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4 posts from October 2012


Organizational Leadership

(The following is taken from Pelumi Ogunlana's photo essay focusing on the day-in-the-life of a community leader).  

My interview was with Celedonio “El Cabo” Rosario, lifetime resident of Rio Grande Abajo, Dominican Republic. In this community, Celedonio is a leader. He is the vice-president of Participación Comunitaria (literally translating to community participation), a community-based organization that works to better the local environment.  He has been involved in the organization for 12 of its 14 years of existence. He demonstrates his leadership in the group’s monthly workshops about the environment and projects picking up trash and cleaning the neighborhood.  He has also helped with building better stoves for the community and making water filters. Before the water filters, the people of Rio Grande Abajo were complaining of stomach pains and diarrhea.

Celedonio says a leader is someone who works with an organization. He says he is a leader because he works with Participación Comunitaria and because people know him. He enjoys his job because it includes talking to many people. One of the dreams he has for the community is to have a health center. He hopes to have many beds, nurses, and rooms for volunteers.

Caption: El Cabo getting ready for a meeting. At the meeting all of the organizations in Rio Grande Abajo talked about their future plans. 

-Pelumi Ogunlana, University of Missouri

Motherly Care

(The following is taken from Hannah Loppnow's photo essay focusing on the day-in-the-life of a community leader).  

Although she has been involved in the group for many years, this is Divina Marte’s first year as the leader of the Group of Mothers of Altagracia. She has lived in Rio Grande Abajo, a small community in rural countryside of the Dominican Republic, her whole life. Divina takes pride in the relationships she has nourished with the mothers and holds family very close to her heart. She has worked to help others for her whole life and is currently in her twenty-sixth year as a nurse at the local hospital. Divina believes being a leader in her community is a chance to be a voice for others and to make positive change in society.

DivinaCaption: This is Divina, the leader of the Group of Mothers of Altagracia, who kindly explained to me what the purpose of their group was in the community.

-Hannah Loppnow, St. Norbert College

Defining Leadership

(The following is taken from Annie Safar's photo essay focusing on the day-in-the-life of a community leader).  

Arriving in the town of Rio Grande Abajo, Dominican Republic, some unassuming characters welcomed the group; they all appeared to be of similar age to the students in our student group. I was told that my subject for the weekend was called, “El Dictador” (translating directly to “the dictator”), and had reservations about meeting the individual who garnered that name.  I was surprised to meet an extremely welcoming and humble individual aptly clad in a bright green shirt. Meet the president of Brigada Verde, Cristino.

Like many of the community, Cristino has called Rio Grande Abajo home for his whole life, a total of twenty-two years. For the past four years Cristino has assumed the presidency of Brigada Verde, an environmentally-minded, youth-driven organization.  The mission of Brigada Verde is to care for, conserve, and educate about the environment. Through community chats, house visits, and the involvement of youth, Cristino promotes the mission of the group.  Cristino defined leadership as a privilege to serve the community and a series of actions to help, advise, and facilitate what is necessary. After observing him for a weekend, it is clear that this leader leads by daily example. While the club’s presence in the community is strong, future plans include establishing an office space and continuing to manage the disorder of trash in the community. Under the guidance of Cristino, the club will surely be able to achieve these goals. 

CristinoCaption: Cristino (left) gives a community tour to our student group, explaining the various functions of Brigade Verde.

-Annie Safar, University of Washington


A Lifetime of Community Participation

(The following is taken from Jackie Creed's photo essay focusing on the day-in-the-life of a community leader).  

On one very memorable weekend in the quaint community of Rio Grande Abajo, Dominican Republic, I was lucky to meet Pápin, a very active community member intent on making change. He has dedicated his life to improving his home community here in Rio Grande Abajo. He is the leader of the group called Participación Ciudadana (literally translated to civic engagement), which offers talks and workshops to help people gain the skills they need to serve in areas like health and environmental justice. He said that being a leader means being prepared to help your community. His organization serves others by creating leaders to promote larger social justice. This organization also gives resources to schools in need and is constructing a local health clinic.

PapinCaption: Pápin gazing over the community he has called home all of his life.

-Jackie Creed, Stonehill College