This project is focused on supporting environmental education in schools, promoting environmental conservation practices at the community level, as well as life skills, gender and youth empowerment for community members.
Volunteers will be seen as role models to youth and adults alike. They will work in schools with teachers and students on specific environmental themes based on their educational background and experience as well as addressing the needs identified by community members.
Projects are located in areas of the country with high environmental priority such as protected areas and buffer zones, as well as important river watersheds, including the Panama Canal watershed.
Volunteers will work at the community level creating or strengthening groups (youth and adults) with a focus on their environmental needs.
Through their work with youth groups, Volunteers will develop opportunities to train and / or mentor students and youth in leadership and life skills, promote a positive environmental stewardship and encourage a civic participation as well as the importance of accomplishing personal goals.
Additionally, Volunteers will actively work to create after-school programs and support youth in various activities.
Through their work with adult groups, Volunteers will develop environmental activities such as organic gardening, nursery / reforestation, waste management and promoting eco-
stoves use. They will also work with government agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations to develop sustainable living strategies and techniques that allow community members to live in their communities while conserving their sensitive ecosystems and natural resources.
Competitive candidates will have an expressed interest in promoting environmental awareness in schools and communities, and one or more of the following criteria :
Competitive candidates will demonstrate the following skills :
Required Language Skills
Candidates must meet one or more of the language requirements below in order to be considered for this position.
A. Completed 4 years of high school Spanish coursework within the past 8 years
B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college level coursework within the past 6 years
C. Native / fluent speaker of Spanish
Candidates who do not meet the language proficiency levels above can take the language placement exams to demonstrate their level of proficiency.
Competitive applicants typically attain a score of 50 on the Spanish College Level Examination Program CLEP exam or a score of Novice High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL OPI).
Additional Language Information
Volunteers need to demonstrate an Intermediate-mid level of oral and written proficiency in Spanish for community placement by the end of Pre-Service Training.
Volunteers will live in a Spanish-speaking community (small town to large town / 100-4000 members). Volunteers will be placed in rural or semi-
urban settings. They may live in a common Panamanian style home made of concrete block and cement floors or in a wood structure with dirt floors, depending on the level of development of the community.
Most communities have regular to semi-regular electricity and potable water, but in some, services such as potable water and sanitation may be very basic.
Some communities will not have electricity but solar panels can be purchased in Panama or a community member / the local store may offer charging at a price.
Volunteers are required to live with host-families during the first three to four months of service. After this period of time, Volunteers may opt to live on their own in pre-
approved local housing that meets Peace Corps / Panama’s housing criteria.
Food and Diet :
The Panamanian diet varies according to the region and the ethnic makeup of the population. Most often the diet consists of rice, beans, plantains, yucca (cassava), and corn.
Rice and beans (kidney beans, lentils, and black-eyed peas) is the staple dish. Corn is served in many guises but is usually ground, boiled, or fried.
Sancocho is a traditional dish (somewhere between a soup and a stew) prepared with a variety of vegetables and chicken. Most rural areas have an array of fruits available, including mangoes, papayas, pineapples, avocados, oranges, and guanabanas (soursops).
The availability of garden vegetables, such as tomatoes, sweet peppers, and cucumbers, varies according to the region and the season.
The most common meats are chicken and beef, which are often deep-fried or stewed. Fish is available sporadically in coastal regions and riverside communities.
Larger towns and cities have at least one restaurant that will be familiar, such as McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway, or Dairy Queen.
Some Volunteers are vegetarians, but few Panamanians follow these diets. Many volunteers start a garden in their communities, and sometimes buy food in Panama City or a provincial capital.
Most have supermarkets where you can buy a wide variety of foods and imported goods.
Computer and Internet Access :
Internet access in Panama is spreading. All provincial capitals and other large towns have internet cafes. Connection speeds tend to be slow, but the service is reasonably priced and otherwise reliable.
Internet access for Volunteers is available at the Peace Corps / Panama office. Almost all volunteers have a computer or tablet.
Should you choose to bring electronics, it is your responsibility to maintain and insure it.
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Panama : Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety including crime statistics PDF in order to make a well-
informed decision about serving.
Medical Considerations in Panama
Before you apply, please also review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the clearance process and other health conditions that are difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps service.