Generational PovertyIn countries experiencing generational poverty, children from low-income families often have fewer opportunities than those from more advantaged backgrounds. The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) reports that poor parents have limited resources to invest in their children. For this reason, the affected children face challenges like poor mental stimulation and education. Additionally, living in poverty can negatively affect parenting.

The NCCP studied this lasting impact on children by examining the social and economic status of several families. The study revealed that individuals who grow up in poverty tend to remain poor in early adulthood. Breaking this cycle is nearly impossible without proper resources and education, and families in low-income countries continue to suffer the impacts of this issue. The following are three such countries suffering from generational poverty.

3 Countries Suffering From Generational Poverty

  1. India: According to a 2020 World Economic Forum (WEF) report on global social mobility, Indians born into low-income families suffer from generational poverty. According to the report, it would take seven generations for an Indian raised in poverty to reach India’s mean income. The report defines social mobility as a person’s “movement” upwards or downwards relative to their parents. It found that countries with high social mobility scores have lower income inequality, while countries suffering from generational poverty have a higher variability in income. In response to the issue of generational poverty, India established the Integrated Rural Development Program in 1978. The program’s goal is to provide opportunities for people living in poverty to learn and practice skills to improve their living conditions while increasing small-scale agricultural production. The government allocates a 25% subsidy to small farmers and 33.5% to rural craftsmen, farmers, and agricultural laborers. The remaining 50% goes toward castes and people with disabilities.
  2. South Africa: South Africa is another country suffering from generational poverty. According to the World Inequity Lab’s research, the social structure catering to white people for nearly three centuries has made South Africa “the world’s most unequal society.” Black South Africans, who faced restricted access to resources and opportunities during the apartheid era, suffered negative impacts that lasted through generations. Today, the richest 10% of South Africans own over 85% of household wealth, leaving only 15% for the remaining 90%. The social system in South Africa perpetuates the cycle of generational poverty. The World Bank suggests three policy measures to break this cycle. These measures include expanding and improving the quality of education, increasing access to production and land in rural areas and investing in social protection systems that safeguard the impoverished from climate risks and economic vulnerability.
  3. Honduras: Generational poverty is permanent and occurs when at least two generations are born into poverty. In a video produced by the nonprofit organization Children Internation, a young girl from Honduras expresses sadness about her grandparents, who are her adoptive parents, growing up in the same poor living conditions that she currently lives in. The girl is among the 75% of Hondurans living in rural areas below the poverty line, where access to food and shelter is often scarce. Sponsorships through organizations such as Children International provide resources to help break the cycle of generational poverty for children. The Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA) provides financial services for families who live in poverty in Honduras, with 55.5% of borrowers being women. It provides individual loans, village banking loans, rural and agriculture loans and insurance to more than 60,000 clients.

Looking Ahead

Although many citizens in the aforementioned countries are still dealing with the challenges posed by generational poverty, there are ongoing initiatives that provide the required support to help them break the chain and create better opportunities for their children.

– Olivia Maillet
Photo: Flickr

HIVAIDS in Honduras
With a population of more than 10 million, Honduras is the second-largest country in Central America but it has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS cases in the region. Since its first cases in 1985, the disease has quickly become an epidemic, causing up to 1,000 deaths per year and leaving as many as 16,000 orphans as of 2021.

Reasons for High HIV/AIDS Rates

The spread of HIV/AIDS in Honduras is largely due to a lack of awareness, education and health care. USAID reports that only 65% of women reported using condoms as a preventative measure and 90% of women faced at least one obstacle in accessing health care. More than half a decade later, in 2012, only 61% of individuals reported having used a condom during their last sexual encounter with a high HIV-risk partner and 32% used this protection the last time they paid for sex. Just 57% of HIV-positive individuals were aware of their condition, according to a 2021 report. Delayed detection and lack of treatment allow the disease to spread, often unnoticed, through communities, via intercourse, mother-to-child transmission and infected blood.

The Effects of HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS is primarily dangerous for its weakening of the immune system, making the carrier vulnerable to other infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis (TB), one of the main causes of death of HIV carriers in Honduras. Approximately 13% of TB patients in Honduras have HIV, according to USAID.

