October 31, 2014

Enactus Joins Team for Dominican Republic Mission Trip

The Enactus team will be traveling to the Dominican Republic with the nursing department for a spring break mission trip.

Nursing students provide a health clinic each year in the Dominican Republic. This year, Southwestern’s Enactus team will join them as an extension to the mission trip.

Enactus is an organization that teaches students to “transform lives” with business skills. Enactus breaks into three parts: Entrepreneurial, Action, Us. Simply put, students learn to create values from opportunities and then act on them in an attempt to make the world a better place.

“We wanted to do something international,” said Aaron Moses, business professor and Enactus sponsor.  “In the Dominican Republic, clean water is hard to find and because of this, there’s a lot of disease. The team decided they could help by installing water filters. Now it’s grown into a long-term project that can do even more.”

Enactus believes that this project in the Dominican Republic will grow to include other things such as education and orphanage assistance as well as small business startups, but the primary goal is to help provide clean water.

Enactus projects are required to meet certain criteria. There are three aspects; economic, social and environmental, and a team must fulfill at least one with each project. This mission project fulfills all three.

Simply put, the team will help install water filters, but reaching deeper, the team helps in several ways. For instance, before they go to the island they must find someone from the community that will serve as their facilitator. Enactus will set this person up as an entrepreneur to sell the water filters. This brings money into the community, fulfilling the economic criteria.

The price of the filters averages $70 to $80, but they are sold to the community members at an affordable price, usually around $8.

“We can’t just give away the filters because then people won’t value them as much,” says Moses. “The difference in the price is subsidized by funds that Enactus is raising.”

A large part of this trip will include building awareness. People will start to hear about water filters from the community facilitator and the Enactus team will help teach about health benefits of clean water.

“We’re helping the community have better health,” said Moses. “That meets our social criteria. Also, fixing water issues helps them environmentally. The filters aren’t like what we have in America. It’s a bio sand filter with layers of sand and gravel and a biological layer. It’s not like what we’re used to, but it is a big improvement over what they have.”

Enactus is not working alone on this project. Enactus is partnering with Rotary International and another non-profit organization called Project Las Americas. This group has been working with water filters from many years. Project Las Americas has a donor that will match money raised for the project dollar for dollar. Enactus is working to raise $2,000, which the organization has agreed to match. This doesn’t include personal airfare and living expenses for those involved. So far they have received a $500 grant from “dosomething.org,” and other donations for a total of $1,109.96 toward their $2,000.00 goal.

“Rotary International is key in this,” said Moses. “They’re the backbone of our project. Our original goal was to just install filters. They’re making it possible to make this last long term.”

The trip itself cost each student $500 for ground transportation, hotel and food. Airfare will range from $800-1,000.  Students that attend and work on the project or in the health clinics are still trying to raise money to go. If you are interested in helping a student, or donating to the project itself then contact Moses in the business department or Lolita Valdez in the nursing department.

Overall this project is possible through VIDA Vision Infinita De Amor, Inc. VIDA is the non-profit organization that the mission trip works through. VIDA arranges all the lodging, transportation, health clinics and activities while the nursing students and Enactus are in the Dominican Republic. Additionally, they have evangelistic seminars and Vacation Bible Schools that the students will participate in.

“We’re excited,” said Moses. “We love helping people. It’s one of the reasons we started this project. We want to make a difference.”

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Comments

  1. This is really great to hear. The problem with all of the water filters on the market is that they are too costly for the people in these countries who really need them. I have read a lot of companies and organizations coming up with ideas that cost way too much, and will never be applied, but this sound like it may be affordable enough for these people. Keep up the good work.

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