Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the USAID Transforming Market Systems (TMS) Activity in Honduras has been collecting data and information to support economic recovery efforts for small- and medium-sized companies.
To identify the needs and challenges faced by these companies, the TMS Activity assigned volunteer Diana Perez Cordova to coordinate and promote a market systems diagnostic survey. Over the span of six months, Diana worked remotely from her home to support three Honduran university students who collected the survey data. She monitored progress with the desired businesses targeted for the survey and met with a local chamber of commerce to identify more companies to target. Together, they mapped local entrepreneurial ecosystems using social network analysis and related ecosystem measures.
The TMS Activity is a five-year activity funded by USAID and implemented by ACDI/VOCA that fosters competitive, resilient, and inclusive market systems. These efforts aim to increase economic opportunities for women, youth, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups who are often excluded — or even exploited — by traditional market systems.
While working with the TMS Activity, Diana researched other countries and territories in the region, including Colombia, Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, with internal competitive indexes. Following these examples, Diana was able to design a competitive index framework for Honduras using the same 12 pillars of competitiveness: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and innovation.
“I learned the importance of collecting accurate and complete information to design plans that will make an important impact. I have seen the challenges faced by the team when collecting data during an emergency situation [COVID-19] in Honduras, and it taught me how to implement fast solutions.”–Diana Perez Cordova, a volunteer with ACDI/VOCA
Additionally, Diana supported TMS Activity staff in developing a system analysis to map rules affecting economic growth in Honduras. They explored different types of dynamics and tested them with industry experts to confirm the accuracy of their proposed causal loops. This allowed TMS Activity staff to identify the key factors to address as they collaborate with local businesses and government offices to design a COVID-19 recovery plan and meaningful steps toward new economic opportunities.
Diana Perez Cordova is a recent graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts with a Master of Arts. She currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri.
Learn more about volunteering with ACDI/VOCA.
Learn more about the USAID Honduras Transforming Market Systems Activity.