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Case Study: LiderazCo and the COVID Crisis

1 . 06 . 2020


More than 40% of Panama’s economy is informal. Panama City’s 196,000 street vendors  are overrepresented in communities like Santa Ana where we work.

The COVID-19 lockdowns immediately and completely eliminated the income of many of these workers, whose daily sales cycles leave them little or no savings to fall back on.  Government was slow to provide material assistance, and NGOs that wanted to help did not have the experience or local contacts to effectively distribute assistance




Part of our vision for urban revitalization is strong multi-sectoral community networks that have achieve resilience through self-organization. For more than two years now, we have been promoting community cooperation through the Santa Ana Lidera collective, that includes companies, foundations, government agencies and community leaders.   The LiderazCo program, a central pillar of the collective work, recruits and trains community leaders, building the trust and motivation necessary to address the complex problems that community faces. 

This work paid off when the Pandemic started to quickly leave


Santa Ana’s most vulnerable residents without food and basic necessities.  The close relationships forged among community leaders, business owners, NGOs and local government through the leadership empowerment trainings, made possible the fast mobilization of resources. Casa Santa Ana Foundation, one of the NGOs part of the collective, put in to action the #DaSiPuedes campaign aimed at collecting funds, purchasing food, and delivering it to the community. LiderazCo trained community leaders  set out to investigate the situation of families and report the needs to Conservatorio’s community liaison, and recruit local taxi drivers to collect  deliver the donations.  The police and personnel of the Ministry of health local health center also supported the delivery of bags of food so that donations could reach families  most affected by the COVID virus, single mothers and the elderly. 

As important as the immediate material assistance has been, in the long-term the trust the network built  internally and with the community by being able to act quickly may be even more impactful. 




1500 Families supported

43 active community volunteers

14 community organizations working together

… tons of food delivered

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