Across Central America, a host of factors are driving high levels of migration, especially among youth. Research indicates that grinding poverty and lack of economic opportunities are the major push factors, but violence and political instability are also key drivers of migration. The back-to-back hurricane systems Eta and Iota that followed similar destructive paths across the region in November 2020 as well as the heavy toll of the COVID-19 pandemic have only further exacerbated the dire situation for many Central Americans.
But that's not the whole story.
IN EL SALVADOR, Williams, a 30-year-old father of two, took the opportunity to earn a diploma in cocoa production and has started his own chocolate business.
IN HONDURAS, Dilcia, 21, learned the basics of coffee cultivation and is working on her family’s farm, hoping to become part of the next generation of agricultural entrepreneurs.
IN GUATEMALA, Guisela, 26, has not only learned and applied agricultural best practices and improved health and nutrition habits within her own family, but she has also become an example and promoter of such trainings in her larger community.
Each of these young people felt compelled to leave everything they had and knew in search of a better life, but development and humanitarian investments in these countries are restoring their hope for a future where they are now — a future where migration isn’t their only option.
Lutheran World Relief is working with dozens of local partners to help those affected by disasters recover and to strengthen the economies of communities in Central America – specifically the Northern Triangle – to build food security, resilience and stability. These investments include vocational and business training programs for youth, as well as efforts to help coffee and cocoa farmers increase the productivity and quality of their crops and connect to markets that will bring them better income.
Lutheran World Relief has partnered with the U.S. government, national, regional and municipal governments in Central America, international and local organizations, foundations, the private sector, U.S. churches, agricultural cooperatives and the people themselves to invest in this future. Through these partnerships, we have seen the social fabric of communities strengthened and thousands of people earning enough income to support their families, providing for immediate needs and setting aside savings for what is to come.
Over the long run, we believe these investments in the people and communities of Central America and beyond are the best measures for addressing high levels of migration and their root causes. Lutheran World Relief is committed to walking alongside these communities as they work to build better lives for their families.