10 Facts about Girls’ Education in Honduras
As one of the largest and poorest countries in Central America, Honduras faces several obstacles in girls’ education. The people of Honduras fear gang violence and human trafficking. Child labor and domestic violence are also issues that the government continues to combat. These are only a few facts that impact education in Honduras and the reasons why one in three Honduran girls drop out of school every year. The top 10 facts about girls’ education in Honduras include problems connected to cultural attitudes, quality of education, and the issues related to crime.

Top 10 Facts about Girls’ Education in Honduras

  1. Primary school (ages 6 to 12) is compulsory and free to all Honduran children. There is an 80 percent rate of completion of primary school nationally. In 2014, the Honduran Ministry of Education created a Strategic Plan that was designed to correct educational issues at every level. One of the first steps was to make the first two years of secondary school mandatory. Coverage of secondary education level for girls is 53 percent, whereas coverage for boys is 46 percent.
  2. A national survey indicates that girls in urban settings have a 7 percent illiteracy rate, compared to 5.5 percent of illiterate urban boys. Additionally, 16.8 percent of girls in rural settings are illiterate, while 17.5 percent of rural boys are illiterate. Higher rates of poverty correlate directly with higher rates of illiteracy. This is because poorer families, typically those in rural areas, are only able to send their girls to school for 5.8 years, which dramatically increases rates of illiteracy. On the other hand, wealthier families in the larger cities are able to send girls to school for 11 years, which lowers female adult illiteracy to 2.4 percent.
  3. From 2008 to 2012, 98 percent of Honduran girls were enrolled in primary school. However, in Honduras, one out of four children are drop-outs. Interestingly, drop-out rates have been linked to the level of parental education as 78 percent of children who dropped out of school in 2016 had parents with either no education or primary education only.
  4. A 2015 study indicates that 29 percent of girls performed unsatisfactorily in math, while 62 percent were classed as needing improvement. For boys, performance in the same category resulted in 32 percent unsatisfactory and 60 percent needing improvement. In addition to performing at lower rates than Honduran boys, performance standards for Honduran girls are significantly lower than other regional Latin countries.
  5. Because of high rates of crime, girls in urban settings are often forced to not attend class or drop-out altogether for fear of their own safety. For urban girls, the threat of harassment and sexual assault from gang members is a debilitating reality. Gangs often establish their dominance in an area of a city by murdering girls and leaving their mutilated bodies to be found in public places.
  6. While rural areas have less crime, the people living in rural settings have more pressing financial concerns. Many rural children in Honduras are forced to work at a young age, and girls, in particular, are tasked with taking care of younger siblings, as well as marrying young and starting families of their own. A 2014 program launched by Population Services International called Chicas en Conexión aims to empower nearly 700 rural girls to make choices about their own lives. The program also promotes equality by involving community leaders, providing safe spaces, and lobbying for equality legislation.
  7. Not only children suffer from the country’s impoverished educational system. Teachers in rural areas have difficulty obtaining up-to-date and functional teaching materials, as well as facing the issue of inadequate school buildings. However, teachers are fighting back. By partnering with the U.N. Refugee Agency, teachers in Honduras are making their voices heard and advocating for better policies to reduce the systemic shortfalls in the Honduran educational system. The Honduran Ministry of Education has promised to increase school funding and implement a prevention and protection strategy for schools by 2020.
  8. In 2014, only 24.4 percent of girls enrolled in college courses, significantly less than many other developed countries in the region. Moreover, even for girls who have higher education, there is a much lower chance of being hired for work outside of the home. In 2018, women made up only 37 percent of the labor force. This is due to the cultural custom of women working inside the home.
  9. An estimated 26 percent of Honduran women become mothers before the age of 18, which contributes to the high drop-out rates of Honduran girls. In 2013, the Committees for the Prevention of Pregnancies and STIs among Adolescents (COPEITSA), a peer-education sexual health program for Honduran children, was launched. The program teaches sexual health and family planning- topics that are all but afterthoughts in Honduran education and public awareness.
  10. As recently as 2016, 34 percent of girls were married before the age of 18. However, in 2017, the Honduran government banned child marriage. Even with parental permission, it is now illegal in Honduras for anyone over 18 to be married. This is a drastic change from past decades, where child marriage was common and kept girls uneducated and in poverty.

