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Learn More: Panama


THE REPUBLIC OF PANAMA is a country challenged with soil erosion and siltation of the Panama Canal, environmental problems due to mining, and a mounting disparity of wealth. Vast expanses of tropical forest and mangroves are being exploited for short-term material gain, threatening the thousands of plant and animal species native to the country, and those families whose livelihoods depend on the ecosystem.

SHI-Panama started its work in the municipality of Anton in Coclé Province and the Lake Alajuela region in central Panama in 1998. Since then, SHI-Panama continues to grow and has expanded its work in and around the municipalities of La Pintada and Penonomé, Coclé, also in Central Panama.

The program has remained focused on providing alternatives to slash-and-burn agriculture. Justa wood-conserving stoves, for example, are a simple, cheap alternative to open cooking fires used in many families’ homes. Justa stoves can burn wood 70 percent more efficiently than traditional stoves, reducing the impact on families’ finances and on local forests. Unlike traditional stoves, Justa stoves do not allow the build-up of toxic gases in kitchens and living areas. Participant families are able to improve their quality of life and empower themselves while learning the value of preserving a vibrant, diverse ecosystem.


"I just returned from a 10-day trip to Honduras with Sustainable Harvest International. That small organization with a relatively small staff ... is doing a fantastic job helping the rural areas of Honduras diversify crops and re-forest the denuded mountains of the country. [They] demonstrated a dedication and grasp of both the problems and possible solutions that I found worthy of Nobel prize recognition. The leadership of our Smaller World Tour by an employee of SHI was first-rate. We worked, we learned, we contributed. If there is truly a way to help the impoverished developing world, SHI holds the key."

~ Margaret, Smaller World participant & SHI Supporter