June 2013 Panama Trip

I recently spent a week in Panama, visiting with our planting communities and attending Peace Corps Panama’s 50th Reunion conference.

For the first few days I was in Panama City preparing for the launch of our Kiva loan, which went live on Sunday the 23rd, and funded in 17 hours! Once the funds are disbursed, we’ll start prepping the land and buying the seed to plant.

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Planting Empowerment published in WorldView Magazine

Thumbnail of the Worldview Magazine articleI recently wrote an opinion piece for the Winter issue of WorldView magazine that explores the development challenges we faced as Peace Corps Volunteers and how we engage impact investing to help us meet those challenges.

Impact investing is investing with the goal of earning a return while actively generating social and/or environmental benefits. Expected to reach $4 billion in 2012, the market is growing and maturing as more investors align their financial and social/environmental goals, and standards are put into place to measure performance.

While the article may stir controversy among our development colleagues, there is no denying the growth of impact investing. We believe that the forest investments we offer can drive social empowerment in our partner communities and ease pressure on surrounding rainforests.

Download the article (PDF, 927 kb)

Is Humanitarian Design the New Imperialism?

Thanks to our friend and former Peace Corps Panama volunteer Matt Gilbride for co-authoring this post. Matt is currently finishing his graduate work in Industrial Design at NC State University. Check out some of his work.

As Planting Empowerment expands in Panama’s Darien province, we find ourselves examining the questions raised by Bruce Nussbaum in his July 7th, 2010 Fast Company article.

The author poses a powerful question to all those engaged in humanitarian development and design: “Is Humanitarian Design the New Imperialism?” As former Peace Corps volunteers ourselves (and two of us with design experience) we have some perspective on Nussbaum’s article.

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