1 (758) 457-1636

UVM Research Collaboration With PMA Office Enters Exciting New Phase

Faculty and students from the University of Vermont (UVM) in the USA are currently on the island as part of a long-term collaboration with government agencies and community partners in Saint Lucia.  One of the government agencies benefitting from this collaboration is the Pitons Management Area (PMA) Office in Soufriere, Saint Lucia.



As one of the oldest, and highly regarded public universities in Vermont, UVM is committed to “liberal education, environment, health, and public service”.  Faculty and students from UVM have been working alongside the Department of Commerce, International Trade, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs, the PMA Office of the Department of Sustainable Development and some local schools on various projects ranging from survey research to sustainable agriculture in the form of school gardens.


UVM’s goal is to effectively plan and implement international development projects while fostering lasting relationships with community partners.  Consequently, these students have spent a semester learning about the socio-economic factors that impact development in the Caribbean as a component of an international service-learning course at UVM.  A team comprising four (4) students and one (1) faculty member has been assigned to the PMA Office for the second phase of a 3-year research collaboration.  This year’s PMA research project builds on the initial phase completed between January 4-8, 2017 during which initial exploratory awareness surveys were conducted targeting locals and tourists visiting the PMA.  This year’s team will conduct more in-depth surveys with locals and residents of the PMA to test levels of local awareness of the PMA including its World Heritage Status and the perceived benefits of that status to them. 


Last year the team met with Minister with responsibility for the PMA, Honorable Dr. Gale Rigobert who commended this initiative and also identified ideas for future projects.  Augustine Dominique, Manager at the PMA Office explains that the report from the exploratory research phase has formed the basis for developing the survey instrument specifically targeting residents.


The team wrapped up their data collection activities within the PMA today, Wednesday, January 10 and also spent part of the morning as guests on the 88.5 Soufriere FM Programme “House Guest”.


As we await the report from this week’s research activities, the Management and Staff at the PMA Office in Soufriere extend sincere thanks to the Research Team and the UVM Faculty on behalf of the Department of Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development.