Since 2007, the rate of education for girls has almost doubled in Honduras. Even taking into account school performance and drop-out rates included in the text above, the number of girls being enrolled in school and pursuing secondary education has improved over the last decade. It is clear from the top 10 facts about girls’ education in Honduras that many of the new changes implemented by the Honduran government are designed to favor girls. This is an effort to address mistakes made in the past and correct the systematic failure of girl’s education in Honduras. As of 2014, the Strategic Plan set forth by the Honduran Ministry of Education has addressed many of the pitfalls in their education system. The Honduran government continues to create legislation designed to promote equality for girls and better the educational prospects of girls nationwide.

– Rachel Kingsley
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts about Living Conditions in Honduras
Honduras, a small country between Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, is home to 9 million people, some of whom are direct descendants of the Mayan civilization.

Both rural and metropolitan regions of Honduras have enormous hurdles to overcome, but in recent years, they have made considerable strides toward ensuring long-term prosperity and security.

In the article below, top 10 facts about living conditions in Honduras that detail the successes and setbacks of the country are presented.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Honduras

  1. In 2016, the Honduran government declared a national emergency regarding the Zika virus. In response to the emergency, cooperation with various humanitarian aid organizations, such as UNICEF and the national child protection institution called Direccion de Infancia, Adolescencia y Familia (DINAF), resulted in a 99 percent decrease in newly reported cases in 2017. While this reduction is a massive improvement, especially in the span of one year, there are still around 191 cases of Zika that require proper education and care.
  2. In recent years, the homicide rate in Honduras has fallen significantly. While the homicide rate decreased by approximately 30 percent between 2012 and 2016, it is still one of the highest in the world with 59.1 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants per year. Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala form a particularly violent region plagued by political corruption, drug trafficking and post-war instability known as Central America’s Northern Triangle.
  3. A large portion of Honduras is part of the Dry Corridor. The Dry Corridor is an area of Central America that has been experiencing prolonged and more frequent droughts in recent history. This area covers the central-southern region of Honduras that are often hit by water shortages and dwindling agricultural yields. In years of extreme weather conditions, crop losses are reported to be as high as 60 percent in areas of maize production and 80 percent in regions of beans.
  4. Food insecurity remains a serious problem, especially in rural areas. In the past four years, ceaseless drought has amplified this issue. Twenty-three percent of children under the age of 5 across the country experience stunted growth. The rate of stunting jumps up to 40 percent in areas of the Dry Corridor.
  5. The poverty rate in Honduras is among the highest in Central America. Data from 2016 show that more than 66 percent of the total population is living in poverty, with higher concentrations along the southern, western and eastern borders. These are rural areas that overlap significantly with the Dry Corridor, creating a region where roughly 20 percent of the people experience extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1.90 a day.
  6. Honduras relies heavily on the production of renewable energy. Out of the total electricity produced in Honduras, 32 percent comes from a combination of different renewables, and in addition, 25 percent comes from hydroelectric alone. This positions Honduras above the United States, Japan and Spain in global rankings measuring a country’s percentage of total electricity produced from renewable sources. One plant in Nacaome has created more than 300 jobs since it’s development and more similar projects are underway all across Honduras.
  7. The city of San Pedro Sula in northwestern Honduras was once known as the most violent city in the world. Pervasive drug cartel presence in the area fuels much of the violence. In 2013, the murder rate was at staggering 168 homicides per 100,000 people. In 2015, the city was able to rid itself of this undesirable title after local government partnered with UNICEF Honduras, Asociacion Colaboracion y Esuerzo, the Ministry of Education and many other organizations to develop programs focused on providing educational resources for young people and families who are victims of the violence.
  8. Sanitation and clean drinking water are nowhere near ubiquitous for the most vulnerable populations in Honduras. More than 630,000 people lack access to clean drinking water and one million lack access to sanitary human waste management facilities. In 2004, the World Bank funded Honduras Water and Sanitation Sector Modernization Project that decentralized water and sanitation utilities, giving more control to small municipalities. The project has improved water services for 108,000 families and sanitation services for almost 4,000 families.
  9. The distribution of wealth and resources is among the worst in the world. According to the most recent World Bank data on income disparity, Honduras is the second most inequitable country in Central America. Urban areas possess the vast majority of wealth and resources. More than half of the population that is considered to be living in extreme poverty resides in rural areas, many of whom are indigenous peoples.
  10. Access to reliable sources of credit is limited but improving. For the most susceptible parts of Honduras, micro-lending programs are providing solutions outside of traditional banks. In addition to proving more than 400,000 Hondurans living in rural areas with financial education and services, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has created a microcredit program in the form of 77 local investment projects that are facilitating entrepreneurship in 26 municipalities in western Honduras.

