Arnaldo Diaz

  • Founder, Ayudando a Honduras; La Red de Jóvenes de Jutiapa
  • Honduras

Impact area: Civic engagement; Sustainable Development Goal 16

Poverty, corruption, and violence associated with drug trafficking and gangs are key drivers propelling Honduran families to migrate abroad in search of opportunity. The situation only worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic and in the aftermath of two devastating hurricanes in 2020.

Marginalized young people were especially hard hit. “Some were left by migrating parents [and now] live in rural communities without opportunities to enjoy fundamental human rights such as education, decent employment, and peace,” says Arnaldo Diaz, founder of Ayudando a Honduras (Helping Honduras), an organization dedicated to promoting human rights and building peace in marginalized communities. In 2020, Arnaldo launched the PAZartistas (Peace Artists) project to provide youth with the opportunity to learn and express themselves through the arts, while promoting conflict resolution and more peaceful communities.

With a grant from the Global Youth Resiliency Fund, Arnaldo and his team got the support they needed to kick-start the project. Their work began with carrying out a diagnostic study of the situation of rural and urban youth in the municipality of Jutiapa, located on the country’s north coast. The study explored rates of youth participation, reproductive health access, youth employability, internet accessibility, and security issues.

Twelve adolescents representing ten communities were then trained in PAZartistas’ methodology and received smart tablets to help facilitate workshops. Each delivered five workshops on key themes, including identity, community, coexistence, coping with fear, teen pregnancy prevention, and methods of self-care. In the first phase of the project, more than 130 young people attended trainings. Says Arnaldo, “These skilled young people will serve as a critical pillar to transform their own rural communities into more peaceful and prosperous places.”

Three murals related to human rights and building stronger communities were also created through the project with support from the Mayor’s Office of Jutiapa, Red de Jóvenes de Jutiapa (youth network of Jutiapa) and SERSO Honduras.

“The GYRF award helped strengthen my leadership and creativity,” says Arnaldo. “[Through the project], I met other young people and their families, and together, we worked to strengthen the bonds between youth and their communities. It helped us to transform our reality in Jutiapa.”

 

Learn more about Helping Honduras here