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 : 38%
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 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.

The most common illnesses in Arimae are diarrhea, skin infections, vomiting, and colds.

437

Brigade Volunteers

3489

Medical Patients Served

144

Vision Screenings

38

Education Workshops

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.

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.

MEDICAL VOLUNTEERS IN ARIMAE:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Pennsylvania State University Medical Brigade March 2012 65 University of Washington Medical Brigade August 2012 30
Georgetown University Medical Brigade March 2013 45 Ohio State University Medical Brigade August 2013 30
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medical Brigade January 2014 21 California State University Bakersfield Medical Brigade June 2014 34
University of Michigan Dearborn Medical Brigade April 2015 21 University of Virginia & University of North Carolina Charlotte Medical Brigade March 2016 41
Indiana University-Purdue Medical Brigade August 2016 24 Stetson University Medical Brigade March 2017 24
Rutgers University Medical Brigade March 2019 30 Florida State University & University of Florida Medical Brigade August 2019 37
Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Brigade January 2020 20

 

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.

910

Dental Patient Consultations

572

Fluoride Treatments

378

Extractions

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN ARIMAE:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Pennsylvania State University Medical Brigade March 2012 65 University of Washington Medical Brigade August 2012 30
Georgetown University Medical Brigade March 2013 45 Ohio State University Medical Brigade August 2013 30
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medical Brigade January 2014 21 California State University Bakersfield Medical Brigade June 2014 34
University of Michigan Dearborn Medical Brigade April 2015 21 University of Virginia & University of North Carolina Charlotte Medical Brigade March 2016 41
Indiana University-Purdue Medical Brigade August 2016 24 Stetson University Medical Brigade March 2017 24
Rutgers University Medical Brigade March 2019 30 Florida State University & University of Florida Medical Brigade August 2019 37
Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Brigade January 2020 20

 

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

ARIMAE’S WATER CHALLENGE

Arimae shares a gravity water system with the neighboring community of Pueblo Nuevo. The source of the water is a stream located 2 hours walk up from the community. The system was constructed in 1980, so many of the pipes are starting to deteriorate. Over time, sections of the conduction line coming from the source have become exposed and, as people and animals walk over the pipes, they have broken and produce leaks.

Also, as the population of the community grew, the system was not large enough to provide consistent water to all the households. The water must be “sectorized,” which means the water committee diverts the water to certain sectors of community on different days of the week. On each sector’s day, families fill barrels or buckets with water which they store and use until the next day that water arrives. Finally, there are no water meters installed, so every household pays the same monthly water tariff regardless of the amount of water they used. This possibly leads to overuse, causing additional strain on the small system.

-

Volunteers

-

Project Beneficiaries

-

Kilometers of Pipeline Installed

ARIMAE’S WATER SOLUTION

In February 2020, a partnership between Global Brigades began working with the community of Arimae to repair their water system. 

It was determined that the best fit for Arimae would be: to elevate the existing water tank, replace the conduction line and distribution network with new, larger tubes, install an in-line chlorinator, and install household connections with water meters.  Upon completion, the repaired system will benefit 120 households, consisting of approximately 550 individuals.

In the interest of sustainability, after the project is complete, the members of the Water Council will be trained on water treatment and system maintenance, administration, and operation, so they can continue adequately managing the water system.  Arimae will also establish a monthly water fee determined by usage in order to pay the Water Council for water treatment, maintenance costs, and system sustainability.

WATER VOLUNTEERS IN THE COMMUNITY

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers

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.

180

Volunteers

112

Loans Administered

$8110

Capital Investment

30

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 VOLUNTEERS IN ARIMAE:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Business Brigade March 2014 28 University of Puget Sound Business Brigade May 2014 16
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Business Brigades January 2015 30 Oakland University Business Brigade May 2015 22
Penn State University / University of Bayreuth Medical Brigade July 2015 24  University of Southern California  January 2016  22
University of Maryland Baltimore County Microfinance Brigade March 2016 16 London School of Economics Business Brigade June 2017 13
University of Southern California Business Brigade March 2019 9

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Arimae but has not yet begun with the Public Health Program. Now in the planning phase, the financing, delivery, and installation of household health infrastructure products will start as soon as feasible.

PUBLIC HEALTH VOLUNTEERS IN THE COMMUNITY

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers

Local Reference Points

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

  • Feature