A YEAR IN
AS HONDUR 09 SUMMARY REPORT
GOOD REASONS why Plan works in Honduras
Children work on a proposal to local government BELIZE
Our priorities in Honduras
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• Ensuring more children have access to a good quality education
Country Office Programme Unit
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• Helping to improve healthcare, nutrition, water and sanitation facilities • Supporting the poorest families to increase their incomes and encouraging better state support • Protecting children from dangerous forms of child labour
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• Promoting children’s rights and protecting them from violence, abuse and mistreatment
Children prepare for the ‘Changing the World’ conference.
Capital: Tegucigalpa Population: 7.2 million
“Plan aims to enable positive changes in children’s lives as well as strengthening community organisations, and encouraging the state to fulfil its role of realising children’s rights.” COLOMBIA
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
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 7% per year which has been one of the most successful growths in Latin America, but 50%, approximately 3.7 million, of the population still
remains below the poverty line. It is estimated that there are more than 1.2 million people who are unemployed.
humid than the northern coast.
• A quarter of under-fives suffer from stunted growth due to malnutrition • Violence is common in families and communities, and child labour and sexual exploitation are widespread
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• 68% of Honduran families live in poverty
– Jennifer Vaughan, Plan’s Country Director
A YEAR IN
HONDURAS 09 SUMMARY REPORT
FOCUS ON: IMPROVING HEALTHCARE Healthcare for the poor is extremely limited. Respiratory infections and diarrhoea are the leading causes of death in under-fives, and HIV/AIDS is a growing problem. Plan aims for all children to grow up with good health and nutrition, and a healthy environment. We are working to reduce death and disease in under-fives, making pregnancy safe, raising awareness about HIV/AIDS, and encouraging the government to develop good health and sanitation services.
HELPING FAMILIES LEAD HEALTHIER LIVES Atima, in western Honduras, is one of the most deprived areas in the country.
A school garden proves a great resource for children.
The Bigger Picture
Plan is working with children, families and whole communities to address the problems that Honduras faces. This report can only tell a small part of that story. As a further insight, last year we also: • Helped to provide over 400 families with new housing that has sanitation and cooking facilities, and is protected against Chagas disease, a debilitating parasitic disease • Supported 42% of children working in fireworks factories in Copan to stop working. 91% of these children are now at school • Helped to provide 2,297 families (over 13,000 people) with clean drinking water • Reduced violence against children by raising awareness among 1,500 people including children, parents, police, health professionals, teachers, community leaders and lawyers. Your support as a sponsor is crucial to achieving these positive results. So on behalf of the communities, partner organisations, and most of all the children we work with – thank you!
“We walked three hours each day to get to the workshops, but I never missed a session.” To learn more about Plan’s work in Honduras visit plan.org.au/ourwork/southernamerica/honduras
Produced for Honduras by the Australian National Office.
Most families here struggle to earn a living through coffee picking and illiteracy is high, meaning that many parents lack both knowledge and financial resources to meet their children’s needs. The most common illnesses in children under five are malnutrition, respiratory infections, diarrhoea and skin diseases. Most are caused by lack of food, poor hygiene, and dirty drinking water. Twenty-two-year-old Eugenia knows about this from her own experience: “My daughter Jenny is four years old, and she’s everything to me. She always used to be sick and didn’t eat good food.” Nowadays, though, things are different: “Jenny has three proper meals a day, and she’s healthy: she doesn’t suffer from strange diseases like before. Now she tells others about healthy eating.”
also gained new friendships. Eugenia says: “I liked the camaraderie. I became good friends with other participants. We visit each other and are no longer alone.” Making a difference
Families’ health, nutrition and hygiene have changed for the better. Jessica explains, “Before, my three children just wanted to eat plantain chips. Now they ask for homemade food and wash their hands properly. We’re improving our environment: burning rubbish, cleaning the yard and making a garden. I’m working with my neighbourhood association to improve our community water system.”
Knowledge, skills and confidence
Schools are putting the project’s lessons into practice by improving meals and making gardens. The project trains teenagers on HIV/AIDS prevention and runs separate workshops for younger children.
Eugenia and Jenny’s lives changed when Eugenia got involved in a Plan project which gives parents and communities the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to respond to their children’s health problems themselves.
Nine-year-old Betsaida says: “We enjoyed hearing stories like the one about Mariquita, who got sick because she didn’t listen to her mother’s advice to wash her hands, and I did a presentation about eye care.”
The project trains mothers, young people and teachers as leaders. Each “leader” then passes on what they have learned to 200 others in their own community. From January to May 2008, 40 women took part in ten workshops on basic healthcare, nutrition, hygiene, child development and reproductive health. Each community prioritised its health needs and designed projects to address these.
A key part of the project is the sharing of information. Fifteen-year-old Litzy says: “I learned many very important things about HIV/AIDS, violence against women, and self-esteem.Now it’s my wish and duty to share what I’ve learned with others, so we are better prepared for the lives we face as women.”
Women enthusiastically seized this opportunity to improve their families’ wellbeing. As 29-year-old Jessica remembers: “We walked three hours each day to get to the workshops, but I never missed a session.” As well as gaining knowledge, women
“Now it’s my wish and duty to share what I’ve learned with others, so we are better prepared for the lives we face as women.”
“I have learned that life has many challenges and many ways to face them that we don’t know about until a special person or institution show us how to see things,” says Eugenia. Plan will continue to help parents and communities meet the challenges they face in trying to provide a better life for their children. Some names have been changed for child protection and privacy purposes.