USAID reduces poverty, and improves food security by supporting agricultural diversification, fostering natural resources management, developing sustainable tourism opportunities, promoting renewable energy, mitigating climate change, and providing increased opportunities for youth to remain in rural areas.
Western Honduras is plagued by poor social and economic conditions. Extreme poverty, undernutrition, climate change vulnerability, low educational levels, and other socio-economic challenges are affect a majority of the population. Feed the Future baselines reveal that chronic malnutrition in children under five years of age in the western departments is 40 percent. In some areas, almost half of children suffer from stunting and about 46 percent of families do not have latrines. Studies reveal that educational conditions do not promote success, and that about 77 percent of the children completing sixth grade are unable to read at grade level. In addition, in some areas, 67 percent of households lack access to electrical energy, which suppresses farm and household productivity.
The livelihoods of poor households in Western Honduras depend heavily on agriculture and are particularly vulnerable to climate change effects such as variations in rain patterns and watershed degradation. Climate projections indicate a 10 to 20 percent decrease in precipitation and a 2º C increase in temperature by the year 2050. In addition, there will likely be long periods of no precipitation, followed by short periods of intense precipitation, both of which could lead to increased agricultural losses.
Economic growth activities increase the incomes of poor rural households by linking small farmers to market opportunities. As a focus country under the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future Initiative, USAID is helping Honduras to implement a food security program that serves as a cornerstone of poverty reduction efforts. USAID programs also improve the business environment, promote economic diversification, and increase investment and trade at the local, regional, and international levels to reduce poverty. Feed the Future work also incorporates nutrition activities to ensure that children under the age of five have the best start. Efforts also support the environment by strengthening protected area management, mitigating global climate change, and promoting renewable energy. Finally, USAID provides humanitarian assistance during natural disasters and finances training for emergency preparedness and response.