Empowered Community

Congratulations Piriati Embera!

571

Brigade Volunteers

3535

Medical Patient Consultations

826

Dental Patient Consultations

$20,514.40

Total Capital in Community Bank

174

Loans Administered

5

Legal Cases Closed

41

Legal Consultations

20

Trained Committee Members

Piriati Embera

  • Overview
  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Business
  • Human Rights

Overview

 

October 2016

Piriati Embera is located in the biodiverse province of East Panama, and celebrated its transition with Global Brigades in December of 2016. 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 Piriati Embera are primarily dedicated to agriculture and the sale of artisanal crafts. There are a number of local businesses within the community such as storefronts selling household goods and foods as well as a group of artisans that produce traditional Embera jewelry for sale. Through Global Brigades an environmental committee was established to cultivate a model farm and a Community Health Worker was trained to provide healthcare support and trainings for community members.

Corregimiento: Torti
District: Chepo

Homes : 87
Population : 497
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : Yes, Puesto de Salud (Health Post)
Community Health Workers : Yes
% of Homes with Latrines : 80
Education in the Community : Up to 8th grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 30 minutes

CELEBRATING PIRIATI EMBERA’S FIVE – YEAR MILESTONE

On January 8th, 2017, Global Brigades and Piriati Embera celebrated all the hard work that has gone into the last five years and what community members have to look forward to as these programs perpetuate. The event was the conclusion of a series of three open meetings to reflect on all of the different projects have taken shape within the community and to provide information to the community as a whole about getting involved and supporting continued operations such as the Community Health Workers or joining the Community Bank. The event was attended by community committee leaders such as the Community Bank executive board, regional Embera government officials, and Global Brigades staff that have participated in the five-year process. Additionally, Columbia University Medical Brigades and Miami University of Ohio Business Brigades shared words with the community about what it meant to be welcomed into their community and participate in local projects.

This day marked the end of regular brigades of volunteers to the community, but work has not stopped. Since this celebration, Piriati Embera’s Community Bank finished construction of a new office building for its committee and members to meet and hold operations.

First Community Meeting, October 13th, 2016

Presentations included stories from Community Bank leaders from when the bank was first created.

 

 

 

 

 

Transition Plan Presentations, November 2016

Program Leads such as Jessica Nuñez of the Medical Program, hold situational presentations to depict ways to get involved with programs such as seeing Piriati Embera’s Community Health Worker.

 

 

 

Final Celebration, January 8th 2017

Young students from the community prepare for a traditional Embera dance as part of the celebration.

Medical

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

HEALTHCARE ACCESS IN PIRIATI EMBERA:

The community of Piriati Embera currently has a health post (puesto de salud) attended by a nurse. When there is only a nurse available and a community member needs to see a doctor or dentist, they must travel the to Torti, the nearest town with a full health center where doctors and occasionally dentists are on staff.  The trip by bus can take 25 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.

249

Brigade Volunteers

3870

Patient Consultations

37+

Adult Health Education Workshops

37+

Child Health Education Workshops

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. Among these first ACeS workers is Militza Cunampio (pictured far right) who is on track to complete all trainings and start visiting community members with health needs.

Some of Militza’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 BRIGADES IN THE COMMUNITY:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Chicago – Loyola August 2012 22 Southern Illinois University School of Medicine April 2013 21
Northwestern University September 2013 17 University of Victoria February 2014 32
Drexel University June 2014 36 University of San Diego and Smith College January 2015 25
Regis University August 2015 25 Carnegie Mellon University August 2016 26
Columbia University January 2017 24  Northwestern University/ Waterloo University  August 2017  23

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.

924

Dental Patients Attended

281

Fluoride Treatments

22

Fillings Performed

37+

Dental Education Workshops

BRIGADE INFORMATION:

With the cooperation of the Education Ministry and the local school director, Medical and Dental Brigades host clinics in the community school. The school consists of six classrooms and a comedor (cafeteria-type room) so we have the ability to set up each clinic station in its own classroom. Volunteers will see an average of 80-100 patients per day. Additionally, patients in Piriati Embera come from neighboring communities such as Piriati Arriba; some may travel up to several hours by horseback or foot to seek treatment.

 

DENTAL BRIGADES IN THE COMMUNITY:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
 Southern Illinois University April 2013  21  Northwestern University  September 2013  17
University of Victoria February 2014 32 Drexel University June 2014 36
University of San Diego and Smith College January 2015 25 Regis University August 2015 25
Carnegie Mellon University August 2016 26 Columbia University January 2017 24

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

PIRIATI EMBERA’S ECONOMIC CHALLENGE

Community members in Piriati Embera do not have access to financial resources within the community. In order to gain access, members must travel to Tortí, a 30-minute bus ride, however not all community members can become members of the savings and loan cooperative. Cooperatives require monthly membership fees, and coupled with the cost of travel and the lack of land titles as an indigenous community, less than 5% of community members are part of the cooperative, and 100% of the community has never accessed a loan from Tortí. Larger financial institutions, which are inaccessible due to distance and cost, do not approve loans to community members without a fixed income, making it very difficult for local microenterprises to grow and thrive.

