Strengthening entrepreneurial knowledge for women in Honduras


LA PAZ - Santos María Gómez3

María Gómez Ándres has a path of flowers growing outside her house that she enjoys taking care of. Nearby is a river where she can swim and cool off from the hot weather. She works hard in agriculture to help support her seven children but faced barriers due to her limited education.

Growing up in Palagua, Honduras, María had a difficult childhood. The 39-year-old was just 10 years old when her mother died.
“We had no way to take her to the hospital because there was no hospital and no money,” she said.

At the time, María was in second grade. She had to give up her studies to dedicate herself to housework and care for her two brothers, ages 11 and four, and her one-year-old sister. Despite what little they had, she says the family was happy and always tried to make the most of life.

Starting to work at a young age is not uncommon in Honduran communities like hers. Traditionally, the role of women is to be housewives. Young girls go to school but spend their free time helping at home.

Now, seeing her own children study, María was excited to learn with them, describing one of her best memories as not needing to ask to be read to, by them. With a desire to learn more, she decided to get involved in a training program led by Cuso International, joining 91 other women participants.

The training is a part of a Cuso International project that seeks to strengthen entrepreneurial capacity and provide migrants with tools to support food security. Maria is now part of a women’s group that promotes inclusive and sustainable development at the local level, where she has connected with other women who are in similar circumstances.

The project is a part of the World Food Program’s Climate Adaptation Training to Agri-Businesses and Municipalities project, which aims to improve food security and resilience capacity by providing gender-responsive business training to small producers, as well as saving and credit groups.

“For me this whole process has been one of learning, practice and definitely a lot of interest. Now I know how to save. I didn’t even save a lempira before and now I have my own fund for any emergency that may arise,” says María.

The training allowed María to see things in a new way and pass that knowledge on to others. María is now the president of Unión y esfuerzo, one of the savings groups in the Palagua community. The group can manage capital, give loans, and meet needs and emergencies, she explained.

“The training gives us the knowledge and the necessary tools to be able to move forward. If it did not exist, we would be at a standstill,” says María.

María is working towards owning her own plot of land to farm. She also wants to grow more as a woman, as a family and as a community. In the future, she hopes women in Honduras are considered with greater importance, that they have good job opportunities and aren’t limited, and that they have access to loans, better health, and education.