SURRY, ME & YORO, HONDURAS - December 27, 2011 - SHI-Honduras (also called Fundación Cosecha Sostenible de Honduras or FUCOHSO) was started in 1997 and is Sustainable Harvest International's largest and oldest program, noted for its commitment to community participation and empowerment. SHI's local staff are currently providing regular technical assistance to over 400 families in 37 Honduran communities. Last year, those families improved their diets and their incomes through a variety of SHI supported projects including the production of 120,000 pounds of compost and the planting of more than 78,000 trees.
Unfortunately, Honduras now bears the terrible distinction of having the highest per-capita murder rate in the world. The murder rate in Honduras is currently at 82.1 per 100,0001. For comparison, the United States is around 5 per 100,000. This rise in the murder rate has been fueled mostly by drug traffickers, but also gang and political violence.
We want to make it known to SHI supporters and volunteers that we take these crime rate statistics very seriously. We are conscious of the risks faced by our Honduran staff and traveling US-based staff, and we must carefully consider our upcoming Smaller World volunteer trips to Honduras. SHI is actively engaged in this discussion within our staff, while also reaching out to other organizations on the ground in Honduras, such as the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps recently made the decision to suspend operations in Honduras, but we believe our short-term volunteer groups do not face the same degree of danger as longer-term Peace Corp volunteers. While SHI's close relationships with the communities, limited time in cities, avoidance of travel after dark and use of private transportation add a layer of safety to our trips, we are asking important questions and gathering facts to ensure the safety of everyone associated with our organization.
We feel that the Honduran people can benefit from our work now more than ever, as we offer desperately poor people the opportunity for a healthy, viable livelihood that is not linked to violence.
Anyone with questions or concerns may contact Sustainable Harvest International's Maine office at (207) 669-8254.
About Sustainable Harvest International
Sustainable Harvest International has worked with families in rural farming communities in Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama since 1997. Using organic vegetable gardens, wood-conserving stoves, biogas digesters and a host of other projects, SHI's local field trainers work together with families, individuals and communities to preserve our planet's tropical forests while overcoming poverty. 877 active participant families and 562 graduate families in over 100 rural communities successfully planted 2,961,530 trees since SHI's founding in 1997. For more information, visit www.sustainableharvest.org.