In rural parts of Honduras, many parents pressurise their children to leave their schools, because what they learn bears little relation to the needs of rural people. About 40 percent of young adults in the countryside have no job or too little work. Therefore many farming families consider it more useful to put girls to work in the home or in the fields, and send boys to the city for unskilled work or to other countries as illegal emigrants.
Ten years ago the government adapted the secondary school curricula in rural areas to address this problem. Young people are taught agriculture, animal husbandry and forestry. Although this has led to an increase in production, aspects such as sales and marketing are still under-represented. HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation therefore promotes rural entrepreneurship as a part of the syllabus. Young people who have up till now only thought of agriculture as a means of self-sufficiency are encouraged to see it in business terms, for example by producing vegetables or pumpkin seeds or by starting a poultry farm.
The project helps students to learn how to identify new sources of income as well as how to better combine production and marketing. They are taught to draw up business plans, manage small companies and work with financial institutions which they then put into practice. Assisted by their teachers, the secondary school students then pass on what they have learnt to primary school children through games. In this way, younger children find out that farming is not only about self-sufficiency but can also provide an income for the families and a better quality of life.
This is a project mandate partly financed by SDC.