The urban centers of Honduras are making significant advances in the face of extreme economic instability, sociopolitical strife and rampant crime.

In rural regions, a harsh, ever-changing climate looms while international aid programs focused on infrastructure, food security and financial independence provide crucial assistance.

These top 10 facts about living conditions in Honduras help illustrate that the country has the potential to drastically transform itself to better serve its people, as well as the global community.

– John Chapman
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Hunger in HondurasHonduras is the second-poorest country in Latin America and one of the poorest in the world. Approximately 1 in 5 Hondurans are living below the poverty line, in what can be defined as extreme poverty. Along with high rates of poverty come many issues—hunger being one of the biggest. The following are the top 10 facts about hunger in Honduras.

List of Top 10 Facts About Hunger in Honduras

  1. Poverty is the root cause of food insecurity in Honduras. When families do not know where their next meal is coming from, it leads to chronic hunger. A lack of food causes undernutrition in children and can promote the spread of disease.
  2. Rural areas are the most affected by limited food supply. Over half of Honduras’ extremely poor live in rural environments. When homes are isolated and not proximate to urban centers, access to food becomes even more restricted.
  3. Erratic weather patterns in Honduras worsens food insecurity. Honduras has experienced extreme droughts, during which many crops are lost and are no longer a reliable source of nourishment.
  4. Honduras lies in what is called the ‘Dry Corridor’, an area in Central America that is particularly susceptible to irregular and long-lasting droughts. Around 58 percent of children living in the Dry Corridor are undernourished and have stunted growth as a result. Weather is a major contributor to hunger in Honduras.
  5. Nonprofits have stepped up to help during periods of drought. The Honduras Livelihoods and Food and Nutrition Security in the Dry Corridor (ACS-GAFSP) was established after the country saw one of its most severe droughts in 2015 and 2016. The project mainly focuses on increasing food production and income generation, hoping to lift up to 50,000 Honduran families out of poverty.
  6. A lack of education on nutrition contributes to undernourishment. Many of the poor, living in Honduras, are not properly educated on nutritional awareness which leads to nutrient deficiencies. A poorly diversified diet also often leads to stunting in children.
  7. In children under 5 in Honduras, stunting levels are at 23 percent. This rate is tangible evidence of chronic undernourishment in children. In the Dry Corridor area, stunting rates can reach up to 40 percent.
  8. The WFP is working with the Honduran government to decrease hunger-related issues. It is trying to increase the resilience of those working in the agriculture sector in order to create a more steady supply of food. They are also trying to assist vulnerable families affected by food insecurity.
  9. High rates of hunger lead to high rates of migration. If there is no access to food in their home country, Hondurans are more likely to migrate to countries like the U.S. in hopes of having a better life. The WFP released a report in which Hondurans listed “no food” as their main reason for emigration.
  10. A lack of quality diet can also lead to unhealthy rates of obesity. Around 51 percent of women of reproductive age in Honduras are overweight. Reliable access to healthy foods would significantly mitigate this issue.

