Zapallal

Overview

Located in the district of Chepigana along the Pan American highway in the Darién province, Zapallal is a Latino community. Zapallal community members take part in various economic activities. As a farming community, residents typically plant rice and corn for their own consumption as well as to sell to intermediaries. Others also raise pigs and chickens to support themselves and their families. Microenterprises within the community include kiosks and small restaurants, or fondas, as well as individuals who sell food on the side of the road. Within Zapallal exists a strong sense of culture and traditional folkloric dances that are practiced throughout the community. While they possess many strong characteristics, members of the community have expressed that organization in the town is very weak, therefore making it difficult to achieve anything on a community-wide level. Working in collaboration with the GB Business and Microfinance team, members of Zapallal were able to establish their own Community Bank in January 2015 and Business Brigades brought its first volunteers in March 2016. 

Corregimiento: Santa Fe
District: Chepigana

Homes : 213
Population : 812
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No, closest is 5 minutes away in vehicle
Community Health Workers : Yes
Homes with Latrines : 90%
Education in the Community : Up to 9th grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 1.5 hours

Medical

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

HEALTH CARE ACCESS IN ZAPALLAL:

Zapallal does not have a Centro de Salud (health center). The closest center is located in Santa Fe, five minutes away driving. There are no doctors or other types of medical practitioners located within the town. People also visit Santa Fe for any dental needs. Medical rounds are made every year to year and a half by Global Brigades.

The most common illnesses found throughout the community are the cold, the flu, and high blood pressure. Around 90% of all homes have pit latrines. Almost all households have gas stoves and most homes have cement floors with wood walls and metal roofs. The community has no health committee.

275

Brigade Volunteers

3692

Medical Patient Consultations

18

Adult Health Education Workshops (Approx.)

18

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. Among the first class of ACeS workers is Damaris Montenegro of Zapallal.

Some of Damaris’ 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.

Damaris Montenegro is also a member of the Community Bank and will use his opportunity to speak with each community member to promote the benefits that come with being an active member.

MEDICAL BRIGADES IN THE COMMUNITY:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Wayne State University February 2012 25 Brooklyn Community College June 2012 29
Wayne State University School of Medicine February 2013 19 University of California: Los Angeles June 2013 47
CUNY Queens January 2014 21 Boston College May 2014 30
Brown University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute March 2015 34 Small Group Brigades July 2015 4
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs May 2016 41 Harvard University May 2016 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 Zapallal 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.

1524

Dental Patient Consultations

631

Fluoride Treatments

43

Fillings Performed

18

Dental Education Workshops

DENTAL BRIGADES IN THE COMMUNITY:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Wayne State University Medical School February 2012 25 Brooklyn College Community College June 2012 29
CUNY Queens January 2014 21 Boston College May 2014 30
Brown University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute March 2015 34 Small Group Brigades July 2015 4
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs May 2016 41 Harvard University May 2016 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 Zapallal can receive health support and resources consistently without the arrival of brigade volunteers in mobile clinics.

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

ZAPALLAL’S ECONOMIC CHALLENGE

Community members in Zapallal 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.

62

Brigade Volunteers

45

Loans Administered

$1,416.61

Capital Investment

14

Saving Accounts Opened

ZAPALLAL’S MICROFINANCE SOLUTION

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

ZAPALLAL’S BUSINESS SOLUTION

In addition to the Community Bbank, Global Brigades supports established and start-up micro-enterprises. In Zapallal, there are currently 8 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 ZAPALLAL

Business Name Client Name Type of Business

Andrea Campos pollos y helados

Andrea Campos

Food sales / Agriculture
Rosalba Tejada pollos

Rosalba Tejada

 Agriculture

Dadmaris Montenegro

 

Livestock

Navizel Gomez Kiosk
Johana Rios

 

Bakery

 

BUSINESS BRIGADES IN ZAPALLAL;

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Southern California December 2016 22 Texas A&M University May 2017 25

Local Reference Points

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

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