La Cantera

  • Overview
  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Business


La Cantera is located in biodiverse Panama and Global Brigades began working with community members in 2020. 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. People in La Cantera are primarily dedicated to agriculture and cattle raising. Through Global Brigades a Community Health Worker was trained to provide healthcare support and ongoing trainings for community members.

Province: Darien
District: Santa Fe

Homes : 600
Population : 1000
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No
Community Health Workers : Yes
Homes with Latrines : 67%
Education in the Community : Up to 6th grade


Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete


The community of La Cantera does not have a health post (puesto de salud) and community members walk to the nearest one located in the community of Santa Fe. The trip by bus can take 15 minutes, but visitors to the health center can expect long wait times given the limited staff and resources to meet the demand from all neighboring communities.


Brigade Volunteers


Medical Patient Consultations


Adult Health Education Workshops (Approx.)


Children Education Workshops (Approx.)


GB Panama’s Medical Dental team started the Agentes Comunitarios en Salud or ACeS program in 2016. “Agentes” from 10 communities in East Panama and Darien were Panama’s first community health workers. Currently, in La Cantera, 1 Community Health Worker is on track to complete all training and start visiting community members with health needs.

Some of CHW’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.


Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete


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 dentist within a reasonable distance.


Dental Patient Consultations


Fluoride Treatments


Fillings Performed


Dental Education Workshops


Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete


Community members in La Cantera 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.


The Global Brigades Business and Microfinance Team trained a new Community Bank in La Cantera in March of 2021.They also brought 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.

Local Reference Points

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

  • Feature