It’s the question of the summer: Why are thousands of Central American children risking their lives to reach the United States?
The topic of countless news stories, think tank panels and casual conversations, the flight of as many as 47,000 children this year alone poses significant policy challenges for both the United States and the home countries of these youth.
As for the root of the cause, there seems to be a consensus answer – underlying violence and poverty in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
According to a letter to the United States Congress sponsored by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), “any sustainable strategy for the humanitarian border crisis must address the chronic challenges in Central America that prevent people from living safe, prosperous lives in their home country.”
Corrupt government, rampant organized crime, some of the world’s most deadly gang violence, an active smuggling business and widespread poverty are a recipe for desperation, and hope that migration to the U.S. will bring safety and the chance for a better life. Since 2003, levels of violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have been increasing rapidly, and Honduras now has the highest murder rate in the world.
In order to address this crisis, WOLA asserts that the United States and other bilateral and multilateral donors must support development that promotes “fairly shared economic growth and accountable justice systems” and that includes “programming to support agriculture development focused on smallholder farmers, and other food security and nutrition programs that increase economic productivity.”
In this difficult climate in Honduras, Pure Water for the World is working hard to be a part of this change. By partnering with rural communities in Trojes, Pure Water provides the foundation for improved health, nutrition and increased economic productivity.
With access to clean water, safe sanitation and hygiene education, the health of coffee farmers and their families is greatly increased. Access to safe water and sanitation improves health, which in turn promotes economic opportunity – one necessary (but not sufficient) element in addressing this increasing migration crisis. Such work certainly doesn’t solve the problem, but it’s a key part to a complex, complicated and crucial solution.
Submitted in early July, Congress is considering the President’s Supplemental Budget Request, which, if approved, will allocate $3.7 billion to comprehensively address this urgent humanitarian situation.
As Congress considers this contested request, Pure Water continues to help address the basic needs of some of Honduras’ most vulnerable youth populations.