OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Sustainable Development in the Lenca corridor of Honduras through the implementation of comprehensive policies and actions by 2050.

Integral and intersectoral approach in the Lenca region, revaluing its traditions to contribute to its sustainable development by 2050.

Photo of Carla Garces
5 4

Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Escuela Agrícola Panamericana, Zamorano

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Other

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

- The Mayor's Office of the Department of Intibuca - The Lenca Commonwealth - Government (city, regional)

Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Just beginning now

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

San Antonio de Oriente, Department of Francisco Morazan

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

The Lenca Corridor that includes the Departments Lempira, La Paz, Intibucá, located west of Honduras, with 7,302.7 km2 of geographical area

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

The dry corridor in Honduras is made up of municipalities with the highest rates of poverty and child malnutrition. It is part of the dry corridor of Honduras (Departments with the lowest availability of annual rainfall which has had a severe decrease in recent years), which includes the poorest municipality in the country, with the highest malnutrition rates, reflected in the average height of the children of the Lenca population and a delay in their development and quality of life. The Lenca ethnic group has historically lagged, with little support for its integral and sustainable development. As academia we have carried out different research in the area that have demonstrated the low conditions of livelihoods, the low participation of women in decision-making, the loss of traditions and a high vulnerability due to social and environmental problems (change climate, degradation and pollution). Also, one of the members of the group belongs to the area of interest, and he shared from first hand the reality and needs of the population, the richness of the traditions, many of which are being lost, such as the language; and environmental damage due to uncontrolled use of agrochemicals. All this makes us feel committed to supporting an ethnic population that needs attention to contribute to their general well-being.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The Lenca population is engaged in agricultural activities (corn, beans, potatoes, rice and vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage). They use some plants for their crafts (carrizo, mezcal and zuyate). Their houses are built of adobe, pine and tiles. They keep their small animals (chickens) inside their homes. The basic diet consists of tortillas, beans, and occasionally cheese, meats and fruits. They have patriarchal authority, while the women are dedicated to the elaboration of family foods, household cleaning, animal care, laundry, carrying firewood, and water. They also support crop harvesting, along with the whole family. Land tenure is scarce and is known as parcels with small extensions. For the supply of heat, they use some species of trees: fire starter wood, oak, sweetgum, sapote and oak, which they also use for disease remedies and living barriers. The Lenca corridor has a total geographical area of 7302,725 km², made up of three departments to the west of the country, described below. Intibucá. Latitude: 14,317 °, longitude: -88,167 °, elevation: 1,805 meters above sea level. It has an extension of 3072.2 km², and an annual rainfall of 1549 mm per year. Its departmental head is La Esperanza. The temperature ranges between 10 ° C and 25 ° C. It has a valley (Valle de Otoro), with 240 km². It has two mountains: Opalaca and Montecillos, rivers such as Managua, Otoro, Negro, Torola and Gualarque. It has 64 villages and 7 hamlets. Located at 1600 meters above sea level, its population is 255,658 inhabitants, 203,187 belong to the rural area. The main economic activity is the cultivation of basic grains, potatoes, strawberries, blackberries, peaches, poultry, and cattle. La Paz:. Coordinates 14 ° 20′00 ″ N 87 ° 41′00 ″ W, total area of 2,525 km². It has an estimated population of 217,204 inhabitants; 156,844 rural population. It has 19 municipalities. Its departmental head is La Paz. It has six biological reserves, three mountain ranges, and 8 mountains. The main economic activity is the cultivation of coffee, basic grains, raising cattle and swine. The average annual temperature is 23.5 ° C, and has an annual rainfall of 1065 mm. Lempira Coordinates 14 ° 35′00 ″ N 88 ° 35′00 ″ W, the total area is 4228 km². Its municipal head is Thank you. It has an estimated population of 317,049 inhabitants, and the rural population is 351,652 inhabitants. It limits to the north with the departments of Copán and Santa Bárbara, to the south with the Republic of El Salvador, to the east with the department of Intibucá, and to the west with the departments of Copán and Ocotepeque. It houses a national park and two wildlife refuges; Two mountain ranges and thirteen mountains. Its economy is based on agriculture. They are mainly engaged in the cultivation of coffee, corn, rice and tobacco. It has an average annual rainfall of 132 mm, and the temperature ranges between 13 ° C and 34 ° C.

