Young and Old Value Working Together

This program makes a special point of including young and old – and everyone in between – in its activities. A popular option is to involve them in all aspects of community tree nurseries: planning, planting, monitoring, and caring for the trees. In one rural community, 35 youth between the ages of 16 and 25 interacted with 27 at-risk older adults aged 70-90 in the nursery.

Apart from the obvious opportunity for the two age groups to mingle and enjoy each other’s humor, energy and wisdom, engaging with them is a way for local partner SSID to monitor the overall health, nutritional needs and mental health status of each group. And get some much-needed work done in the process.

Even though some activities had to be delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic, an elderly participant named Rita gave an enthusiastic report of her time at the nursery:

“Thanks to SSID for taking the elderly into account. No one had done anything for us before. I am a widow and I live with a grandson who takes care of me. Before we were given the opportunity to become involved at the nursery, I did not go out anywhere or do anything. I just swept my yard every day, sometimes more than once. Now I go to meetings, I converse and play with other older people and anyone else who shows up. We elders go to the tree nursery together to help keep it clean. When they start transplanting, we help because some of us already have experience in doing that. I water the plants when they ask me to. We love feeling this connection with the young people and the other community members. We would love to do more, but due to the pandemic, we have to be careful.”

During the most recent reporting period, SSID offered a workshop titled, “Production and marketing of plants; how to graft plants; managing and operating tree nurseries.” Forty people, including youth, older people, men, and women, attended four small-group training events (10 participants each), two in each community. Elsewhere, a 7,000 sq ft tree nursery with a 40,000-plant capacity was built. It is ready to produce coffee, avocado, and other species demanded by the community and the market.

SSID staff observed, “Community tree nurseries are excellent ways to help the local economy. And community social capital (networks, groups, families) is key for project success.”

Dominican Republic San Juan and Dajabón Program
Led by Church World Service and Local Partner: Servicio Social de Iglesias Dominicanas (SSID)

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