The department of Yoro is one of the poorest regions of Honduras. It is an area of high unemployment and migration levels and low salaries. Seventy-five percent of the economically active population works in agriculture. It is very distant from the political and financial power centers of the country making it difficult for the population to gain access to credit and there is deficient road infrastructure. There is however a great deal of underutilized and untapped agricultural potential.
Social TRade Organization (STRO) is a Research & Development network working in the field of micro-credit, development of small and medium enterprises and strengthening of local economies through commercial and financial networks of exchange. STRO has designed and developed complementary monetary systems, often complemented by the promotion of appropriate technology, with the objective of promoting local and regional economic development.
STRO is currently beginning to implement a Plugging the Leaks type approach in Honduras through a project called "Apreciando lo Nuestro", ("appreciating what is ours"). It aims to encourage local economic development through a behavioural shift of local people to recognise and appreciate their local resources (human, physical, natural, social and financial). It is about raising awareness about the negative consequences on the local economy derived from the way money is spent and invested mostly outside the locality. This project is to be implemented through a partnership with World Vision Honduras. Since 1974, World Vision Honduras has contributed to the country's sustainable development, through a transformative development scope, which includes strengthening local capacities through an integral approach. In Yoro, World Vision is currently working in the areas of health, education and economy, including the sub area of "transformative development", that aims at making people aware of their own potential and resources, to promote sustainable development, in full convergence with the objectives of "Apreciando lo nuestro".
The issues that are being explored with the local community through "apreciando lo nuestro" are:
- The socio-economic development potential that local resources represent.
- Cash flows that enter and leave the local economy (origin, value and where they are invested).
- The economic consequences of spending and investment behaviour of economic actors of the locality.
- The power and importance of networking among citizens, organisations and public institutions.
- The appreciation of dreams and genuine interests of organisations and individuals, as sources of inspiration and driving force of local economic development.
The project "Apreciando lo nuestro" will be implemented as a pilot phase first in the Municipality of Morazan, which belongs to the District of Yoro. Afterwards, it will be extended to the Municipalities of Negrito, Victoria, Yorito, Sulaco, Yoro y Jocón, all belonging to the District of Yoro.