After diagnosis, carriers often face stigmatization and discrimination from their community. The 2005–2006 Honduras Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) showed that only 46% of women would buy produce from an HIV-positive vendor and only 56% believed an infected teacher should be able to continue his profession. Unemployment and poverty further marginalize these individuals, USAID reports. As three-quarters of HIV infections in Honduras occur in its most economically active population, the age group of 20 to 39, the economic growth of communities and the nation as a whole is impeded.

In some cases, HIV/AIDS infections have led to human rights abuses in the form of involuntary sterilization. A 2018 City University of New York (CUNY) research study presented the case studies of two women seeking asylum in the U.S. to avoid sterilization on the basis of their diagnosis.

The Most Affected

Higher rates of HIV/AIDS exist among Honduras’ more vulnerable communities, such as female sex workers, gay men and Garífuna communities. Although neither homosexuality nor sex work is illegal, both communities report regular harassment and stigmatization and these disadvantages are subsequently amplified upon diagnosis, according to The Global Fund report.

The Afro-indigenous ethnic group, the Garífuna, reported a rate of HIV infections “over three times the national average,” largely because of the high levels of migration which facilitates sexual concurrency and the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Efforts to Fight the Epidemic

Internal and external efforts to combat HIV/AIDS in Honduras have shown consistently positive results. Plans have primarily focused on promoting education surrounding sexual and reproductive health, expanding STI treatment and prevention, providing access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and increasing surveillance and research. HIV/AIDS incidence has fallen from 0.7% in 2007, according to USAID, to 0.2% in 2021. AIDS-related deaths also fell from 40 per 100,000 in 2002 to 7 per 100,000 in 2020.

The PEPFAR provided AIDS-related support to more than 30,000 Hondurans in 2022 alone and identified 1,190 undiagnosed individuals, who were then able to seek treatment. The nonprofit organization Project HOPE has worked in Honduras since 1984 to support the eradication of HIV/AIDS-related deaths. This progress is ongoing.

Additionally, The Global Fund recently achieved a U.S. grant of up to $19.1 million for Honduras for 2022-2025. Its aims include reducing deaths from AIDS-related causes by 50% and reducing HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men to 5% or lower.

The Future

There is still far to go in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Honduras and unforeseen challenges such as natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic threatens disruption to HIV/AIDS treatments and preventative programs. Nevertheless, progress is visible and ongoing. Improved access to critical treatment means a diagnosis is no longer a death sentence.
– Helene Schlichter
Photo: Pixabay

USAID Programs in Honduras
Honduras is a developing nation with one of the highest economic growth rates in Central America; nevertheless, it still battles high rates of poverty and still needs a hand in encouraging economic growth and stability. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country had a steadily growing GDP, reaching 3.7% in the last decade. However, that increase showed little change for those in poverty. Poverty continued to worsen when hurricane Eta and hurricane Iota devastated the country’s landscape. Currently, Honduras is in a post-pandemic and post-hurricane period of recovery with an estimated 25% of Hondurans living in extreme poverty, according to the World Bank. This is evidenced in children, with 23% of them stunted in growth due to malnutrition and food insecurity. However, USAID programs in Honduras are on the job, helping to strengthen food security and disaster preparedness.


USAID is a development agency that encourages economic growth, food security, basic education, government transparency and other humanitarian efforts for foreign countries. President John F. Kennedy founded the organization in 1961 and it continues its mission to “save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance and help people emerge from humanitarian crises and progress beyond assistance.” USAID has utilized millions of dollars to encourage economic growth through disaster relief, social work and food security. In terms of Honduras, USAID entered the country in 1961 and has since focused on food security and the elimination of poverty in the years since.

Food Security

Food is a foundation of Honduras. Nearly 28% of Honduras is prime agricultural land—all of which is susceptible to hurricanes and droughts which frequently plague the nation. Interestingly enough, 39% of all Hondurans work in food production and agriculture. Without enough food, there are not enough jobs. If there are no jobs and no food, food insecurity begins to rise.

In 2001, Honduras had a 22% undernourished population. While food insecurity was still rampant in 2018, only 13% of the population was undernourished.  As a response, USAID presented new practices to farmers to create more sustainable and weather-proofed crops. This includes planting cold-climate vegetables such as carrots, squash and green beans, among a variety of other foods.

