Pueblo Nuevo

Overview

Pueblo Nuevo is a small indigenous community of 38 homes with a population of approximately 170. Located in the Darien Province in Eastern Panama, Pueblo Nuevo is a Wounaan community, one of the largest indigenous groups in Panama and Colombia. Pueblo Nuevo is a primarily agricultural community, relying on the production of rice, yucca, yams, and otoe, a local root vegetable. The women also work on the farms, make traditional crafts, or take care of the home. Working in collaboration with Business and Microfinance Brigades, Pueblo Nuevo was able to establish their own Community Bank in May 2014. There is a primary school in Pueblo Nuevo, but for secondary school, students must travel outside the community. The nearest health center is in the town of Santa Fe. The top needs expressed by community members when GB began their partnership with Pueblo Nuevo were: internet access, improvements to the aqueduct, and latrines.

Corregimiento: Santa Fe
District: Chepigana

Homes : 38
Population : 170
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No
Community Health Workers : Yes
Homes with Latrines : 79%
Education in the Community : Up to 9th grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 30 minutes

Medical

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

HEALTH CARE ACCESS:

Even though Panama is a country with a lot of economic growth, this growth does not apply equally to all Panamanians, especially those in rural areas. This results in stark inequality when it comes to healthcare access. The Panamanian Ministry of Health (MINSA) provides two different types of health facilities throughout rural Panama: Centros de Salud and Puestos de Salud. Centros are the larger of the two, often found in municipalities, and typically have at least one physician on staff at all times with nurses and potentially a dentist. Puestos are found sporadically in rural communities and generally have a single nurse available. 

Even with this coverage, the Centros frequently lack a full pharmacy and the staff capacity to see every patient each day. After walking long distances or paying for a bus, rural visitors to the Centros can expect long wait times given the limited staff and resources to meet the demand from all neighboring communities. The physician density in Panama remains around 630 people for every one doctor. According to the World Health Organization, there should be a maximum of 435 people per physician to qualify a country as having adequate access to medical attention.

The closest Centro de Salud to Pueblo Nuevo is 20 minutes away by bus in the town of Santa Fe. Some of the most common illnesses are diarrhea, fever, and high blood pressure.

153

Volunteers

859

Patient Consultations

N/A

Vision Screenings

25

Health Education Workshops (Approx.)

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS:

A group of CHWs from East Panama, trained in 2017

Pueblo Nuevo has 2 Community Health Worker that were trained by Global Brigades. Community Health Workers, or Agentes Comunitarios en Salud (ACeS), work on a volunteer basis as advocates for healthcare within their communities. Their primary responsibilities include: educating community members to prevent common illnesses, providing emergency first aid, supporting pregnant mothers and newborns, and following up with chronic patients. The presence of these volunteers and their advocacy for health within their community contributes to the sustainability of healthcare supported by Global Brigades’ Medical Program and is one of the most impactful disease prevention strategies in rural communities.

Brigaders giving a charla in Pueblo Nuevo’s school cafeteria

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Pueblo Nuevo’s school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Each day of the brigade, an average of 8 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 224

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN PUEBLO NUEVO:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Colorado State University / University of Colorado Colorado Springs Medical May 2016  39 Harvard University Medical January 2017 25
Foothill College Medical August 2017 26 University of Denver Medical March 2019 17
University of Miami Medical December 2019 11

 

Dental

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

DENTAL CARE ACCESS

A dental charla at a clinic in Ipeti Emberá, Panama

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.

482

Dental Patient Consultations

180

Extractions

223

Fluoride Treatments

N/A

Fillings

Brigaders giving a charla in Pueblo Nuevo’s school cafeteria

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Pueblo Nuevo’s school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Each day of the brigade, an average of 8 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 224

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN PUEBLO NUEVO:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Colorado State University / University of Colorado Colorado Springs Medical May 2016  39 Harvard University Medical January 2017 25
Foothill College Medical August 2017 26 University of Denver Medical March 2019 17
University of Miami Medical December 2019 11

 

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

PUEBLO NUEVO’S WATER CHALLENGE

Pueblo Nuevo shares a gravity water system with the neighboring community of Arimae. The source of the water is a stream located 2 hours walk up from the community. The system was constructed in 1985, so many of the pipes are starting to deteriorate. Over time, sections of the conduction line coming from the source have become broken and produce leaks. The water catchment and storage tank are in need of repairs. Also, there is no in-line chlorinator, so the water must be purified at a household level before it is potable. This leaves a high potential for community members to be affected by water-borne diseases.