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

The main challenge that will be addressed is malnutrition of the Lenca population. Improving subsistence agriculture and boosting the Lenca culture based on diversified agricultural technologies oriented towards the integral management of natural resources. In the end, this will result in more varieties of crops with greater nutritional contribution and this will reflect in higher quality of foods, that can generate better profits and increase the quality of life of the producers and thus creating a sustainable local market. Environment:The climate in the Lenca corridor has changed in the last 20 years, affecting agricultural production. The mismanagement of natural resources due to the increase in the agricultural frontier, the contamination of water due to the excess of uncontrolled agrochemicals; They have affected food security and migration. Diet: The food is monotonous and includes ultraprocessed foods (high sodium intake and sugars), which they buy with the money from the sales of their agricultural products. The consumption of dairy products is very low, as are fruits and vegetables. Economy:The economy is of subsistence, where each family produces for its consumption and what little is commercialized is done in an informal market that fluctuates with the time of the year. They live from crafts and agriculture. Culture: A patriarchy system prevails; part of the population has lost its ethnic characteristic profile (clothing, language, crafting). Most do not have resources for efficient energy and heat generation. Pre-Columbian customs. Technology: They do not have access to Technology programs (production, food processing). The scarce organization of the communities does not allow access to the direct purchase of improved seeds, management of water sources, necessary machinery, contributing to migration. Policies: There are national policies with little regulation and implementation and monitoring, as well as the lack of regionalization of policies, with a small network of basic services. In the Future (2050): Environment: Integrated watershed management will contribute to soil conservation, good agricultural practices, water resource management and socio-economic factors. Diet: The diversity of food consumption and access to food will improve, and the consumption of highly energetic foods will decrease, prioritizing the improvement of women's diet throughout the life course. Economy: Widen the variety and productivity of their crops, for its industrialization and commercialization in formal markets, and exotic products (such as mushrooms). Culture: Continuous and regionalized education with strategies that will encourage residents to continually improve their products, food and family treatment, and the revaluation of their traditions. Technology: Access to cutting-edge technology programs that will provide high added value to their products, and to international markets. Efficient technologies (energy) will be implemented. Polcies: Improved implementation of specific policies for the reality of the Lenca region, favoring ethnic diversity, education, regulations for the economic and sustainable development of the area.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Our vision will address the challenges as follows for each area of importance: Environment: With integrated watershed management, natural capital assets associated with sustainable livelihoods will increase. The capacity of local participants, good agricultural and agroecological practices, environmental education and resources associated with environmentally friendly development and food security will be strengthened. Diet: With local production and exchange between communities that facilitates access to food, both physically and economically; with nutritional education revaluing their traditions or good practices of preparation of native foods, as well as the importance of good nutrition for women and young children. The nutritional education can be provided in the local context by addressing other issues such as hygiene, health, nutrition, types of food in infants, school children, etc. Economy: Harvesting rainwater for irrigation and domestic uses, and the acquisition of technology and genetic material of crops, production improves attaining greater added value and industrialization. With financing towards the diversification of processed products and crops, creation of clean energy, and access to basic services, particularly the promotion of higher education. Culture: With bilingual education (Lenca-Spanish) that helps maintain their traditions. Revaluing their traditions. Development of craft fairs for the sale of their products, in various areas of the country. Encourage the inclusion of young women mainly in higher education. Technology: Access to technologies for efficient irrigation of crops, mechanized harvesting, storage of basic grains and seeds, as well as processing equipment to add value to perennial and non-perennial raw materials. The latter can help extend the shelf life of native products which will allow access to new markets. Policies: Implementation of inclusive policies, regulations that allow the recognition of small producers within the commercial system. Regionalized policies aimed at the sustainable development of the Lenca corridor: financing, education, clean energy, rescue of traditions, etc.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