USAID also educated farmers on “diversification of crops, drip irrigation and soil management to increase crop production and better protect against future climate shocks.”

Natural Disaster Resilience

In Honduras, hurricanes are a huge threat to human life and well-being—especially to those already in poverty. Hurricane Eta and hurricane Iota killed close to 100 people, while simultaneously destroying the landscape with flooding and powerful winds. Until natural disaster repairs are made and human needs are met, the country slows to a near standstill.

To combat this, USAID has helped introduce early warning devices and monitoring systems to detect floods and storms which often hit the country. It educated the people on methods for removing waste and obstacles which hurricanes may generate. Among these new tools are aerial photography and river topography, which will be key in saving lives.

USAID programs in Honduras are vital to positive progression and development. With knowledge of how to grow more sustainable food in greater amounts, food security could increase and malnutrition could decrease. New ways to approach the challenges due to hurricanes could help citizens become resilient against disasters. With more of its people having their basic needs met, Hondurans could be free to advance their way of life.

– Thomas LaPorte
Photo: Unsplash

Fragility of Rule of Law in Honduras
Government corruption, drug-related crimes and poverty are three factors that reinforce each other and perpetuate the fragility of rule of law in Honduras. Poverty in Honduras remains a major concern, as around 48% of its population (more than 4.3 million people) live below the national poverty line, according to the World Bank. Meanwhile, the country is also a key transit point for drugs bound to the United States from South America, said the U.S. State Department in its 2022 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. A culture of impunity also prevails, with corruption and abuse marring the country’s judiciary and police, according to the 2022 World Report by Human Rights Watch.

The good news is that while these problems continue to plague the scenic Central American country, several local and U.S. institutions are working together to develop strategies aimed at improving the rule of law in Honduras.

Factors Undermining the Rule of Law in Honduras

In Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, the Honduran government received a transparency score of 24 out of 100. A score of zero means highly corrupt and 100 is very transparent.

Misconduct, common among police officers and other low-ranking officials, reaches the country’s highest level of government as well. For instance, in 2022, the U.S. government extradited Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez for drug and weapons trafficking charges.

Corruption plays a part in continual poverty by misappropriating the funds intended for the delivery of essential services for the citizens of Honduras. Notably, in 2018, corruption in Honduras was more than $2 billion, or 12.5% of the nation’s GDP.

The Association for a More Just Society says that without a strong government to enforce the rule of law in Honduras, criminal organizations grow in power and influence. As a result, corruption and poverty keep deepening.  

Efforts to Uphold Rule of Law in Honduras

In response to a $300 million embezzlement scandal from 2014, the Honduran public called for the president’s resignation. They also demanded the creation of a national anti-corruption agency.

To address the public outrage, the Honduran government collaborated with the Organization of American States (OAS). This collaboration led to the creation of the Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH).

The MACCIH began operations in 2016 and was fairly successful. It arrested and convicted many high-ranking government officials implicated in the embezzlement scandal. It also fired 40% of the police force under suspicion of corruption. However, after four years, the MACCIH’s mandate ended following a disagreement between the Honduran government and the OAS.

The MACCIH’s shutdown also led to the end of the Special Prosecutor’s Unit against Impunity and Corruption (Unidad Fiscal Especial contra la Impunidad y la Corrupción) or UFECIC. UFECIC and the MACCIH were working closely in investigating corrupt networks.

Replacing UFECIC was the Special Prosecutor’s Unit against Corruption Networks (Unidad Fiscal Especializada Contra Redes de Corrupción) or UFERCO. However, UFERCO receives insufficient resources and support from national and international institutions. UFERCO’s situation debilitates efforts to uphold the rule of law in Honduras.

An additional complication to addressing the fragility of rule of law in Honduras is a new penal code, the Washington Office on Latin America said. The new code reduces sentences for corruption and drug trafficking-related crimes. 

Indeed, the controversial new code led to the acquittal of 14 officials implicated in the 2014 embezzlement case. Beneficiaries of the controversial code also include those convicted of misusing government money. Under the new code, those sentenced to less than five years have the possibility to reduce their sentence if they can repay the stolen funds. The new penal code went into effect in June 2020.

