The Impact of Civil Society Actors in Rural Panama: a case study of Bocas del Toro

Anna Hammelboe Kraglund, Sükran Gezen & Marie-Louise la Cour Koch

Studenteropgave: Fagmodulprojekt


This project revolves around Panama, more precisely the province Bocas del Toro, and the economic and social issues that are present there. It aims to examine whether civil society organizations are improving livelihoods in the area and how the Panamanian government is contributing to the need for the organizations. Utilizing the scientific theory, critical realism, the tendencies in Bocas del Toro and Panama will be examined and interpreted.
To examine these issues, analytic models and methods are included. This project is based on a micro fieldwork study in Bocas del Toro. Qualitative strategies have been applied in forms of interviews and participant observation. Additionally, quantitative observations from United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank have been put into use in order to clarify the living conditions in Bocas del Toro.
An analysis of the conditions in Bocas del Toro is established by using the forms of capital presented by Pierre Bourdieu. A part of the population is very poor and as access to healthcare is difficult and education is of poor quality, it appears like the government is not active in the area. Following this, civil society organizations are examined; the organizations presence appear to fill a void formed by the lack of social services, particularly healthcare and education.
Finally, it is discussed whether or not the relationship between the CSOs and the government is beneficial or harmful. Some tendencies point towards it being constructive but negligence from the government leads to the conclusion that the relationship is mostly negative and that the CSOs are present to protect the population from government negligence.
Due to government negligence, the conditions in Bocas del Toro do not equal the conditions described by the Human Development Index. Thus, there is a need for more education and support and the present CSOs are improving the livelihoods in Bocas del Toro.

UddannelserInternationale Studier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor
Udgivelsesdato25 maj 2018
Antal sider43
VejledereNina Torm


  • Development
  • Panama
  • Bocas del Toro
  • Inequality
  • Civil Society Organizations
  • CSOs
  • Bourdieu
  • Forms of capital