Project STEP in Honduras

Project STEP: “Structures Targeting Egg Production
Protein to Save the Children of Honduras

 

I. Critical Facts About Honduras
Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America. The poverty there rivals that seen in Asia and Africa.

Of the roughly 8 million habitants, about one-half live below the poverty level, by Honduran standards. About 75% of those living in poverty live in the rural areas of the country. You see many children with distended stomachs like this one.

 

1 in 3 children in Honduras suffer from malnutrition. If those children suffer from malnutrition through the age of 2, the effects of that malnutrition are irreversible. One in five children in Honduras suffers from stunted growth which is directly attributable to malnutrition. Many suffer visual problems as a result.

 

II. Key Ingredients to Progress
Countries like Honduras need at least three things: clean water, nutritious food and medical care.
First, they need clean water. Some children in poor villages in Honduras do not wear pants until about age three (3). The diarrhea caused by parasites in the unclean water makes wearing pants a useless exercise.

 

Second, they need nutritious food. At this time, what little food they are getting is not being retained long enough to provide any meaningful nutrients. And, the food that they are getting is essentially carbohydrates, with little protein. There simply is very little meat or protein source, such as eggs. Essentially, they need protein from meat or eggs to ensure proper mental development and to avoid malnutrition. Without these sources the children’s physical and mental growth will be stunted.

 

Finally, when these things are not provided or available they need medical care to deal with the consequences.

 

III. Prior Rotary Involvement
Several Rotary Clubs in South Alabama and the San Pedro Sula Club in Honduras have already been active in one of these critical ingredients to progress: clean water. With key assistance from our District Leadership and Rotary International, these clubs jointly secured a matching grant totaling over $65,000 US to install sixteen (16) water purification systems in Honduras. Since receiving notice of the award in October 2009, our collaboration has installed 12 sites and anticipates installing the remaining four (4) systems in August 2010.

 

IV. Project STEP
Project STEP (Structure Targeting Egg Production) will fund construction and the initial operation costs of a facility which will provide greatly needed protein through egg production in several villages in Honduras. We consider this the second step after clean water. We intend to build these structures in villages where we have already established clean water. Significantly, this project will build on the partnership, relationship and collaboration between the Rotary Clubs in South Alabama and the San Pedro Sula Club in Honduras.

 

The grant funds will cover the cost of construction of a 40’ by 50’ facility and the 500 hens that will live there and lay eggs. These funds will also cover the initial one month’s labor cost of one person to maintain the facility, care for the hens, gather the eggs and sell them. The funds realized in this initial month will be sufficient to cover the same costs for the following month. In short, this investment will create a microeconomic enterprise which will become a self-sustaining source of critical protein for this village.

 

Representatives of the San Pedro Sula Club have agreed to supervise the initial purchase and delivery of critical materials in advance of the construction. A local missionary in Honduras, Wyly Gammon, whose international organization, StreetReach International, served as one of the designated international partners in the water purification projects and plans to assist us as well. The South Alabama clubs plan on making trips to Honduras to assist in the construction and provide a medical/dental mission trip at the same time. This double-armed effort (construction/medical & dental) was successfully launched during one of the water purification system projects earlier this year. The South Alabama clubs are fortunate that a local engineering group, Hargrove & Associates, headed by Rotarian Ralph Hargrove, has offered professional assistance and volunteers.

 

 

This is not a new project or model. This type of facility and design has already been created in Honduras. And, it has been successful. The total budget costs for one of the microeconomic enterprises, $7,760.00, is detailed in an attachment. This budget was prepared by Adolfo Leon, Director of Central America for Community Health Evangelism, a leader in creating microeconomic enterprises in this area. See www.lifewind.org. Mr. Leon has supervised the construction and operation of these facilities and in fact wrote his doctoral thesis on the importance and impact of this type of facility on rural, impoverished communities. Though we are not specifically relying on his assistance, he has volunteered, along with Wyly Gammon, to monitor the launch and initial months of operation of this facility to ensure its success, along with representatives of the San Pedro Sula Club.
Our involvement in Honduras has led to a strategy which will build a self-sustained open structure which will provide chickens a sequestered facility to lay eggs for the entire village of Eden. Although the government has achieved a degree of economic stability since 2000, progress has not resulted in improved living conditions nor reduced poverty in rural areas. The poorest of all people are those in rural areas.
The size of this operation will provide greatly needed nourishment to approximately 5,000 families, primarily children, who innocently suffer under the poor conditions of their area.
Michael Chambers
Past President – Mobile Rotary Club (2009-2010)
District 6880 Chair of Health & Hunger Initiatives
Contact Information:

Michael Chambers, J.D. Ph.D.
President & CEO
Swift Biotechnology
PO Box 2846
Mobile, Alabama 36652-2846
Office 251-402-6258
Email: mchambers@swiftbiotech.com