Onward and Forward: The Path to Strengthening the Rule of Law in Honduras

Despite the setbacks, several activities aimed at reducing the fragility of rule of law in Honduras persist. One such initiative is the Justice, Human Rights and Security Strengthening Activity (Unidos por la Justicia). This project, which USAID launched in 2016, operates to: instigate institutional reform, increase access to justice and civil society, increase policing and empower women to combat gender-based violence.

Additionally, the Biden Administration has pledged $4 billion over four years to address crime, poverty and corruption in Honduras and its neighboring states El Salvador and Guatemala. The move is part of the “U.S. Strategy for Addressing the Root Cause of Migration in Central America” plan.

This funding led to the founding of the Effective Justice to Combat Criminality and Corruption Project (JECCC), a U.S.-backed project seeking to collaborate with and expand on the efforts of Unidos por la Justicia.

In the past, the United States gave funds directly to the central government and Honduran law enforcement. However, to avoid funneling money into corrupt institutions, the new protocol prioritizes NGOs working toward improved education, agriculture and women’s rights.

– Xander Heiple
Photo: Flickr

Child death in Honduras
Child death in Honduras is becoming a significant problem as a combination of factors is creating a crisis of poverty in the country. With the Central American country already being one of the poorest in Latin America as well as having the second-highest poverty rate in the LAC according to the World Bank data in 2020, the children of the country experience the brunt of this poverty. The most significant impact this rising poverty rate has had is pneumonia which has grown due to malnutrition, lack of safe water and sanitation and health care.

Poverty in Honduras: An Overview

  • Poverty in Honduras has been a concern for a long time. Before 2020, 25.2% of the country lived in extreme poverty and according to the World Bank, 4.4 million people lived in poverty. Since 2014, there has been very little decline in poverty levels as well.
  • When it comes to human development as well, Honduras has performed very poorly and has the lowest human development outcomes in Latin America. Children in particular suffer from child malnutrition as a result of this. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), 23% of children under 5 experience stunting and anemia affects 29%.
  • The reasons for Honduras’ struggle with poverty have roots in economic, political and environmental factors. The climate makes food insecurity in the region much worse, with extreme droughts in Honduras’ Dry Corridor and irregular rainfalls that resulted in the loss of more than half of the crops in 2015. Moreover, 72% of the country relies on agriculture which makes matters worse.

Rising Cases of Pneumonia

The worsening poverty rates and resulting poor nutrition have resulted in an increase in child mortality rates in Honduras. One of the leading causes of child death in Honduras is pneumonia, which according to UNICEF is 16% of deaths of children under 5 years of age in 2019. The cause of the rising cases of pneumonia is the amount of malnutrition rising in the population due to the poverty crisis. With malnutrition comes a lack of safe drinking water, lack of sanitation and poor healthcare systems. Some parts of the country, such as the south region, are mountainous areas where finding safe drinking water is difficult and jobs are lacking.

These levels could rise as famine will likely hit the dry corridor of Honduras as well as Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica. In an interview with The Guardian, Ramón Turcios, the southern regional director for the Ministry of Agriculture, places the blame for this rising poverty on the government’s lack of response to the droughts. Although The Guardian reported that the World Food Programme (WFP) is providing supplementary nutrition to children in the Vado Ancho region, many doctors and healthcare providers are concerned about the future. “I’m scared that, as a result of the drought, the situation will get worse and there will be more cases of pneumonia, especially in children under five,” said a doctor at a local health center in an interview with The Guardian.

Hope For the Future

While the future looks bleak, there is hope that Honduras might be able to tackle this crisis and help millions of children. The World Bank currently has 11 projects in Honduras that it has committed $814 million. These commitments aim to address sanitation, health care and food security. The World Bank has pledged $70 million to specifically provide water to the Dry Corridor. It is also working on a new Country Partnership Framework with Honduras as of April 2022. Honduras also partnered with UNDP in 2019 to tackle child malnutrition specifically. Although there are fears for the future, many international organizations are working with Honduras to abate the number of pneumonia cases and reduce child death in Honduras.

– Umaima Munir
Photo: Flickr

Global Engineering BrigadeEngineering students from around the world work with the Global Engineering Brigade and local communities to create clean water systems in areas that do not have access to them. College chapters travel to Ghana, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama to cater the water system to the community’s needs.

