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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 volunteered with SHI in Honduras many years ago. It was an amazingly inspiring trip, not just because we were able to work side by side with the families we were there to support, but I was able to see firsthand exactly how SHI operates and why its techniques and approach are so successful. SHI is a charity well worth supporting because its mission isn't charity at all -- it's empowerment."

~ Amanda, SHI Supporter