On Friday, July 6th the City College of New York – InteRDom service learning program came to a close with a special activity where all participants and collaborators presented the results of their roles in the 4-week initiative and their strategies for ensuring the project’s sustainability in the communities of Bayona and Cielo.
Mr. Luis Eduardo Peña of the Dominican Ministry of Agriculture declared the project a great success and reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to ensuring a sustained presence in the communities.
During the event, the students of City College and their counterparts, the high school students representing the communities, were presented with a certificate from the Dominican Ministry of Agriculture stating that they have completed a capacitation program allowing them to give workshops on the process of urban gardening. Mr. Luis Eduardo Peña of the Dominican Ministry of Agriculture declared the project a great success and reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to ensuring a sustained presence in the communities.
Each of the three teams of two CCNY students also presented the results of the research conducted in order to fulfill their specific roles in the project. The Audiovisual Production Coordinators presented a video documenting the project through interviews and other audiovisual material, while the Participation Evaluators gave a presentation on the results of their survey of the communities’ reasons for participating in the initiative. Finally, the Coordinators of Gender-Inclusiveness presented a report on the ways that community members of both genders participated in the project and how the government and other institutions can ensure continued enthusiasm amongst both men and women for similar initiatives. Lastly, CCNY students collectively presented a manual that may be distributed to present as well as future beneficiaries on how to create gardens, make compost, upkeep and harvest.
The activity came on the heels of a farewell dinner hosted on Wednesday, July 4 by one of the collaborating organizations, ADRA Dominicana, at the Garden-View Center for Healthy Living. A fully organic and vegetarian meal, the dinner provided a forum for all of the collaborators in the project to experience the kind of meals that could be prepared by the beneficiaries of the gardens, as well as to socialize, exchange contact information and enjoy one of their last opportunities to come together.
Also at the dinner, “guardian angels” were revealed. “Guardian angels” was a community-building activity implemented throughout the entirety of the 4-week program, wherein each person involved in the project drew a name from a pool of all participants and was charged with doing little things throughout the project to make that person feel good and appreciated. It served to build strong relationships between people from very different walks of life and to help the City College students to become more involved in the communities in which they were working.
The urban gardening initiative in Bayona and Cielo is a collaborative effort between The Dominican Republic Ministry of Agriculture, ADRA Dominicana, the National Botanical Gardens, Global Coalition for Peace and InteRDom Internships in the Dominican Republic.
The program developed between City College and InteRDom is a credit-bearing course that exposes students to both academic and practical experiences that increase their international awareness, cultural sensitivity, professional development and Spanish-language capacities.
The internship program, InteRDom, an initiative of Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), is the premier internship, research and academic study program in the Dominican Republic. It offers international students the opportunity to research important topics at the forefront of the United Nations agenda, obtain professional experience by interning with Dominican organizations and businesses related to their fields of study and/or earn academic credits by taking courses and seminars at a local university.