Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama

by Fundacion Calicanto Vetted since 2011 Top Ranked Effective Nonprofit Staff Favorite Site Visit Verified


CAPTA is a personal and professional/vocational training program for women who live in marginalized communities with high levels of poverty. The training includes a strong psychological development component that empowers women by lifting self-esteem and confidence levels. The process is followed by a professional training that provides a certificate for employment in the hotel industry; achieving not only professional but personal satisfaction.

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For poor women in Panama City, there are many obstacles to overcoming the cycle of poverty, but maybe none so fundamental and inadequately addressed as lack of motivation and self-esteem. Residents of the inner city slums are marginalized and have low expectations regarding their own social mobility. In these areas nearly 50% of all households are headed by women, who have an average of 4 children by the age of 25. Achieving economic self-sufficiency is critical to their families' futures.


CAPTA has graduated nearly 1300 women, about 74% have obtained permanent employment. The key to the program is an intense five-week "Foundation Cycle" with two goals: to give the women a base of life skills and to foster the belief that they can take control of their lives and create a better future for their families. Following the Foundation Cycle, the women move on to a technical training at one of the best hotel schools in the country.

Long-Term Impact

The women who complete the program are highly sought after by the hotel industry, not only because by hiring these women they can support efforts to bring women out of poverty but also because they receive women already trained and equipped with a set of skills that improves performance and stability. Most CAPTA graduates are heads of family and the opportunity to find permanent employment allows them to provide for their children and become leaders in their communities.

Additional Documentation

This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).


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FT Urban Ingenuity Award Mentions Calicanto

Organization Information

Fundacion Calicanto

Location: Panama City, Panama - Panama
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Hildegard Vasquez
Panama, Panama

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