In Honduras, these efforts are needed more than ever as 5.7% of the population lacked access to clean water in 2021. The following year, Honduras’s capital Tegucigalpa also experienced a clean water shortage for its 1.5 million residents. Coupled with unsafe drinking sources, malnutrition and poor health care, there are increased fears of pneumonia, which is one of the leading causes of child deaths in the country.

Global Engineering Brigades

Global Brigades began in 2003 when Shital Vora, a physical therapist student at Marquette University recruited about 20 students to volunteer in Honduras. While students initially only delivered medical supplies, the scope of the program has since evolved. Global Brigades now also provides clean water, legal help and guidance on improving public health. During the pandemic, engineering students collaborated with communities over Zoom to help with clean water systems specifically.

Water Systems

Ongoing projects in five areas of Honduras continued post pandemic lockdowns. In cities such as Loz Izotes, residents’ primary water sources are local streams with untreated water. For this community, the only way to get sufficient water flow for everyone in the area is to build a well and install an efficient pump system. The location was assessed in 2016 and a water system is designed. However, a project partner is needed to bring the plan to completion.

Volunteering Process

The global engineering brigade has a five-step process for each water system project. Although it is typically a week-long trip, chapters strive to follow these steps to ensure clean water is presented to the community. Students and other volunteers first meet with community residents and leaders to assess current water sources and the community’s needs.

Once the assessment is done, Global Engineering Brigade engineers work with volunteers to design the project. They map the area, design the water system and create a budget that works with the community. With the project developed and the budget created, the volunteers present their findings to the community before they begin construction.

Volunteers also have the opportunity to visit previously completed projects to follow up and ensure it is operating correctly. The construction phase can take time due to funding. While volunteers are not expected to stay during the construction they can extend their trip if they want to.

Ongoing Projects and Future

While the pandemic temporarily changed the way the Global Engineering Brigade operated, engineering students are now back to work in person in 2022. At the beginning of the year, the University of Birmingham in England began to fundraise for their trip to Honduras planned for July 2022.

Similarly, Dalhousie University in Canada raised $30,093.34 for their trip to Honduras in May 2022. In 2021, the engineering students participated in a TeleBridage, helping communities virtually during the pandemic.

The University of Central Florida (UCF) in the United States is scheduled to travel to Honduras in May 2023. Students at UCF also joined the TeleBrigade in 2021 to help with the water access crisis.

Global Engineering Brigades worldwide continue to raise money and provide water systems to countries lacking clean water. As of 2019, 45 water systems have been constructed with the Global Engineering Brigade’s assistance.

– -Sara Sweitzer
Photo: Flickr

Drought in Honduras
In El Triunfo, a small town located in Honduras, many farmers have battled food insecurity and poverty by pivoting to growing cashew trees. Worsening climate conditions have created a continuing drought in Honduras and cashews have become a way for some to adapt their crops to deal with the changing land.

Drought in Honduras

In September 2019, the drought in Honduras became so severe that the government declared a national state of emergency, a drought that had been going on for five years already at that point.

The traditional crops of maize and beans do not stand up well to the changing climate. According to Reuters, drought destroyed up to 80% of crops by 2019 in some regions. The lack of crop diversity is additional harm, as corn, in particular, can deplete essential nutrients from the soil.

Every year, the drought has more of an impact, as stocks deplete and the soil becomes worse. It eventually becomes difficult for farmers to recoup their losses.

The Dry Corridor is a stretch of land in Central America running through El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras. The region’s name comes from its ongoing drought and minimal rainfall. Within this region, over 25% of residents do not have the finances to purchase sufficient essential foods.

As of July 2021, more than 73.6% of Hondurans are in poverty with 53.7% in extreme poverty, according to estimates by the Honduran government.

How El Triunfo is Adapting Crops

The town of El Triunfo has taken an adaptive approach to combat the drought in Honduras. In 2018, a group of farmers in the area founded a community cooperative. There are currently 38 members of the cooperative, mostly women and their main focus is the growth and cultivation of cashew trees, The Guardian reported.

Cashews and cashew trees provide numerous long-term benefits. Primarily, they are extremely drought resistant and actually better the quality of the soil. They additionally benefit their environment by providing coverage for animals and other plants. In these ways, they differ from the crops that Honduran farmers traditionally grow.