Hunger in Honduras is an ongoing problem, mostly due to less than ideal weather patterns that prevent the growth of steady crops. Malnutrition leads to many other issues like stunting and high rates of migration. The many nonprofits working toward feeding Hondurans provide hope for a bright future in Honduras.

– Amelia Merchant
Photo: Flickr

Village Partners Works to Relieve Poverty in Honduras
Each May and January, students from William Jewell College participate in a Village Partners Project trip to Honduras in an effort to alleviate poverty in its rural villages. Village Partners is a non-profit created and based out of William Jewell that works to create sustainable change in developing communities through asset-based community development.

The Borgen Project’s Savannah Hawley also had the opportunity to interview Jeff Buscher, co-creator of Village Partners, who provided many insightful perspectives on the organization’s activities, purpose and successes.

Who Are Village Partners?

Since its founding in 2009, Village Partners has worked in three different rural Honduran villages, spending between three to four years working in each location.

Village Partners works with the communities in areas such as health, education, food security and social improvements. After creating a relationship with the people in the rural villages, the group makes a plan to help the community help themselves. That assistance can include anything from tilapia farming to starting schools.

Work in the villages does not occur only during the two 10-day trips taken by Jewell students. A director is employed year-round to oversee the progress in the village and ensure that improvements are always being made to the program. Village Partners also employs interns from a university in Honduras to aid in the year-round work in the village.

What Are Honduras’ Poverty Levels?

Honduras experiences the highest level of poverty in Latin America, with a poverty rate of over 66 percent. In rural areas, one of every five Hondurans lives below the poverty line on around $1.90 per day.

In 2017, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) listed Honduras’ GDP at $5,500 per capita. Their economy, in addition to other factors, ranks Honduras’ as 170 of 195 countries — a status that highlights its immense poverty.

It is for this reason that Jeff Buscher, co-creator of Village Partners, decided to target rural Honduran villages using asset-based work to alleviate poverty.

“The purpose of Village Partners is to work to create sustainable, healthy change in specific developing communities through cross-cultural experience…we work sometimes three to four years in each village to help them accomplish and realize their goals. We, for the most part, focus our efforts on community development work in rural villages where there’s a better opportunity for significant help and change,” he told The Borgen Project when describing the premise of Village Partners.

What is An Asset-Based Community?

Asset-based community development is a strategy Buscher and the other founders of Village Partners used to ensure that the work they do is both educational and sustainable to the villagers the group helps.

“First we listen to their situation, then we help them network to find partners who can help solve their problems. We do the asset-based community development in a way that it’s not dependant on Jewell students coming and staying with them…that way when we leave they’re still better off and not reliant on us,” Buscher said.

Hard Work, High Impact

According to the World Bank, around 45 percent of Honduras is classified as rural, which makes the work Village Partners does all the more crucial. Its focus on rural areas — especially alleviating poverty without significantly changing the village’s culture — is highly important.

Rural villages are more likely to be impoverished than city centers, where education and reform are implemented sooner than other parts of the country. With such circumstances, the work Village Partners does in rural villages is all the more critical and should improve the country as a whole. 

– Savannah Hawley
Photo: Flickr

Six Facts About Healthcare in HondurasIn a nation that suffers from high levels of poverty, adequate healthcare and access to medical services have taken a hit. Honduras has long suffered from frequent maternal and infant mortality, and an estimated 1.5 million people are unable to receive healthcare at all. Why is healthcare so insufficient in Honduras? And what is being done to help?

