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Welcome to Project Nigua International


Read first before proceeding:
    Project Nigua was and is still meant to become a model to assist the underprivileged children, youth and their families in developing and emerging countries.
PNI is for many of the establishment a "Threat".
Yes you are reading right; a THREAT!
    The principle of operations and procedures of PNI are the true tools for self empowerment and true sustainability! It was originally loosely based on the success of the Brazilian town of Curitiba that has managed to implement such profound changes since the 1970's. Also the city is truly prospering, hardly a soul is aware of its existence unless you actually live in Brazil. However from "political insiders" we do know that Curitiba is visited by officials, city planners and similar from all over the globe on a daily basis. The silence about this city is akin to the silence on Area-51 almost.

The sad fact is and remains that the True Elite and 1% does NOT WANT such projects to succeed!

    Thus PNI has been boycotted and stifled in its launch and success since its very conception. So far all that we have managed to achieve is to sponsor 2 boys and enable them an education that placed them into a relative safe and good income bracket. They had takes special technical courses that enables them to be employed in the better levels of the skilled labour market. These courses have been financed by the many contributors to PNI.
    Had we succeeded right from the start, we would not have just changed the lives of 2 boys but the lives of at least 200 to 500 entire families. We could have transplanted the model into any developing country and made just minor adjustments to the cultural situation of the same. Instead all that we have to show for as a "success" are 2 boys who graduated in skilled technical fields.
    We have always claimed that any "-Ism" - < Catial-ISM, Commun-ISM, Social-Ism > proposal will not work. All that we are doing is re-painting the same old broken vehicle and pretending it is a new car. One has to begin something totally NEW and totally removed from any former model. Curitiba has done that, for the exception of "education" which is part and parcel of the core values of PNI.
    After a long period of frustration, stagnation and simply not knowing what to do next, we have decided to again try to re-launch the project. Below are the full outlines of the project and it is up to you to make it happen.
    We shall underline that in all our links we stipulate that the profits from "Tiny Eden" and "Little Heroes" are going to the project. Again many of those who oppose us have boycotted and even defamed the books. No one was yet able to quote one paragraph, page or chapter in any of the books that would justify them as "vile, unfit, pornographic or else".
All books of the "Tiny Eden" Series present actually a NEW model of co-existence that is skilfully woven inot gripping adventure stories. 
    So we "Depend on the sales of books" unless someone comes out of the woodwork and hands us 20 Million $ for the project. Now we have managed to publish the books in E-book formats and have dropped the prices considerably. So you do no longer have to hand out 25$ plus S&H but can download the same for a mere $5.99 for each of the "Tiny Eden" volumes and $1.99 for "Little Heroes". We do have higher priced hard copies available, but if one does not have the cash to spend that much, the E-book is rather an easy purchase.

And now get ready for a Long reading below:


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Table of Content:
    Mission & Introduction
    Project Outline
        Education
        Child Labour & Poverty
        The "Glass Ceiling of Poverty"
        Energy
    The challenges of recycling
        Collection
        "From the Ground Up"
        Concentration of efforts
        Profits before people
        Automation
    Funding & Projections
        Fund management
        Current & future goals
        Why the Dominican Republic?
        Why Canadian involvement?       
    Conclusion

    Mission statement

    The mission of this project is to provide the dispossessed and destitute members of the population in a developing country with the tools and education to allow them to create and maintain a clean, thriving, and self-sustaining micro-economy, while creating a safe and secure environment for their children to grow and thrive free of the threats of sex predators and drug-dealers.

    Introduction

    The dilemma of the developing world is how to bridge the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor.  Caught in a web of ignorance, corruption, and ineffective if not totally absent justice systems, the poor are virtually condemned to remain low wage labourers. Their only hope seems to be to succumb to the ever-increasing temptation to make a living with drugs and/or prostitution. Child prostitution and the use of children as “mules” for transporting and delivering illegal drugs are on the rise in many, if not most, developing countries, exposing these most vulnerable members of our society to the dangers of substance abuse, violence, and the spread of AIDS.

    While the western world tries to stem child prostitution and drug addiction with more and more stringent and controlling laws, they consistently ignore the simplest solution to this problem. Child prostitution is and has always been a straightforward problem of simple survival for those affected by rampant poverty. A 1994 U.N. survey in Columbia came to the conclusion that the average child in the sex trade generates the equivalent of  six months’ income for a middle class government employee with only one month’s “work”.

    The minimum wage in most developing nations is not enough for anyone to live in even the lowest degree of comfort. In such countries minimum wage means that one has just enough so as not to die, assuming all goes well. For anyone in the situation of desperately ensuring his or her daily survival, such an income projection overrides all common sense, and any hope of a thoughtful evaluation of the risks of such a “profession” is quickly drowned in a river of “easy money”. The same holds true for drug dealing and other illegal occupations.

    Besides risking injury and STD’s, many of these children also turn to sniffing glue in order to maintain the stamina to “work” a full day. Most of those who turn to that habit never make it much past the age of 16; they die of complications related to the constant inhalation of the noxious chemicals in the glue.
It takes a strong moral foundation for such children to resist the temptation to fall into that way of life and instead remain honest and eke out a living, especially at a bare subsistence level. Even with such a good foundation, however, something as simple as a sudden illness of a family member that requires even a small amount of extra money for medication can very often be the trigger to “jump the fence”.

    The problem in developing countries is that the numbers of children who engage in prostitution and drug dealing are far higher than in developed nations and consist primarily of children who would never give these avenues a second thought if any other option were available. The average Canadian child is not likely to turn to drugs and prostitution - even if raised under the worst conditions - because Canadian children can rely on a decent social welfare system and institutions that will support them to some degree in obtaining at least the basic necessities. The children of developing nations do not have that luxury.

If we provide these children with true and tangible hope and solutions to their problems, then the lure of fast money with drugs and prostitution will be attractive only to those who are already of a criminal mindset, as it is presently in all countries regardless of the economic conditions. If we refuse to do so, no number of anti-child prostitution laws or anti-drug laws will change a thing. We may not dry up the demand for drugs or child prostitutes, but we can dry up the need for the affected children to see these things as their only hope of survival. If we really care for children, then, if we really mean it when we profess to be determined to end the curse of child sex abuse and drug addiction, then projects like this one are the only way to offer them a way out.

