May 14, 2012
Now that we are knee-deep in the micro-credit program, I am starting to see how the women’s projects here in our communities are linked to the larger Honduran economy and how this causal relationship affects the lives of CAUSE’s participants.
The current state of the Honduran economy is not hard to uncover - you could ask any of the participants or simply look around some of the more remote communities and find the same answer. The Honduran economy, like many around the world, is hurting. Back home we have been fairly lucky in the recent economic downturn, not feeling quite as much of a crunch as other places. But here, as with many other things, it is a different story.
Over the last few weeks the conversation during many of our classes has turned to the economy. The majority of women are finding it harder than usual to sell their products locally because the demand is so low. Many women are experiencing less financial support from partners or family members due to a decrease in remittances sent from abroad (mainly the US) and a lack of jobs available in the cities since the political crisis in 2009. Both of these circumstances have created a ripple effect in the communities that has left the women in an increased position of financial vulnerability.
And yet despite this daunting state of affairs, the women are determined to continue on with their projects. Following almost every comment about how the economic situation is worsening and how it is becoming more challenging to keep up with financial commitments, is an assertion to continue fighting, continue standing on their own two feet and continue providing for their families as they always have. Many of the women are seeking alternative methods for doing business in order to make ends meet. I’ve heard of women sending products like casave to the city to be sold by family or friends and having the profits sent back, and of diversifying their businesses so to create a competitive advantage in the communities.
It has become clear that the women we are working with know the road ahead will be tough. But this knowledge does not seem to have dampened their determination to succeed. They are looking these hard economic times squarely in the face and are prepared to face them head on.