Cuenca, Ecuador


The study is conducted in the city Cuenca, which has a population of over half a million and is the third most populous city in Ecuador. According to 2010 census, 65% of the population lives in urban areas, which implies that more than 330,000 people are residing in the city. Cuenca's population is also quite young; more than a third is under age 20, and only 6% are over 65 years old. Although the poverty rate is one of the lowest in the country at 5% (the national average is 24%, mainly in rural areas) it is still a problem, and more than half of the teenagers start to work at 10-14 years of age. Another important aspect of the city is the low spatial segregation regarding to income, which has forced us to work in very peripheral areas of the urban sector where the composition of the population is more homogeneous and essentially poor.

Research Team

Our collaborating partner in Ecuador is the University of Cuenca.

Jose Ortiz, Principal Investigator

José Ortiz is Doctor of Medicine and Surgery, Diploma in Higher Education in Health Sciences and Master in University Teaching and Educational Research by the University of Cuenca and a PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Alicante. His research interests are oriented towards sexual and reproductive rights and health. He has directed several investigations aimed at the improvement of Obstetrical and Neonatal Care, in coordination with the Latin American Center of Perinatology and the Pan American Health Organization. He is currently a teacher and researcher at the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Cuenca, promoting activities for the exercise of the rights of people for good living.

Gabriela Guerra, Field Coordinator

Gabriela Mireya Guerra Astudillo is a doctor who graduated in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of Cuenca in the year 2014. She is in the second year of the Master of Gender, Development and Sexual and Reproductive Health.

In 2010 she was a volunteer in a research on social and environmental repair and health impact of recyclers in the garbage dump of Portoviejo. She was formed in articulation and incidence of social organizations for the prevention and attention of domestic and gender violence in the framework of sexual rights with the “Grupo de Apoyo a Mujeres del Azuay (GAMMA)”.  After which, she guided a sensibilization process of gender violence on indigenous Saraguras women. In the 2015, during her year of medical care in a rural area, she collaborated in human papillomavirus research whit the same demographic group. Although, she analyzed sexist media advertising for the “Salón de Communicación de Cuenca” event, and participated in training workshops for social therapists in 2016.

Jara Rodriguez, Data Manager

María Jara Rodríguez Fariñas is graduated in Social Education and Master in Social Studies and Social Intervention in Immigrants Development and Vulnerable Groups. Moreover with a Doctorate in Globalization and Social Change: Inequalities, Frontiers and Social Networks of the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Public Health of the University of Huelva (Spain). She has participated in different projects of research and intervention related to the social ambit, specially with women.  The first contact she had with the University of Cuenca (Ecuador) was with a Research Grant from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation of the Ministry of Spain and since that time she has participated in different research projects related to Ecuador.