In 2006, the ST LUCIA COUNTRY Poverty Assessment 2005/2006 reported that over 42.4 % of the Soufriere population was poor. As the only organisation within the community dedicated to development work, the Soufriere Foundation armed with the mandate of fostering social, economic and cultural development of the town, immediately set about to reduce poverty within the community. This it has attempted to do through its focus on human resource and social development programmes that are targeted at benefitting the poor within the community. At the Soufriere Foundation we strongly believe that a key strategy to reducing poverty is to provide the poor access to resources, water and technology.
Within the last few years the residents of the community have benefitted from a number of new initiatives designed to improve their well being. Between 2007 and 2008, the Soufriere Foundation introduced a scholarships programme, a tertiary education and trades fair, the Living Water programme, the Summer Enrichment Programme, soft skills training programmes and reintroduced the tertiary level schooling in Soufriere through the Association of Business Executives certificate and diploma programmes.
However, we are by no means going to stop here and need to reach more people and have greater individual impact. To do this we require and welcome innovative and cost effective approaches from readers and residents to help improve the quality of life of our people.
Judging by the number of participants and our post year evaluations the programmes have made good progress and achieved some success. See Table 1 below which shows numbers of programme beneficiaries per year.