The COVID-19 pandemic is striking Indigenous communities worldwide due to their historical lack of access to basic needs, such as health care, sanitation, and transportation. In Panama, it isn't any different. The country has more than 300,000 Indigenous peoples, which represent around 10 percent of the population.
The central government’s efforts to aid this population have been reduced to printing informative flyers in the Indigenous languages—but these actions don’t reach the communities. Trying to take the matter into their own hands, a group of young Indigenous people with cartography and technological skills created an online map to monitor COVID-19 cases in their communities and bring visibility to available aid projects in their regions.
“It is a platform created by Indigenous people for Indigenous peoples to show relevant information about the pandemic graphically and easily,” explained Carlos Doviaza, creator of the tool. Through the tool, the Indigenous leaders—caciques—can better understand the situation in their area and directly contact local authorities and NGOs to seek help.