The Challenges of a Small Island Developing State

By Kodie Jean-Jacques

Though my personal topic is ‘Community Poverty and Environmental Justice’, my fellow interns and I have been researching and presenting our findings on a wide spectrum of topics. From wildlife biodiversity to culture and heritage, to public health, to food and water security – it can certainly be said that we have imparted a lot of knowledge to the interested parties. 

Generally speaking, it is the impoverished communities who get the bad end of the deal as it relates to environmental justice. They are usually turned into the dumping sites, into industrial centers and are drained of their resources. In my research, I set out to find instances of environmental injustice relating to community poverty in the St. George parish in Dominica. For example, I focussed on the areas of River Street, Tarish Pit, and Stockfarm – just to name a few.

Notably, one of the most troublesome areas in conducting my research is getting secondary data. In some instances, the issue was plainly – ‘nobody has done research on this sub-topic as yet’. Whereas, in other instances, the issue was ‘we might have information on this but we don’t want to give it to you’. This proved to be very frustrating. However, not all efforts at attaining information were futile. Information was obtained from reputable international organizations such as the World Bank and private researchers who conducted their own research in Dominica and presented their findings. 

In addition to the digital research I have already conducted, I intend to create various questionnaires. These questionnaires will be circulated digitally and will entail questions relating to the quality of life in specific areas as well as median incomes and environmental threats within the St. George parish.

I can certainly say that my project has been helping me develop some critical skills. For example, I have improved at presenting my research and ideas into logical, coherent formats. Additionally, I’ve learned how to use various mapping and timeline software. 

The primary reason why I’m still so persistent at finding information for my topic is that I’m truly interested in it. I’ve always been fascinated by economic and political concepts and this topic is no exception. Moreover, the use of technology to fulfill objectives is something I’m certainly proud of and I aspire to continue doing such.

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