Advance Program in Honduras Shares Key Achievements and Lessons Learned at Virtual Closing Ceremony
July 5, 2021
On March 17, 2021, over 140 participants came together virtually to celebrate achievements of the Advance Program in Honduras. Presenters shared key results and lessons learned over the five years of the program’s activities in country. Participants included university rectors, faculty, students, and university staff from each of the program’s partner universities, UNAH, UNITEC-CEUTEC, and UCENM, all of whom played a vital role in bringing the program’s mission to life. Thanks to the technical and financial collaboration between USAID, FHI 360, and the three partner universities, Advance Honduras succeeded in strengthening the quality of seven technical programs in the areas of curriculum and pedagogy; teacher, faculty, and staff development; labor market bridging; expanded access and scholarships for disadvantaged youth. The closing ceremony was chaired by representatives of USAID and FHI 360 from both Honduras and Washington, DC. Fernando Cossich, Director of the USAID Mission in Honduras, stated during the event that programs like Advance are essential so that a greater number of vulnerable young people can obtain jobs and achieve autonomy to be stewards of their own development. FHI 360 Country Director of Advance Honduras, Juan Carlos Rodriguez, presented key program results and statistics. Advance Honduras facilitated nine alliances with the private sector and gave more than 1,400 young people access to technical tertiary education, which prepared them for careers in strategic sectors and helped them endure the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19. More than 100 of these disadvantaged students received full scholarships, academic incentives, and support services from the Program throughout their two years of study. Over 430 of them completed their studies or graduated. Contributing to this success are the partner universities who shared the costs of these important scholarships and more, as well as over 200 of their teaching and non-teaching staff who received professional development and training through Advance. The event also featured three student testimonials to showcase the impact of Advance on these youth participants. Dixy Valladares, university technician in food and beverages at UNAH, completed her internship at the Marriott Hotel where she learned a lot about teamwork and other practical skills to apply to her business. Yeris Montes, university technician in auxiliary nursing at CEUTEC, described the scholarship as allowing her access to a different world, to new possibilities, to be able to achieve what she wanted so much, which was to work in this area of nursing. It also represented growth for her, and therefore, for her family. Ingrid Pavón, university technician in clinical laboratory at UCENM, told viewers that Advance participants receive both academic and emotional support to cover everything a student needs to fulfill their career and dream. Rectors and Vice-Rectors of UNAH, UNITEC-CEUTEC, and UCENM, shared the progress made over the last five years and how USAID’s support through the Advance Program has contributed to their institutions’ efforts to improve quality and equitable access to technical education through the expansion of program offerings and the strengthening of market-relevant curricula. The university rectors expressed their gratitude to USAID and their satisfaction with the valuable collaboration under the initiatives and framework of the Advance Program.