Puerto Lara

Overview

Puerto Lara is located in the biodiverse region of Darienoff of the Panamerican highway and Global Brigades began working with community members in 2016. These individuals are members of the Wounaan ethnic group. Community members maintain much of their traditional lifestyle, speaking Wounaan as their main language, and living in traditional homes on stilts. 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 Puerto Lara are primarily dedicated to agriculture and the sale of artisanal crafts.

 

 

 

 

 

Corregimiento: Santa Fe
District: Chepigana

Homes : 68
Population : 529
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No, closest is in Santa Fe (20min by bus)
Community Health Workers : Yes
Homes with Latrines : 100%
Education in the Community : Up to 9th grade
Distance from Panama City : About 4 hours (220 km)

Medical

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

HEALTH CARE ACCESS:

The community of Puerto Lara 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 Santa Fe, the nearest town with a full health center where doctors and occasionally dentists are on staff.  The trip by bus can take 20 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. Medical Brigades began in 2016 in the community, but before then, many community members could visit Quebrada Honda when brigades hosted mobile clinics there.

The top illnesses as reported by community members in Puerto Lara are: Pneumonia, Common Cold, and Skin infections.

177

Volunteers

1322

Medical Patient Consultations

56

Adult Health Education Workshops (Approx.)

27

Children Education Workshops (Approx.)

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS:

Global Brigades Panama Medical Program is working diligently to train volunteers as Community Health Workers in its partner communities as part of the Holistic Model. Currently, Puerto Lara has 1 community health worker, Kenny Flaco. Kenny completed his training in 2017.

Some of Kenny’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
Penn State University / University of Pennsylvania May 2016 35 Pennsylvania State University January 2017 32
University of Central Florida Medical March 2019 30 Florida State University & University of Florida Medical August 2019 37

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.

490

Dental Patient Consultations

237

Fluoride Treatments

258

Extractions Performed

MEDICAL/DENTAL BRIGADES IN THE COMMUNITY:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Penn State University / University of Pennsylvania May 2016 35 Pennsylvania State University January 2017 32
University of Central Florida Medical March 2019 30 Florida State University & University of Florida Medical August 2019 37

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

PUERTO LARA’S ECONOMIC CHALLENGE

Community members in Puerto Lara 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.

93

Volunteers

206

Loans Administered

60

Saving Accounts Opened

19

Business Consultations

PUERTO LARA’S MICROFINANCE SOLUTION

Puerto Lara caja leaders

The Global Brigades Business and Microfinance Team trained a new Community Bank in 2015 in Puerto Lara.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.

PUERTO LARA’S BUSINESS SOLUTION

In addition to the Community Bank, Global Brigades supports established and start-up micro-enterprises. 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 will receive advice on their most concerning business challenges and can also receive assistance in developing sustainable agriculture practices.

 

 

BUSINESS VOLUNTEERS IN PUERTO LARA:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Texas A&M University January 2016 29 University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign March 2017 21
University of Southern California Business December 2018 23 Pennsylvania State University, University of Florida, &
West Virginia University Business
May 2019 20

Local Reference Points

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

  • Feature