    Many people might feel uncomfortable that such topics are raised in the discussion of this project, especially in the introduction.  However, we see it quite differently.  We would like to point out the fact that one of Montreal’s French-language daily newspapers mentioned in an article during the winter of 2005-06 that the Dominican Republic has begun to appear on the radar of the RCMP as a major destination for child sex tourism.  Although AIDS is not yet a real threat for the Dominican Republic as it is in Haiti, it does not require much thought to realise that child prostitution is not conducive to halting the spread of AIDS.

    Those who so eagerly jump on the bandwagon to fight child sex abuse are under the mistaken impression that these children are the victims of some perverted few.  They believe that these children must have been pimped or kidnapped and forced into this “work”.  Regrettably, nothing could be further from the truth.  The very economic conditions these children live in are the root cause of their making the choice to enter this “profession”.

    If one finds Canadian child prostitute, he or she is likely among a relative small percentage of runaways and drug abusers himself, or is from one of the small percentage of homes in Canadian society with a history of mental and psychological disorders, substance abuse, or other dysfunctional family patterns. The child prostitute in the Dominican Republic and other developing nations is unfortunately among the majority of children from the slums who engage in these activities for simple economic survival.  It should be relatively obvious that in the child-sex trade, the majority of those affected are among those who are “undocumented” and have few or no other alternatives. 

    The only way to end this scourge is by giving these children an alternative exit from poverty.  The sad part of the entire child prostitution issue is that these children are not forced into such “work”; they are instead “encouraged” by parents or peers or do so of their own choosing simply because of poverty. Policing the pedophile is not the answer. We must work to dry up the “supply”.  If the swamp of abundance is dried up, the remaining relatively minor percentage of instances of child sexual predators can be much better policed and monitored.

    In the developing countries, the idea of an extended childhood does not apply in the same way as it does in G-8 countries.  Because children are seen as a labour force inside the household and as an income provider at a later age, people in developing nations generally look at children not in terms of legal age, but rather in terms of physical development and maturity.  Therefore, a 9-year-old might be used to assist in the household chores while a 12-year-old will be seen as being able to participate in the labour market. The “market value” of that 12-year-old boy will be measured in his muscle strength, while a girl of the same aged would have value as a substitute housekeeper, babysitter, and cook. For these people the term “child” applies to children below the age of 12 and with limited physical strength. A “child” to these people, then, is someone that must still be watched over and therefore has no immediate, direct value to the family.

    For the most destitute families the value of a child can rise dramatically if that child is “employed” in child prostitution or being a “mule” in the drug trade. A business associate of one of the founders of this project once stated with sad sarcasm that he judges the economic performance of the Dominican Republic on the average ages of the child prostitutes that can be seen in the streets. On his scale, the economic performance is “healthy” if the average age of the visible child prostitutes is around 12 years. It is a “poor” economy if the average age drops to 10 years.  At the time my associate made this statement in the fall of 2003, he rated the economy as “desperate” because he had observed the some children in the “trade” as young as 9 years old.

    Unfortunately, many of these child prostitutes take to sniffing glue in order to maintain their stamina to “work”, resulting in far too many deaths of people between the ages of 16 and 24 from causes related to the inhalation of the fumes of both gasoline and toluene from industrial glue.
Child prostitution has always been the last-resort form of employment for the truly destitute.  No matter how-well policed this issue is in Canada or the rest of the world and no matter what anti-child sex laws we might have on our books, they will not change the reality of this issue. Unless every foreign country has every tourist escorted by a policeman at all times, no laws against child prostitution crimes committed abroad will have any teeth whatsoever. 

Those who claim to truly care for the children and profess to have a will to fight child-sex abuse need not look any further than full support of this project for a chance to have a real and lasting effect.

    While the media want us to believe that there are obscure, secret cabals of people who pull the strings and operate chains of clandestine brothels in the child-sex industry, the reality is much different.  The real reasons for the existence of this “trade” are in the hands of our foreign policy makers, our economic aid decisions and our misinterpretation of the daily reality of these people.

    Please note that our intimate knowledge concerning this issue is due that the fact that some of the core families involved in this project have privately helped several children to leave this “work”.  These children in turn have provided us with a detailed account of the reality of the problem. Our accounts concerning this topic are not tailored to obtain high ratings for a television documentary but are the plain and simple facts that we have seen for ourselves.

    The principle ideas behind the project were not conceived in the air-conditioned boardrooms of big business. Some of the very same desperate children the project is meant to serve conceived them in the slums of the barrio of Nigua. The driving idea behind the project is the age-old saying about teaching a man to fish. Our approach is to build and utilise an educational system that is based on a proper apprenticeship program: 2/3 academics and 1/3 practical education.

    The funding for the continuation of the project will come from its own economic endeavours based mainly on recycling, R&D, and application of environmentally and economically viable solutions to everyday problems. A simple one-time investment will set this project in motion and turn it into a self-sustaining and growing entity. In the end it will provide us with well-educated trained supporters. It will become a turnkey entity that can be moved into any country with similar problems and conditions and it will become a way of life and a way out for those who now have little hope.

    Our present economic models unfortunately do not seem to include the environment as part of the equation, so it is obvious that our approach to economic and social development as we presently apply it will fail. When we talk about schools and education we envision large amounts of money being spent without much immediate return. However, the Project Nigua approach described below is a true solution to these problems. It is based on environmentally sound and workable principles and is a totally self-sustaining endeavour. The solutions provided by our project will negate both the necessity and the incentive for these children to seek a way out of their situation by falling into the traps of illegal and dangerous activities.

    We can juggle the numbers and prognoses any way we want, and we will still be faced with a formidable opposition. However, if we can see this project through, the voices of the opposition will be forced into silence. We will no longer just be explaining our dreams; we will have visible and tangible proof that our ideas work, and through this working example we can properly educate these children who will grow up to become productive adult citizens of both their country and the world.

