El Limón

  • Overview
  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Water
  • Business
  • Public Health


El Limón is located in the province of Coclé, in the western part of Panama. The typical house is made of cement blocks, wood, or clay. El Limón has a primary school and children must walk 45-60 minutes to the nearest middle school. Most of the community members work in agriculture, farming corn, plantains, and root vegetables. The closest health outpost is a 10 minute walk from the community. El Limón has a well, but in some zones of the community, water only reaches the houses for several hours a week. The top needs expressed by the community are dental clinics and improvements to their water system.

District: Penonome

Province: Coclé

Homes : 90
Population : 350
Water System : Yes (needs improvements)
Community Bank : No
Electricity : No
Health Center : No
Community Health Workers : No
Homes with Latrines : 88%
Education : Up to 6th grade


Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete


Even though Panama is considered a country with a lot of economic growth, this growth doesn’t necessarily apply to all Panamanians, especially those in the rural areas. This results in large inequality when it comes to healthcare attention. As a consequence, access to health and dental care is one of the largest challenges for our partner communities. Hospitals and clinics are scarce in the rural areas where we work, and those that are accessible often lack proper staff, equipment, and medication.

Specifically, in El Limon, community members expressed that the top 3 most prevalent illnesses are colds, fevers, and stomach aches.




Patient Consultations


Vision Screenings Provided




The community of El Limon does not yet have Community Health Workers. Global Brigades Panama Medical Program is working diligently to train volunteers as CHWs in its partner communities as part of the Holistic Model. El Limon will receive training as soon as possible to further support the health of its community members.

GB Panama’s Medical team started the Agentes Comunitarios en Salud or ACeS program in 2016. “Agentes” from 17 communities in East Panama and Darien were Panama’s first community health workers.

Some of the future ACeS worker’s primary responsibilities will 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


Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
University of Maryland Baltimore Medical Brigade January 2019 25


Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete


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 a dentist within a reasonable distance.


Number of Dental Patients


Number of Extractions


Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
University of Maryland Baltimore Medical Brigade January 2019 25


Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete


Prior to Global Brigades involvement, El Limón had a small gravity-fed water system. As the population of the community grew, the system’s tank was not large enough to provide consistent water to all the households. In certain zones of the community, water only reached houses for around 9 hours each week. Additionally, there were no water meters installed, so every household paid the same monthly water tariff regardless of the amount of water they used. This possibly led to overuse (using water to water land and livestock), causing additional strain on the small system.

El Limon water catchment


Volunteers - #


In December 2019, a partnership between El Limón, Global Brigades Panama, and Sustainable Harvest was officially formed. Repairs to the water system were custom-designed for El Limón in partnership with the Peace Corps Volunteer working in this community. 

It was determined that the best fit for El Limón would be to repair the existing water tank, construct a larger secondary tank, and install household connections with water meters. Brigades began working on this water system in January 2020. Upon completion the system will have a distribution network that connects the water storage tanks to 90 families, consisting of 350 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.  El Limón 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.



Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
University of Dayton Medical Brigade 1 & 2 January 2019 54 Saint Louis University Medical Brigade January 2019 34
Carroll University Medical Brigade January 2019 20 Marquette University Dental Brigade January 2019 34
University of Maryland Baltimore Medical Brigade January 2019 25 Boston College Medical Brigade January 2019 21
Southern Connecticut State University Medical Brigade January 2019 15 Columbia University Medical Brigade January 2015 10
University of Southern California Medical Brigade January 2019 28


Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in El Limón but has not yet begun with the Business Program. In the planning phase, local staff is working with community members to assess the economic needs of the community, establish a community bank, and identify micro-enterprises that can benefit from on-brigade consultations.

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete


Many community members in El Limón lack the resources to make improvements to their household infrastructure. Sanitation stations (which include a latrine, shower, and sink) are necessary to facilitate hand-washing and offer privacy while bathing. Additionally, latrines improve hygiene practices and prevent contamination of natural water sources caused by open defecation. 

Global Brigades is currently working with El Limón and our partner organization, Sustainable Harvest, to implement the Public Health program with all families families interested in installing household infrastructure projects. These projects allow community members to avoid preventable disease and foster improved hygiene and sanitation practices. During their time in El Limón, Public Health volunteers will conduct educational workshops, or charlas, with community members on project maintenance and various public health topics.


Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers

Local Reference Points

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

  • Feature