Magazen is a small community located in the eastern portion of the Northern Massive in Haiti, close to the Dominican Republic border. The community consists of 120 families living in conditions of extreme poverty in a highly-degraded environment. Magazen is very remote. Access to the community is limited and it cannot be reached by motorized transportation. Residents lack access to essential basic services, such as safe water, health and education services, and electricity. Lighting is available via benzene or kerosene lamps and some residents have never seen electrical lights.
The local economy is mainly based on subsistence farming, which meets families’ basic needs but produces very little surplus to sell at the local market. Inappropriate farming practices contribute to progressive and ongoing land degradation, resulting in deforestation and loss of tree cover as well as infertile and unproductive soil. The lack of electricity has wide-reaching ramifications for the community and imposes a barrier to its development. Fortunately, Magazen has been integrated into the Quisqueya Verde National Plan, a development plan that focuses on disseminating environmental knowledge to the people living in the area and on sustainable development.
Towards a Solution
To address this challenge, the Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) Haiti initiated a South-South cooperation exchange with GEF SGP Dominican Republic to draw on the latter’s expertise in establishing a community-led micro- hydroelectric system. The Dominican Republic has been successful in installing micro- hydroelectric systems in 48 communities, which have provided electricity to more than 4,500 families and more than 20,000 people, with an installed capacity of more than 1.3 MW. This project was supported by GEF SPG and the NGO Guakía Ambiente. The objective of the exchange was to provide the Magazen community with a clean source of electricity and increase residents’ opportunities by improving their livelihoods.
Between 2009 and 2010, a group of community leaders from Magazen visited the micro-hydroelectric plant in Fundo Grande in Dominican Republic. The following year, an expert from the Dominican Republic conducted a feasibility study in Magazen and submitted a project proposal to GEF SGP Haiti for a grant. With support from the SGP, the project commenced in 2012 with a visit by a group of young community members from Magazen to the established micro-hydroelectric plant communities in the Dominican Republic, where they learned about power station management directly from the locals. In turn, experts from the Dominican Republic visited Magazen to train community members to assemble and install the system and the best ways to train Haitian technicians to maintain it.
On 15 June 2016, the Magazen hydroelectric power plant was inaugurated. The system provides 15 kW of power and was established using the Arende Merende river to ensure access to electricity for 74 families in the Magazen community. To achieve this, several community members worked without pay for more than two years. They constructed an 800-metre-long water line by laying down 192 pipes of 6′ each (168 PVC SDR-26 and 20 iron) and 4 iron pipes of 8′ in trenches. Electricity is produced by means of a 10 kW Pelton turbine and a 15-kW horizontal synchronous generator. It is carried through a primary network with a total length of 1,600 m. Two transformers were used for transmission – one 15 kW and one 25 kW. Each family receives average power of about 150 W, which is sufficient to meet local energy needs. The power plant also provides enough electricity to run street lights for the entire community.
The micro-hydroelectric project relied on the direct involvement of the beneficiaries, who provided all unskilled labour and participated in all activities related to the construction of the system, with the support of the GEF SGP and Guakía Ambiente. The project also included training on climate change, conservation of natural resources, management of micro-hydroelectric systems and basic electricity. As a result, community members are contributing to the achievement of SDG 13: Climate action. With improved technical and administrative capacities, they are managing their new, clean micro-hydroelectric facility without external help and reducing their CO2 emissions, which is contributing to the sustainability of the project.
Following this first project, a second phase intervention was initiated in Magazen to improve local productivity and protect watersheds. Furthermore, other Haitian communities have requested support for new feasibility studies.
Sustainable Development Goal targets(s): 13.3
Countries/ territories involved: the Dominican Republic, Haiti
Supported by: GEF Small Grants Programme
Implementing entities: GEF Small Grants Programme Haiti and Guakía Ambiente (NGO)
Project status: Completed
Project period: 2009 – 2016
URL of the practice: goo.gl/UvqAjn
- Mr. Jean Parnell Dimanche, GEF SGP National Coordinator, Haiti firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mr. Alberto Sanchez, GEF SGP National Coordinator, Dominican Republic, email@example.com
- Ms. Michela Izzo, Guakía Ambiente, firstname.lastname@example.org