Organization for Youth Empowerment

Intl_Spotlight_OYE

Organization for Youth Empowerment

Organization for Youth Empowerment
Eco-Pasaje Centenario
3ra Avenida Oeste
El Progreso, Yoro, HN
Phone: +504.2647.7054
E-Mail: direccion@oyehonduras.org
URL: oyehonduras.org

Focus: Design, Media Arts, Performing Arts, Photography, Visual Arts

Annual Number Participating: 200

Ages: Elementary School, Middle School, High School

Annual Budget: $42,400

Partners: Alcaldía Municipal de El Progreso; Ferretería Los Pasos; Instituto Oficial Perla del Ulúa; La Casa de la Cultura; Radio Progreso; Red de Comunicadores UNICEF; TeleProgreso; UNITEC

Funders: Inter-American Foundation; Seattle International Foundation

Since 2005, the Organization for Youth Empowerment (OYE), based in El Progreso, has been striving to improve the lives of lower-income, underserved young Hondurans by offering them safer and more productive options for their futures. Through an innovative, multipronged effort, this nonprofit organization provides young people with the education, skills, and confidence they need to help break the cycle of poverty, while preparing them to become “key actors in the positive development of Honduras,” according to OYE.

The organization gives Honduran youth educational stipends, to help them stay in school; offers leadership development workshops, to assist participants in realizing a greater sense of their own agency; and sponsors sports programs, to encourage physical fitness and connect youth with their communities. The arts also play a central role in OYE’s strategy: Mi Voz Es Poder (My Voice Is Power) comprises a series of art, communications, and design programs that provide young people with opportunities to explore and express their ideas for change, while gaining real-world media-production, advocacy, and community organizing skills.

For example, through OYE’s mural-making program, participants learn how to use art to influence behavior. At schools and clinics, students paint murals that promote the value of education or advocate healthy lifestyles. To convey similar positive messages, some of the organization’s young people are studying theatrical techniques, with the goal of bringing to life their original works. In addition, OYE’s radio and television programs enable participants to produce podcasts, videos, and PSAs that address issues of concern to youth—such as immigration, unemployment, and gender equality. Through partnerships with broadcast outlets, these media products are shared with the larger community. Students also write, design, and publish a popular youth-focused magazine, Revista Jóvenes, which provides yet another forum to communicate their views on pertinent topics.

Combined, these initiatives encourage Honduran youth to “identify themselves as artists, writers, producers, graphic designers, or athletes, and—most importantly—as agents of change,” according to OYE. “Identification through participation is vital to engaging youth and inspiring them to follow a path toward expression and success that serves as a healthy and positive alternative to delinquency, violence, drug use, and migration,” the organization adds.

“By exercising their leadership [skills] and engaging [with] their peers, young men and women realize the power of their collective voice and its ability to generate positive social change in their schools, their communities, and even their country.”

From an Organization for Youth Empowerment fact sheet