Cashews are also packed with nutrients. One ounce of cashews contains five grams of protein and 12 grams of fat. They are additionally high in copper, which helps the body produce energy. Essentially, cashews provide a valuable supplement to the diet of those facing food insecurity.

Beyond being able to eat the cashews they grow, farmers in Honduras sell and make a profit from their cashew yields. While the cooperative does not currently have the means to process the cashews themselves, they are able to sell the nuts to an intermediary. Although, they do hope to have their own operations one day, according to The Guardian.


While the long-term efficacy of the cooperative remains to be seen, as much of their operation is still in its developing stages, there are also more established companies within the town of El Triunfo. Etramasot, for example, is a cashew farming company founded in 2003 that fully manages its own processing. Ninety-two farmers currently grow for Etramasot and the current president, Almí Martinez, has witnessed first-hand the qualitative benefits of utilizing stable, drought-resistant crops.

“I’ve seen people able to buy their own land, animals and educate their children who have gone into professions,” she said in an interview with the Guardian.

The drought in Honduras and the weather conditions throughout the entire dry corridor make it difficult for farmers in the area to produce consistent crop yields. Cashew trees, however, are able to thrive despite these conditions, leading many farmers in El Triunfo, Honduras to adapt their fields to grow cashews. The resulting cashews not only provide a steady source of nutrition for the farmers but allow them to reap the economic benefit of selling the excess.

– Eleanor Corbin
Photo: Flickr

Bitcoin in Honduras
Honduras has one of Central America’s most robust and fastest-growing economies. Still, there is no doubt that the nation has had its fair share of economic strife. In April 2022, a heavily tourist-populated region nicknamed “Honduras Prospera” legalized the use of Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency. Honduras Prospera will serve as a trial for Bitcoin usage in Honduras, with expectations for future growth.

Economic Struggles in Honduras

Honduras’ economy has certainly had its struggles. Hopefully, by introducing Bitcoin in Honduras, the country’s economic struggles will diminish. In the pre-COVID-19 pandemic age, in 2018, at least 16.5% of Hondurans lived on less than $1.90 a day. Since 2019, two significant hurricanes and natural disasters have impacted the nation and exacerbated the number of people in poverty due to the pandemic and its effects. In 2021, the poverty rate reached 73% with the extreme poverty rate reaching 53%. That marks the highest poverty and extreme poverty rates in Honduras since 2005.

One of the primary reasons Honduras’ economy has struggled is its dependence on agriculture and trade with the United States. If either of these sectors struggles, the entire economy struggles. Honduras’ agriculture accounted for slightly less than 30% of the country’s workforce in 2019 and is responsible for at least 12% of Honduras’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Honduras’s trade with the United States accounts for about 41% of all Honduran trade annually. At the end of 2020, the bilateral trade earnings were more than $9 billion with a surplus that unfortunately only favored the U.S. Despite the immense difficulties the country has experienced since 2019, Honduras’s economic projections have been optimistic, with expected annual economic growth of 4.5%. The acceptance of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in Honduras will allow that figure to increase by the end of the next fiscal year.

Benefits of Accepting Cryptocurrency for Honduras

Introducing Bitcoin in Honduras has many benefits for the Prospera region before the rest of Honduras follows suit. The usage of Bitcoin in Honduras aims to entice foreign investors and make tourist spending easier to facilitate. It is a move following the introduction of Bitcoin in El Salvador, one of Honduras’s neighboring countries. Bitcoin in Honduras and El Salvador, while likely to face technical challenges in the early stages, intend to bring new business opportunities across borders and in international markets.

Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin have significant potential for economic security and allow for lower transaction fees. The decreased costs will encourage foreign investors and encourage locals to make use of Bitcoin as well. The lowered fees will prove beneficial to those living in poverty as they work to avoid extra costs and fees. One of the greatest challenges to implementing Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies anywhere is the technological barriers many places face. These include setting up a digital wallet. However, as Honduras Prospera is a tourist destination and is prepared for technological changes, it is a perfect location for a test run of cryptocurrency use.

