Arimae

Overview

Arimae is a community in the Panama province, located right off of the Panamerican highway. It is about a 4 hour drive from the Panama City airport. Arimae is an indigenous community, but what makes it unique is that the community is split evenly between two different indigenous groups: the Embera and the Wounaan.  The two different indigenous groups descend from common ancestors; they both live and dress similarly, but each has its own language.  When they converse, the two different groups typically use Spanish. The most common forms of livelihood amongst the men in this community are agriculture and artisanal crafts. The women usually take care of the home and also make and sell traditional crafts.  The main crops produced in Arimae are corn, plantains, and other fruits. Community members have access to credit through an established and thriving community bank which will support continued investment in local businesses and home improvement projects for families within the community. 

Corregimiento: Santa Fe
District: Chepigana

Homes : 108
Population : 552
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : Nearby in Santa Fe
Community Health Workers : Yes
Homes with Latrines : 80%
Education in the Community : Up to 6th grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 1 hour

Medical

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

ARIMAE’S HEALTHCARE ACCESS:

The nearby town of Santa Fe has its own health center which is maintained by Panama’s Ministry of Health, MINSA (Ministerio de Salud).  However, the brand new health center frequently lacks a full pharmacy and the staff regularly lacks the capacity to see every patient each day. After traveling by bus, visitors to the health center can expect long wait times given the limited staff and resources to meet the demand from all neighboring communities.

276

Brigade Volunteers

3873

Medical Patient Consultations

24

Adult Health Education Workshops (Approx.)

24

Children Education Workshops (Approx.)

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS:

GB Panama’s Medical Dental team started the Agentes Comunitarios en Salud or ACeS program in 2016. “Agentes” from five communities in East Panama were Panama’s first community health workers. Among these first CHW is Martiza Flaco from Arimae who is on track to complete all trainings in 2017 and start visiting community members with health needs.

Some of Martiza’s primary responsibilities include:

  • Promoting healthy practices and maintaining contact with GB staff about their progress
  • Performing First Aid in the case of an emergency
  • Managing the Patient Referral cases of the community
  • Promoting involvement with other GB programs such as Human Rights, Public Health and Microfinance workshops
  • Recording and monitoring members of their respective communities who:
    • Are pregnant
    • Have a chronic disease
    • Are children under five
      years old.

Because Maritza is also a current member of the Community Bank she will be able to use her experience to also act as a promoter of the services the Community Bank can provide such as loans and savings accounts for health needs.

MEDICAL BRIGADES IN ARIMAE:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Vanderbilt University March 2012 23 University of Washington August 2012 40
Georgetown University March 2013 45 Ohio State University August 2013 28
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute January 2014 21 California State University Bakersfield June 2014 27
University of Michigan Dearborn January 2014 21 Small group brigade July 2015 6
University of Virginia & UNC Charlotte March 2016 41 IUPUI August 2016 24

*Starting in August 2017 Global Brigades Medical Program will be transitioning to a local partnership model and strengthening the Community Health Worker program (ACeS) so that communities like Arimae can receive health support and resources consistently without the arrival of brigade volunteers in mobile clinics.

Dental

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

DENTAL CARE ACCESS

 

In working closely with the medical program, the dental program provides fillings, extractions, and fluoride treatments as a standard part of medical brigades. Most community members do not have regular access to dental care due to the lack of dental services within a reasonable distance in part due to the cost of procedures.

907

Dental Patient Consultations

322

Fluoride Treatments

49

Fillings Performed

22

Dental Education Workshops (Approx.)

DENTAL BRIGADES IN ARIMAE:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Georgetown University March 2013 45 Ohio State University August 2013 28
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute January 2014 21 California State University Bakersfield June 2014 27
University of Michigan Dearborn January 2014 21 Small group brigade July 2015 6
University of Virginia & UNC Charlotte March 2016 41 IUPUI August 2016 24

*Starting in August 2017 Global Brigades Medical Program will be transitioning to a local partnership model and strengthening the Community Health Worker program (ACeS) so that communities like Arimae can receive health support and resources consistently without the arrival of brigade volunteers in mobile clinics.

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

ARIMAE’S ECONOMIC CHALLENGE

Given the rural location of Arimae, community members typically lack access to financial resources locally. The majority of community members do not have bank accounts and there is only limited informal forms of credit available.  For example, a person could obtain ‘credit’ at a local store by buying something now and paying later, simply adding it to their ‘tab,’ but there would be no formalized credit transaction.  Larger financial institutions do not approve loans to community members without a fixed income, making it difficult for local microenterprises to grow and thrive. Most community members cite the distance to the nearest bank as the main discouragement to having a personal savings account. In order to gain access, members must travel to Santa Fe, a 30-minute bus ride, and some community members even have an account in the National Bank in Metetí, which is over 45 minutes away. Even if individuals wish to travel the distance, not all community members can become members of these financial institutions. As examples, cooperatives require monthly membership fees, savings accounts often require a fixed income, and the cost of travel and the lack of land titles as an indigenous community provide additional barriers.

171

Brigade Volunteers

105

Loans Administered

$7,009.53

Capital Investment

25

Saving Accounts Opened

ARIMAE’S MICROFINANCE SOLUTION

The Global Brigades Business and Microfinance Team trained a new community bank in 2014. They also bring Microfinance and Business brigades in order to strengthen both the knowledge and trust in the community bank. This encouraged the opening of more savings accounts, growth of seed capital, and upon the completion of six months of executive board training, the community bank began giving out loans to bank members to spur economic growth and home improvement projects.

ARIMAE’S BUSINESS SOLUTION

With the opening of the community bank in 2014, community members have access to credit and savings accounts for the first time. Additionally, with access to savings, families can start to adequately prepare for the future rather than storing extra money around their homes or not saving at all.

Building off of a strong relationship developed in partnership with Global Brigades as a Holistic Community, Arimae looks to receive financial training and business consulting to expand and improve its local microenterprises.

One of the cornerstones for the success of future business projects is the sustainable nature of a community bank: investments are approved through loans granted to community projects; interest is then paid back on the loans—both large and small—and 100% of profits stay in the community, enabling the funding of more loans for more projects in the community. Capitalization of the community bank is directly linked to the development of Arimae. In other words, the growth and success of their community bank means growth and success for local businesses and the community overall.

As members of the Community Bank, Arimae’s micro-enterprises, led almost entirely by women or families, contribute to savings accounts and budget for loans to expand their businesses in the future. Through the help of Business Brigades, clients get advice on their most concerning business challenges and can also receive assistance in developing sustainable agriculture practices since many local businesses are based in cultivating produce and raising animals.

BUSINESSES IN ARIMAE

Business Name Client Name Type of Business

Kiosco Orito

Linelia Bacorizo Storefront
Kiosco Lenin Maximino Opua Storefront

Saura Bacorizo

 

Agriculture

Eulizia Salazar

Agriculture

Dilva Bacorizo

 

Agriculture

Poder de Dios

Andadelfa Salazar

Storefront

Brigelina Opua

 

Agriculture

 

BUSINESS BRIGADES IN ARIMAE:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
UIUC March 2014 28 University of Puget Sound May 2014 16
UIUC January 2015

30

Oakland University / USF

May 2015 22
Penn State University / University of Bayreuth July 2015 24  University of Southern California  January 2016  22
University of Maryland Baltimore County March 2016 16 London School of Economics June 2017 13

Local Reference Points

View the map to see the closest volunteer lodging facilities, hospitals, and other relevant points of reference.

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