For the fourth consecutive year, the Panama Canal, in alliance with Jóvenes Unidos por la Educación, is executing the Latin American Laboratory for Citizen Action (LLAC 2022), a program that provides tools such as citizen advocacy, community action, and ethical leadership to help them break paradigms and encourage critical thinking about the imperative need to improve their communities and the country.
This program supports the creation of spaces where young people can raise their voices and be heard through the formulation and implementation of projects to build social capital throughout the country, influencing the transformation of their communities and establishing actions to create fairer and more equitable societies for all. After four months of training, the young participants of LLAC 2022 presented their projects along with the first results of their execution in different areas of the country.
“The Panama Canal faithfully believes that the youth represent the present and the future of the waterway and the country. We cannot leave them on the sidelines of the decisions we must make today to leave them the path towards the sustainability we require; therefore, we work in favor of educational projects as a pillar of our management, establishing a sense of identity, belonging, pride, creating leaders and agents of change that build the human and social capital that our country requires,” said Alexis Espino, of the Panama Canal’s Corporate Social Responsibility team.
The theme of this edition of the LLAC was precisely the Global Competitiveness Index, which in turn, is linked to the Sustainable Development Goals, with the purpose of stimulating young people to create projects whose implementation in different communities in the country could have the necessary scalability and replicability, thus seeking an effective impact on the implementation of their projects with a view to consolidating their sustainability and, therefore, support the improvement of each of their communities.
Nivia Rossana Castrellón, advisor to the organization Jóvenes Unidos por la Educación, says that “the children who participate in LLAC become true doers who move from power to action”. Castrellón maintains that “education, social integration, health, connectivity and the creative use of technology have an impact on a country’s competitiveness”.
The Panama Canal participates in this process by providing experts in the design of the program’s curriculum, exhibitors, infrastructure, guidance and support in the execution of projects. The 150 participants of the LLAC 2022 edition were organized into 15 groups, each formulating an execution plan for their project, in which impact, results, budget and communication play an important role at the time of evaluation and approval. These new participants of the program join the more than 500 young people who have been part of it throughout its three past editions; and the new 15 citizen advocacy projects join the more than 60 projects that are being implemented throughout the country.
The LLAC process culminates with the presentation of each of the projects and the results obtained in their execution. This presentation is made in front of a group of volunteers, including Panama Canal collaborators, members of Jóvenes Unidos por la Educación, and benefactors of the program, who act as jurors, listening to each of the presentations and awarding points based on a previously explained and agreed-upon evaluation rubric. Within this process, both the oral presentation and the written work of each of the projects are graded. Relevant aspects for the evaluation are: the need for the project, its applicability in society, the problem previously studied and supported, the capacity for replicability, as well as scalability, which are relevant aspects for the sustainability of the project.
All the projects presented in this fourth edition of LLAC 2022 are valuable and their implementation within the communities is of great importance. For the evaluation team to award a score was a difficult task and should not detract from the effort the presentation given by each team. They all deserve to be winners.
Of the fifteen projects presented this year, the five projects that achieved the highest scores were:
List of LLAC 2022 projects
- Green Mate
- Ponte al día
- Jóvenes Innovatech
- Yo también cuento
- Wake Up
- Más inglés Panamá
- Mi voz en ti
- Jóvenes por la integridad social
- Compa Lee
|This initiative seeks to prevent psychological, physical and sexual abuse in childhood, educating through interactive activities that reinforce children's networks of trust so that they can seek help. It seeks to provide comprehensive growth tools to break the cycle of violence and abuse in childhood.
|Yo también cuento
|Its objective is to contribute to strengthening and increasing the competitiveness of students between the ages of 16 and 20 by implementing extracurricular support programs. The initiative focuses on promoting the development of technical and soft skills, mainly critical thinking, teamwork and assertive communication, which are essential to compete in the market.
|Ponte al día
|Ponte al día seeks to strengthen the knowledge of the relations between Panama and the United States by developing and encouraging national awareness with pedagogical elements, influencing the innovation of education for the benefit of Panamanian students and giving continuity to the legacy of our country by means of_
|Project developed in support of the emotional and academic formation of soft skills of participants between 15-18 years old to guide them in becoming agents of change for their families and communities through Henko's adaptable modules.
|EduTics seeks to strengthen the development of skills and activities that contribute to reduce the deficiency in reading comprehension and the digital divide in elementary school students.
|Jóvenes Innovatech seeks to impact young people in twelfth grade and improve their knowledge on the subject of Google docs, Google slides, Google sheets and canvas, in order to train students in the basic mastery of these programs and add value to their resumes by making efficient use of this knowledge in their working life.