    Outline of Project Nigua

    The basics of Project Nigua were originally conceived in July 2001 and have steadily evolved into a complete proposal for an environmentally sound and self-supporting economic and social development plan for the Dominican Republic. The project is named for a small village near Santo Domingo. This village was chosen as our starting point for the simple reason that personal funds in excess of USD $ 50,000 and more than five years of direct efforts have already been invested by the project principals in laying the groundwork there.

    The majority of these funds were used to pay for travel expenses, interpreters, and other miscellaneous costs of several “in-country” trips to collect information on general issues specific to the country and the location within it, determine the level of education of the natives, and ascertain the viability of operating a recycling program there. Some of the funds were also used to better the lives of some of the individual families directly involved with the project.

    The solutions we have come up with as a result of these information-gathering trips are unique. Our main goal is to enable the children and their families to make a good income while obtaining a quality education, both generally and in technical skills. The entire project is based on creating a supportive environment that is devoid of any special interest agendas such as those of religion, politics, or any other dominating factors.

    It is also a strongly green-friendly approach. When we say “Green”, we do not mean that it is subject to Green Party Ideology, but rather the more common understanding of “Green”, meaning that creating and investing in environmentally sound practices is a needed solution to our present problems and a vital part of our future. If a developing nation does not become overly dependent on fossil fuels in the first place, there is less need for damage control and upheaval later in order to revamp the economy and restore the environment. Developing nations are usually not even close to the level of energy consumption of the G-8 nations, and if we can provide solutions that will not bring the developing economies to that point, we will avoid many of the problems that we see in those countries.

    Problems and solutions

    We must first understand several main problems that face any social and economic development project in a non G-8 country. The most costly mistake most companies or organizations make is to assume that they can simply take a working model of a G-8 style solution and transplant it to a developing nation. This has never worked and will never work. To be successful, we must work with the tools available to us within the structure of the conditions and culture of the nation in which we intend to operate. The tools we speak of are the policies, methods, and procedures used by the people that we intend to help. The people will begin to help themselves once they have learned the standards that we desire and require.

The following are some of the common problems encountered when attempting to set up a G-8 style solution, each followed by our solution.


    Education

    In developed nations, education is a relatively high-quality, standardized product that provides the economy with skilled people of all disciplines. Unfortunately, education in developing nations is little more than an assembly line institution that teaches the most basic skills of reading, writing, and simple mathematics and spits out citizens who are barely qualified for menial labour. Since we are talking about the Dominican Republic, we will use the situation in that country as an example, but one must keep in mind that in many ways the situation in the Dominican Republic is mirrored in other nations of similar levels of development.

    Because of time and financial constraints, the Dominican government requires only four hours of class time per day per child.  The number of students that must pass through the system is such that students go to school on one of three four-hour “shifts” (morning, afternoon, and evening).
   
    Education in the Dominican Republic is “free” through grade 12 but is mandatory only through grade 6 (age 12). “Free” means that no tuition fees are charged, but there are still expenses that must be met by the families of the students. After buying the required basic school uniforms, books, and other school supplies, the education of one child costs a family the equivalent of one month’s wages at minimum wage per year.

    With an average of four children per family, four month of wages every year just to educate those children to the most basic levels is a very tempting reason to remove them from school after grade 6.  This is the main reason why so many Dominican children leave school after having “passed” the mandatory level of the 6th grade.  The need for a destitute family to have all able-bodied members of the family employed in some capacity is a simple survival necessity.  In addition, the standards of education after that level are such that paying the extra expense to keep the child in school through grade 12 is almost a useless waste of money.  No poor parent can afford to let a child sit in school until they are 18 years if age and can legally work, but it is this very absence of marketable skills that keeps these young Dominicans in a never-ending cycle of poverty. 

    Many children are also “undocumented”, meaning that the person does not have a registered birth certificate. Poor mothers often do not spend the extra few hundred pesos - about CAD$10-20 - to have a “take home” birth certificate for their children. Without this document a child cannot attend school, and as an adult cannot obtain proper identification papers and is therefore not only excluded from the democratic process of voting, but is also many times unable to find legal, productive work. An estimated 2 million Dominicans are undocumented, meaning that 1 out of every 5 people in the country has no legal identity. 

    Past and current levels governmental support of the educational system in the Dominican Republic have shown that it is probably not likely that the government will spend additional monies on education.  Please note the following UNDP report on the status of the Dominican Education system.

UNDP doubts DR will reach objectives

The Millennium Objectives for education state that all children who begin elementary education should complete the cycle. However, the United Nations Development Program doubts that this goal will be reached in the DR. The UNDP states that there have been some advances in the country but there has not been success in keeping the children in the educational system. The country needed an investment of US$810 million for the 2005-2006 school year and US$901 million for the following one. However, according to information was published by Clave newspaper, investment in the former was only US$536 million and this year only US$624 million have been allocated. During the last 25 years, investment in education has never exceeded 3% of the country's Gross National Product, which places the DR among the three Latin American countries with the lowest education spending. This even contravenes the country's own General Education Law, which establishes that the minimum investment in the sector should be 4% of GNP, as reported by Clave weekly newspaper. Average schooling in the DR is 4.8 years, third lowest after Haiti (2.8 years) and Guatemala (3.5 years). -
(Source Dr1.com - Friday, September 1, 2006)

    Another problem is that the public education system that presently “serves” the poor in the Dominican Republic is nothing short of abysmal. Most of teachers are themselves poorly educated and trained, and are therefore unable to provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills that will enable them to break the cycle of poverty.  Knowing this, it is not unreasonable to expect that even should additional government school funding be provided, it would probably not change the plight of these young people.  Because of these problems, simply achieving a slightly higher level of poverty among the poor is an enormous task. There are a few small bright spots in this rather dismal scenario.  Several children that we have privately mentored have managed to stay in school until graduation from high school, but this was only possible because the founders personally supported their families financially and emotionally, and the families already possessed a strong set of moral values that included a willingness to sacrifice for the sake of their children’s futures rather than to take the easy way out.

