Our philosophy is built around three core beliefs: the importance of education, the necessity of grassroots and community-focused work, and a strong opposition to a “service” mentality.
1 – Education matters
Although we acknowledge that many of Honduras’ problems are structural, we believe that it is possible to have practical, micro-level impacts on people’s lives, and that the best way to achieve this in a sustainable, local way is through education.
Ten reasons why education matters:
- Education helps young people build confidence, knowledge and skills.
- Education can lead to better-paying jobs, allowing individuals to support their families and develop their communities.
- Education can enable rural households to diversify their production away from a dependence on livestock and agriculture.
- Education reduces people’s vulnerability to risks caused by labour market exploitation.
- Health education helps prevent disease.
- Schools are places of protection from violence and gang recruitment.
- Education informs young people about their rights and responsibilities, such as voting.
- Education helps young people become critical, aware and able citizens – agents of future development.
- Gender norms can be broken down through education.
- Education can reduce the likelihood of child marriage and early pregnancy.
We work to provide opportunities for Honduras’ youth to continue their education. The work we do is small on a grand scale, but for the individuals we support it is life-changing.
By investing in the development of skills in Honduran youth, we hope to help empower them to become professionals, innovators and leaders who will create possibilities for further local, sustainable growth and development.
2 – We are focused on communities
Honduran individuals and organisations take the lead in developing and implementing all of our initiatives. Systematic failings come about when faceless international organisations overlook local community needs, focusing on their own interests or the interests of donors, or simply being largely ignorant of the communities they work in. Central to our work is a deep commitment to Honduras and to understanding the specific cultural, historical, political, economic and social context. Our work is grassroots, tackling specific problems with small-scale initiatives. Our small-scale approach allows us to take into account multiple locally-determined factors at hand instead of imposing a generic approach. We work with individual communities, and focus on their needs, with local leaders directing the projects on the ground. These community leaders understand the context they are working in and are respected and trusted locally.
3 – We actively work against a mentality of “service”
As an organisation, we believe that our role is to foster connections with local communities and to work beneath local leaders and organisations towards our mission of empowering Honduran children and youth.
Too often, organisations such as non-profits and non-governmental organisations that work in so-called “developing countries,” aim to “help,” but end up perpetuating highly problematic “us versus them” relationships. In everything we do, we strive to combat this mentality of “service” and the separation it creates between the “server” and the “served.” Instead, educate. works on equal footing with local communities and organisations. We remain aware of the context of Latin America and Honduras specifically and the “othering” that a foreign non-profit working in this context can easily fall into and even foster, and we strive to work against this. We are actively opposed to service work that centres the service provider above the community.
The aim of our work as an organisation is to empower Hondurans who are already running projects, or attempting to run projects, in Honduras that align with our mission. We provide a platform for funding and support to individuals and organisations like this.
In our media, we strive to present Honduras honestly, without presenting a fetishized view of poverty and violence. We make spaces for the voices of Hondurans through our media reach.
We continuously strive to hold ourselves to the highest standard with regard to these issues and to actively work against the pervasiveness of the mentality of “service” that the non-profit sector creates and perpetuates.
Check out this TEDx talk given by one of educate.‘s directors at a TEDxYouth conference in Zurich in 2017 about how her experiences with high school “service trips” to Ghana, followed by a year of working in Honduras, led her to views the ideas of “service” and “aid.” Many of these ideas helped build the foundation of educate.‘s philosophy today.