|09PANAMA422||2009-05-27 15:44:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Panama|
VZCZCXYZ0016 RR RUEHWEB DE RUEHZP #0422/01 1471544 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 271544Z MAY 09 FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3424
UNCLAS PANAMA 000422
1. (U) Post is pleased to nominate local NGO Fundacion
Calicanto for a 20,000 USD grant from the Julia Taft Refugee
Fund for job training for refugees and persons under
Temporary Humanitarian Protection (THP).
Filling A Gap
2. (U) A critical gap in services provided to refugees and
persons under Temporary Humanitarian Protection (THP) in
Panama is job training. To satisfy their basic needs and
better integrate into the community, refugees need access to
jobs in an increasingly competitive urban job market. THP
persons, who are not legally permitted to participate in the
formal labor sector and live in difficult-to-access areas,
would benefit from trade skills that could fulfill local
labor needs and bring skills into their communities.
3. (U) Post proposes that PRM award 20,000 USD from the
Julia Taft Refugee Fund to assist refugees and THP persons in
Panama obtain job training. We propose that these funds be
awarded to Fundacion Calicanto, an established and
well-respected local NGO that has experience providing job
training to low-income individuals.
4. (U) Fundaction Calicanto has operated for 15 years in the
Casco Antiguo area of Panama City, training persons of
limited resources in basic job skills. In its training,
Fundacion Calicanto has an integrated approach, so in
addition to teaching basic job skills, training includes the
development of self-esteem, personal finance management and
5. (U) Fundacion Calicanto is eager to open up its training
to urban and rural refugees and THP persons, and has plans to
tailor its classes to the specific needs of these groups.
They plan to add segments on refugee and THP rights and
responsibilities to the existing curriculum and will assist
job seekers by interfacing with employers to clarify the
legal aspects of hiring refugees.
6. (U) The local UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) and
International Organization for Migration (IOM) offices
support this proposal, and UNHCR has agreed to supplement the
proposal with additional travel funds for rural refugees, as
detailed in paragraph 10. Fundacion Calicanto's programs are
known to Post as excellent and well-run. Fundacion Calicanto
has a number of corporate and NGO partners, including the
Casco Antiguo Board of Trustees and the Bern Hotel Group.
Training and Associated Costs
7. (U) Post proposes to work with UNHCR and IOM to identify
20 refugees and THP persons who would benefit from job
training and enroll them in Fundacion Calicanto's courses.
We would like to offer courses to 12 refugees living in
Panama City's urban environs as well as to 4 refugees and 4
THP persons living in the Darien.
8. (U) The courses offered by Fundacion Calicanto and their
associated costs are as follows:
Housekeeping assistant: 1,000 USD
Handyman's assistant: 1,000 USD
Electrician's assistant: 900 USD
Welder's assistant: 900 USD
9. (U) The cost of the courses include work permit costs,
health certification, interview preparation and appropriate
certification fees. For example, the housekeeping assistants
will receive at completion of their course a "Best Service"
certification, allowing them to work for international cruise
lines or five star hotels, and those completing the Welder's
assistant course will receive an industrial welding
10. (U) It is expected that urban refugees in Panama City
would live at home and commute to classes. However, the 8
rural refugees and THP persons who live in the remote Darien
province will need assistance in obtaining transportation,
food and lodging during training. Post proposes allocating
the funds remaining after paying tuition for 20 students to
supplementing these costs for the 8 individuals coming from
the Darien for training. As we do not expect this funding to
be sufficient to wholly support these individuals during
their stay, UNHCR has agreed to cover any additional expenses
for lodging, food and transportation for these individuals.
11. (U) For further information, please contact Laurie
Younger in Post Panama's Political Section at