Having Bitcoin in Honduras will open the door for new employment opportunities and can diversify the financial foundation of Honduras’s economy. The diversification of Honduras’ economy will allow for future safety should its agricultural foundation falter or trade with the U.S. become too difficult.

Honduras’s Economic Future

People do not widely accept the idea of Bitcoin in Honduras, as the first rollout of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are only taking place in one region of the country. Hondurans are skeptical of the economic advantages of Bitcoin after seeing the difficulties El Salvador has faced in its first weeks of using the cryptocurrencies.

One of the best ways to bring about economic growth in Honduras is to increase economic competition in all regions of the country, especially in the rural areas. The rural areas of Honduras are the most likely to experience poverty. Plus, with the benefits of Bitcoin in Honduras, including the lower transaction costs, Bitcoin should be able to easily spread to the country’s corners. Bitcoin also allows for merchant protection. Given Honduras’ heavy reliance on trade and the international economies and markets, the success in the piloting of Bitcoin will create even more support for introducing Bitcoin to the area.

Honduras’ estimated economic growth has stalled at about 4% since 2020. Honduras is still struggling to rebuild its infrastructure and economy since the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters hit, making any efforts to fix the problems invaluable. With the benefits of Bitcoin in Honduras, many already are finding popular Bitcoins for use, and with the need for any economic recovery, expanding Bitcoin’s availability for use will likely receive significant support. There are many websites already helping Hondurans find the best Bitcoin or cryptocurrency to use and the first Bitcoin ATM opened in August 2021. The expansion of Bitcoin will lead to economic growth in Honduras. It might allow Honduras’s economy to exceed expectations for its annual economic growth, thus amplifying the impacts of cryptocurrencies.

Clara Mulvihill
Photo: Flickr

MujerProspera Challenge
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) introduced MujerProspera (WomanProsper) Challenge on January 13, 2022. The challenge encourages applicants to propose innovative ways to promote gender equality in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Overall, this project addresses the relationship between gender and poverty and forms part of a long list of ongoing USAID projects that bolster the opportunities of the world’s impoverished.

Gender and Poverty

Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras noted high levels of extreme poverty even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, although the spread of the virus prompted rises in poverty levels throughout the region. According to the Center for Strategic and Management Studies, the Northern Triangle, of which Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras form part, stands as “one of the [most impoverished] regions in the Western Hemisphere.” Migration patterns and environmental disasters also exacerbate the struggles of those living below the poverty line. As of August 12, 2021, USAID estimated that 8.3 million citizens across these three countries require humanitarian aid.

These facts do not exist in isolation of gender inequality. In fact, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras stand out as nations where gender and poverty intertwine. Data from the Gender Equality Observatory shows that extremely high percentages of women in Guatemala (51%), El Salvador (39.4%) and Honduras (43.5%) had no “incomes of their own.” All of these rates are higher than the regional average, which stood at 27.8% as of 2019.

Evidence proves that changing these statistics leads to positive change. A World Bank report on women’s role in Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) economies notes that “an increase in the number of women in paid work between 2000 and 2010 accounted for around 30% of the overall reduction in poverty and income inequality.” Women in these countries receive fewer opportunities and face more challenges than many men in the same social and economic situation. As such, U.S. efforts to combat global poverty must also combat global gender inequality.

Developments in Central American Women’s Rights

Local activists, politicians and international organizations in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras continue to make significant progress in women’s rights. One group, the IM-Defensoras, has launched several campaigns throughout Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras since 2016 to protect women and provide a cooperative network for female humanitarian activists.

In addition, the Regional Office of U.N. Women for LAC launched the Women, Local economy and Territories (WLEaT) program in 2018 with a specific focus on the Northern Triangle countries. WLEaT “contributes to the creation of new and better employment and income opportunities for women entrepreneurs and businesswomen” by strengthening their access to business services and promoting inclusive financial practices in the private sector. The program, therefore, contributes to multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as ending global poverty (SDG 1),  combating gender inequality (SDG 5) and promoting “decent work” and economic expansion (SDG 8).

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in June 2021, USAID and several partner organizations provided resources for women in need of humanitarian aid. This includes a total of $60 million spread across the three Northern Triangle countries to encourage employment, train Indigenous women for midwife careers, prevent gender-based violence and more. Most recently, on January 13, 2022, USAID introduced another important program: the MujerProspera Challenge.