In the dry season, the water must be rationed so the water committee opens the system only 2 days a week. On these days, families fill barrels or buckets with water which they store and use until the next time that water arrives. Finally, there are no water meters installed, so every household pays the same monthly water tariff regardless of the amount of water they used.

31

Volunteers

170

Project Beneficiaries

1

Kilometers of Pipeline Installed

6,600

Storage Tank Volume (gallons)

PUEBLO NUEVO’S WATER SOLUTION

Brigaders help install pipelines in Pueblo Nuevo, 2016

In January 2016, a Medical Brigade worked with the community of Pueblo Nuevo to begin repairing their water system. They helped install new pipes to expand the distribution network.

In July 2019, the GB Water team returned to conduct an engineering assessment of the water system. It was determined that the best fit for Pueblo Nuevo would be: repair the water catchment and storage tank, install an in-line chlorinator, and install household connections with water meters.  Upon completion, the repaired system will benefit 52 households, consisting of approximately 170 individuals. As soon as possible, Global Brigades will begin working with Pueblo Nuevo again to implement these repairs.

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. 

WATER VOLUNTEERS IN PUEBLO NUEVO:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
East Carolina University Medical Jan 2016 31

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

PUEBLO NUEVO’S ECONOMIC CHALLENGE

Community members in Pueblo Nuevo 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. Before Global Brigades, none of the community members reported ever having taken out a loan previously. 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.

204

Volunteers

314

Loans Disbursed

34

Saving Accounts Opened

$13,019

Capital Invested

Members of the Pueblo Nuevo community bank at the grand opening of their office

PUEBLO NUEVO’S MICROFINANCE SOLUTION:

The Global Brigades Business and Microfinance Team trained a new Community Bank in 2014.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 February 2018, during the community bank summit, Pueblo Nuevo has won two awards: Community bank of the year and Community bank with the largest net worth ($35,711.53 USD ) In May 2018, two of the founding members of the community bank were among the first ones to receive Kiva loans through Global Brigades, which they paid back punctually.

A farmer from Pueblo Nuevo shows off her plantains to the 2019 Houston Business Brigade

PUEBLO NUEVO’S BUSINESS SOLUTION

An artisan from Pueblo Nuevo participates in a consultation with a business brigader

In addition to the Community Bank, Global Brigades supports established and start-up micro-enterprises. In Pueblo Nuevo, there are roughly a dozen 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.

BUSINESS VOLUNTEERS IN PUEBLO NUEVO:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
UNC Chapel Hill March 2014 15 Texas A&M University August 2014 15
University of Southern California January 2015  25 University of Ilinois at Urbana-Champaign March 2015 24
UT Austin May 2015 19 University of Missouri January 2016 19
University of Southern California December 2016 22 London School of Economics, University of Waterloo, & Northwestern University August 2018 24
University of Houston May 2019 22 University of Southern California January 2020 23
Open Enrollment Business Telebrigade August 2020 6

 

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

PUEBLO NUEVO’S PUBLIC HEALTH CHALLENGE

As an indigenous community, many families maintain the traditional style of home built on stilts with roofs made from dried palm fronds while newer homes may be constructed out of concrete. About 38% of the community reported concrete floors while the majority have dirt or wood planks. About 80% of homes in the community have pit latrines. The community overall has suffered from problems with their aqueduct system that supplies water to each family and the school. In 2008 a latrine project was started through Peace Corps and the Panamanian government to build more latrines for the families that did not have them.

287

Volunteers

15

Sanitation Units Installed

1

Hours of Public Health Education

60

Number of Beneficiaries (approx.)

PUEBLO NUEVO’S PUBLIC HEALTH SOLUTION

Between March 2016 and March 2017 Medical Brigaders in conjunction with Global Brigades technicians and a Peace Corp. consultant launched and completed a composting latrine project in the community. This new latrine structure is equipped with an attached shower and a bathroom with two chambers for waste. Solid waste combined with a scoop of sawdust after each use allows the latrine to become a source of compost. When solid waste and sawdust completely fill the first chamber it is sealed off and the toilet is moved to the second chamber. After 6 months of composting, the first chamber is re-opened and is ready to be used as a compost for gardens while the second chamber is used for the bathroom. Once the second chamber is filled to capacity the cycle starts over.

PUBLIC HEALTH VOLUNTEERS IN PUEBLO NUEVO:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Virginia Medical March 2016 41 University of Colorado Colorado Springs Medical May 2016 39
Harvard University Medical January 2017 27 Stetson University Medical March 2017 24
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Medical March 2017 23 Pace University, University of Arizona, & Yale University Medical March 2017 29
Santa Clara University Medical March 2017 36

Local Reference Points

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

  • Feature