    Our Solution:
 
    The only way to break the vicious cycle of ignorance and poverty is via our proposed system.  There is simply no other alternative. The project will focus on the education and training of young people between the ages of 12 and18.  As we have already pointed out, this age group is extremely marginalized and at risk.

    We are absolutely committed to providing these and many other children with better opportunities; however, the only way we can achieve this is through a self-supporting, accredited but non - governmental system that will provide us with a teaching platform for all of the major blue-collar skills within our own company.  This does not mean that we will require our students to work for us after graduation, however.  It means, rather, that we will be graduating fully trained and qualified skilled labourers who can find adequately profitable employment in any industry that needs those skills.

    Since the children are in school for only four hours and generally spend the remaining hours on the streets doing odd jobs such as shoe shining, we will use that time to instead provide an extra two or three hours of more comprehensive and higher quality education that complements and builds on what they are already learning.  The younger members of the community will work with educational mentors to enhance what they are already learning during their normal school day, and older participants will receive apprentice-style training in high-demand, high-wage skills.


    We have found that no matter what terrible conditions these people in this community find themselves in, there are always a few, who we call the “elite”, who have an almost obsessive will to break free from the poverty cycle at any cost, while for others in the same circumstances such efforts are regarded as “too much work” and the easy way out is pursued. We intend to focus on these “elite” among the poor.  In our observations, we have realised that where there are “elites” among the children, we will find similar “elites” as parents in those households.  It is likely, then, that many of the people employed in the beginning will be entire families.

    These people and families stand out among their peers and within their community. They hold unofficial positions of counsellors and advisors. They are crucial to our efforts to entice the “fence-sitters” to make an effort and take up our options.  A high percentage of drug mules and child prostitutes are from the ranks of these “fence-sitters”, and if given a proper chance and the necessary support, they will gladly abandon their present professions for a new chance at life.

    These very families are the cornerstones to our success.  Despite their poverty, they have stood out from the rest because of their courage and dedication.  They are also the moral leaders and motivators in their community.  Even though the other children in their communities may not have the funds to continue their educations, they are in fact challenged to improve themselves by the success of those we have been able to help to achieve their educational goals.  This core group of children for whom the project will have an immediate and direct benefit are exceptionally bright children, and we have no reason to doubt their success should we implement the European system described in the original outline document and on our website Education 2.

    Our students will not just be learning a trade, however.  The European system does pay wages to its students, although these wages are more in the form of an allowance. We will do the same, but even the small allowances we give will make a huge difference within the families of our students and apprentices. They will be paid for their efforts and will be exposed to the values of fairness, justice and equal opportunity that we cherish in modern Canadian society.


    Child labour protection laws


    “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” could hardly be more on target than in the Dominican Republic. A large percentage of the nation’s GNP is generated in “Zonas Francas” (tax-free manufacturing zones) similar to the system in Mexico. The Z.F. system allows foreign companies to use the cheaper labour available in the Dominican Republic to manufacture products for their home country markets without having to pay most of the taxes associated with warehousing supplies, creating products, and especially exporting the finished items.

    Employment in the free zones is highly desired because the multinational companies that operate in them offer above minimum wage salaries, paid vacation time, paid maternity leave, and health insurance. These companies are required, however, to adhere to whatever child labour protection laws are stipulated in their home countries, or at the very least in World Trade Organisation agreements.  They must also follow very strict local labour laws for hiring and firing conditions. Most if not all of them have an inviolable “no one under 18” employment clause as part of their Z.F. agreements as well, and this is exactly the crux of the problem.

    While these laws were designed to protect children from exploitation, 12-18 year old youth are denied employment in the very jobs that could help raise them out of poverty. Unfortunately, there are very few other jobs available to them, so these young people are condemned to shine shoes, work for local employers “under the table” without protection of the law, or worse still - and unfortunately, more commonly - have no choice but to turn to drug dealing or prostitution to generate an income.

    Our Solution:

Project Nigua is specifically designed to help these young people.  We cannot emphasise enough that to ignore this demographic is to render the entire project useless.

    Since our main thrust is recycling, the idle “straying about town” time these young people now have can be used instead to complete an additional two hours of education with us and then collect recyclable materials afterwards. This activity would be very much like the founders used to do when we were young and went around collecting newspapers for recycling to earn some extra pocket money.  The children will be paid for their collection efforts on a piecework basis almost equal to an average monthly minimum wage amount for three hours of work per day. This will be specifically aimed at the 12-14-age range as well as those who due to absence of proper documentation or other reasons are not allowed to attend regular school.

    Those in the 15-18-age range will enter our advanced skills training apprenticeship program. The end result will be an 18-year-old graduate who is highly skilled in his profession and can demand a fair wage for his skills in the labour market.

    The employment of these young people will never exceed more than three hours per day for those aged 12-14, and not more than 20 hours per week in the 15-18 age range. Each child in our care will be provided with high quality education as well as proper on the job training that will include correct safety procedures.


    The “glass ceiling” of poverty

    A Canadian welfare recipient who lives a frugal lifestyle and is not into substance abuse can manage fairly well with this assistance. A Dominican minimum wage earner, on the other hand, is too rich to die and too poor to live. The average minimum income for about 60% of the population is around RD$3,000 per month (approximately CAD$100.00 - although the exchange rate fluctuates slightly on a daily basis, the actual amount paid to Dominican employees remains virtually unchanged). It is common, however, for Dominican businesses to pay only RD$100 per 8-hour day as a minimum wage. Unfortunately, anyone earning less that RD$6,000 per month is in a very precarious financial position with no safety net.
    Dominicans are not generally “money-hungry”. They are not inclined to work 24/7 just for the sake of getting more money. A fair income and no worries is enough for most, because for them, family life is paramount.  They do not dream of a car for every person and a large mansion.  Their dream is of a fair income, reliable health care, a future for their children, and a happy weekend with family and friends.  Their dream is to stop having to account for every penny to decide if they can afford a certain item.

