Renée Ramirez
Renée Ramirez
Panama, 2022-2023
My name is Renée and I’m spending a year in Panamá working with Fundación Calicanto. Calicanto is a Panamanian organization combatting gender-based violence through social and economic empowerment programs. I’m a Nashville girl and graduated from Belmont in 2021 with a double major in Entrepreneurship and Economics. This is such a privilege, thanks for following along! Read More About Renée →

Felices Fiestas Patrias, Panamá!

November is really special in Panama as we celebrate five different national holidays throughout the month. There have been flags everywhere, huge parades, bands, and cultural performances the last couple of weeks which has been such a cool thing to participate in. Sharing a bit more about my experience below!

  • Attended a design thinking workshop hosted by HIAS for key organizations supporting the rapidly growing refugee community in Panama.
  • Playing a volleyball game with three other people named Renee (honestly such a wild experience)
  • 4 Panamanian restaurants made it onto The World’s 100 Best Restaurants List for Latin America!!!
Work Projects:

I just finished a research project on global and Panamanian workforce development trends to utilize in the Academia Calicanto project. Will be incorporating the most important data points in the project presentation this upcoming week. I’ve spent the rest of my time writing reports for some of our key partners recently. These reports are centered on the impact of our program over the last three cohorts and draw on a lot of data points from the monitoring and evaluation process I designed earlier in the year. It has been gratifying to see the positive economic and psychological impact of our program in women’s lives and to be able to clearly see and communicate that impact through a process I designed.

Including two major performance indicators (Exposure to Violence and Resilience Scale) below so you can see our impact in cohort 60. Obviously, these numbers vary depending on the cohort, but even slight changes in these two areas of impact translate into a greatly increased quality of life for many women which is worth celebrating.

1. Exposure to violence, a key focus of our CAPTA program saw a 64% decrease from the beginning of CAPTA to the end of our follow-up period. At the beginning of the program, 19 women, comprising 54% of the cohort were experiencing some form of physical, psychological, or economic violence. Supported by the empowerment training, community, and psychological attention of the program, that number was reduced to 22% by graduation and 19% by the end of the 6-month follow-up process.

2. The average resilience score pre-CAPTA was 77 and post-CAPTA was 144. Overall, this cohort experienced a collective increase of 86% in their resilience scoring, jumping a total of 68-points from the beginning of CAPTA to the end of their participation in Seguimientos.

Something New

The Fiestas Patrias officially started at 12am on the 3rd with local marching bands playing at neighborhood parks throughout the city to ring in the celebration. My apartment is literally right next to a park, so I had a great view as the band set up and played for an hour. At one point they performed an all-trumpet rendition of Titi me Preguntó which was honestly my favorite thing last week. It was such a special moment to observe the band arrive and quietly file into position while crowds of people waited with hushed expectations for 12am to come.

The following day, I went downtown with friends for the first parade of the month. It was so loud and so fun! There were probably 40 different bands of varying sizes marching throughout the streets that day. There were dancers wearing traditional costumes, marching bands, people throwing drums, baton twirlers, etc., etc., etc. On the way home, we stopped and bought tamales, patacones, and salchichas from a couple of street vendors which was so fun and yummy.

*For all those curious the 3rd – 5th celebrate Panama’s independence from Colombia, the official creation of their national flag, and the independence of the province of Colón from Colombia. The 10th recognizes the independence of the region of La Villa de Los Santos and the 28th celebrates Panama’s independence from Spain.

I hope you’re doing well!



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