Currently, I am a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Victoria. My research focuses on environmental governance and social and livelihood dimensions of land use change in Latin America, as part of two funded National Science Foundation (NSF) projects. These interdisciplinary projects are focused on 1) socio-ecological impacts from bioenergy development across the Americas; and 2) coupled socio-ecohydrological systems in Mexico. I am also a visiting research fellow at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture where I am helping to assess the impact of the Fair Trade for All (FT4ALL) initiative, developed by Fair Trade USA in four coffee pilots in Latin America: Brazil, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru.
My PhD from Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group of Wageningen University – the Netherlands, was on Participation and Social Inclusion in Rural Development Projects in the MAS era in Bolivia. This project focused on the understanding of the theory and practice of rural development, participatory methodologies and agricultural technology innovation for small farmers in Bolivia. It aimed to be a contribution to current debates on social change in Bolivia and to current forms of development intervention in Latin America in general. It was supported and co-financed by Wageningen University and the McKnight Foundation, in collaboration with the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture.
Before joining doctoral studies in Wageningen University at the end of 2009, I worked in several research and development projects in Latin America. In Honduras and Nicaragua, I helped to facilitate the development of technological innovation processes to improve small farmers market-oriented strategies using an agro-chain approach. In Colombia, I worked closely with peasant organization in creating alliances among different actors to enable post-harvest process and market innovations in cassava crop. I spent two years working with the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and carried out collaborative research with National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), universities and farmers organizations in Uruguay, Argentina and México on participatory processes and rural development. I also assisted the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food and its local projects in Colombia on issues such as collective action, participatory evaluation, and communitarian water management.
I received several scholarships and research grants including Social Science Latin-American Council (CLACSO) and Comparative Research Program on Poverty (CROP) fellowship in 2004; Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education (Nuffic) fellowship in 2005, Wageningen University PhD Scholarship in 2009; and McKnight Foundation – Collaborative Crop Research Program research grant in 2011.
I am interested in multidisciplinary research that combines natural science with social science approaches and the use of applied sociology in agricultural science and food system analysis. My major research interests include international development and agrarian change, and participatory processes for community and technology development.