    Our Solution: 

    Based on our research, we believe that the minimum living wage for a family of four is between RD$6,000 and RD$8,000. We intend to pay our employees a standard minimum wage of RD$180 for an 8-hour day. This will give each worker an income of RD$3,600 for a 20-day work month. It is our experience that family ties in the Dominican Republic are very strong, and we expect that we will employ several members of each family in various capacities, whether as full-time factory floor workers, apprentices, or young collectors.  Therefore, a family of four will easily be able to generate a monthly income of as much as RD$10,000 per month. At that level, a family is well on its way to standing on its own feet and can break the “hand to mouth” cycle of existence. (Note that the above mentioned figures have not been updated to present day 2015 standard. However the %-mathematics does remain in essence valid. it is important to simply raise them above poverty levels.)

    Among the many benefits we will provide to our employees will be health insurance coverage for all employees and their families if they elect to have it.  The policies available in the Dominican Republic are quite good, and their coverage is surprisingly broad, including coverage for more extended family members such as grandparents. This in itself would be of tremendous value for the affected families. A “co-op” for all employees where they can obtain staple foods at wholesale prices will also be provided.

    Dominican banks presently charge a fee to maintain any account with a value less than 5,000 pesos, and pay out interest only on accounts valued above 5,000 pesos, with larger deposits earning incrementally higher interest. Under this system, savings accounts for the poor are presently out of question. 

    One suggestion we have heard from a member of the Nigua community is that we set aside CAD$5 per month per child of an employee for a foreign currency account to be paid out when the child reaches the age of 18.  These small amounts, pooled into a large fund earning a decent interest rate, will make for a substantial amount for each child at maturity.  This “investment” fund is certainly worth looking into, but is not yet set in stone, and will, upon further discussion, be subject to revision of the amounts applied.   

    We will definitely also offer so-called micro-loans to encourage families to take on aspects of our enterprise as independent contractors or to go into a business of their own choosing. This part of our program alone will create a grass roots based improvement in the poverty level wherever we open our first facility and will eventually create dozens of small businesses all over the country as we expand into other areas. It will also be a model for others to copy and thus provide the foundations of a new society that is based on hope and a vision for the future. Hope engenders a brighter outlook, and the temptation of quick money through drugs and child prostitution will begin to look much less inviting within a very short time. When we have achieved this, sex predators will no longer be able to find their victims in the Dominican Republic.


Energy

    The Dominican Republic uses 75% of its oil imports to generate electricity. Government, hospitals, industry, and tourism use the majority of the electricity produced. Regrettably, the constant blackouts due to mechanical failures, fuel deficiencies, and plain mismanagement on the part of the generators and distributors are so severe that even these vital economic sectors cannot survive without back-up generating systems. The Dominican Republic is fortunately a tropical country, so there is no need for heating and no one is in any danger of dying from cold. Cooling, however, is very much required.

    The majority of those outside of the above-mentioned sectors receive a mere two to four hours of usable electricity per day, and most of those have little more than a single bare light bulb in their huts. A lot of residential power used in poor households is stolen, meaning that a cable is illegally hooked up directly to the main power grid. Besides draining power from the grid, doing this creates the additional hazards of sloppy installations, safety code violations, and injury or death by accidental electrocution.

    Our Solution:

    It is easier to do things right the first time than to revamp an existing mess. We have an alternative energy prospectus as part and parcel of our long-term goals; however, simple low-cost wind power generators and the use of 9-volt diode lights or 12-volt automotive lights could provide much needed relief for energy-starved people. Converting to such low-power lighting systems would immediately reduce the strain on the energy grid. Removing the many illegally wired households from the main grid would also ensure a more stable supply of energy for the rest of the country and reduce the widespread brownouts and blackouts. This would in turn cause in a drop in the amount of fuel needed for back-up generators. We will also implement provisions for a community-based “refrigeration building” rather than having individual refrigerators in each hut to save additional energy costs.


    The challenges of recycling

    Other attempts to recycle in the Dominican Republic have failed due to ignorance of important differences between developed and developing countries. Again we provide a list of the most common problems and our solutions.
  • Attempting to use a collection process based on the assumption that a developing country’s waste management system operates in the same way as that of a modern city in a developed country.
    This could not be further from the truth. Huge garbage trucks can only service the main roads, and the vast majority of recyclable materials are found in narrow back alleys, side roads, and hidden, illegal dumpsites. These sites are regularly burned down to increase storage space for waste, releasing huge amounts of toxic smoke and pollution.

    Our Solution:
    We intend to use small hand-pushed or horse-drawn carts to access these sites, thus eliminating the need for fuel. These small carts would bring their collected materials to one of several main drop-off points that can be easily serviced by one of the few large trucks that will be used. Since we will be helping to reduce the amount of waste in the hidden dumps, there will be less need for dangerous burn-offs.

  • Using a “top-down” vs. “ground-up” approach.
    Most of the expenses of any project budget in a developing country are siphoned off on the way from the top down by “administrative costs”, i.e., bribes and extremely inflated (and usually unnecessary) fees charged to unwitting foreigners. If we were to use the top-down approach as others have, the initial investment that we are requesting would not be nearly enough to achieve our goals.

    Our Solution:
    Because we have already the support of the community, we will be able to get what we need at the true and correct prices, so there will be no need for bribes or other financial favours. A legitimate legal relationship between our company and the Dominican government is paramount. All we need are operating permits and land. Any other expenses will be project-based and completely and accurately accounted for.
    Concentrating recycling efforts on the few large legal landfills.    

    As noted above, most dumps are illegal and hidden from view. Because they are not known and therefore not policed or regulated in any way, they represent a serious health and environmental risk. The locals commonly dump almost all-liquid waste - including used engine oil from oil changes - and quite a bit of solid waste in the nearest stream or river.


