Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama

by Fundacion Calicanto
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Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Agents of Change alongside the French Ambassador
Agents of Change alongside the French Ambassador

To create greater awareness about the prevention of gender violence, Fundacion Calicanto in collaboration with the French Embassy in Panama carried out a training program for local women.

Within the framework of prevention and education on gender violence, Fundacion Calicanto graduated 15 women selected from the CAPTA Program (Training for Work) to be part of the project 'Agents of Change for the Prevention of Gender Violence', created to train and educate women to make social and behavioral changes on other women, men and adolescents in their communities.

As a result of the project, the 15 women selected received their official certifications last December on behalf of Fundacion Calicanto and the French Embassy in Panama, as they were able to impact more than 200 adolescents with the realization of awareness workshops on equity and equal rights, so that each one could acquire the tools and the necessary knowledge to improve their personal and professional development. In addition, the training of the adolescents included workshops on the application of equal rights and the prevention of gender violence.

The women selected are already part of the foundation's internal network, because they had initially complied with the CAPTA Program, that introduces them to psychosocial and personal entrepreneurship development components, which according to the president of the foundation: “The program allows women get and keep a formal job, since we cannot speak of empowered women if they are not able to acquire their own resources.

Regarding the leadership of the "Agents of Change", the president emphasized that they describe themselves as women who "know what their communities need" and have the knowledge and tools necessary to "impact the inhabitants in favor of a possible positive change.”

From the agents perspective

According to statistics from the Panamanian Observatory against Gender Violence, from 2014 to July 2021 there have been more than 130 thousand 760 complaints of domestic violence, 89 thousand 271 (68.27%) in the First Judicial District, formed by the provinces of Panama, Colón, Darién and the Guna Yala region. While in October 2021 there were 17 femicides, 12 attempted femicides and 16 violent deaths of women, according to an official report of the Attorney General's Office (PGN).

Knowing this aspect of the Panamanian reality resonated with Eldemira, an agent of change who graduated from the program and has a degree in social work, who pointed out the importance of maintaining and increasing the support for projects that seek "better training for women."

"I am motivated by the program because it is an open door to provide information to people, in order to stop the increase in violence, and to expand the message that people should not remain only victims, but transform themselves," she said.

On the other hand, the agent Ana pointed out that "it is not necessary to have suffered from violence to be able to help others who have," and emphasized the high receptivity of young people. "We were able to help many young people because they too are interested, they just need someone who is willing to explain and teach them about how to prevent violence in their contexts."

Ana, Genesis and Eldemira celebrate the program
Ana, Genesis and Eldemira celebrate the program
Margarita sharing her story
Margarita sharing her story
Agents celebrate the program's success
Agents celebrate the program's success

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Graduates of CAPTA 58
Graduates of CAPTA 58

Through the course of the year, our personal and professional/vocational training program has been focusing primarily on psychosocial empowerment and economic resilience. Where women in social vulnerability not only have the opportunity to acquire vocational skills, but can also strengthen their entrepreneurial skills to access a certain level of economic autonomy.

Our beneficiaries admit that, to them, entrepreneurship is no more than a fancy description for what many have been doing their whole life by subsisting and sustaining their families through various forms of informal economy. Nonetheless, throughout the evolution of the program adaptation, they have also come to understand that to better provide for themselves (through revived or first-time informal businesses) they must learn and make use of current, more competitive skills. 

The initial design of the program was focused entirely on empowering at-risk women to work in entry level positions. But as is the case globally, the pandemic has further exasperated economic and social inequalities and people already on the margins of society have been pushed even further still. To provide for their families, many women have revived or started informal businesses, selling food, baked goods, and other items in their communities for fast cash turnaround. Our organization became rapidly aware of this need and adapted the program to include digital entrepreneurship, business development and digital marketing.

By embracing e-learning, integrating the program to an online educational platform, and providing direct mobile data, 118 women have received access to emotional, social and technical skill-training to better advance their professional, academic plans and/or bolster their entrepreneurial ideas.

