and Communities , Climate Action , Expand developing country energy infrastructure, upgrade technology

The Dominican Republic is faced with an insufficient supply of electricity. The country's electrical systems are of low quality and reliability. The situation is particularly critical in rural areas, where lack of electricity constitutes a significant barrier to human development, and specifically impacts vulnerable groups, such as women and young people.

While the Dominican Republic may have scarce availability of electricity, the country is dominated by young mountainous structures, with steep slopes and narrow valleys, where water resources are abundant. In addition, the Government passed a law in 2007 to promote and give facilities to develop renewable energy sources, which together with a growing interest of numerous national and international entities, successfully scaled up the community-driven micro-hydropower systems. In fact, since then, there have been considerable developments in community micro-hydropower systems in the Dominican Republic.

In particular, with the leadership of the GEF Small Grants Programme and Guakía Ambiente, 46 community-owned micro hydropower systems have been in operation, with a capacity of more than 1.3 MW. These micro hydropower systems are benefiting over 4,500 families and 20,000 people in the Dominican Republic.

Among the reasons behind the success of the projects are:

  • The learning by doing approach to teach the skills necessary to install, use and maintain the micro hydropower systems
  • The model’s emphasis on community autonomy with regard to the systems management.
  • The approach focuses on the collaboration of grassroots groups who receive training, and are also driving the process. In the community based-Organization (CBOs), rest the responsibility to manage all aspects of their respective installations, specifically the community is responsible for both the technical and financial administration.
  • This initiative has been recognized as a success story in the promotion of environmental sustainability through community initiatives and local empowerment.

The project has also been recognized as a valuable example of multi-stakeholder participation. In fact, since 2009, a successful partnership was established between the UNDP Smalls Grants Programme (SGP) in Dominican Republic, and National Government, Private Sector, NGOs, CBOs and Guakía Ambiente, aiming to spread the model of community micro Hydro Plants.

Due to its successful project, Guakía Ambiente was awarded the Energy Globe Award 2017 in the Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic , Haiti

UNDP GEF-Small Grants Programmee , Guakia Ambiente , Inter-American Foundation , Government of the Dominican Republic (Rural and Suburban Electricification Unit)

UNDP GEF-Small Grants Programmee , Guakia Ambiente

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