    Part of the reason for this is that prior to about 40 years ago, non-biodegradable waste products were almost unheard of. Education on proper waste disposal techniques was not implemented with the advent of plastic packaging. Because of this, the general populace is completely ignorant of how to properly handle waste, and the concept of pollution is still alien to most of them. Environmental education at present consists of simply teaching people to keep things “clean”, meaning that waste should not be visible. Unfortunately, that does not imply that waste should be or needs to be managed properly. None of these issues have been addressed with any of the previous recycling efforts.

    Our Solution:

    As a practical matter, our employees and students will initially begin to see every discarded item as a chance to make some money, and cleaning up the environment will become a major long term job opportunity for many. As we proceed with the project, all employees and participants in our project will be taught the reasons for and the necessity of superior environmental management practices. We will teach them that it is not only an economic issue, but also a future survival issue for their country. We will show them that because they live in an island nation, they do not have the luxury of endless supply of land. Educated employees will raise educated children, who will become voting citizens who understand that an economy based on sound environmental protection policy is the only real solution for their long-term survival. The need to convert to an ecological and sustainable economy is a future must for all nations, and for a developing nation to be able to bypass this conversion by already using environmentally sound methods will generate incredible benefits for the nation’s economy.
  • Putting profits before people.
    A “bottom-line” approach to business is perfectly acceptable to people in a G-8 economy because that is how they learned that business is done. Everything a company does is accounted for down to the last cent, and if there is a less expensive way of doing something, it is done, regardless of the human cost to the employees of the company. All that matters to them is the amount of profit that can be counted at the end of the day.

    As a result of this way of thinking, it is becoming more common to outsource labour costs to contractors because it is less expensive to pay a contractor than to pay wages and benefits to employees. Outsourcing obviously lowers the cost to the company, which earns praise, bonuses, and promotions for its executives, but what of the cost to the now-former employees who can no longer afford to live because the contractor will not pay the same wages for the same work?  This mindset is the root cause for the many previous failures in attempting to set up a recycling operation in the Dominican Republic.

    The city of Santo Domingo pays presently about $USD18 per tonne for waste removal. This amount does not go to the actual collectors that pick up the waste, however. The money goes to the contractor who then pays the workers at or below minimum wage, reaping millions in profits for the multinational and the contractor, but leaving the employees out in the cold. It is exactly this abuse that we will turn around

    Our Solution:

    Any responsible person doing business in the developing world must understand that it is “people first, profits second.”  We will pay a living wage to the people who work for us. Good pay results in loyalty to the company, and that loyalty along with a reputation of caring for our people will in turn recruit and educate others. This will not only lower the percentage of unemployed people, but our success and dedication to the environment will also create many spin-off industries and businesses.

  • Using copycats of existing systems that are strongly dependent on automated turnkey solutions.
    Many business people criticize potential employees in developing nations for being “lazy” or “dumb”. When people question the intelligence of the workers in such nations, the criticism focuses on their seeming inability to learn how to operate automated equipment and the resulting near-daily destruction of that equipment due to improper handling. What very few of these critics realise is that such “ignorance” and destruction is very likely deliberate.

    Companies in the developed world see automation as the cost-effective replacement of many workers with a single machine. Automation in developing countries, however, means simply the use of machinery to remove the physical hardship of a given task. A chain-block or pulley is obviously preferable to lifting bags of cement instead of carrying them by hand, but this is as far as such people permit "automation" to take hold.

    In a culture of desperation, no sane unemployed Dominican will permit a USD$5,000,000 automated system operated by a team of five people who are most likely foreign specialists to sit on a dump site and doing the work of 200 people. As in almost any developing country, the workers will make sure that such a machine will not survive. It is a virtual certainty that they will find some way to ensure that this piece of equipment is incapacitated or even destroyed.

    Our Solution:

    Use basic machinery that is not automated, is simple to maintain, and is flexible enough to be managed by the employees at their present educational standards. This will allow us to employ a greater number of people and give them a chance to bring themselves out of poverty. In the second phase of the project, the proprietary designs of the machines that we use will become an export item for similar projects. This will create yet another spin-off business that will employ many of the skilled workmen that we will train in our schools.


    Funding and projections

    Implementing Project Nigua will require securing an investment of the equivalent of USD$5,000,000 whether in USD, CAD, or Euros. Unfortunately, all funding requested from or offered by industrialists and other business people has been tied by those people to a “profit for investors only and not a dime for the local people” view. As noted above, this mentality runs completely counter to the vision of Project Nigua, and as such these offers were rejected, regardless of how substantial they may have been.

    Of the $5 million requested, we will need $1,500,000 for immediate start-up of operations, while the remaining $3,500,000 will be used as guarantee for cost overruns and speedy expansion of our future goals.

    We would, of course, prefer to have the entire $5 million at our disposal at start-up for the simple reason that it will enable us to expand as quickly as possible to maximum capacity.  Having the full amount requested would shorten the time required to achieve our goals by at least a year or more. However, an opening investment of $1,500,000 is the absolute minimum necessary to begin operations, and we will not attempt to proceed without having at least that amount immediately available.
The initial investment amount is needed to build an “instant” PET  & HDPE recycling program.

    PET is the type of plastic used for beverage and food containers, and HDPE is used for oil, soap, detergent, and hazardous liquids containers as well as for garden furniture and bulk containers such as milk crates.

The $1,500,000 would be spent as follows:

In Canada

Machinery and equipment, permits & travel:
$ 500,000
Initial wages of Canadian citizens on the project:
$ 250,000

In the Dominican Republic

Land, lease of buildings, material & others: $ 300,000
Local wages, permits, fuel, maintenance, etc.: $ 250,000
Emergency funds: 
$ 200,000
Total:
$ 1,500,000

    No matter how it is negotiated, the $1,500,000 will remain the rock bottom minimum of what is required for a start up.

    Initial collection efforts would be handled by young people with spare time who would be given assigned sectors in which to work. In December of 2004 we demonstrated our collection capacity using ten neighbourhood children aged 12-15 who were just “playing” at collection. No trucks, carts, or other such equipment was available, so the test was done manually using only collection bags. These ten young people collected four tonnes of recyclable plastics in six hours.