Through four different cohorts ranging from 29 to 33 women each, we supported and assessed their development through five competency categories and strengthen their technical skills while also focusing on supporting their independent projects:

  • Competency 1: Personal identity
  • Competency 2: Emotional skills (psychological and human)
  • Competency 3: Social skills
  • Competency 4: Job skills
  • Competency 5: Vocational and technical skills

Through this year’s adaptation, we not only verified that the program could have the same impact through a virtual format but we also had 30% more demand than the previous years. This could be directly related to the pandemic crisis but it sends us a clear signal about how vulnerable populations have been greatly affected by lockdowns and rapid digitalization. Combined with the additional pressures of providing care in the home which in most cases, has halted their personal and professional development.

Our 2022 looks towards strategically increasing our impact by leveraging from this rapid digitalization while continuing to closely assess our beneficiary’s trajectory to better understand our empowerment model. 

We now face a good problem to address which is being able to meet this increasing demand as more vulnerable women in Panama are drawn to our program to strengthen their abilities and seek economic resilience.

CAPTA online ceremony
CAPTA online ceremony
CAPTA graduates receiving their digital tablet
CAPTA graduates receiving their digital tablet
CAPTA graduate embracing her course completion
CAPTA graduate embracing her course completion
Women of CAPTA 59
Women of CAPTA 59
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Bridging the gap for CAPTA students
Bridging the gap for CAPTA students

Central America has been one of the hardest hit regions during the Covid-19 pandemic. The social and economic circumstances of the public health crisis have amplified the uncertainty for women in Panama where almost 300,000 employment contracts were suspended, of which 43% were for women, and the majority included women of color and minority groups (Mitradel, 2021).This adds to the general context of the LATAM region where it is estimated that close to 12 million women have lost their jobs (OIT, 2021).

During the pandemic crisis we documented that 90% (300 active alumni women) of our self-improvement program (CAPTA) had suffered an increase in their internal and external situations of social vulnerability.  These were causally linked to substantial job losses, halting of in-person education for their children and an increase in mental and physical violence; due to long lockdown periods compounded by unhealthy living conditions. Added that, the women we train are part of the informal economy, suffer mental and physical violence, have almost no formal education and sustain their homes as heads of family with an average of 2 to 5 children. Even though these women currently face great challenges such as the impossibility of reconciling employment and work at home and insufficient support for care activities, they are seeking ways to overcome these challenges and formalize their projects.

In order to address these underlying disparities compounded by the pandemic we seek to increment the access to non-formal education for vulnerable women of Panama. Through the initial virtual adaptation of the program we have been able to train over 142 women in 10 months, from which 80% have elevated or sustained their self-steem levels as 97% have been positively assessed in advancing the development of their entrepreneurial capabilities. In order to rebuild education and employment pathways for our beneficiaries, we aim to continue to strengthen our psycho-emotional and vocational program through a virtual training platform focused on integrating entrepreneurship and digital training. Our goal is to build a robust learning virtual platform centered on the beneficiaries to grant access to 300 at-risk women in the same amount of months.

The challenge Fundacion Calicanto currently faces is being able to meet the demand of the program which has increased by 30% since the end of 2020 as more women are drawn to the program and seeking to improve their abilities, economic resilience and, financial stability towards asset building.

CAPTA student during training
CAPTA student during training
CAPTA and its impact on future generations
CAPTA and its impact on future generations

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CAPTA students in action
CAPTA students in action

Despite the unprecedented journey of 2020, we virtually trained 84 new women which meant we impacted over 300 family members through CAPTA, which included raising awareness on issues of domestic violence, and training the women in psychological, emotional and entrepreneurial skills. But while we were educating new students, most of our former graduates were losing their jobs due to the crisis.

Through it all, they found basic and immediate relief assistance in us. This situation highlighted the long-term impact of our training program and the large percentage of women that felt comfortable reaching back to our team for support. We saw our alumni network revive last year.

They seeked relief but mostly, they wanted to understand how to support their own families and communities. 

We realized that our graduates were empowered to make bottom-up social changes in their communities. And, we were ready to help.

At the end of 2021 we launched our first micro project in collaboration with our alumni network: Agents of Change for Gender Violence Prevention.

This project selected 10 former graduates of the CAPTA Program to be trained as representatives of the organization. We trained them on topics of gender and violence prevention so that they could replicate this knowledge, exercising their role as leaders, and empowering them to promote bottom-up social changes in their communities.

