Posters illustrate how residential treatment facilities work.

Supporting Beneficiaries in a Limited Funding Environment

Climate Change Adaptation and WASH Programming with Biodiversity Benefits in the Dominican Republic
By USAID Biodiversity Integration Case Studies

In the Dominican Republic, USAID works to jointly promote climate adaptation and resilience to address a lack of adequate sanitation and wastewater treatment facilities, which limits the population’s access to clean water and presents a key threat to the country’s coastal biodiversity in the form of untreated sewage. USAID/Dominican Republic originally implemented the Climate Adaptation: Climate Risk Reduction activity using only climate change adaptation funding. However, this kind of funding was eliminated half way through the activity’s implementation. This story highlights how the mission found a way to continue to achieve climate change adaptation; water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH); and biodiversity conservation results and support its beneficiaries in a limited funding environment.

Although the Climate Risk Reduction activity was initially focused on climate change adaptation objectives, it was also achieving WASH and biodiversity conservation results. For instance, the activity had invested in developing green buffers and restoring coral reefs and mangroves to reduce vulnerability of coastal communities to storm surge and coastal flooding, and installing small-scale water delivery and treatment systems to reduce communities’ vulnerability to changes in water availability (e.g. drought and flood) and water quality. These activities provided quality water supply to over 1,200 previously underserved community residents and reduced habitat loss, beach erosion, and downstream contaminant levels, which in turn reduced threats to biodiversity.

When faced with a funding challenge for this cross-sectoral activity, USAID/Dominican Republic engaged their Washington colleagues to discuss using the mission’s existing WASH funding to continue the Climate Risk Reduction activity. USAID/Washington staff visited the Dominican Republic and observed how the activity was contributing to multiple sector results objectives. Over a six-month period, the mission and Washington colleagues discussed how to continue the activity and ensure its interventions aligned with WASH funding requirements. Ultimately, USAID/Washington approved the activity’s continuation with WASH funding, and the mission added WASH indicators to existing climate change indicators, which allowed the mission to illustrate both climate adaptation and WASH outcomes.


USAID/Dominican Republic is improving wastewater treatment options for communities, such as through this treatment system.

USAID/Dominican Republic is continuing to promote proper water and waste management and sanitation practices at the household level, placement of green infrastructure such as constructed wetlands for improving wastewater treatment, and community resource management, particularly among the country’s youth. These activities have continued to improve water quality, benefiting both people and biodiversity, and have also boosted the area’s coral reef tourism, contributing to increased income for local youth.

Lessons Learned

  • Be creative and flexible.

Persist, even if the funding situation changes. Examine the cross-sectoral elements of existing programming and identify potential opportunities to use alternative sources of funding to continue integrated work. Co-located efforts may make it easier to continue efforts with beneficiaries in a reduced funding environment.

  • Reach out to Washington colleagues.

Share challenges with Washington staff and collaborate with them to supplement existing mission expertise and jointly identify solutions. Encourage field visits, even if USAID staff have to come on separate trips, and continue conversations in between in-person visits.

  • Identify opportunities to highlight the importance of an integrated approach.

Recognize there is a learning curve for staff to understand other sector indicators and measure the results of integrated programming. Share how sectors are integrated, even if the mission does not have cross-sectoral indicators, and highlight connections and benefits across sectors. USAID/Dominican Republic staff said these discussions raised awareness on cross-sectoral indicators across the mission and are now resulting in broader consideration of cross-sectoral indicators in activity design.


Artificial wetland construction process in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic.

Learn More

Explore more case studies on the USAID Biodiversity Integration Case Competition website.

Learn more about biodiversity integration with other USAID technical sectors on the Biodiversity Conservation Gateway.

For more information on USAID/Dominican Republic’s work on biodiversity conservation, climate adaptation, and WASH, please visit the USAID/Dominican Republic or climate resilience webpages.


Karen Pannocchia, Project Management Specialist, Agriculture and Environment Office, USAID/Dominican Republic

Kpannocchia (at) usaid (dot) gov

This blog was originally published by USAID Biodiversity Integration Case Studies.

Strategic Objective
Adaptation, Biodiversity, Natural Resource Management, Resilience, Water and Sanitation, WASH
Latin America & Caribbean
Biodiversity Case Studies logo

USAID Biodiversity Integration Case Studies

This 15-case collection illustrates how biodiversity conservation is critically linked to the journey to self-reliance and helps deliver development results.

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