Six Facts About Healthcare in Honduras

  1. Access to healthcare for families in Honduras is determined by poverty level, socioeconomic status and whether or not they live in a rural or urban environment. Poverty is a major issue in Honduras where over 66 percent of the population lives in poverty with one in five people living in extreme poverty. In rural environments, healthcare is much harder to access despite efforts to improve these conditions. The Ministry of Health in Honduras provides care to almost 90 percent of the population, but these services are mainly available in developed cities making it hard for rural populations to receive good care.
  2. One of the major barriers to receiving good healthcare in Honduras is lack of access to physicians. The CDC reports that there are around 0.37 physicians per 1,000 people in Honduras. This number is far too low according to The Millennium Development Goal’s estimates for providing sufficient primary healthcare to a nation. Although primary healthcare is insufficient in Honduras, the country still has high immunization coverage for children with between 88 to 93 percent of children receiving vaccinations.
  3. The Honduran health system is made up of a private and public sector. The public sector includes the Ministry of Health, which provides services to the majority of the population, and The Honduran Institute of Social Security. There is also a private sector that includes nonprofit organizations as well as for-profit businesses.
  4. Unfortunately, the current health system is experiencing a crisis due to poor management, weak government leadership and poor human resource administration. This has led to bad coordination between different institutions providing health and has only made gaining access to healthcare harder. A shocking nine out of ten people are not covered by any health insurance and at least 18 percent of the population cannot access healthcare.
  5. As a result of the challenges mentioned above, Honduras implemented a different national health model in 2015. This model would provide services to impoverished and rural areas and use preventative care to improve health. Care has improved in some ways but the use of this model has been sporadic and not consistent enough to have a big enough impact. However, there is good news.
  6. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has started a $15.6 million Threshold Program in Honduras that is trying to improve government efficiency and transparency. Part of this program includes social audits of healthcare clinics in rural areas by nonprofits and grassroots organizations in Honduras. These audits show whether or not clinics are providing adequate care to communities then the results are delivered to health center managers who come up with new plans to fix these problems. Real change has been seen as a result of these audits and clinics are starting to be more transparent about what they offer and improve doctor-patient relationships. This has also allowed for a more successful and consistent implementation of the new health model in many rural communities.

Although the social audits have certainly helped many rural communities, the Honduran government still has room for improvement to make sure that everyone has equal access to healthcare in Honduras. Healthy citizens are able to better contribute to society and economic growth making healthcare an important and relevant issue.

– Alexandra Eppenauer
Photo: Flickr

Northern Triangle
On June 14, 2017, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) arranged $2.5 billion in infrastructure projects for the nations of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. IDB invested $750 million, plus additional funding for another $1.75 billion from public and private sectors within the Northern Triangle. One year later, with levels of violence and regional emigration still growing, it begs the question, what is the U.S. doing to help?

U.S. Aid To The Northern Triangle

This funding was proposed to compliment the Plan of the Alliance for the Prosperity of the Northern Triangle, which has made progress in addressing security issues and strengthening local institutions.

The initiative intends to improve the region’s infrastructure and, above all else, to slow the path of northern migration by providing economic opportunities in the region. However, it is estimated that the Alliance For Prosperity, in place since 2014, directs 60 percent of the budget towards security measures.

With the additional $2.5 billion in regional and IDB backing, far more development progress should be achieved. IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno stated in 2017 that “the key over the next five years will be to tap the private sector to help build critical infrastructure that will generate jobs, improve competitiveness, and create the conditions that encourage people to build prosperous lives in their homelands.” Only one year into a five year plan, numerous of the project’s goals need time to produce results.

Northern Triangle Migration

In 2017, 54 percent of migrants detained at the border arrived from the Northern Triangle, in comparison to only 13 percent back in 2010. The Brookings institute reports that migration to countries like the U.S. has much to do with unprecedented levels of violence, including kidnapping, sex crimes and extortion in home countries.

Former Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, suggested that United States’ demand for drugs is what drives “violence” and “lawlessness” in the Northern Triangle nations. The majority of those arriving in the U.S. are not a part of the violent gang crime themselves, but rather are fleeing this crime seeking asylum and safety.

Regional Efforts

Surges of gang violence coupled by weak institutional support, corruption and a general lack of economic opportunity have undermined regional efforts to address the crisis. With 95 percent of crimes going unpunished, refugees have little choice but to flee. Eric Olsen at the Wilson Center argues, “There has been so much penetration of the state and so much criminal involvement in security forces, it makes it difficult to think about how they would [reform] without some outside intervention.”

