Dominican manufacturers receive assistance from US students

Students from University of Dayton ETHOS program to help improve manufacturing sector in Dominica
Students from University of Dayton ETHOS program to help improve manufacturing sector in Dominica

Dominica’s cassava bread and virgin coconut oil industries are expected to benefit from a project being undertaken in Dominica by students from the University of Dayton Engineers in Technology and Humanitarian Opportunities of Service (ETHOS) Program.

It is hoped that at the end of a 10 week stint on island by the students, the products from these industries will become export ready.

“We are hoping that the products will be enhanced,” said the PRO for the Dominica Manufacturers Association (DMA) Severin Mc Kenzie, “and you will be able to give your ideas and to see how you could work with the Cassava bread people and the Believers Multi-purpose Cooperative in making our virgin coconut oil hopefully, export ready for the international market for the next 10 weeks.”

McKenzie made the remarks at a press conference which was held at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium on Monday as a welcome reception for the students.

He said the DMA will be looking at the other manufacturers and other sectors that may be interested in taking advantage of the opportunities that exist with the ETHOS program.

His idea of using the US student’s influence to remove the fear of engineering from Dominican students, and move the DMA forward is supported by Executive member of the DMA, Gail Defoe. She said there were some challenges in the engineering department of the manufacturing sector. “As you go around you will find that the challenge that we have in manufacturing as a manufacturing producer myself, is with mechanization, is exactly with engineering.”

According to her, most of the equipment that is used is “way beyond our scale” as manufacturers are constantly buying equipment that is far oversized for what they produce. “So, I am so happy to hear you say that you are open to also looking out and seeing what other needs there are in the country,” she said. “Because as a member of the DMA, if we are to be in the 21st century in production, then we must mechanize, and we must be innovative in our mechanization, which is where I think you are going to lend a very big hand. So this is a very exciting time for Dominica, and manufacturing in Dominica,” Defoe added.

The initiative began in November last year when Linton Scotland who is a Trustee of the Board of the University of Dayton approached McKenzie on the ETHOS program, which he said he quickly accepted.

The students, Zak Ali, a mechanical engineer, Gabriel Porro, a finance consultant and entrepreneur and chemical engineers Thomas Bennett and Mariana Lopes, are currently located in Woodfordhill.

They said they are hoping to expand the program to have a base in Roseau and one in Portsmouth.

They arrived here on Saturday, have been making their ground work and seeing first-hand the production of these products in the Marigot and Carib Territory.

ETHOS was founded in 2001 by a team of engineering students for the purpose of taking engineering curriculum beyond the classroom, and even beyond the US. Students who participate in the program engage in service-learning experiences and technical projects across the globe.

Disclaimer: The comments on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of Inc. All comments are approved by before they are posted. We never censor based on political or ideological points of view, but we do try to maintain a sensible balance between free speech and responsible moderating.

We will delete comments that:

  • violate or infringe the rights of any person, are defamatory or harassing or include personal attacks
  • are abusive, profane or offensive
  • contain material which violates or encourages others to violate any applicable law
  • promote hatred of any kind
  • refer to people arrested or charged with a crime as though they had been found guilty
  • contain links to "chain letters", pornographic or obscene movies or graphic images
  • are excessively long and off-message

See our full comment/user policy/agreement.


  1. John
    May 29, 2014

    Does the Dominican companies hold a Patent on their goods to keep their ideas from being stolen. First thing someone should do if they have a good idea it to patent it.

  2. Satelite
    May 27, 2014

    These people came here to study what we are doing and as soon as they return, in the not too distant future you will hear of Casava Bread being sold in the US and Coconut oil exports. Wait and you will see.

    • Anonymous
      May 28, 2014

      I understand how you feel Satelite. I am always suspicious of this kind of “assistance” especially when it is being given without clear terms as to how these people use the knowledge they acquire after they leave. What will they be allowed access to in terms of processes? Are they obliged to keep the information they acquire secret? We have to be careful about what we allow those who come to “assist” us access to. In this part of the world we don’t allows place much value on intellectual property rights but people from the bigger countries understand the value of it. We need to be careful when we accept these types of assistance whether with manufacturing or flora and fauna or anything else. Great if it is well thought out but we need to be careful. Some assistance is not offered unless the other side sees some possible benefit for themselves.

      • racataca
        May 28, 2014

        I love such statements! Its just exactly how things done in Dominica…very retrograde, very suspicious and always fear that somebody not you makes money! You really think that casava bread or coconut oil is some kind of know-how which is intellectual property of some farmers in Dominica? What technology and innovation you have which is unknown in the USA. Its so brainless…If you didnt know in our 21st century world…99% of all intellectual and technological know-how one way or another is related to USA. All devices, technology etc is created in the US and manufactured in Asia. Research and development is very strong part of US economy. What you can offer to US market? Answer is zero…so if those guys figure out how to sell your stuff to other market its because THEY HAVE BRAINS…you chances without foreign technology and intellectual capacity is zero!

    • smh
      May 28, 2014

      Then it will be a new opportunity and market for Dominica to capitalize on by exporting the raw materials to them. We can still benefit even if we do not produce the final product. Once we are able to strategically position ourself.

  3. i must speak
    May 27, 2014

    thats a good move! i like that

  4. racataca
    May 27, 2014

    good luck guys! you will need a lot of luck and miracles to make some export from Dominica. Once you calculate the cost of making any production here and once you encounter a huge bureaucratic drain of Dominica, next step will be to go to make business in countries which appreciate foreign businesses….good luck!

  5. Nacinimod
    May 27, 2014

    I hope all will join me in welcoming the ETHOS group to Dominica.

  6. Jail-corrupt-leaders
    May 27, 2014

    America teaching us how to fish, Venezuela giving us fish.

    • HNIC
      May 27, 2014

      The idle statements made by people who do not know any better. Its best you just don’t comment. A loan or a grant to facilitate development is not giving a fish.

  7. Pedro
    May 27, 2014

    There is not a fear of engineering among Dominican students as evidenced by the hundreds of Dominican students who have become engineers. Its more of a case of motivation and interest. Thanks to the efforts of the students from the University, but we should not slight our own students who study and excel at these same schools. The issue is how do we harness the energies of these students or budding engineers who certainly are capable of the service we are hoping to get. For example there could be an incubation project run by say NDF, engagement (paid or otherwise) of students on summer break or just out of university. Since we apparently can now afford to employ hundreds of our previously unemployed youth, paid for by our government in partnership with others, why cant we challenge and engage them to solve real business or society needs such as in agriculture, education, commerce?We should not wait on offers from foreign entities but look around and see how we can put our capable youth to useful engagement, under some capable direction.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

:) :-D :wink: :( 8-O :lol: :-| :cry: 8) :-? :-P :-x :?: :oops: :twisted: :mrgreen: more »

 characters available