Transforming Lives

Every day, all over the world, USAID brings peace to those who endure violence, health to those who struggle with sickness, and prosperity to those who live in poverty. It is these individuals — these uncounted thousands of lives — that are the true measure of USAID’s successes and the true face of USAID's programs.

For many years, twenty-six-year-old José Santos Pérez practiced slash and burn agriculture on his farm in Mapulaca, Lempira in Honduras – depleting his land and producing less each time. Like many rural farmers in Honduras, Pérez did not know any other methods of farming and used the same traditional practices that have been used for generations.

During the 2005 to 2006 electoral cycles, USAID implemented an electoral transition program for 31 pre-selected municipalities in Honduras that had previously demonstrated political will and a commitment to municipal development. The three-part program incorporated civil society oversight into every aspect of the program in order to improve the accountability and transparency of the transition process between outgoing and incoming administrations.

Sabina Vasquez remembers that as a child, the only food in her home was a piece of tortilla, a pinch of salt, and a few beans to mitigate her hunger. Sabina is now a middle-aged woman, mother of three children, and housewife. She is also treasurer of a local community bank and a recognized leader. She lives in Semane, Intibuca, one of the poorest and least developed areas of Honduras, which has benefi ted in recent years from a USAID program aimed at ensuring food security and nutrition for Semane residents.

Rumilda Torres was concerned about the harsh economic conditions in her hometown of Cabañas, located in the mountainous region of Copán. Many children were forced to abandon school to go to work, and Rumilda decided to do something about it. As a retired teacher and community leader, Rumilda became a volunteer facilitator in 1998 with EDUCATODOS, a USAID radio-based alternative education program.

Only until recently, the Forensic Medicine Directorate of the Government of Honduras’ Public Ministry was so poorly equipped that it provided almost no assistance to prosecutors. Other than providing the type of blood of the accused and the defendant, there was very little else the lab findings could be used as evidence.

The citizens of Sabanagrande, a small rural community located approximately thirty minutes from the capital city of Honduras, recognize the importance of having a monitoring and oversight role for their municipal government. USAID/Honduras works with several municipalities, including Sabanagrance, to promote social auditing, provide technical assistance to local and independent anti-corruption authorities in their organization, as well as establish guidelines, strategies and action plans.

While water and sanitation systems are important to reducing infant mortality rates, they have been deficient throughout much of rural Honduras. But with support from USAID and local partners, they are being intro-duced into 98 Honduran communities from the north coast to the southern region.

Honduras was not prepared for a major natural disaster like Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Officials were unable to gauge how quickly the rivers were rising from the constant rain, and thus did not know when to take the necessary steps to evacuate people into secure areas. On the other end of the spectrum, droughts are characteristic in parts of Honduras, but residents usually do not become aware of the shrinking rivers until it is too late.

As in many countries, people living with HIV/AIDS in Honduras face challenges and obstacles as a result of their HIV-positive status. Puerto Cortés, the country’s leading port, is no exception, and in some cases HIV-positive people have even been denied medical and educational services. Frustrated with this treatment, the people living with the disease in Puerto Cortés soon began to openly voice their HIV-positive status and fight discrimination.

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Last updated: August 15, 2013