La Peñita

Overview

La Peñita is located along the scenic Panamerican highway in the Darien province of Panama. Global Brigades began working with community members in La Peñita in 2015. Before that, many community members would travel to the nearby community of Canglón for Global Brigade Medical Brigade clinics and visit the health post there. 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. La Peñita is made up of a population of Afro-Latinos and the most common form of income is through agriculture. Commonly grown products include ñame, a root vegetable, and rice which are produced for personal consumption and for sale outside of the community in larger markets.

Corregimiento: Metetí
District: Pinogana

Homes : 50
Population : 350
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Most houses
Health Center : No, Canglón
Community Health Workers : Yes
Homes with Latrines : N/A
Education in the Community : Up to 6th grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 1 hour

Medical

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

HEALTH CARE ACCESS:

The neighboring community of Canglón is the closest town that has a small health center, though there is a doctor or nurse there only some of the time. The closest corresponding health care facility is in Metetí, about 1 hour away. For dental access, they have to travel to Metetí as well. Visitors to the health center can expect long wait times given the limited staff and resources to meet the demand from all neighboring communities.

32

Brigade Volunteers

233

Medical Patient Consultations

4

Adult Health Education Workshops (Approx.)

4

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 10 communities in East Panama and Darien were Panama’s first community health workers. Now in the planning phase, training of an ACeS worker in La Peñita will start as soon as feasible.

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 BRIGADES IN THE COMMUNITY:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Texas Tech University May 2016 32 University of Arizona, Pace University, Yale University March 2017 29

*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 La Peñita 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 dentist within a reasonable distance.

56

Dental Patient Consultations

17

Fluoride Treatments

N/A

Fillings Performed

300

Dental Education Workshops (Approx.)

DENTAL BRIGADES IN THE COMMUNITY:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Texas Tech University May 2016 32 University of Arizona, Pace University, Yale University March 2017 29

*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 La Peñita can receive health support and resources consistently without the arrival of brigade volunteers in mobile clinics.

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

LA PEÑITA’S ECONOMIC CHALLENGE

Community members in La Peñita lack access to financial resources within the community. The majority of community members do not have bank accounts and there are 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 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.

22

Brigade Volunteers

14

Loans Administered

$1,605.53

Capital Investment

12

Saving Accounts Opened

LA PEÑITA’S MICROFINANCE SOLUTION

The Global Brigades Business and Microfinance Team trained a new community bank in 2016.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.

LA PEÑITA’S BUSINESS SOLUTION

In addition to the community bank, Global Brigades supports established and start-up micro-enterprises. In La Peñita there are currently four businesses that have received financial training and business recommendations. Agro-businesses 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 and can also receive assistance in developing sustainable agriculture practices.

 

 

BUSINESSES IN LA PEÑITA:

Business Name Client Name Type of Business

Kiosko Jessica

Ms. Eida Teucama

Storefront

Restaurante Bella

Ms. Bellanira

Restaurant

Werara Do Association

Mariela Lino, Jazmina deGaiza, Daicel DeGaiza, Berta Bugama, Norberta deGaiza, Erik Degaiza, Omar.

Farmer’s Association

Cristalina’s pollo venture

Cristalina Berrugate

Raising chickens

BUSINESS BRIGADES IN LA PEÑITA:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Maryland Baltimore County March 2017 15

 

Local Reference Points

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

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