There are lots of people who like to combine travel and volunteering, so I have been looking into travel / volunteer opportunities in Panama. While there aren’t that many organizations in Panama dedicated to providing that type of experience, there are, however, a few good resources.
One is Engineers Without Borders, an international organization with a local chapter here. They do work in the more downtrodden areas of Panama, such as in the native or indigenous communities. They go to these areas and determine what the needs are. It could be that the area needs to be fitted with municipal water supply or septic tanks to help with the waste problem. Engineers Without Borders polls the community in order to get them involved with the project and then shows them the solution to their problems. They bring in volunteers from the University of Pennsylvania or students from the local universities. As a team, along with the communities, they work towards solving the problems identified.
It is a great organization that I know is working throughout all of Panama from the San Blas Islands, to Panama City, and all the way to Bocas Del Toro. I know them personally and I can vouch for them.
(1910 picture of The Panama Canal Zone chief engineer's residence (right), administration building (center), and staff quarters (left), Ancon, Panama.)