Astronomy and Science Education in Remote Honduras

We plan to set up an outreach program that will benefit the remote community of El Rincón in Honduras. The program consists of science workshops delivered to the community in person and online, as well as an excursion to the Astronomical Observatory at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras in the capital Tegucigalpa.

El Rincón is a community of 100 people located in the mountainous region of south- west Honduras. Residents live in conditions of extreme poverty and with little access to education. Nearly all families work on coffee fields, including children, who are expected to help their families from an early age.

Oved Lopez grew up in El Rincón, and since 2016 has been implementing innovative educational practices in his community. He started by making didactic resources available to everyone and has been tirelessly encouraging children and adults to explore and embrace their cultural passions. Internet access in the village is limited, so he installed wi-fi antennas in mango trees to connect to the internet. Twenty families have now free access to the wi-fi and have been using it to access lectures, documentaries and books. Examples of the impact of Oved’s work include i) a group of young painters has emerged who have already sold some paintings; ii) children have been learning the basics of English and French languages through music and other activities; iii) many of the parents have shown an interest in learning about pedagogy, nutrition and psychology to better educate their children; iv) 15 out of 24 children are enrolled in school (11 in primary and 4 in high school).

Astrophysics in Central America and the Caribbean (Alpha-Cen, is a non-profit scientific organisation established in 2019. The main goal of our organisation is to foster the development of astronomy across the region. We collaborate with local universities as well as institutions world- wide, and outreach is one of our key activities. When we became aware of Oved’s work in El Rincón in October 2021, we immediately saw an opportunity to contribute. We met Oved and the children of the village via Zoom shortly after and agreed that the best way to support the educational development of this community was delivering astronomy and science workshops aimed at both kids and adults.

Since our previous proposal in last year’s round, we have been able to secure some funds to buy a laptop and 12 months of internet connectivity for the community. Members of the team visited El Rincón in June 2023 to deliver the laptop and plan the next steps of our engagement. A local dentist accompanied us. She gave a class on oral hygiene to the community and subsequently obtained financial support to organise dental check-ups and treatments for all the children.