It’s understandable that so much funding is needed to address organized crime, but this allocation leaves the Northern Triangle to struggle with a multitude of other concerns. IDB’s development pledge in coordination with the existing Alliance for Prosperity projects addressing security is a great step towards addressing the larger institutional infrastructure problems of the Northern Triangle.

U.S. Response and the Alliance for Prosperity

In recent years, the U.S. has responded in various ways to help El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Under President George W. Bush, the U.S. allocated hundreds of millions to the Northern Triangle and focused on increasing growth, trade and stability. President Barack Obama established the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) that provided over $1 billion to help law enforcement, counternarcotics and justice systems in the region.

This initiative was designed to coincide with the Alliance for Prosperity to promote commerce and security. Under President Donald J. Trump, Alliance for Prosperity has continued, but his administration has established a much harsher line on immigration policies affecting Northern Triangle refugees.

After one year, the anticipated effects of IDB’s pledge have yet to be realized. Recent media coverage of separated migrant families has raised more awareness of the realities faced in the Northern Triangle, and presents a new opportunity to direct new projects to restore the prosperity of these three nations.

With Central Americans still dealing with forced emigration, it is clear additional measures must be taken by the U.S. government to prevent atrocities in the Northern Triangle and that the congressional IDB pledge is just one step of many needed in the right direction.

– Joseph Ventura
Photo: Flickr

Honduras is one of the most impoverished countries in the world with at least 66 percent of its population living in poverty. Unsurprisingly, this affects their education system. Honduras has free education up until sixth grade, but the quality of the schools and supplies are subpar. Their teachers often go unpaid for months or are paid very little.

How Poverty Affects Girls’ Education in Honduras

These circumstances make it difficult for children, especially girls, to prioritize school. When families are struggling, it is hard for the child to choose to attend school rather than stay home and help. Girls are often expected to choose family life over schooling and stay home to run the house. 

After children reach the sixth grade, most of them cannot afford to continue their education. For girls’ education in Honduras, the situation is even worse. One of their only options, after finishing sixth grade, is often marriage at the young age of twelve or thirteen. In Honduras, 34% of girls get married before the age of eighteen.

CARE Education

Thankfully, there are organizations like CARE Education that focus primarily on empowering young girls to pursue their education with rigor. Central to their initiative, CARE has established, along with several partnering organizations, The Power to Lead Alliance (PTLA), which provides girls with secure environments in which to learn and grow in. They also work to teach girls to cultivate leadership and assertiveness in the classroom in order to develop their confidence.

Girls’ education in Honduras has benefitted from this program where CARE has listed outreach to almost 2,400 girls. These leadership initiatives have contributed to a lower rate of dropouts among girls after primary school in Honduras.

The Benefits of Girls’ Education

There are countless benefits to educating girls not only in Honduras but in impoverished countries across the world. However, the gender gap that is prevalent in many third-world countries today is all the more reason for a focus on girls’ education in Honduras. A more educated girl grows up to be a more educated woman, which ultimately leads to a better informed and healthier community.

Girls are often not provided the same opportunity and encouragement throughout their lives that young boys are. A girl’s income throughout her life can be up to 20 percent higher as a result of having a primary education. This is a bigger increase than that of boys with the same level of education. The difference schooling can make in a young girl’s life is enormous because they are not allowed much freedom outside of education in impoverished countries.

Access to education does not only improve the individual girl’s life, it has the power to alleviate poverty and stimulate the economy in countries like Honduras. Education alone has been shown to lower fertility rates leading to less unwanted pregnancies and decreasing the rates of HIV/AIDS.

Girls’ education in Honduras has a long way to come, but the benefits of investing in a young girl’s future are far too important to overlook.

– Amelia Merchant
Photo: Flickr

A Look at Credit Access in HondurasMicrofinance has become an important tool for increasing credit access in Honduras for low-income people. Microfinance, or microcredit, entails banks lending small amounts of money at low interest rates. It is a great method to get loans to people living in poverty who have no credit history, little to no income, no collateral and often no education. This practice is particularly popular in the developing world.

