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The tidal wave of unaccompanied minors from Central America has engendered a lot of debate, but surprisingly little insight, about an immigration and development crisis that has been welling up for decades. The problem in Honduras is particularly acute, where gangs and drug-related violence, one of the highest poverty rates in Central and South America, and a near-total lack of governance converge. Increased violence and corruption have played a major role in the dramatic rise in migration over the last few years. But the fundamental absence of legal and productive job opportunities underlies a trend that was well established long before the latest flood of child refugees crossed the U.S. border.
GreenWood has delivered more than $1.5 million in product sales from Honduras over the last five years—a development achievement recognized in February by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies when it awarded the organization and its Honduran nonprofit partner, Fundación Madera Verde, the school’s first-ever Innovation Prize for Forest Finance. Long-term solutions require long-term, creative commitments.