Overview A substantial portion of the People of African Descent in Central America are unemployed and underemployed persons, and are denied equal treatment for jobs in major sectors of the society. A USAID Report on Latin America (2004) states, “Roughly 44% of Latin Americans are now poorer--up from 40% in 1999, while 20% suffer extreme poverty. Unemployment has risen to more than 9%, higher than the 1980s level.” The same report indicates that 79% of Hondurans live in poverty, whereas unemployment and underemployment in Nicaragua runs close to 50%.The city of Colon which is 90% of African descent has anunemployment rate of about 40%.
Yet in these provinces people of African descent own and/or occupy along the Caribbean coast, areas of land used for subsistence farming and creation of cultural products. The subsistence production of these people is in danger of being wiped out by subsidized products from abroad, while locally, they are unaware of provincial and local opportunities for economic diversification. Inability to access credit and financing has historically hindered successful business operations and economic mobility, and fostered self discrimination and anti social behavior in African descendant communities
The value-added of the project
The proponents of this project respond to the need for peoples of African Descent in Central America to obtain information and skills that will facilitate their increased participation and inclusion in trade and economic development activity already taking place and/or projected for the future in their provinces, countries and the Americas. This project will develop ongoing collaborative relationships between target community groups,a local community centered higher educational institution and UNIPOP to create community action plans that will be useful in the context of future development programs.
2.1This project will provide the technical assistance and capacity building needed to enable the target communities and their leaders to engage in assessing their local and provincial human, social, environmental, cultural and economic assets, and enable them to identify feasible economic projects that will generate increased community enterprise development activity that contributes to reduction in unemployment and poverty.
To provide the communities of African descendants, includingAfro descendant victims ofracism, with resource mapping and action plans that can facilitatetheiraccess to opportunities to participate in sustainable economic development and help them to mobilize collective action in advancement of the Millennium Development Goals in their province, their country, their region, and internationally.
Specifically, the project will support African-descendant leaders, mini-micro entrepreneurs,including women, in the mapping of community economic resources to include provincial geographic and environmental resources, demographics and human resources, ongoing economic activity and potential economic opportunities.The community resource mapping will result in an Economic Resource Fact Book for sustainable economic development that includes identification of feasible economic opportunities for future potential implementation by community people.
Fundacion Universidad Popular de Desarrollo Sostenible de Las Americas (UNIPOP) Calle 8A-E56, La Riviera de Don Bosco, Panama, Republica de Panama