BASED-UK collaborates with the Bayan Association which is committed to education and development across Honduras. Bayan was founded in 1986 and has developed a strong network of schools and classes offering rural secondary education. It uses the SAT programme, which is accredited by the Honduran government, and combines rigorous academic study with research, experimentation and practical guidance in social and economic development, in particular agriculture. Since 2011 Bayan established the Community Banking scheme which trains some of the adults in their localities and SAT graduates to establish Community Banks. These are savings and loan schemes which are established with graduates, parents and other community members. The banks offer small business loans to enable the young people completing the SAT programme as well as others in their area to access finance essential to start up businesses and small enterprises. BASED-UK supports the Community Banking scheme raising funds to pay for staff to run the scheme, for training materials and training programmes for adults and SAT graduates, and for regular visits and gatherings to check progress on the banks and establish new ones.
The businesses served by the small loans from community banks (see photos below) range from the purchase and sale of meats, plastics or glasses to the cultivation of vegetables. All loan applications require a project plan.
Alongside the businesses established through community banking loans, additional projects to benefit the whole community are funded. There have been many such ‘community projects’ implemented using additional funds (which have remarkably grown during the pandemic by £1400) from community bank activity including:
- Fencing of a school yard
- Establishment of a baseball field
- Allowing electric access to the school site
- Installing a latrine & septic tank
- School meeting room / auditorium
- Constructing meeting room in school
Community Banking during the pandemic
Migration and recent hurricanes in Honduras have recently impeded the development of the community banking programme compounded by the pandemic preventing free movement of people within the country. In March 2020, as a result of the pandemic, the Government of Honduras and the Ministry of Education decided to cancel face-to-face classes in all educational institutions including SAT centres. Consequently during 2020., only 30% of the banks held their meetings in person or through virtual means. This rose in 2021 to 49% of banks meeting (with the rest currently inactive). Remarkably and contrary to initial expectations, the banks’ capital has grown from just over £121,000 in 2020 to nearly £150,000 in March 2021 reflecting the profound commitment to the programme by those involved.
Photos of Bank meetings during the covid pandemic -19
Underlying the purpose of the SAT centres across Honduras (and indeed Latin America) is the philosophy of developing a generation of socially minded young people who can serve as engines of sustainable development in their communities. SAT’s innovations in rural education redefined learning as a holistic and moral endeavour and gave both graduates and adults confidence to utilise small loans from their own local schemes to successfully initiate micro businesses. BASED UK is proud to support these endeavours under such challenging circumstances in Honduras.