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University of Toronto’s Reach Alliance expands to University of Oxford, University College London and Tecnológico de Monterrey

— Initiative brings together researchers from across disciplines and sectors to investigate successful examples of reaching last-mile populations

April 30, 2021 (Toronto) — The Reach Alliance, a research initiative based at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, announced today at its annual symposium that it is expanding its model to three major universities around the globe. The University of Oxford (UK), University College London (UK), and Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico) have officially signed on as the Alliance’s first three international partners.

Founded in 2015 by Professor Joseph Wong, U of T’s Vice-President, International, the Reach Alliance is scaling the approach to six academic institutions by 2022. The initiative brings together student researchers with faculty mentors from all disciplines to investigate pressing global challenges and draw insights, through case studies, on how to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals from successful real-world programs.

“By working on the challenge of reaching the hardest to reach, increasing awareness of this challenge and promoting collaboration on those issues with universities from several countries, this initiative can go a long way in improving developmental outcomes in many countries,” said Gustavo Merino, a professor at the School of Government and Public Transformation at Tecnológico de Monterrey.

Two of the three partners have begun work on their case studies. Mexico’s Tecnológico de Monterrey’s first case study examines the barriers faced by migrant Indigenous people in the university’s home city. The partnership with the University of Oxford includes the Saïd Business School and the Blavatnik School of Government. Researchers are examining an intervention in the Indian State of Madhya Pradesh that aims to improve women’s experiences in seeking assistance from police, especially as victims of gender-based violence.

Akshay Mangla, Associate Professor in International Business at Oxford Saïd, said “Crossing the last mile of service delivery is a global challenge facing governments, businesses and civic organizations. The Reach Alliance partnership offers a valuable opportunity for academic institutions to collaborate on complex questions and produce impactful research. I hope it will lead to deeper insights on how to make frontline services work for citizens across the world.”

The Reach Alliance was awarded a multi-year grant in 2020 from the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth to build the network and expand the Reach model.

“We have much to learn from our colleagues at the University of Oxford, Tecnológico de Monterrey and University College London,” said Professor Wong. “This appetite for collaboration will guide us as we continue to scale the Reach Alliance internationally.”

To date, the Reach Alliance has produced 23 case studies in 16 countries. Research teams have shared lessons and insights with policymakers and practitioners, and have published findings in prestigious publications, including The Lancet, the WHO Bulletin and BMJ Global Health.  

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Media contact: Gillian Mathurin, Director, Strategic Communications and Public Engagement at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto
Phone: +1-647-406-5731
Email: gillian.mathurin@utoronto.ca

About the Reach Alliance
Based at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, the Reach Alliance works to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by developing insights from successful real-world programs that are reaching hard-to-reach populations. Since 2015, 118 undergraduate and graduate students from across all three campuses at the University of Toronto have published 23 case studies on programs in 16 countries around the globe. Learn more at www.reachalliance.org.

About the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
The Center for Inclusive Growth advances equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. The Center leverages the company’s core assets and competencies, including data insights, expertise and technology, while administering the philanthropic Mastercard Impact Fund, to produce independent research, scale global programs and empower a community of thinkers, leaders and doers on the front lines of inclusive growth. Learn more at www.mastercardcenter.org.