Educational access and equity are significant challenges in Honduras, where less than half of young people complete secondary education. Economic factors, specifically insufficient family income to invest in education and the need to work to contribute to the family income, are the primary reason that young people do not continue their education. The COVID-19 pandemic caused nearly two full years of school closures and remote learning, deepening an already existing educational crisis.
High School + University Scholarships
Our signature scholarship program supports disadvantaged young people to graduate from high school and become first-generation university students and graduates.
OYE awards needs-based, multi-year scholarships to promising disadvantaged students from El Progreso and surrounding rural communities to continue their education at public high schools and universities. Young people become eligible for scholarships as they enter 9th grade, the final year of mandatory education in Honduras and a critical moment to intervene and support them to complete their secondary education. Our scholars are generally from single and no-parent households with an average household income of less than one minimum wage salary. Over 60% are adolescent girls and young women.
Beyond economic support, OYE scholarship students and their peers have access to academic and emotional support services, including tutoring, career orientation and individual and family counseling.
School-Based Support Strategies
We support school directors and teachers at local public schools to improve students' learning, motivation, and persistence in school.
OYE works alongside school administrators and teachers from six public secondary institutions in El Progreso. Together we engage more than 1,000 students per year through a diverse array of support strategies, including teacher training, educational fairs, tutoring, textbook lending, and homework hotspots equipped with WiFi and learning materials.
Young people in Honduras experience exceptionally high rates of un and underemployment. Across the country, more than 1 in 4 young people are out of school and out of work. Among them, more than 80% are young women. Young people are increasingly seeking a fast track to employment upon graduating from high school or turning to entrepreneurship as a means to generate income for themselves and their families.
Technical Training + Education
We facilitate access to technical training and education for young people to improve their economic opportunities and earning potential in the short and long-term.
OYE offers a limited number of full-tuition scholarships to high-achieving high school graduates to pursue two-year associates degrees in high-demand fields. The first generation of 20 students pursued degrees in graphic design, production administration, sales administration and tourism administration. Among them, 85% are employed, self-employed, or both.
OYE also partners with local organizations to elevate and expand their technical training offerings.
Youth and Family-Led Entrepreneurship
We support emerging entrepreneurs with training, in-kind seed capital, and ongoing support to launch or grow youth and family-led microenterprises.
OYE supports aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs with training on entrepreneurship and financial literacy, access to seed funding, and ongoing support for them to launch and grow their businesses. Business ventures to date include bakeries and catering services, packaging distribution, fiberglass auto part fabrication, and an English academy, among others.
Clic Creative Studio is an emerging social enterprise that seeks to improve young people's economic opportunities and contribute to organizational sustainability.
Clic Creative Studio was built upon years of experience building young people's creative and technical capacity in graphic design and multimedia communications and our desire to be more sustainable.
The core objectives of our emerging social enterprise are:
- Elevate the brands of businesses and institutions in our community and network by providing modern and high-quality design and publicity at affordable prices.
- Create jobs and internship opportunities for talented students and young professionals in our community to gain real-world work experience.
- Invest profits in scholarships for promising high school graduates to pursue higher education
Leadership + Engagement
Young people are so often seen as the problem or as victims, rather than as the solution and for their potential to drive change in their lives and communities. As a result, their voices and perspectives go unheard and they are excluded from decision-making processes on issues that affect them.
Leadership + Life Skills Development
Youth leaders facilitate participatory workshops and sessions to equip their peers with critical knowledge, attitudes, skills and values to find their voice and lead healthy and productive lives.
Our curriculum explores diverse themes across three different levels, based on young people's age, experience and prior knowledge, including: self-esteem and values, sexuality education with a gender-focused approach, communication and relationships, civic participation and advocacy, and technology and media literacy, among other themes.
Beyond our in-house workshops, we encourage and support our young people to deepen their knowledge and understanding of issues relevant to their personal and professional interests. In recent years, our young leaders have participated in local, national and regional trainings and internships on gender, masculinity, communications, storytelling, and political participation and advocacy.
Youth-Led Arts, Media and Sports Programs
Led for and by young people, these programs foster belonging, cultivate leadership, develop technical and life skills, and encourage positive community engagement.
On Saturdays throughout the year, 150+ young people participate in our youth-led programs that engage young people through art, graphic design, communications, and sports. Comprised of our scholarship students and other young people, these programs are small communities within our broader organization.
Led by and for young people, these spaces:
- Foster belonging, building young people's self-esteem and strengthening their support networks.
- Develop technical and life skills, including critical and creative thinking, communication, and collaboration. Specific technical skills vary by program, and include drawing, painting, muralism, photography, graphic design, digital marketing, locution, video production, event planning, and physical fitness.
- Cultivate leadership, preparing and creating opportunities for young people to assume formal and informal leadership roles within the organization and in their communities.
- Encourage positive community engagement, from public art exhibitions and murals to awareness campaigns and youth sporting events, and so much more.
Health + Well-being
Honduras has one of the highest rates of adolescent pregnancy in the region, where one in four young women have given birth before the age of 18. Young people lack access to sexual and reproductive health education and services that improve health, reduce unintended pregnancies, and promote gender equality. Furthermore, a chronically dysfunctional and underfunded healthcare system makes mental health support largely inaccessible to those who need it most.
Sexuality, Gender and Masculinity
Young people are trained on sexuality, gender and masculinity to make healthy and informed decisions and advance gender equality.
Youth leaders facilitate workshops on sexual health, gender, and healthy masculinity within OYE and in public high schools schools and community organizations in El Progreso and beyond. Our participatory methodology draws from young people's lived experiences, focusing on challenging patriarchal power structures and learning, unlearning and relearning attitudes and behaviors that advance gender equality and the empowerment of girls and young women. We create spaces for young women and men to express themselves openly amongst same-gender peers and also for them to come together, listen and learn from each other.
We also support girl-led efforts to advocate for broader access to comprehensive sexuality education in our community.
Communications + Storytelling
Through communications and storytelling hubs and exercises developed by #MeWeIntl, youth leaders equip their peers with tools to promote wellbeing, build community, and unlock their agency.
As part of #MeWeIntl's training network, youth leaders are trained and supported to equip their peers and people in our community with tools to better communicate with themselves and the world around them. Based on a mix of neuroscience, psychology, art, and programs developement, this methdology moves through three levels of communication—internal, interpersonal, and public—, running parallel with three focus areas of change—individual, community, and culture.
OYE uses restorative practices to build community with intention, strengthening relationships between and among young people and the caring adults in their lives.
OYE trains and supports young people and the caring adults in their lives—including teachers and counselors—to integrate restorative practices into their respective classrooms, families, and social communities.
Derived from restorative justice, restorative practices is a framework that centers around relationship and community-building. One of the most widely used and versatile restorative practices is the circle, which can be used proactively to strengthen relationships and build community, or reactively to restore relationships and rebuild community when harm has occurred.