    Based on this test run, our projected future scenario of a full-time collection crew bringing in 30 tonnes per day is not an impossible goal.  Several additional tonnes per day could easily be obtained through restaurants, hotels, resorts, and other businesses signing up for a free recycling program. We have already discussed this with several individuals and businesses in the area, and they are ready to go whenever we begin.

    The set-up of the processing facility would require no more than four months and would actually be able to turn a profit as early as the sixth month. These profits would quickly offset drawing from the initial investments and would allow us to direct those funds to the future goals of our project. The amounts projected above can be applied to finance the expansion of the project; however, having the remaining $1,250,000 in reserve would ensure uninterrupted and steady growth.

    The profits generated with plastic recycling can be quite substantial. Cleaned and flaked (ground-up) PET & HDPE average - (Market prices at http://www.recycle.net)  between 50 and 60 cents per pound on the world market or $1,300 per tonne.  We calculate that we could initially produce an average minimum of five tonnes of flaked product per day, meaning that gross profit of  $6,500 is most certainly achievable. That rate of production translates into gross profit of $143,000/month for a 22-day working month. Keep in mind that this projection is a minimum production scenario. The supply for scrap plastic products is completely assured and almost endless.

    After cleaning and processing, the flaked PET/HDPE products will be sold at world market prices on the international plastic markets as well to the five local plastics manufacturers in the Dominican Republic. The net profit after all expenses can be safely calculated at 30% or about $40,000/month.

    However, the production goal of the recycling facility is to process at least 10 tonnes per day within the National district of Santo Domingo alone - an area encompassing approximately 4 million inhabitants - based on the assumption of 5% total recovery of plastics.  Based again on the calculations above, ten tonnes would return net profits of $85,000/month. This level of production would be feasible within the first year of operation, and the profit generated can be applied to repayment of the initial investment of $5 million, enabling us to retire that debt within at most 10 years.

    After the initial period of plastics-only recycling, operations will expand to include other recyclables as like copper, lead, glass and other relatively easily recoverable items.  We could also begin to include reclaiming of oil and other liquid pollutants.  These additions will increase profits proportionally with each material added to the recycling effort.  Therefore, while we might close the first year of operation with $60,000 profit per month, the second year might very likely close with $120,000 per month or more. The project is designed so that it will never fall below a 30% net profit margin.

    The above projections are for the first 6-month of set-up and initial operations.  We will not attempt any expansion or inclusion of the other objectives of the project during this period. The recycling and apprenticeship project will be our “bread and butter” and will have absolute priority over any other goals.


Funds Management

    We intend to manage any investment funds under standard international accounting practices and subject to the following additional requirements:
  • Total financial transparency and accountability.·    Funds will be taken from an investor’s account only on an “as needed” basis.
  • All interest accrued and paid will be based on average international commercial bank loan rates.
  • All cost projections are based on a “worst-case scenario” of minimum profits. (5% recovery of all recyclable materials)
  • Profits from recycling will be directed towards immediate reinvestment in the ongoing expansion of the project so as to limit the use of the secured and guaranteed investment funds.
Current and Future Goals

    The purpose of the recycling program is to provide profits for expansion into other areas of the country and for investment in the following areas:
  • Truly free education of underprivileged children with a focus on marketable skills for those over age twelve. (European Technical Training principles)
  • R&D on environmentally safe and clean energy solutions.
  • Encouraging participation of the community at large in the upgrading of this village (and any others into which we may expand) to a highly ecological standard in energy supplies, water treatment, waste management, and housing.
  • Education of the people in the means and necessity of applying sensible ecological principles.
Future goals:
  • Implementation of alternative energy in various forms such as wind power, tidal-flux power, solar energy and bio-fuel production. Our goal is to entirely remove the villages involved from the nation’s virtually non-functional power grid.
  • Continuous R&D to turn existing alternative energy applications into reliable working products specifically geared for markets and conditions in developing nations.
  • Further implementation of more diverse recycling, recovery and land reclamation projects in the vicinity of the current and all future sites.
  • Franchising of the main project ideas into small community-based nodes nationwide, each maintaining a keen focus on the underprivileged and uneducated.
  • Education in proper preventive health care, resource management, and safety consciousness.
  • Expansion of the community-based education system to encompass pre-school through high school students.
  • Community and “co-op” distribution, farming, and cottage industry systems.
  • Intensive R&D on clean transportation, retrofitting of vehicles to alternative energy propulsion and/or production of completely new systems for transportation with zero toxic emissions.
  • Implementation of sustained micro-economies on the village level.
  • Cooperation with local, national and international enviromental groups, including exchange and interchange of ideas with inventors and manufacturers of environmentally conscious products and solutions.
  • Creating a strong base of informed and educatedpeople.

Why the Dominican Republic?
  1. Relative political stability and strong work ethic.
  2. Close proximity and excellent economic relations with Canada. This includes a large Canadian presence of tourists who are accustomed to comprehensive recycling programs. There are also large numbers of foreign nationals who desire a cleaner travel destination and would be willing to contribute their efforts to maintaining it.
  3. Grass roots groundwork already accomplished. Personal trust and relationships on various levels very well established.
  4. Role model. If implemented quickly, Project Nigua can provide a functional example of an ecologically sound and sustainable economy. A market for Canadian inventors, investors and companies who focus on environmentally conscious solutions.
  5. A marketable project that can easily be transplanted to any country in the same or similar environmental position as the Dominican Republic. It is a low cost and low initial investment solution for 3rd world environmental and energy problems. Apart from adapting it to specific local cultural needs, the project can be implemented as a turnkey solution.
  6. As a turnkey solution, the project can market its products and the machinery required to produce them. This in turn will generate revenues not only for the project but also for the Canadian suppliers and manufacturers of alternative energy solutions. Project Nigua will be a showcase for the solutions of any participating companies.

Why a Canadian involvement?

    Firstly, one of the founders and three of the principals in the project are citizens of Canada.  Second, the pending DR-CAFTA treaty notwithstanding, there is a strong undercurrent within the Dominican manufacturing community to become less dependent on the United States and its special interests’ demands.  Third, there are already several Canadian-owned businesses and manufacturing facilities in the Dominican Republic, so there is within most industrial and business sectors a general trust for and an inclination towards dealing with Canadian companies and citizens.