What is the MujerProspera Challenge?

The MujerProspera Challenge stands as one of many U.S. programs pushing against multiple levels of inequality. The program’s official request for applications documents states that the project seeks to “advance women’s economic security, employment, and/or entrepreneurship” in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The lofty document lists different types of solutions that draw from training initiatives in the private sector to the implementation of gender-inclusive legislation. However, overall, MujerProspera provides another way for women in these countries to protect their agency and independence.

Applicants can win funding awards ranging from $150,000 to $500,000 in value. Through these awards, applicants can fund necessary initiatives or solutions that acknowledge the relationship between gender and poverty and promote women’s involvement in the economic sector. The MujerProspera Challenge thus empowers women, local activists, entrepreneurs and organizations to develop solutions to improve situations of gender inequality and poverty in their home countries.

– Lauren Sung
Photo: Flickr

Agricultural Initiatives in HondurasNatural disasters heavily impact the livelihoods of people from the Central American country of Honduras. November 2021 marks one year since the disastrous effects of Hurricanes Eta and Iota on the Honduran landscape and people. These hurricanes led to the destruction “of up to 70% of Honduras’ crops and grains,” causing severe financial struggles for small-scale farmers and their families. Over the past year, organizations have come together to rebuild Honduran agriculture. Revitalizing the economy and creating opportunities through agricultural initiatives in Honduras is vital to ensuring sustainability and decreasing poverty in the nation.

Agricultural Initiatives in Honduras Improve Gender Inequality

Honduras has high levels of gender inequality — the World Economic Forum reported “a gender gap of 27.8%” in Honduras. Honduras also ranks as “one of the most unequal countries in Latin America in terms of development.” Inequality particularly affects women and girls. For example, in Honduras, coffee accounts for more than 32% of the nation’s agricultural GDP and women are responsible for “at least 20% of that contribution.” However, “the economic returns of women in agriculture are often lower than those of their male peers.”

The International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) began in 2003 when women from Costa Rica, Nicaragua and the United States formed the group to empower and connect women in the coffee sector. The Honduras chapter of the IWCA, AMUCAFE, seeks for more women to hold “leadership and decision-making positions” in top coffee organizations to “reduce the gender gap while creating better business opportunities” for women.

Currently, there are 391 active women in AMUCAFE who benefit from the networking and education opportunities that the organization allows for. Women face barriers in business loan approvals for their agricultural work “as only a few have land ownership which serves as collateral for loans.” Furthermore, at times, “the returns for the sale of women-produced coffee comes through the male figures in their families: fathers or husbands.” In order to empower women in the coffee industry, AMUCAFE seeks to learn “best practices related to trade and commercial promotion” to ensure “better returns for [AMUCAFE] members and long-term financial sustainability for [the] organization.” In turn, this will contribute to overall poverty reduction in Honduras while reducing gender inequality.

Creating Economically and Environmentally Sustainable Coffee

Coffee production is taxing on the environment of the countries that rely on it as an agricultural commodity. In Honduras, large environmental costs occur from the loss of forest habitats due to deforestation. Woodlands are disappearing in favor of growing crops because small-scale farmers depend on the sale of coffee to markets abroad.

With the support of a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), two environmental experts, Timothy Randhir and David King, will undertake a five-year journey “to make Honduran coffee sustainable across environmental, economic and social fronts.” The project also aims to uncover how environmentally sustainable coffee-growing practices can “yield higher and more stable incomes” for Honduran coffee farmers. The project stands as important work as coffee represents a main source of income “for more than 100,000 Honduran families and provides employment for about a million people.”

Deforestation leads to greater rainfall and flooding which causes soil erosion. Replacing “older, wood-fired dryers” with new “solar-powered industrial coffee dryers” is another key aspect of the project. The experts will study “the environmental and economic sustainability” of this new technology in improving Honduran agricultural practices. Improved practices and technology will help decrease deforestation and minimize the use of carbon-emitting natural resources while ensuring sustainable coffee production and higher incomes.

In the long term, these sustainable and inclusive agricultural initiatives in Honduras should reduce poverty. Additionally, they may be helpful in conserving the environment while improving the lives of the Honduran people.

– Robert Moncayo
Photo: Flickr