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New Grants

Asociación Nacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (ANCON), $262,000 over three years; counterpart committed, $279,100.

ANCON will work with African descendent and indigenous groups in 10 communities in and near the Punto Patiño Reserve in the Darien to conduct feasibility studies and provide seed funding for micro- and small enterprises that are compatible with the responsible use of the environment. The project will benefit 200 entrepreneurs directly and 2,000 area residents indirectly. (PN-302)

Asociación Panameña para la Sostenibilidad de la Agricultura y la Naturaleza (APASAN), $166,250 over two years; counterpart committed, $174,605.

APASAN will work with the Consejo Consultivo de Subcuencas de los Ríos Los Hules- Tinajones y Caño Quebrado to legally constitute and further develop a federation of 22 organizations and reforest approximately12 hectares of upper watershed, thereby improving the water quality for 2,570 residents of the district of La Chorrera in the regions of Amador, Arosemena, Medoza and Iturralde. (PN-301)

Supplemental Grants

Club Rotario de David, $37,300; counterpart committed, $10,700.

Club Rotario de David will evaluate the impact of its five-year program on 2,000 individuals in 44 communities in Comarca Ngobe Bugle. (PN-285-A7)

Asociación Pro-Artesana Panameña (PROARTESANA), $76,350 over 18 months; counterpart committed,$74,760.

PROARTESANA will continue working to improve the skills, earnings, cultural pride and market participation of 350 craftspeople, mostly women, from Panama City, the central provinces, indigenous reserves and other areas. It expects to open five new markets and to be come financially self-sufficient. (PN-290-A3)

Fundación de Organizaciones Campesinas e Indígenas de Veraguas (FOCIV), $93,200 over 18 months; counterpart committed,$60,510.

Through Asociación de Desarrollo Integral Comunitario (ADICO), FOCIV will train 20 community organizers to provide to 300 farmers and artisans technical assistance toward improving access to markets. Some will learn to build and install fuel-efficient stoves and biodigestors. (PN-293-A1)

Protecting the Watershed of the Panama Canal

Lago Gatún, once the world’s largest artificial lake, is crucial to the operation of the Panama Canal. In addition to providing smaller vessels a shortcut to the Pacific Ocean, it acts as a reservoir that supplies the millions of gallons required by each ship transiting the canal. In recent years, deforestation has reduced the volume of water that the lake’s watershed can absorb. The consequences for the canal are obvious. Collateral results that threaten nearby communities include runoff that causes sediment to build up and pollution from cattle that now graze by rivers and tributaries.

Consejo Consultivo de Subcuencas de los Ríos Los Hules-Tinajones y Caño Quebrado (Consejo Consultivo), named for two of the rivers that form the western watershed of Lago Gatún, was founded in 2002 to improve the management of the watersheds in 10 farming communities where 3,000 Panamanians reside. The diverse array of 22 organizations comprising Consejo Consultivo includes the rural water council, environmental groups, producer associations, various cooperatives and businesses, and local-development entities. Through an umbrella organization, Consejo Consultivo benefited from funding from the United States Agency for International Development, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Panamanian government. In 2006 the funds ceased, but Consejo Consultivo continues to meet monthly to identify and prioritize local issues and find effective low-cost solutions. While its members have worked together successfully for more than eight years, Consejo Consultivo is ineligible to file for status as a nonprofit.

Asociación Panameña para la Sostenibilidad de la Agricultura y la Naturaleza (APASAN) promotes community development and conservation throughout Panama. Since 2007 it has provided Consejo Consultivo training and technical assistance with its plans for managing the environment, reforestation and its development of organizational leadership. APASAN will use its IAF award to assist Consejo Consultivo with the creation and development of a parallel association that can be legally constituted, the necessary pre-requisite to receive donor funding. The initial focus of the new organization will be the reforestation of 12 hectares of the upper watershed, and APASAN will train residents of the water- shed communities in reforestation techniques and nursery management. Its IAF grant will also enable Consejo Consultivo to document its own remarkable narrative, including the unique role of women in the organization, its successful management of conflict, and how its members have improved the quality of life of a region and its watershed.

—Marcy Kelley, IAF representative