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.
- Education helps young people build confidence, knowledge and skills.
- Education level is directly linked to income, allowing individuals to better support their families and develop their communities.
- Education level correlates with both physical health and mental well-being.
- Education reduces people’s vulnerability to exploitation.
- Schools and universities are places of protection from violence.
- Education informs young people about their rights and responsibilities as global citizens in the world.
- Education helps young people become critical, aware and able citizens – agents of future development.
- Education is an issue of basic human dignity: the ability to gain knowledge, access opportunities, and apply skills are intrinsic to healthy human development
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 communities take the lead in developing and implementing all of educate.’s programmes. Systematic failings come about when faceless international organisations overlook local community needs, focusing on the interests of donors or valuing outsiders’ expertise over local knowledge. Central to our work is a deep commitment to understanding the specific cultural, historical, political, economic and social context of the areas in which we work. Our work is grassroots, tackling specific problems with targeted initiatives. This approach allows us to take into account multiple locally-determined factors. We work with youth and their communities, 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 act as a catalyst for local youth and community leaders, empowering them to take the lead in driving change within their own communities.
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 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.
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.