The high level vision for each area of importance is: Environment: Will contribute to the management, exploitation and conservation of natural resources in the river basins according to the needs of the Lenca community. The region will have a balance between ecological, social and economic sustainability. The community will have good quality water and healthy products that will contribute to food security and local economic development. Diets: This will benefit the nutrition, health and culture of the entire Lenca community, particularly women, strengthening their dignity and revaluing their traditions. Babies will grow healthy and well nourished; they will grow more centimeters than their parents. The region will have human resources with strengthened capacities to contribute to its own development. Economy: The local economy of the Lenca communities will be strengthened and will favor the improvement in education and the availability of diverse and nutritious diets, contributing to the resilience of livelihoods to disasters. Culture: Empowerment of young people and women, as well as revalue Lenca traditions, their language and their values, with professionals prepared to contribute to integral development. Technology: It will contribute to long-term comprehensive management that will ensure that residents use or improve any type of production or processing technology. It will guarantee that the Lenca community is at the global level of access to information and technologies and for the improvement of living standards, without affecting their culture and customs. Policies: This will benefit the development of the Lenca population, through education, clean energy, agricultural production and food processing, which will generate added value and therefore, wealth for all, in a sustainable environment.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Our vision focuses on improving the quality of life of the Lenca population through the availability of diverse and nutritious foods. This will be achieved with access to cutting-edge technologies, climate change adaptation techniques and integrated management of natural resources.The dry corridor in Honduras is made up of municipalities with the highest rates of poverty and child malnutrition. This due to a monotonous diet and low nutritional intake. This area is characterized by a low availability of annual rainfall with an increase in drought intensity, which affects crop losses, particularly affecting small farmers. It has high environmental vulnerability. It has a mountainous orography with high slopes, therefore, leaching nutrients in the soil. Part of the dry corridor includes the departments of La Paz, Intibucá and Lempira, which have the largest number of settlers with Lenca origins, so it is called “Lenca corridor”, with strong ancestral traditions in agriculture, food, clothing, language and religion, and a marked patriarchal authority in their homes. They have low educational levels on average and have been excluded from most development programs. The vision for 2050 is a Lenca corridor with an empowered population, with a high educational level, the consumption of a varied and nutritional diet, healthy, with a resilient environment, which provides sustainable and integrated local development with the use of the latest technologies. This vision also includes having local and integral food systems that contribute to regional food security, considering environmentally friendly practices and availability, with the objective of mitigating and adapting to climate change; linked to national and regional planning policies and instruments. By 2050 the Lenca population will produce and consume varied and nutritious local foods, due to the revaluation of their ancestral practices or knowledge about native foods, and if necessary, improve crop management practices to ensure sustainability using state-of-the-art technology, such as the following: •Metallic silos of conditioning and dryers of seeds and basic grains for the management of crops and efficient drying, due to the high level of mycotoxins due to the high humidity present in the grains and seeds. •Precision agriculture (remote sensors), with the aim of promoting improvements in crop management. • Use of nutritionally improved foods to accelerate malnutrition reduction. •Mushroom processing plants for the export of native products and the extraction of healthy bioactive compounds. •Rainwater harvesters to reduce crop loss by the decreasing the amount of water availability. •Wastewater treatment plants and water treatment plants with appropriate technology, to provide better water quality to communities. •Access to information to provide internet connectivity and networks. •Improved stoves, to improve people's health and efficiency in the use of resources. •Use of solar panels and wind energy in order to expand the energy matrix. In the end, the Lenca communities are producing and exporting products made from native varieties with which they improve their quality of life, generating greater income that adds to the physical, human, social, natural and financial capital. This can be achieved with the identification and articulation of integral education, support for local input value chains and key actors, such as those identified below: 1.Local civil organizations: local boards, water boards, parents' association, health volunteers, forestry advisory councils, local emergency committees, watershed councils. 2.Local governments: mayors, departmental government and associations. 3.Associations of producers of men and women, small and medium enterprises, and value chains: potato, strawberry chain, association of fruit and vegetable producers of Intibucá, peasant company ECARAI, association of women AMIR. 4.Local, departmental and national government entities: health, education, SAG, DICTA, UTSAN, COPECO, PRONADERS, ICF. 5.Academy: Universidad Metropolitana, Universidad Pedagogica, UCENM, Universidad Autónoma de Honduras. 6.Non-governmental organizations: CARE, USAID, FINTRAC, Save the Children, CRS, CARITAS, Agronomists and veterinarians without borders, World Vision, Plan Honduras, United Nations projects such as UNICEF, PAHO / WHO, FUNIDERH, Business Development Center (CDE). 7.Financial institutions: cooperatives (CASIL, COAAL, COMIPRONIL, COMIXMUL), microfinance institutions (ODEF, PILAR), rural savings banks, BANCA (West, BANRURAL, BANPAIS, BAC, BANADESA, BANCAFE, BANTRAB), etc.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Email


Join the conversation:

Photo of Village Development  Center (VDC)

Hi, I want to create a network with you.

Photo of Carla Garces

Hi Village Development Center (VDC) 
Thank you for your message. How do you envision our collaboration?

Photo of Village Development  Center (VDC)

Online system cost-free networking. Through this, knowledge on advanced technologies will be gained.

Thank you so much for the Food Extension Initiative

View all comments