La Mosquitia, one of the last remaining tropical forest areas left in Central America, is the most impoverished region in Honduras. Local communities, including the indigenous Miskito (or Mosquitia) people, have struggled to keep alive their distinctive cultural heritage while dealing with the threats of environmental and economic uncertainty.
Through a carbon-neutral biofuel initiative, the MOPAWI (from Mosquitia Pawisa) seek to generate equitable social development through sustainable microenterprise utilizing palm oil that is used for a variety of purposes. This approach will provide financial, social, and environmental returns in order to:
- Increase local employment while decreasing out-migration;
- Lower the cost of production and with lower agricultural labor;
- Reduce waste and increase product yield; and,
- Decrease emissions and deforestation.
“The beauty of this enterprise,” says David Hircock, Senior Advisor for Estée Lauder, “is the multidimensional, entrepreneurial approach. Many elements of this approach can bring much-needed cash into the economy and also negate the need for cash. For example, the indigenous community may not need to purchase diesel. Additionally, the enterprise incorporates important elements affecting local security issues, such as food, water, land and economics. Perhaps most importantly, this enterprise could show that the Mosquitia people are integral to the sustainable development of the area and local economy of Puerto Lempira, whereas at the moment they are so often marginalized. Now they can have a much-needed voice.”