Pueblo Nuevo


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.

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


Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete


The community of Pueblo Nuevo currently does not have a health center. When a community member needs to see a doctor or dentist, they must travel the to Santa Fe, 20 minutes away, the nearest town with a full health center where doctors and occasionally dentists are on staff. Visitors to the health center can expect long wait times given the limited staff and resources to meet the demand from all neighboring communities. Some of the most common illnesses are diarrhea, fever, and high blood pressure.



Brigade Volunteers


Medical Patient Consultations


Adult Health Education Workshops (Approx.)


Children Education Workshops (Approx.)


Currently, the GB Panama Team has 1 community health worker, Yaneth. She is currently in training and the next part in her training process is the use of the application Medic Mobile which is a software that makes it easier to track common health challenges in the community. So far, she has been trained in Community First Aid, Vitals, and Dental Health.


Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Colorado Springs / Colorado State University May 2016  39 Harvard University January 2017 25
Foothill College August 2017 26 Elon University July 2018 31



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 Patients


Number of Extractions


Number of Fluoride Treatments


Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Colorado Springs / Colorado State University July 2016 39 Harvard University January 2017 25

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


Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete


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.


Brigade Volunteers


Loans Active

$16,658 USD

Amount of Loans


Loans Administered

$9,888.66 USD

Current loan portfolio


Saving Accounts Opened

$16,000 USD

Amount in savings

$3,000 USD

Amount in Kiva Loans


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.

Pueblo Nuevo has had a lot of recent updates involving the Business program.

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, 2 of the founding members of the community bank have been one of the first ones to receive Kiva loans and are currently paying back punctually.



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 Name Client Name Type of Business

Lisbeth Coronado



Livestock/ Agriculture
Liz Batista Popsicle sale

Cría de Pollo (Lucrecia)

 Lucrecia Jimenez

Chicken Raising
Gold Boots Merchants  Lisbeth Retail
Clothes Store  Zoraida Perez Retail
Fonda Chachita  Eleida Nieto Restaurant

Kiosko 1

Marlenis Ester Cruz


Mi Tienda

 Balbina Martinez

 Agriculture / Storefront



Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
UNC Chapel Hill March 2014 15 Texas A&M 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


Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete


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.


Brigade Volunteers


Latrines Constructed


Hours of Volunteer Construction


Approximate Number of Beneficiaries


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.

Local Reference Points

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

  • Feature