A YEAR IN
Boys show their expectations in life as part of the Healthy Life and Environment project
why Plan works in Honduras
• Healthcare for the poor is very limited, and children are especially vulnerable to disease
• Enabling more children to attend school and improving education
• Children’s rights are not widely recognised, and violence, child labour and exploitation are widespread
• Helping more children receive healthcare, and improving nutrition, water and sanitation
• 17 per cent of adults cannot read and write
• Ensuring children’s needs are met in emergency situations and improving disaster preparedness • Improving incomes for the poorest families • Protecting children from violence, exploitation and abuse • Helping children, families and communities to be active citizens and fostering a culture of democracy
Amerindian languages Climate: Honduras borders the Caribbean Sea on the north coast and the Pacific Ocean on the south through the Gulf of Fonseca. The climate varies from tropical in the lowlands to temperate in the mountains. The central and southern regions are relatively hotter and less humid than the northern coast.
Economy: The economy has
continued to grow slowly, but the distribution of wealth remains very polarised with average wages remaining low. Economic growth in the last few years has averaged seven per cent per year which has been one of the most successful growths in Latin America, but 50 per cent of the population still remains below the poverty line. It is estimated that there are more than 2.7 million people who are unemployed.
sum aci HONDURAS nt
Country Office Program Units
La Ceiba San Pedro Sula Santa Bárbara Copán Juticalpa Intibucá Tegucigalpa Lempira EL SALVADOR La Paz
‘It is our duty to make democracy more real, to make this country a better place’
Population: 7.8 million Capital: Tegucigalpa Languages: Spanish and
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Children play games at an emergency camp following tropical storms
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participation, citizenship and democracy The constitutional crisis following President Zelaya’s removal has highlighted how leadership in Honduran communities and at higher levels is often authoritarian. Plan helps people get directly involved in community, municipal and national development. We are trying to build a culture where dialogue and debate are accepted. By strengthening equality and social justice,
we encourage individual and collective commitment to democracy. Plan helps community groups monitor public policy, and supports 140 youth groups taking responsibility in their local areas. We encourage the government to develop policies that recognise the rights of vulnerable groups.
A New Spirit for Honduras
‘What is democracy? For me, it means that people can eat three meals a day, walk without fear in the streets, and take part in decisions that affect their own lives.’
Twenty-year-old Sobeyda is very clear about the importance of democracy. She is one of 30 young people in western Honduras taking part in a Plan project getting young people directly involved in public debate and decision-making on social issues. Honduras has a long history of military rule, crime and gang violence. So fostering a spirit of democracy and citizenship among the next generation is really important for the country’s future development. Plan is helping young people to become confident at public speaking, good at debating, and able to present proposals to community and municipal authorities. In this project, young people learn about citizenship and then put what they’ve learned into practice. They discuss the importance of taking part in public decisions, democracy in the family, and young people’s involvement in community and municipal life. Passing on the message After studying, young people run workshops in their own communities, spreading what they’ve learnt. ‘We talk to kids in the neighbourhood about how they see their participation in the community. We talk about its importance, how to improve it, and how to make our voices heard,’ explains Marco, 20. They also work in schools: ‘We go to the high school and work with our peers,’ says Dilcia, 17. ‘It is frightening how many questions they ask, but we rely on what we have learned and things turn out well. We really feel great that people listen to us and trust what we say.’ The project takes democracy out of the realms of theory and into everyday life. Twenty-yearold Floricelda explains: ‘At the beginning I had little understanding of what democracy was and its importance. I almost quit early on, but as we advanced I really enjoyed it. It is our duty to make democracy more real, to make this country a better place.’
Produced for Honduras by Plan International Australia.
New ways of working Many young people are motivated to take part in local and national politics. ‘Money from taxes has to be watched so that people without conscience don’t steal it,’ says Melania, 21. ‘We need to do social audits to make sure money is spent to help the poor.’ The project also builds individual self-esteem: ‘At first I was afraid to speak in front of others, but now I feel sure of myself and am able to share my ideas with everyone,’ says Dilcia. Continuing to learn Young people are keen to take things further. ‘Don’t leave us on our own, we need new learning to keep developing!’ says 19-yearold Maria Jose. Plan helps young people who have completed the course to take on new leadership roles in their communities. This project shows how, with Plan’s support, motivated young people can help lead their communities and municipalities to change for the better. ‘Hopefully many more [young people] will join us because together we can achieve so much more,’ says Melania. Some names have been changed for child protection and privacy reasons
Teacher training includes practical exercises
The Bigger Picture Plan is working with children, families and communities to find sustainable solutions to the challenges in Honduras. We have only given you a small insight into Plan’s work in Honduras with this report but over the past year we also: • Worked with judicial and police authorities to open the first Special Victims Unit in western Honduras, investigating abuse and supporting victims • Supported 1000 families with financial services, and trained 800 families on setting up small businesses such as bread-making and pickle production • Reached over 60,000 young people with information on HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health • Helped provide preschool care and health monitoring for 5022 children Your support as a sponsor is crucial to achieving these results. With the resources provided by sponsors, Plan expertise and the collaboration of communities and local partners we are making a big difference to the lives of people in Honduras. Thank you for your involvement!
‘In June 2009, President Zelaya was removed from power, causing a bitterly divisive political conflict which polarised the whole country. This has caused a real challenge for Plan, but we will continue to support poor and vulnerable children in this extremely difficult moment’ – Jennifer Vaughan, Plan’s Country Director in Honduras
To learn more about Plan’s work in Honduras visit plan.org.au/ourwork/ southernamerica/honduras
‘Honduras has a long history of military rule, crime and gang violence’
Published on May 31, 2010