In addition to the corporate issues that must be ensured with regard to Banistmo´s operations and that are in keeping with the Bancolombia Group's voluntary commitments and policies, there are also other local initiatives that are being deployed to create added value for all those communities where we are present.
Our Corporate Citizenship focus is to provide development support for all those communities where we are present, enhancing the conditions of people´s life cycles. For this purpose we are mainly concentrating on programs regarding Education, Entrepreneurship and Comprehensive Healthcare for Early Childhood, this including contributions received from employees, clients and suppliers alike as well as the efforts or our own dedicated volunteer corps.
The following are the education initiatives we are carrying out in Panama:
- Education: the CHISPA Program. In 2013, we launched a new educational program called CHISPA!, benefiting a group of more than 200 underprivileged youngsters who are studying science through practical activities and experience as well as opportunities to share with scientists from the Smithsonian Institute. These youngsters, aged between 10 and 14, are learning science and how this relates to their own lives, while developing life and work skills as part of a program lasting two years given at the Punta Culebra Nature Center, located in Calzada de Amador. These students are taking part in activities relating to exploring and discovering their natural environment, thereby awakening their curiosity and desire to learn.
- Volunteer corps: Our responsibility to the communities where we are present is also reflected in the dedication shown by our employees to projects and initiatives that benefit the underprivileged in Panama.
CHISPA Program: Volunteers from the Organization have been trained as mentors for the first 50 youngsters chosen for this program Over the next few months, other volunteers shall be taking part in this program through field work and special activities to be staged with these youngsters.
Community Leaders: A local program aimed at empowering local leaders. These leaders present an initiative or a program designed to produce short term benefits (lasting a maximum of three months) for different communities. These leaders then work on the project in question in conjunction with a group of volunteers from our Organization.
Telethon: A group of volunteers have set up a Pro-Telethon Committee, in charge of receiving donations collected throughout the year for underprivileged children in Panama. These contributions also include those made by Banistmo, in its capacity as the program´s official sponsor.
Our sustainability initiatives are also focused on the efficient use of natural resources, including mitigating and adapting to climate change, the conservation of water resources and promoting greater awareness regarding the responsible management of natural resources, amongst others.
- Climate Champions: We have trained an exceptional group of volunteers and community leaders with regard to extending environmental awareness. In conjunction with other volunteers, these stage internal and external awareness activities to further the responsible use of natural resources as well as a better understanding of the human impact on the environment.
- Appreciating the biodiversity of the mangrove swamps and wetlands of the Bay of Panama: we are participating in this project so as to learn more about the importance of preserving our mangrove swamps.