Launching New Tool to Optimize COVID-19 Response in Panama’s Indigenous Communities

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Panama, like all countries worldwide, is facing the difficult situation presented by COVID-19, having already exceeded 170 deaths at the national level and more than 6,000 confirmed cases. Vulnerable areas such as those of indigenous peoples do not escape this reality.

The National Coordinator of Indigenous Peoples of Panama (Coordinadora Nacional de Pueblos Indígenas de Panamá, or COONAPIP), a partner of the Rainforest Foundation US in Panama, is executing a Territorial Security Project (PST) in conjunction with the various traditional congresses and councils to ensure a coordinated response addresses the challenges and needs of the indigenous peoples of the country in the face of COVID-19.

With the support of strategic allies from COONAPIP and technical support from the Rainforest Foundation US, technicians from COONAPIP are working in an orchestrated way to facilitate remote support and information related to COVID-19 cases in the different territories.

This web application seeks to make visible the efforts of many local, foreign, indigenous and non-indigenous allies, as well as local governments, etc., who are bringing food, cleaning supplies, and adequate information on the situation. It is anticipated that this tool can thus focus efforts in a more strategic and informed way for better decision-making. At the same time, the tool can facilitate coordination with high priority communities through the means of the traditional authorities or local humanitarian organization.

The map uses official sources generated by the Ministry of Security and Ministry of Health for information on access roads, sanitation blockades, indigenous territories with identified cases and potential threatened villages.

View the map here

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Didier Devers
Chief of Party – USAID Guatemala

Didier has been coordinating the USAID-funded B’atz project since joining Rainforest Foundation US in April 2022. He holds a Master’s in Applied Anthropology and a Bachelor’s in Geography. Before joining the organization, Didier worked for 12 years in Central and South America on issues of transparency, legality, governance, and managing stakeholders’ processes in the environmental sector. Prior to that he worked on similar issues in Central Africa. He speaks French, Spanish, and English, and is based in Guatemala.