• 203 Community Partners
  • Working with over 115,000 Community Members
  • 13.66% of rural population without access to basic or safely managed drinking water
  • 34.70% of rural population without access to basic or safely managed sanitation facilities
  • The average daily wage of Indigenous People living in comarcas is $3

Our Work In Panama

Programs Currently Implemented



Invested in Community Owned Banks & Businesses


People with Access to Clean Water


Families Benefited with Public Health Projects


Community Health Workers Trained & Equipped


Legal Cases Resolved

Highlighted Projects

Economic Empowerment of Indigenous Women

We were requested by the World Bank to execute an integral financial inclusion pilot program to bring economic opportunities to women’s groups of 6 indigenous communities of 3 territories, that could be replicated and scaled by public programs of the Panamanian Government. The objectives of this pilot are to (1) Develop a positive ecosystem for women empowerment (2) Promote financial inclusion through implementing community banks and (3) Provide technical support to small businesses.

Community Banks Performance

GB Panama’s 20 Community Banks have demonstrated a remarkable financial inclusion impact in partner communities while achieving impressive performance standards. As of December 2018 a total of 2,167 loans, worth USD $646,141.50, have been granted since the beginning of the program while maintaining delinquency rates under 1% due to the methodology implemented. The total in savings accounts in the Community Banks has reached $66,000 with an average of $130 per account, coming to great lengths in comparison with 2014 when none of the women had savings. The average loan amount of the Community Banks is $325 demonstrating the dedication to support the poor to access financial services. The capital contributed by community members represents 30% of the net worth of the Community Banks while our contribution is 48% with 22% representing capital gain. It is very encouraging to see that an average of $125 has been invested per member in the Community Banks.

Partnership with Kiva

In 2018, to increase access to loan capital for community-owned banks, we were accepted as an official Kiva. Kiva loans specifically provide capital to indigenous communities and vulnerable women in rural areas. These loans are used to invest in small businesses to increase productivity and revenue. All the interest remains in the community bank as a capital gain. Since April 2018, a total of $34,400 was lent in the form of 26 loans. About 75% of the loans have been repaid with 0% default vs the 1.58% Kiva average. The average time to fund our loans on Kiva was 0.3 days vs the 7-day Kiva average. 96.3% of these loans were borrowed by women. For more information, please see https://www.kiva.org/about/where-kiva-works/partners/461.

Community Health Workers or ACeS

Global Brigades Panama, in its commitment to developing sustainable and consistent healthcare access, has been training community health workers (CHW) in preventative health and promoting healthy habits. We currently have 66 CHWs trained in 19 communities and equipped with basic first aid supplies. GB Panama’s medical follow-up team serves community members in the field, with attention to populations of children under 5 years of age, pregnant women, and chronic patients in rural communities.


Volunteer safety will always be our absolute top priority. We recently engaged Askari International Security, an industry leader in international risk assessment, to complete a comprehensive risk/safety assessment of all brigade operations. A full explanation of safety precautions and procedures can be found on our “Safety & Insurance” page.

A Quote from Askari International Security

“I was asked to review Global Brigades safety and security procedures for their operations in Central America. I always use a “litmus test” by assessing whether I’d be happy to send my own daughters (late teens early 20’s) on one of their events. The answer was a resounding yes. I hope I was able to help them improve their processes and procedures, but what was already in place was good, but better still was the culture of safety and security. All the staff were concerned with safety and security and keen to improve. Nothing can ever be 100% secure or safe, but with Global Brigades I can genuinely say they care and take things very seriously.”
– Bryan Hemmings, Managing Director, Askari International Security

Volunteer Safety Highlights in Panama

  • We are an active member of OSAC (the Overseas Security Advisory Committee) and receives up-to-date security and safety briefings from the U.S. State Department;
  • Established relationship with Senafront to provide security escorts to those groups working in the Darien region;
  • Full-time local Global Brigades medical personnel on-call at all times;
  • Adherence to the IVPA standards of international volunteering.