Via Institute | Research


RESEARCH: Trans-Border Institute Microcredit Study


In collaboration with Via International through Los Niños, the Trans-Border Institute conducted an initiative to study the implementation and impact of microcredit programs in Baja California. The TBI Microcredit Study documented the efforts of the Los Niños microcredit program, as well as the wider impact of Via International~Los Niños efforts in the U.S. - Mexico border region.


The project included the following:

  • Extensive review of literature on theory and practice of microcredit programs
  • Comprehensive bibliography on theory and practice of microcredit programs
  • Extensive interviews with Via and Los Niños staff and program participants
  • Quantitative database of programs and results
  • Research paper on the history, programs, and impact
  • Published TBI brief
  • Final Report on Project: Documenting Culmination of Research


PUBLICATION: Simon Fraser University and University Iberoamericana


The Women, Poverty and Education program was designed to address basic unmet needs, as well as the lack of education, that have had a disproportionate effect on Latin American women - so much so, that some have characterized recent developments as the feminization of poverty. Within this context, a multi-leveled, community-based education program for women living in poverty in Tijuana and Mexicali, Mexico, was implemented to facilitate their entry into higher education.


The program concentrates its activities on a group of women called promotoras (community promoters). Throughout Latin America, these women play an integral role in the grassroots community development movement. There are over 600 promotoras volunteering for NGOs in Tijuana alone. They live and work in communities whose members, like themselves, experience low literacy levels, poverty, gender bias, and racism.


In partnership with Simon Fraser University, a curriculum for the program was published in addition to the development and documentation of participatory evaluation.


RESEARCH: Virginia Tech University and Arizona State University

Working with Dr. Nancy McGehee of the Department of Hospitality and Tourism at Virginia Tech University and with Dr. Kathleen Andereck of Arizona State University, Via coordinated field research in communities receiving visiting volunteer groups in the US/Mexico border through Los Niños. The published findings indicate that, with careful program design, the communities can benefit from receiving voluntourists.



"The communities struggle with providing affordable health care, good quality public education, healthy food, and safe drinking water. Their residents, McGehee says, include “men and women of great strength and abilities, who overcome their daily trials with grace and dignity.'”

Dr. Nancy McGehee