By generating more spaces for connection between the alumni and their communities, we are promoting more space for personal growth and empowerment for these women.

Since 2005 we have helped over 1600 to educate themselves to transition out of poverty. Today, there are 350 active graduates seeking ways to give back to their communities because the program empowered them to do so. This year, our goal is to educate and train 150 new women, while continuing to support and strengthen our alumni network through specific programs and activities.

To the question: what’s next for the women after CAPTA?

We say: CAPTA is the first destination through which their personal empowerment journey begins.

Carla: CAPTA Alumni & Agent of Change
Carla: CAPTA Alumni & Agent of Change
Our CAPTA alumni reunited in 2020
Our CAPTA alumni reunited in 2020
Meybis sharing her CAPTA experience
Meybis sharing her CAPTA experience

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CAPTA is closer than ever!
CAPTA is closer than ever!

Resilience: Calicanto’s Secret Sauce

#genderequality #sustainablelivelihoods

Like to so many other organizations globally, 2020 represents a year of great challenges but also incredible opportunities for Calicanto. As a result of the COVID19 crisis, Panama established strict sanitary restrictions reducing social and physical mobility by 80%. Since this measure limited the continuation of the face-to-face execution methodology of the CAPTA Program (Training for Work), the foundation rapidly began working on alternatives to continue the implementation of the program. Meanwhile, the team worked directly on assisting 332 former graduates on issues that would help them cope with and counteract the effects of the health crisis.

By the end of August, the foundation had managed to pilot the new version of the CAPTA Program under the virtual modality. This adaptation has allowed the continuity of the program and the inclusion of more beneficiaries, approximately a 45% increase. Through CAPTA Relief and the support of the French Embassy we were also able to reconnect with the program's graduates to implement a new program called CAPTA Ambassadors, part of our follow-up program Conexiones.

According to the United Nations Development Program, Latin America will experience the most severe economic recession in decades due to COVID19. Most countries in the region are at risk of losing two decades of progress in the fight against poverty and inequality. The foundation seizes this unique opportunity of adapting the CAPTA Program through which it can continue to fight poverty and reduce the social gaps towards access and economic opportunity.

 

Our Program’s Evolution

Our 2020 Impact

 So far this year we have directly benefited 506 women through our programs through the support of international and local partners.Through the implementation this year of three CAPTAs, we will have 86 new CAPTA graduates. They will continue their personal and professional journey to be ambassadors of the program and agents of change in their communities.

What we know

 The public health crisis and social isolation have amplified the uncertainty, placing many women's livelihoods at risk. With the appearance of COVID19, we have observed the emergence of three variant at-risk population that:

  • Increased their vulnerability due to recent inequalities.
  • Relapsed due to risk factors within their environment.
  • Became vulnerable to the social and economic crisis.

What we have done

  • We have strategized on reducing the digital gap to reach and support more populations through CAPTA Virtual.
  • We continue to educate and empower women while expanding our impact to other regions of Panama.
  • We have reconnected with the CAPTA graduates to expand their sense of belonging and connection to the local economy.
  • Our weekly Espacio Positivo sessions on IG live are stronger than ever! This month specially, we have partnered with the French Embassy in Panama for a special project called Network of Ambassadors for the Prevention of Gender Violence. The project builds awareness towards the topic of women & violence. So far our 10 female ambassadors have reached and mentored 625 women across the country.

 

Our plans for 2021

Thanks to our partners and donors we have started to fundraise towards next year. For this #GivingTuesday we are seeking to continue to raise funds to be able to implement our 2021's strategy to continue to fight poverty and educate women in Panama through:

  • 5 Virtual CAPTA's
  • 1 CAPTA pilot program for men 
  • 1 CAPTA Ambassadors 
  • Strengthen our virtual platforms for the CAPTA & Conexiones Programs
Our first response was to help our beneficiaries
Our first response was to help our beneficiaries
We can all give a hand!
We can all give a hand!
We went where our support was needed the most.
We went where our support was needed the most.
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Organization Information

Fundacion Calicanto

Location: Panama City, Panama - Panama
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @fundcalicanto
Project Leader:
Gabriela Valencia
Panama, Panama
$114,821 raised of $150,000 goal
 
1,128 donations
$35,179 to go
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