Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. It ranks 112th out of 182 countries in the 2009 Human Development Index, ahead of Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Bolivia. Persistent poverty hinders Honduras’ development, with 59% the population living below the national poverty line. Inequality levels are high and have largely remained unchanged since 2003.
Education is a key sector for the development of Honduras, as the country needs to develop the potential of its young in order to strengthen democratic governance, improve economic opportunities and livelihoods, and reduce social and economic inequalities.
The directive project entitled "Strengthening Education Management at the District Level” (also referred to as FORTA-from its Spanish acronym "Fortaleciendo la gestion educativa al nivel distrital") (2013-2019) was designed at the request of the Ministry of Education of Honduras. It intends to 1) strengthen the integrated pedagogical, management and technical capacity of the Ministry of Education at the district level in seven jointly selected departments of Honduras; 2) Clarify and improve knowledge on, as well as strengthen the existing operational framework and systems governing the education sector at the district level.
The project is operational in seven out of the eighteen departments of Honduras (Yoro, Cortés, Santa Barbara, Comayagua, Choluteca, Valle and El Paraiso) and uses the department of Atlántida in order to compare results and impacts. FORTA is in its third year of implementation. The project works the technical aspects of the cross cutting themes in different levels of implementation, such as gender issues, governance and environment improvement.) FORTA has incorporated gender and environmental issues into its training modules for District and Municipal Directors of Education, and is supporting other initiatives related to the cross-cutting themes as the request of the Ministry of Education