What We Do in the Honduras

Started in 1990 and currently run by a Honduran organization, FAMA (Familia y Medio Ambiente), this Credit with Education program has 595 Credit Associations providing credit and health education to more than 12,600 women.

About Honduras

  • Population (millions): 8.1 (2013)
  • Life Expectancy: 73 (2012)
  • Infant Mortality Rate (per 1000 births): 19 (2013)
  • Percentage of rural population with access to an improved water source: 82% (2012)
  • Fertility Rate (births per woman): 3 (2012)
  • Literacy Rate: 85% (2012)
  • Primary School Enrollment: 94% (2012)
  • Per capita GDP:  $2,290 (2013)
  • Percentage of population living on less than $2 per day: 29% (2011)
  • Ethnic Groups: Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1%
  • Languages: Spanish, Amerindian dialects
  • Religions: Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant 3%

Honduras is located in Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering the Gulf of Fonseca (North Pacific Ocean), between El Salvador and Nicaragua. After their independence in 1821, Honduras experienced military rule, corruption, and natural disasters. Although the government has achieved a degree of economic stability since 2000, progress has not resulted in improved living conditions or reduced poverty for the country's huge proportion of poor people.

Half of Hondurans live below the poverty line and the United Nations estimates that over one-fifth are malnourished. The population is evenly divided between urban and rural areas, but poverty is essentially a rural problem. About 74 percent of the country's poor people, and 86 percent of the extremely poor, live in rural areas.

The lack of access to land, together with fragile social conditions, a vulnerable environment and low agricultural productivity are among the problems at the root of poverty in the country. Land fragmentation is extreme, and many of those who own land have only tiny plots to cultivate to feed and support their families.

Indigenous and other ethnic groups and women are highly tenure-insecure. Many of these groups lack clear title and rights to their land, which fosters encroachment and expropriation attempts by non-indigenous landless farmers, powerful business interests and government elites.

Due to the lack of sanitation and sanitary conditions, Hondurans are prone to numerous health issues and diseases. The health challenges Honduras faces are serious, e.g. high fertility rates, rapid population growth (2.7%), a large number of high-risk births, high rates of malnutrition, substantial neonatal and child mortality, an elevated maternal mortality rate, and continuing high rates of infections with HIV (1.2%), malaria, dengue, and tuberculosis. Moreover, Honduras remains the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Central America.