A community in the province of Veraguas is home to Panama’s largest and oldest Ecoclub, an international environmental youth group. The club recently celebrated their 12th anniversary, and their legacy of educating communities, particularly youth, about the importance of conserving and protecting natural resources, recycling, littering (a huge issue throughout Panama), hygiene, and health issues. As the group continues to educate the surrounding communities they also strive to create more Ecoclubs around the country.
Throughout the year the children hold fundraisers to help pay transportation costs to visit other communities and spread the word about Ecoclub. The largest problem that the group faces in trying to create new groups throughout the country, however, is the inability to visit a community more than once, due to transportation costs. It has been found that while the Ecoclub leaders are inspiring, new groups often flounder without more direction, despite the best intentions of the children in the community and the adults who have shown interest in helping with the new groups.
With the creation of an Ecoclub Manual, which will outline the purpose of Ecoclub, the basics of group formation, the roles and responsibilities of the cabinet, and activities and project suggestions, the local Ecoclub is confident that new groups will have more success staying focused and motivated, thus spreading the Ecoclub message of protecting Panama’s resources and her people.
Note: This summary was provided by a Peace Corps Volunteer and the community administering this project.