The Current Situation

Without access to credit, savings or other basic financial services, over two billion people around the world are financially excluded. Increased credit access in Honduras and other developing countries enables poor families to earn a larger income, build their assets and cushion themselves from extra costs from external shocks like natural disasters. Poverty in Honduras is exacerbated by a consistent threat of natural disasters, such as floods, hurricanes and land erosion.

In Honduras, 60 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line and the country has one of the lowest per capita incomes in Latin America. Credit access in Honduras is limited, especially in rural areas due to obstacles including high operating costs because of infrastructural deficiencies, a high level of risk due to the threat of natural disasters and a lack of flexible financial products and financial intermediaries that can cater to specific needs.

Improvements to Credit Access in Honduras

In 1989, a non-banking financial institution called FINCA was established in Honduras to provide banking services to people across the country, including loans, savings deposits, money transfer services and insurance. FINCA now has 21 branches and serves over 47,000 people in rural and urban areas of Honduras. The average loan is less than $800 and the institution’s loan portfolio amounts to over $21 million.

In 2014, the Rural Savings and Credit Union was formed in Honduras to provide these financial services in rural areas and offer flexible financial services based on individual negotiations and a deep knowledge of local communities and the businesses within those communities. Rural Savings and Credit Unions have promoted a more gender-inclusive market system, empowering women to participate in the economy to open small businesses and support their families financially. They are also sustainable and easy to replicate, ensuring a stable source of financial services to rural and poor areas in Honduras.

The Multilateral Investment Fund also approved a $200,000 technical assistance grant and a $3 million loan to the José María Covelo Foundation. The funds will allow the organization to pursue a project to improve the economic conditions of productive and entrepreneurial individuals in rural and peri-urban areas by increasing the microcredit supply in Honduras.

Real Life Results

Microcredit services like FINCA have helped increase poor people’s credit access in Honduras, enabling them to start small businesses and increase their incomes without having to go into major debt. For example,  62-year-old Consuelo Esperanza Rueda Aguilar has been able to start several businesses, from running a taxi service to selling a variety of different items ranging from cell phones to clothing to pots and pans. By utilizing FINCA’s services, Consuelo carefully invested her earnings to develop her entrepreneurial endeavors. She was also able to educate all five of her children and to buy a bigger house.

Models like FINCA and Rural Savings and Credit Unions strive to reduce poverty by increasing credit access in Honduras, providing economic opportunity for people in the most vulnerable settings and increasing economic empowerment by giving Hondurans the tools to become more financially stable.

– Sydney Lacey

Photo: Flickr

How the US Benefits from Foreign Aid to Honduras
Honduras lies within Central America as a part of a northern triangle with El Salvador and Guatemala, and this nation faces severe problems including crime, violence and poverty. Honduras has a long, and not always beneficial, relationship with the United States. However, there are many scenarios in which the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Honduras.

History and Past Relationships

The United States has a looming presence over Latin America including Honduras. One of the most notable cases occurred during the Cold War when the United States intervened in a myriad of countries in the name of preserving democracy; Honduras was used as a stationing point by the U.S. in their missions against the Nicaraguan Sandinistas.

The people of Honduras haven’t always necessarily been fans of the United States and its government. The country is a former “banana republic” — its economy was based on the production and sale of bananas through foreign, particularly American, companies.

This arrangement ended up not favoring the Honduran people and poverty in many rural areas can be traced back to this relationship. However, it is still possible to see both Honduran and U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Honduras.

War on Drugs

Honduras has been a pivotal part of drug trafficking through Central America to the United States. Central America is used as a transit region — it transports drugs from countries in South America such as Bolivia and Columbia to Mexico where the drugs can be transported across the border into the United States. This exchange has caused crime and violence to run rampant in the region, and the murder rate in Honduras is the highest in the world at 92 murders per 100,000 citizens.

The United States has previously given aid to Honduras so that the country can combat drug trafficking and the consequences the activity brings.

The U.S. Department of Commerce dedicated $1.5 million in 2017 for a customs and border management program in Honduras. Providing aid for this purpose can not only limit drug-related violence but it will limit some of the transport of drugs into the United States.

