Selvin Zelaya Munguía (’97, Honduras)
Without hesitation, Selvin says that the scholarship he received to study at EARTH, “Changed my life. It gave me knowledge, allowed me to get a good job, and made it possible for me to come back to my community and my country as an agent of change.”
Selvin spent the first 16 years of his career in public service. He began in his local government, the Municipality of Tegucigalpa, as an accounting manager for green spaces and in two years rose through the ranks to manager of public services. Under the Maduro administration Selvin was brought on to serve as the country’s director of environment and later as director of the Honduran Fund for Social Investment, managing national social development programs aimed at improving the quality of life of the most marginalized sectors of Honduran society. He later returned to the Municipality of Tegucigalpa, where for seven years he worked as the director of community service and human development, managing all of the city’s social programs. In 2013, he returned to the central government, this time as Vice Minister of the Honduran Fund for Social Investment.
In 2014, during his last government post, Selvin decided to form his own business with his father called Inversions la Fe. He is now dedicated to the management of the business, which includes an agricultural branch with dairy and rice production, as well as a construction business dedicated to infrastructure projects and heavy equipment rental. Currently, Selvin is focused on making genetic improvements in his dairy herd to increase milk production.
The company has some 20 permanent employees and Selvin has incorporated his public sector experience to his private sector venture, noting, “When I see a need in my employees, such as problems with their housing, I look to help them. Social conscience is explicitly integrated into our business.”
The biggest guide in both his public and private sector career, says Selvin, has been the ethics instilled in him at EARTH, which he credits with always keeping him on track. But, adds Selvin, being an EARTH graduate has also presented him with his greatest challenge: “Throughout my career, I have had to demonstrate that things can be done differently and not in a traditional way.”
Want to know the real impact of an EARTH scholarship? Selvin says, “Just look at all of us who received scholarships—at how we were before EARTH and how we are after graduating from EARTH. The real impact, the real change can be seen in each one of us.
In my case, I am from a broken household and a poor family. But because of EARTH, I have returned to my community, I have established myself, I got married, have a great family, and am giving back to my country and society. This would never have happened without EARTH and the scholarship from the Kellogg Foundation.”