318

Brigade Volunteers

174

Loans Administered

$20,514.40

Capital Investment

35

Saving Accounts Opened

PIRIATI EMBERA’S MICROFINANCE SOLUTION

The Global Brigades Business and Microfinance Team trained a new Community Bank in 2013. 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.

In 2017 Piriati Embera’s Community Bank finished construction of its own office to continue operations and have a safe place to store records.

The finished artwork for the Community Bank office with its artist, Elio Cunampio, a member of Piriati Embera and a field technician for Global Brigades

 

 

PIRIATI EMBERA’S BUSINESS SOLUTION

In addition to the community bank, Global Brigades supports established and start-up micro-enterprises. There are currently 10 businesses that have received financial training and business recommendations through Global Brigades including agriculturalists. 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 PIRIATI EMBERA

Business Name Client Name Type of Business

Malala

Malala Cunampio

Sale of perumas

Elmer’s Pig Farm

Alicia y Eurelis Ismith

Pig raising

Mi Bendicion

Guillermo Chango, Norris Ortega Storefront

Abarroteria Luis

Evelin Chaqui

Storefront
Poapono Model Farm Environmental Committee Agriculture

Mi Tienda

Yulizta Ortega

Storefront

Rosalina Garabato

Rosalina Garabato

Agriculture

Guillermo Ramirez

Guillermo Ramirez

Agriculture

BUSINESS BRIGADES IN THE COMMUNITY:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Miami University of Ohio December 2011 23 Loyola University Duke University December 2012 15
Boston University December 2012 20 Penn State March 2012 20
University of Southern California /Emory University March 2012 44 Marquette University March 2012 19
UCLA / UC San Diego March 2012 23 Miami University May 2012 20
Calvin College May 2012 13 UIUC March 2013 40
Texas A&M May 2013 22 UC Davis / UC Riverside June 2013 6
University of Southern California January 2014 23 Carnegie Melon March 2014 14
Calvin College May 2012 13 UIUC March 2013 40
Vanderbilt University February 2014 15 Rutgers University March 2015 12
Boston University May 2015 22 Yale University March 2016 19
Boston University May 2016 13

Human Rights

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

PIRIATI EMBERA’S HUMAN RIGHTS  CHALLENGE

Legal services are difficult to access in rural East Panama for two primary
reasons: location and cost. Most often, there are no legal services set up
within rural communities and are instead concentrated in urban areas.
Therefore, rural Panamanians must travel multiple hours to access these
services. Not only does traveling to these urban areas cost money, but the
legal services themselves are frequently too expensive.

In addition, there is an attitude of mistrust amongst the rural clients.
Historically, there have occurred many cases in which lawyers have come to
rural communities, the community members have paid for the legal services,
but the lawyers have returned to the city without resolving the cases.
Therefore, it is a challenge to gain trust of the community members when it
comes to dealing with their personal human rights issues, and to prove not
all lawyers will take advantage of them.

27

Brigade Volunteers

41

Legal Consulations

8

Hours of Educational Workshops

5

Cases Closed

Civic Engagement and Empowerment

By focusing on specific aspects of legal access and inclusion, Global Brigades’ Human Rights Program aims to empower communities like Piriati Embera to overcome the obstacles mentioned above. In 2014, Brigaders were able to tackle family law cases, execute pro-bono legal clinics, and perform educational workshops.

 

Family Law: The most common legal issues within the community include issues of alimony and childcare, land issues, domestic violence, and some violent crimes. Without a lawyer in the community, many legal issues go unresolved or unattended for many years, and seemingly simply legal troubles can go unanswered. Volunteers, in conjunction with Panamanian lawyers, have been able to resolve {5 family law case to date.}

 

Legal Clinics: Global Brigade’s Human Rights Program has been able to offer their pro-bono legal services to community members in Piriati Embera with the help of Panamanian lawyers as they are shadowed by volunteers. Both community members and volunteers work together to challenge the stigma of lawyers in the region by offering real, professional services for free.

 

Educational Workshops: {Volunteers have performed numerous workshops in the middle and high school of Zapallal}. Capitalizing on the use of education as a tool for community empowerment, volunteers lead discussions and workshops with students and families about issues that have direct consequences and effects in their everyday lives, including: the right to education, child abuse, drug use, and child labor laws.

HUMAN RIGHTS BRIGADES IN THE COMMUNITY:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Dublin City University March 2014 8 DePaul / UCI / UCLA June 2014 19

Local Reference Points

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

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