Immigration into the United States

The violence and poverty in Honduras has significantly increased immigration rates from the country to the United States. Many citizens have had no choice but to leave, and any risk they may face on their journey is deemed better than the alternative. In 2014, thousands of unaccompanied minors were found trying to flee to the U.S. from the Central American countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Providing foreign aid could dramatically change the lives of these vulnerable citizens who feel pushed towards immigration. Such outside aid can help to alleviate poverty and provide services like healthcare and public education.

The United States has provided more than three billion dollars in development assistance since 1961, but more can be done for the Honduran people. This investment will lower immigration rates in the long run from Honduras into the United States.

U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to Honduras

There are a number of scenarios in which the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Honduras, but the only scenario in which we will actually see these benefits is the one in which we actually provide much-needed aid. Not only will the United States benefit from such an action but, possibly more importantly, the Honduran people will as well.

– Megan Burtis

Photo: Flickr

reducing poverty through agricultureA growing population and the increased demand for food are burning problems in the present day. Many scientists, organizations, individuals and political bodies are coming forward to find solutions to this problem. Feeding so many mouths is not a simple task, but research and hard work are making the impossible at least feasible.

These are some methodical and sustainable ways of reducing poverty through agriculture and farming, especially in places with unfavorable climates, degraded soil and poor socioeconomic conditions.


Reforestation Through Cash Crops in Guatemala

Although Guatemala’s name means “a land of endless trees,” 80 percent of them were destroyed within a decade due to cattle breeding, corn farming, illegal settlements and destructive logging practices.

In order to restore the land to its previous condition, an organization named Livelihoods Funds, along with the government of Guatemala, took the initiative in reforestation by planting four million trees of various species over an area of 4,000 hectares.

The trees are mostly cash crops like rubber, coffee, patchouli, cocoa, mahogany, laurel, cedar and citrus plants. This helps the local community with reducing poverty through agriculture, boosting economic development and prevents climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.


Reducing Hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa

Hunger, malnutrition and stunting prove detrimental to the economic advancement of any country. The Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) came up with the initiative of helping individual farm families of Africa through nutrition-sensitive agricultural development.

Their aim is to provide technical assistance and a knowledge base for increasing food security with improved nutrition. Currently, their work is concentrated in sub-Saharan African countries, including Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania.


Alternative Food Production in Kenya

Kenya suffers from inadequate rainfall, which affects the production of maize, the primary staple crop of most smallholder farmers. The result is that a vast population suffers from hunger and starvation.

One Acre Fund is helping the Kenyan government with reducing poverty through agriculture by planting drought-resistant crops like millet and sorghum, which act as a source of food and income during times of inadequate rainfall. The organization also trains farmers in sustainable planting techniques and fertilizer usage.


Integrated Pest Management Techniques in Honduras

CropLife International, along with the United States Agency for International Development, is helping the people of Honduras with integrated pest management techniques. With the help of field officials, they train the farmers in good agricultural practices.

The pest management helps protect the crops and increases their quality and productivity, fetching better incomes for the farmers while improving their livelihoods. It is a powerful example of fighting extreme poverty.


Bio-fortification in Rwanda

In Rwanda, an organization named HarvestPlus has introduced a nutritious variety of beans through bio-fortification, a process of increasing vitamins and minerals in plants through biotechnology. The beans are rich in iron and also have the capacity to resist viruses. They are suitable for extreme climates, producing a higher yield and thus increasing the incomes of farmers.


Fish Farming in Cambodia

The Feed the Future project in Cambodia is helping hatcheries raise good quality young fish known as fingerlings. The project provides cost-effective and simple technology to manage the clarity, nutrients and water quality of ponds. As a result of this technology, the growth rate and average weight of fingerlings has increased. helping individual hatcheries thrive.

The above methodologies are mainly applied in sub-Saharan and Latin American countries where there are extreme temperatures, drought and unsuitable soil. But these models can also be implemented in other parts of the world to increase the productivity of crops and meet the growing demand for food and simultaneously reducing the poverty of farmers.

– Mahua Mitra

Photo: Pixabay