Sustainable Honduras Conference
September 21-23, 2016
Honduras faces many socioeconomic development challenges. According to the Honduran National Institute of Statistics (INE), the poverty rate in the country increased from 62% in 2011 to 66% in 2012, and the rate of extreme poverty rose to 45% compared to 42% in 2011. The World Bank ranks Honduras as the 2nd poorest country in Central America and the 3rd poorest in all of Latin America and the Caribbean combined. Moreover, the nation is now facing huge security problems due to the rise in gang violence and drug trafficking. As of early 2013, a US State Department official noted that today 65% of all the cocaine that leaves South America to North America passes through Central America, further stressing local institutions and communities.
On the positive side, there continue to be a large number of assistance programs and projects implemented in Honduras to address a broad range of economic and societal issues. With programs being implemented by the Hondurans, by governments from around the world, by international development banks, by non-profit organizations and individuals, there is no doubt that there is a widespread desire to tackle both the causes and symptoms of these issues, working hand-in-hand with the people of Honduras.
One way to further catalyze the good intentions of all these programs, and facilitate even stronger, more effective outcomes, is to find pathways for greater collaboration and coordination among them. That is what the Sustainable Honduras Conference is aimed at – enabling networking and collaboration to help organizations and individuals have awareness of other programs similar to those they are working on and achieve stronger program outcomes.
The Conference started as an initiative of projecthonduras.com. Projecthonduras.com was launched in mid-1998 in Washington D.C. as an online networking and information-sharing resource for organizations and individuals who were implementing healthcare, education, community and economic development projects in Honduras. In 2000, projecthonduras.com held its first conference, named simply the Conference on Honduras, as an opportunity for members of its network to meet face-to-face and discuss their projects. The 2000 Conference was held in Washington D.C., and in 2003 we decided to move it to Honduras. It’s been held annually in the town of Copan Ruinas, Honduras, ever since. In 2013, the Conference was restructured to focus on program/project and community sustainability, and its name is now the Sustainable Honduras Conference.
Mission and Objectives
The mission of the Conference is to enable networking, collaboration and the sharing of best practices among individuals and organizations whose projects address the following key elements in a country’s socioeconomic progress: health, education, and the development of sustainable and economically vibrant communities. Community development programs can encompass projects that help create jobs that generate livable incomes, protect the environment, and stimulate grassroots civic engagement. The socioeconomic development of a nation depends on many interrelated factors, and therefore the Conference takes a systemic approach as well. Key to the Conference’s mission is the belief that the synergies created by networking, collaboration and coordination leads to more sustainable, impactful and timely project results.
Our objectives are aligned with our mission. The objectives of the Conference are:
- A forum that enables the positive exchange of information and best practices among socioeconomic development programs and projects in Honduras
- Coordination and collaboration among projects that have similar goals and stakeholders
- The sharing of tools and information on sustainability – both from a project/program perspective, as well as from a community perspective
- Identifying the benefits that networking and collaboration have brought to the Conference participants
Who Participates in the Conference
Attendance at the Conference varies from year to year, ranging anywhere from 120 to 220 participants, primarily representing non-profit organizations, including universities, hospitals, and churches. Also attending are business and media representatives, as well as representatives from the Honduran local and national governments, and the US Embassy/US Mission in Honduras.
In the 2013 Conference, we had 142 participants and speakers from 76 different organizations. Among the participants we had people and organizations from more than 20 cities and towns across Honduras, from 17 states across the United States, as well as participants from Canada, Guatemala and the UK.
Who We Are
The Conference is organized by a team of volunteers with a broad range of experience and backgrounds. What unites us is our desire to do our part to support projects, programs and individuals who are making a difference for the sustainable betterment and development of Honduran communities.
There are many volunteers who lend their time and capabilities to help with logistics, translations, and the myriad of details involved in planning and administering the Conference and its network.
Partners and Sponsors
The Sustainable Honduras Conference is partnered with Special Missions Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization based in the United States, which has sponsored the Conference since 2000. They are in charge of administrative operations, including the Conference’s registration process, website and IT systems. For more information on Special Missions, visit its website at: www.specialmisions.org
Another major sponsor of the Conference is USAID Honduras. We are very pleased that USAID Honduras has consistently participated in and supported the Conference for several years.
Among those who support us, we want to give a special thanks to the community of the community of Tela for their support and hospitality.