Katia Gomez

Ashoka Fellow
Honduras,
Fellow Since 2015

Citation

This profile was prepared when Katia Gomez was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2015.
The New Idea
More than 50% of Hondurans live in remote, rural communities where no one in the community has more than a 5th grade education. Katia Gomez is bringing education to the children and adolescents in these communities, and leveraging her scholarships to teach them to fight poverty from within the community. Katia partners with EducaTodos, an alternative education collaboration for secondary school between the Honduran government and USAID. The program, which allows for flexible hours and education within the communities themselves, meets the students’ needs and offers them new opportunities to continue to grow. E2E’s scholarships begin at 60% of the cost of secondary school, and increase by 10% for each year the young person stays in school.
In exchange for their scholarships, E2E asks the students to come together and, as a team, design a project that identifies and resolves a need in their own community. The students each commit 120 hours a year to their project, examples of which range from the repair of broken down roads, to the design of a nutrition program for elderly women, to the operation of the community’s first kindergarten, to a group of students which has mobilized citizens to bring electricity to their community. E2E also partners with BAC, one of the largest banks in Honduras, to lead the students in a business curriculum that emphasizes leadership, partnership, savings, and social impact.
In rural communities in Honduras, the youngest people are setting the example of how to bring change from within, and the communities are being inspired by the transformation. While international nonprofits continue to pull out of Honduras for fear of violence, 12 to18 year-olds are planning and achieving sustainable changes that fight poverty on the ground. Instead of becoming pregnant at a young age, girls are stepping up to the community development task, becoming equal partners with the boys and, in one community, starting a girls’ leadership club for the younger primary school children. In a context where, before, the brightest students aspired only to leave their communities, young people are seeing options to stay and change where they live. The students learn to identify their community’s needs, and find ways to address them collaboratively, developing leadership and business skills through actual practice and with seed funding, they are preparing to be the future leaders in their communities’ economies. Building local capital from within, E2E leverages every dollar spent on rural Honduran education for social impact. E2E is already working with 110 students in six rural communities in Honduras, and is looking to expand to eight more this year.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

More For You