El Peñón

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

Overview

El Peñón is located in the Ngabe-Buglé indigenous reserve just north of the province of Veraguas, west of Panama City. A typical house is made of cement blocks and zinc. El Peñón has a primary school and a secondary school that offer from kindergarten to 12th grade. Most of the community members work in agriculture, farming beans, corn, root vegetables, and fruits. There is a health outpost in the community. All of the homes in El Peñón are connected to a gravity-fed aqueduct, but the water must be rationed in the dry season. El Peñón opened a community bank with Global Brigades in 2019 as part of a project sponsored by the World Bank. The top needs expressed by the community were improvements to housing, a secondary aqueduct, and a fence for the school.

District: Nürüm

Province: Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé

Homes : 60
Population : 300
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No
Community Health Workers : No
Homes with Latrines : 100%
Education : Up to 9th grade

Medical

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

HEALTH CARE ACCESS

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.

The most prevalent illnesses in El Peñón are vomitting, diarrhea, and allergies.

A medical brigade at the secondary school, Jan. 2020

72

Volunteers

1019

Patient Consultations

34

Health Education Workshops

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS

The community of El Peñón 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 Peñón 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

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN EL PEÑÓN

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
Florida Gulf Coast University Medical Brigade May 2019 35 Marquette University Medical Brigade January 2020 37

Dental

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

DENTAL CARE ACCESS

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.

340

Number of Dental Patients

143

Number of Extractions

180

Fluoride Treatments

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN EL PEÑÓN

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
Florida Gulf Coast University Medical Brigade May 2019 35 Marquette University Medical Brigade January 2020 37

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in El Peñón but has not yet begun with the Water Program. Now in the planning phase, the financing, delivery, and installation of a water system infrastructure, or repairs to existing infrastructure will start as soon as feasible.

 

N/A

Volunteers - #

N/A

Kilometers of Pipeline Installed - #

WATER VOLUNTEERS IN THE COMMUNITY

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

EL PEÑÓN’S ECONOMIC CHALLENGE

Community members in El Peñón lack access to financial resources within the community. The majority of community members do not have bank accounts and there are 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 micro-enterprises to grow and thrive. Most community members cite the distance to the nearest bank as the main discouragement to having a personal savings account. Even if individuals wish to travel the distance, not all community members can become members of these financial institutions–cooperatives require monthly membership fees, savings accounts often require a fixed income, and the cost of travel provides an additional barrier.

9

Volunteers

1

Businesses Consulted

39

Savings Accounts Opened

21

Loans Administered

EL PEÑÓN’S MICROFINANCE SOLUTION:

El Peñón bank training

In 2019, El Peñón was selected by the World Bank as one of 4 indigenous Panamanian communities to open a community bank with support from Global Brigades. Global Brigades’ microfinance technicians trained an (all female!) executive board in how to run their community bank. Now community members can open savings accounts, capitalize the bank’s loan fund, and take out small loans. The ability to take out loans will spur economic growth in the community and increase members’ access to higher education, improved healthcare, and home improvement.

EL PEÑÓN’S BUSINESS SOLUTION

A member of El Peñón’s women artisan group

In addition to the Community Bank, Global Brigades supports micro-enterprises in the community by providing financial training and business consultations. Agro-businesses and artisan crafts are prominent forms of commerce within this community and adequate book-keeping and maintaining relationships with customers, as well as proper agriculture cultivation can lead to increased revenues for business owners and employees.

As members of the Community Bank these 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.

BUSINESS VOLUNTEERS IN THE COMMUNITY

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
Marquette University Business Brigade January 2020 9

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in El Peñón 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. 

N/A

Volunteers

N/A

Sanitation Units Installed

PUBLIC HEALTH VOLUNTEERS IN THE COMMUNITY

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