The U.S. Agency for International Development, working with Congress and subject to the availability of funds, will provide $33 million to support its new Alliance for Education to rebuild and renovate schools and help at least 300,000 children and youth in Honduras receive a safe, relevant and high-quality basic education.
Honduras faces significant challenges when it comes to education.
Just 2 out of 10 students enrolled in first grade are projected to finish high school, and only 1 in 10 to enter a university. One in 10 Hondurans is illiterate — a rate that doubles in rural areas. About half of the children who aren’t in school point to the lack of economic resources as their main reason for not going — something this alliance seeks to address.
“We know that when children are educated, communities become safer, people get healthier, wages go up and poverty goes down,” said USAID Administrator Samantha Power. “In fact, according to UNESCO, if all of the world’s students completed their secondary education, poverty could fall by half.”
USAID joined forces with the government of Honduras, the private sector, the government of Taiwan and other donors to launch the alliance. So far, the private sector and the governments of Honduras and Taiwan have pledged $91.7 million toward the partnership, according to USAID.
The funding will help Honduras:
- Recruit at least 30,000 children into formal education.
- Improve the quality of education in reading and math for 200,000 students in sixth grade through ninth grade and help them develop social and emotional skills.
- Improve retention and transition rates to higher grades for the most marginalized learners and support the transition to the labor market.
- Where necessary, provide students with alternative opportunities to access education and ensure safe school environments.
- Renovate more than 50 schools to boost public-private partnerships for school infrastructure.
The $33 million from USAID will make the United States the largest bilateral donor to Honduran education, Power said. “For nations to reach their potential,” she said, “our students must reach their potential.”