In 2015, Gustavo Rojas, then Enseña por México’s Head of Alumni Development identified a need to support the program’s alumni in developing innovative solutions to the many social problems they encountered during their years in the classroom. On the other side of the Atlantic, Teach First was successfully doing just that through its Social Innovation Unit, which was created to accelerate the progress of alumni social entrepreneurs. To jump-start a social innovation initiative at Enseña por México, Gustavo reached out to Teach First for guidance, and asked them to host a “bootcamp” for participants and alumni.
“We knew that we wanted to gather people to learn from them, we knew that we wanted to not necessarily have to reinvent the wheel, and we knew that we had to train our people,” he explained.
“Quickly we realized that the Enseña por México team had some amazing passion and a big vision for what they wanted to achieve, but needed some guidance and specialist expertise,” shared Lucy Ashman, then Senior Officer of Social Innovation at Teach First and currently Director of Social Innovation at Teach For All. “So we thought, why not work really deeply in partnership to deliver this event?”
Through their bootcamp, Lucy and fellow Senior Officer of Social Innovation Gina Cicerone supported Enseña por México participants and alumni in identifying problems underpinning inequity in the communities in which they work, generating ideas for addressing them, and then prototyping those ideas locally.
“For us what was really important is that this wasn’t going to be something that Teach First’s Innovation Unit was coming over to implement, but that this was about transferring the knowledge so that Enseña por México can do it in their context and they can lead this in years to come,” says Gina.