Reaching new heights in Mexico

As an initiative equipping global leaders to create knowledge and inspire action to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Reach Alliance is committed to fostering a meaningful global network including leading universities around the world. During the month of May, the Reach team visited our network of incredible professors, students and collaborators in Mexico.  

As a global partner since 2021, Tecnológico de Monterrey Reach researchers have produced five case study projects on the appropriation of public spaces from a gendered perspective, invisibility of children with cognitive disabilities in marginalized communities, migrant Indigenous communities in irregular settlements, the Kolombian cultural expression and the shortage of material resources at rural medical units. During the recent visit, our current cohort of Tecnológico de Monterrey student researchers shared key insights on the progress of their research with the Reach team along with our engaged Tecnológico de Monterrey alumni community 

It’s a life-changing experience to share spaces, even if digital, with a community of people driven together by the desire to create a positive and lasting global impact. Reach is an example of what can happen when the right people get together and create opportunities for young people to get involved and to use their knowledge to build something bigger than ourselves, says Giovanna Villalobos, Tecnológico de Monterrey Reach Alumnus (2020-21). 

The Reach team and University of Toronto alumni also had the privilege of participating in knowledge translations activities at ITESO Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara. The Reach Alliance and ITESO Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara began collaborating in 2019 on case study projects related to addressing food security, women’s economic empowerment, digital upskilling among youth, strengthening small family businesses, as well as active research on women led sustainable agriculture  practices.  

University of Toronto Reach Alumni Andrea Caceres, Tolu Ojo, Natalie Enriquez-Birch and Serah George completed their Reach research virtually in 2021-22 and were invited to Guadalajara to share back their findings by the ITESO team. Over a week, they presented their research findings on the sustainability of family businesses in Tequila, Mexico to the community members and businesses they collaborated with, connected with ITESO’s Professional Application Project (PAP) students and interacted with key stakeholders to identify future knowledge dissemination opportunities. 

In an expanding Tequila industry, where the tourist-based economy can both be an enabler and barrier for artisanal microbusinesses, it is crucial to create decentralized spaces of dialogue and collaboration to make visible the opportunities available for hardest to reach populations, shares Andrea Caceres University of Toronto Reach Alumnus (2021-22). 

The unique nature of the Reach – ITESO case study project collaborations demonstrate the importance of avoiding an extractive approach to research and prioritizing relationship-building between the research team and the community-based partner. This approach helps to align the research with local interest and demand.  

Check out some of the highlights from the visit and stay tuned as we continue to share more about the invaluable connections made, and the upcoming knowledge exchange opportunities with our global community. Reach’s work continues as we focus on delivering actionable insights that accelerate impact to achieve the SDGs.