Panama Project

CREER Panama Project

Hato Rincón is a mountain community, located in the Comarca (legal territory) of the Ngöbe-Buglé (pop 140,000), the original people of Western Panama. The 316 residents of Hato Rincón are primarily subsistence farmers and artisans. This region of Panama has been historically marginalized by the Panamanian Government and receives very few public services. The primary needs of our community include access to educational opportunities through computers and the internet, access to electricity, improved healthcare services, and better housing. EWB-DC has partnered with the people of Hato Rincon to address these community needs, in an initiate called CREER (Centro de Recursos Educativos en Rincon).

The mission of the CREER Project is to construct a building to house a computer lab and library to promote education, access to information and communication. Currently the district of Jädeberi has limited educational opportunities, and students graduating from local schools and starting high school outside of the area have often never used a computer. Nevertheless, they find themselves competing with students who have been using computers and the internet for years, and often their success at the high school level and their chances of continuing in university are negatively impacted. Moreover, for the community in general, access to crucial information including best practices in sustainable development from other regions, national and international current events, modern science, and international funding sources and opportunities are restricted to what is aired on the radio. Even in the process of requesting government support for local projects, documents often must be typed and printed, which requires a prohibitively expensive, time intensive trip to the nearest computer center (5 hour journey) and knowledge of computers. For this reason, the community has been working to realize our dream of a local computer center and library. Community members have already collected donations of books to put in the library.

This is the biggest community within Jädeberi and houses both primary and secondary schools. The community is very well organized, hard-working and motivated. Community members will support the project with local resources and knowledge including: labor, wood, sand, and tools for the construction of the civil structure, expertise in health, masonry, education, and the aid of local political figures. The residents of Hato Rincón have already organized themselves to implement several development projects, such as the construction of a water system, latrines, a community center and a fish pond.

The first phase of EWB-DC’s CREER Project will be to assess the needs of Hato Rincon, and gather information required to design and implement this education center. If you are interested in joining this project, please contact