The Peace Corps has a long history in Panama. The first Volunteers began work in 1963 and continued serving in Panama until May 1971. In February 1990, the Panamanian government asked the Peace Corps to return, and the program has continued without interruption ever since.
Panama came to a critical juncture in its history when the Panama Canal transferred to Panamanian authority and control in 1999. Though the country has enjoyed a robust economy during the past few years due to development and an economic boom in Panama City, the gains are not widely shared by Panama's interior, where 65 percent of the population continues to live in poverty. In these rural areas, Volunteers work with communities and partner agencies to meet the challenges of poverty. By helping communities and local agencies gain access to resources, Volunteers facilitate a more efficient coordination and impact that can last well after the Volunteers have left.
Peace Corps/Panama’s vision is to be recognized as a development leader and partner of choice that is committed to eradicating poverty, promoting social justice, and fostering cross-cultural understanding. The central goal of Peace Corps/Panama is to promote sustainable community development, in partnership with Panamanian agencies and NGOs, in Panama’s poorest and most marginalized regions.
Peace Corps Volunteers in Panama work in partnership with their communities to promote sustainable solutions in the areas of English Education, Environment, Agriculture, and Water and Sanitation, promoting the dignity of people and their capacity to improve their own lives through our main projects:
- Teaching English, Leadership and Life Skills (TELLS)
- Community Environmental Conservation (CEC)
- Sustainable Agriculture Systems (SAS)
- Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
Peace Corps ResponseTELLS, CEC, SAS, and EH are two-year Volunteer assignments. Peace Corps Response is a unique project where Volunteers serve in short-term, high-impact assignments ranging from three to twelve months. The Response project in Panama strives to provide host country organizations with technical assistance to address specific needs. Response Volunteers arrive in country with technical, linguistic and cultural experience in order to offer immediate impact to local partner organizations. Response assignments are aligned with our priority sectors in Panama (English Education, Environment, Agriculture, and Water and Sanitation), or with one of Peace Corps/Panama’s cross-sector programming priorities (Youth and Gender).
Additionally, Volunteers in Panama all support our Cross-Sector Programming Priorities, youth development and gender equality and women's empowerment.