The Holistic Opportunity for Personal Empowerment (HOPE) project is highlighting some of its accomplishments as the Saint Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF), under which HOPE operates, calls a halt to work on several infrastructure projects during the busy Christmas season.
Executive Director of the SSDF Joachim Henry says it is a bittersweet occasion as the HOPE project has committed most of its funds during the course of the past nine months. “We are pleased that we have been able to do several infrastructure projects around the island. We were able to employ approximately 800 persons. We are very happy about what we have accomplished” said Henry.
The government of Saint Lucia this year allocated EC$9.6 million to the HOPE project, which is a major part of the country’s social safety-net initiatives. Henry says the SSDF is pleased with the positive impact of HOPE’s many community initiatives focussed on community improvement through infrastructure, employment, and skills development.
Major refurbishment of the Mon Jacques community road in Choiseul, construction of changing rooms near the sports facility in Jacmel and preparation for the same in Desrammeaux Monchy, construction of a road in the Corinth area, major drainage works in the inner city and the refurbishment of the Vigie Playing Field are just some of the many community improvement projects undertaken since March 2009.
Mr. Henry says HOPE will have a bigger impact in 2010. “In the new financial year we expect that HOPE will become bigger and we are looking to implement a number of bigger sites. We are hoping that we could focus for example on the Marchand Grounds and La Clery, our main grounds in Castries. We are also looking to implement a lot more projects in the south of the island and we are expecting the numbers to be employed under HOPE would be in the region of 1,500 persons. This certainly would impact our poor and vulnerable communities in a significant way.”
Already on the cards for 2010 are the refurbishment of the resource centre in Canaries, construction of a community road from La Guerre to Plateau, and a major road in Mongouge. Most infrastructure projects will conclude before the end of the government financial year.
Meanwhile, the public is being asked to exercise caution around any sites that show signs of work in progress. Henry stresses that the current work stoppage is in the interest of protecting the public. “We know that people are having a festive time, with an increase in alcohol consumption and we would like our site to remain secure and protect people.”
Infrastructure work is expected to resume on January 9, 2010.
The Holistic Opportunity for Personal Empowerment (HOPE) project is a major component of the Social Safety Net Initiative implemented by the Government of Saint Lucia.
HOPE is designed to reduce unemployment in the short term and create a cyclical effect for continued employment through varied projects; provide career and life skills training at various levels; improve and promote healthy lifestyles practices.
HOPE is administered by the Saint Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF), which is an amalgamation of the Poverty Reduction Fund (PRF) and the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF).
The mandate of the SSDF is to ensure the delivery of basic services to disadvantaged and marginalised communities in Saint Lucia.
SSDF is funded by regional and international agencies.
(published by Mirror Newspaper)