Why We Do It


Poverty in Honduras

Poverty plagues daily life for millions of Hondurans, making it the second poorest country in Latin America, after Haiti. The population of Honduras is over 8.1 million[1], of which 67% live below the poverty line[2]. In addition, nearly a quarter of the population lives in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1.25 (PPP) a day[3]. Contributing to this harsh reality is the distribution of income. Honduras registers as one of the world’s most unequal nations, where the richest 20% of the population holds 61% of income and the bottom 20% just 2% of income.[4] The poor have few options to improve their lives, and Hondurans face a worsening national economy, with over 50% underemployment.[5] One of the biggest obstacles to confront is the current crisis of insecurity attributed to crime and delinquency. A recent report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime confirmed that Honduras has the highest homicide rate in Latin America, at 82 per 100 000 people[6]. Unemployment, insecurity, poverty and inequality are all reasons why Adelante strives to bridge the gap of opportunity and improve the overall quality of life in Honduras.

Political Situation

During the 1980s Honduras was considered a political linchpin in United States-Central American politics, with the contra infusion funded directly by the U.S., bringing economic and political attention to the largely unnoticed nation. Since the disintegration of such political passion, substantial United States aid and attention has drastically diminished. With the removal of President Manual Zelaya from office in June 2009, international attention returned to this small Central American nation. Excluded from the Organization for American States for 18 months, Honduras’ isolation from the rest of the world had a disastrous impact on the national economy. Democratic elections were held in December 2009 bringing President Lobo to power. In spite of democratic practice, there continues to be a large disparity in the government’s role in rural areas. Most rural areas and populations get little assistance from the ¨far-away¨ government, which is focused on attracting capital and interest internationally rather than domestically.

Hurricane Mitch, October 1998

The destruction caused by Hurricane Mitch, the second most deadliest Hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, left much of Honduras in shambles. This powerful hurricane initially impacted over 1.5 million people (almost 40% of the population), including over 7000 deaths, in excess of 8000 missing persons, more than 12,000 injured, and over 600,000 homeless. Hurricane Mitch caused an estimated $3.8 billion in damages to an already very poor country, especially impacting rural livelihoods since 70% of crops were wiped out[7]. Exacerbated by decades of unsustainable extractive industries and deforestation, mudslides caused catastrophic damage to the nation's transportation and communication infrastructure by destroying crops, livestock and homes. Mitch decimated what little capital and material resources rural towns had to begin with.

Hope for the Future

The future wealth of Honduras will require the proper utilization of its most precious resources: the land and the people. For the rural micro-entrepreneur, there is no lack of desire to make a business flourish in order to improve the standard of living of their family. What the population needs is the economic assistance to accomplish their goals. The window is now; the opportunity is the Adelante Foundation.
1. Source. CIA World Factbook 2011 

[2] Source: ECLAC, Social Panorama of Latin America 2011

[3] Source: UNDP, Human Development Report 2011

[4] Source: World Bank Online Database

[5] Source: Alvarenga, Fany. ¨Desempleo alcanza a 1.7 millones de Hondureños¨. La Prensa. www.laprensa.hn December 5 2011

[6] Source: UNODC Global Study on Homicide 2011

7. Source: ECLAC Assessment of the damage caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. 1999

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