    Because of the above-mentioned founder’s extensive contacts in Canada, a large percentage of the initial funds will be spent there.  In the beginning, the total amount spent on equipment purchases from Canadian businesses will be in the neighbourhood of $350,000 - 500,000.  This includes all of the necessary items to set up a fully equipped machine shop, including two 150-200 KW diesel generators. (Prices are based on quotes by Montreal-based machine dealers)

    In addition, because of the poor educational and training standards, truly enforceable and effective safety codes and regulations are practically non-existent in the Dominican Republic, and those that do exist are rarely applied with any vigour.  Therefore, Project Nigua will also need to retain the services of qualified electricians, plumbers, and building experts to ensure that all buildings and equipment installations will conform to Canadian and ISO safety standards.

    Although this is an all-encompassing project whose primary objective is education, apart from serving the basic educational needs of the local people, we will focus on research and development into creating a green and sustainable economy through recycling and the use of alternative forms of energy.  Because many Canadian provinces and municipalities already use many green technologies on a daily basis, we will be relying on industry and experts in Canada for knowledge as well as equipment.

    The main educational focus of the project will be the proper training of 12-18 year old youth, with an emphasis on blue-collar skills such as machine mechanics, tool & die making, electro-mechanics, plumbing, welding, and other necessary industrial skills.  It is our goal to graduate experts who adhere to modern first-world standards.  To accomplish this, we will require the expertise and skills of teachers and professionals from Canada.

    Since most of our educational efforts at the more advanced levels will focus on R&D, we will be able to give many currently “invisible” Canadian inventors a testing ground to expand and refine their research and possibly come up with marketable designs for their projects.  The environment and goals of the project will also be ideal for student exchange or internship programs.  In addition, the project will provide a “springboard” for Canadian businesses and industry to establish themselves in the D. R. as well as opening a direct market for the importation of Canadian government surplus equipment (school buses, trucks, etc).  In return, recycled materials could be sent directly to Canadian companies at favourable prices.

    Simply attempting to train these young people to work for us would not be of little use to them in the long term, nor would it be to their advantage for us to operate under Dominican child-labour laws, such as they are.  Therefore, we will register Project Nigua as a Canadian owned company operating its primary subsidiary in the Dominican Republic.  We will require the general enforcement of Canadian standards in labour laws, wage protection, and healthcare coverage for our workers, adjusted to Dominican reality.


    Conclusion

    Project Nigua is a simple, logical and innovative approach to the plight of emerging countries. It can be duplicated in any country in a similar situation with only minor changes to adapt it to the specific needs and culture of the chosen country.  This project will be a vital educational bridge for such countries for two or perhaps three generations of students.  After that time, we will have moved many of the poor into the lower middle classes and made them no longer dependent on such programs for survival, as well as giving them the tools to further raise their economic status on their own.

    The dreams of those who originally planted the seeds of these ideas are based on quite amazingly accurate assessments of their situations. Their solutions come from the ground up and are based on what is truly possible for them within the reality of the Dominican situation and what will work there. Project Nigua will be a base model for other countries, but as noted before, the details of implementations will be subject to the host country’s current situation. The same project implemented, for example, in Nigeria might differ in many ways that would address Nigerian culture and reality.

    With the success of our educational and social development approach, we hope to become the standard by which all other programs and projects will be measured.  As the Dominican Republic is presently looking at ways to improve its educational system, this project will aid their efforts and perhaps become the model on which they base future improvements.

    The true value of any educational system is not in the grades listed on student report cards, but the practical value in the numbers shown on an employee’s pay-cheque. If we can graduate properly trained and highly skilled students, we can begin to raise the standards that the economy demands in the future. In this way our system will enable the Dominican Republic to become a nation that will become far more competitive on the world market.  The labour force will enable them to produce high quality products at competitive prices and thus gradually change the nation from dependency to self-sustenance.

    The present pressing needs to care for our ailing planet have provided us with a unique opportunity. It is often estimated that the basic clean up of this planet could take as much as two full generations’ work.  However, we must also realise that a fully-automated approach to such clean up is counterproductive to the majority of emerging nations. We would like to point out the incredible achievements, both economic and ecological, of the Brazilian city of Curitiba after making recycling the exclusive right and province of the city’s poor inhabitants.

    Project Nigua will not simply copy Curitiba, because at this point we do not have the necessary commitments from the government that were enjoyed by the founders of that enterprise.  However, our project will at least equal if not exceed it by far in it beneficial outcomes. The collection of recyclables does not require skilled labour. It is a waste of time, money, and energy to set up a $20-Million automated system when there are 200 or more destitute people who could do the same job and break the cycle of poverty.  Though this may seem to be little more than a stop-gap solution, emerging nations require such solutions to stop their slide before they can begin to reach for the levels of development we enjoy.  They need to be empowered to solve their biggest problem, the gainful employment of their poorest citizens.

    There are several reasons that we must solve this problem.  Poverty creates voids that are easily filled with radicals and destructive behaviours. Poverty has always been the most fertile breeding grounds for dissent, revolution, and terrorism. For this reason alone, this project is maybe the best $2 million ever invested. It is a simple one-time kick-start to a self-supporting solution. If we assume that100 countries have a need for such projects, the overall costs would then not exceed $200 million for 100 countries. This is a very low investment considering the benefits for everyone.

    With respect to public relations for those persons, companies, and government entities that support us, investing in this project will reap plenty of spin-offs and a generous helping of goodwill. Whoever helps us take the first step on this project will remain the winner for many years to come.

    Note:
    Project Nigua is in part and in whole the intellectual property of Ing. Raimund Johannes Wild and his associates Tim Graf, Daniel Thompson, Javier Ernesto Montas, Emanuel Vargas, Ian Wallace, and Serge Bellmare. All ideas in whole or in part are considered ©2001 - 2015.
    
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