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.

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.

On the north coast of Honduras, residents still remember that fateful week in October 1998 when Hurricane Mitch caused massive destruction and left many without homes.  Five years later, another storm hit with rain pouring down for three straight days on the northern towns of La Masica, Arizona, Esparta El Porvenir and La Ceiba - the third largest city in Honduras. 

In 2000, only twenty percent of the raw milk produced in Honduras was being processed due to its poor quality resulting from inadequate on-farm milk sanitation and handling as well as a lack of cooling facilities. Farmers faced low productivity, reduced income, and severe price fluctuations as a result of this inferior milk quality.

Life is not easy for Iris Cálix. Her two-year-old daughter has a medical condition that requires treatment in the capital city of Tegucigalpa in Honduras once a month. This involves a long trip, most of it on dirt roads. Although her daughter’s special needs take up much of her time, this does not stop her from being the only woman to volunteer at the Community Health Center in the rural community of Zacate Blanco. Iris is one of eight volunteers who give of their time every day to educate their community.


Last updated: August 24, 2015