Profile: Abigail Franco Vazquez
Abigail¡¯s research titled ¡°Social Enterprises and Quality of Life in Small Island Communities¡± explores how social enterprises affect the quality of life for people living on small islands, especially those islands that are geographically marginalized. Abigail¡¯s research formed part of her MA in Island Studies at UPEI. She carried out a comparative case study on some of the Penobscot bay islands of Maine, United States and several islands within the Chiloe archipelago, Chile.

Interviews in Maine included traditional enterprises, nonprofit organizations and social enterprises. In Chile interviews were held with local authorities, private businesspersons and workers in cooperatives, labor union workers, and workers who are part of various Committees and functional organizations.

In Maine and in Chiloe, Abigail was able to engage in some community activities such as meetings, celebrations, local events, and day-to-day business activities, which gave her the opportunity to gain a holistic overview of community daily life on the islands.

Abigail¡¯s research was undertaken in partnership with The Island Institute, Maine, the Institute of Island Studies, PEI and a tribal council on Chiloe, the Williche Council of Chiefs (WCC). In addition, many other community organizations in both locations generously offered information and support to facilitate the project.

¡°As a researcher I can say that this experience has forged new skills that will serve both my professional and personal development. I have furthered my ability to communicate with people of different socioeconomic status, but also with different customs, culture and education¡¦. I would like to take the opportunity to express my gratitude to the people that through this Robin Rigby Trust scholarship have made it possible for me to pursue my research project.¡±

Abigail¡¯s current ambitions lay in the completion and formal presentation of her thesis manuscript to the Island Studies Review Committee for final approval and official publication. She will also present the research findings to a wider audience in various conferences including the 5th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise, and in the coastal communities that formed the sites of her investigation. Finally the findings will assist policy makers and community leaders when looking for new forms of economic development that can positively impact their island communities.

Vazquez Midterm Report
Vazquez Final Report
Vazquez Thesis (