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It’s amazing how time flies!

This is the fifth blog from Nutsa Kvitashvili who is following the BA Program of Sociology at Caucasus School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Nutsa is the recipient of the ESOMAR Foundation Scholarship sponsored by Inizio.

I finished the first semester of my senior year at Caucasus University and this semester was probably my favorite of all because I had subjects which were very interesting and exciting for me, that’s why I wrote my final exams pretty well.  By the way this year is Caucasus University’s 20 year anniversary, so this year we will have a lot of fun activities and events and I’m looking forward to it.

It’s amazing how time flies when you are doing things that you like. Four years ago I became a student at Caucasus University, it seems like it was just a few weeks ago but now I’m in my last semester. Those four years at CU (Caucasus University) were educational and also fun. I met new people and most of them are my friends now, I got to do a lot of fun activities, visit university events and parties and just enjoying student life to the fullest. Besides all the fun being in your last semester is tough because you have more responsibilities and a lot of decisions to make. For example, where should I work? Or should I get my master degree first? Where is it better to get a master degree? In Georgia or maybe in Europe? Which university? Which major should I choose? And there are many questions like this which every senior year student should ask their selves and make these life-changing decisions which could be hard for them. Students start to realize that their academic journey which began when they first started school is now ending. Starting a new chapter in your life can be terrifying because we don’t always know what should we expect from the future. But at the same time with changes come a lot of great opportunities for young adults. The end of something is not necessarily a bad thing, it means that something new is starting and who knows maybe this new journey would be more interesting. American author Caroline Myss once said, “always go with a choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to help you grow.”

   

About My Life

This is the fifth blog-post from Paola Loy Villagran, the recipient of the ESOMAR Foundation scholarship in Guatemala. 

During these days I am taking final exams in the first trimester, waiting for the best results to enjoy the summer holidays.

We followed a course called Operations Research, a discipline that deals with the application of advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions, so we can improve time, costs and customer service processes. We can use these applications in airlines, manufacturing companies, service organizations and many others. Hopefully I will be able to implement some of these methods in my own business in the future.

Easter Week in Guatemala

Among other things, as I mentioned in my last blog, Guatemala has a mix of Mayan and Christian traditions that allow us to unite in faith and family. And since we are so close to the celebration I would like to tell you a little about them.

One of the most important, that reminds me my childhood is making carpets.

There are two types of carpets that are made during Easter Week in Guatemala: The carpets along the processional route, made by residents who invite friends and family to assist them, and the carpets in the churches that are made for the holy vigils by the brotherhoods.

Carpets of “Semana Santa” in Guatemala, the greatest expression of art.

On Good Friday the streets of Guatemala are covered with natural, aromatic carpets of flowers, pines, clover and fruits, which the residents put together and place in front of their homes. There are all kinds and shapes, some of them are very long, even up to a kilometer, with colonial and original designs and usually they are made during the 24 hours prior to the procession.

Families making carpets

And because of the intense detail and amount of time dedicated to their creation, they are meant to be destroyed once the processions pass. This is a way for the people to give something of themselves in memory of Christ’s death.

Also, during this month my family and I attend a special event organized by Avon Foundation for Women, with the purpose to educate and mobilize people worldwide on issues that are of vital importance to women like breast cancer education and ending violence against women.

My Family and I during the Avon Race

“Violence against women and girls hides in the shadow of silence” they said during the event, so I think we all must support these activities and help others to develop and implement policies that promote gender equality.

Nicolin reflects on her new life post studies

Nicolin Mamuya, who was granted the first ESOMAR Foundation scholarship in South Africa, has now finished her studies at the University of Johannesburg and is now working as a graduate trainee in the consumer insights and innovation department of a retail company. The company has also arranged for all trainees to complete a post-graduate diploma in business management. So she is basically working while going to school.

We are already 3 months into the year and so much has happened. I finally moved out of the place that I last lived in with my mother. It was such a big step, however; it was what I needed to remind myself that I am actually growing. After all, with growth comes change. I have gained confidence due to how far I have come and my future goals are only becoming clearer as time goes. I only have God to thank for all the opportunities I have been blessed with.

I have also started frequently watching inspirational videos seeing as there really is no formula for this life. One of the interesting videos by Jim Rohn in 1981, provided great food for thought. He mentioned that unless you change how you are, you will always remain with what you have. He continues to state that success is something you attract, not what you pursue. Self-development is, therefore, important. You can start by changing your attitude and then after, understand all you can do through “childish curiosity”. Childish curiosity means that you should not be skeptical but rather be as curious as a child. Jim Rohn highlights the importance of having childish faith i.e., believing easily. This concentrates on easily believing in your abilities.

There is so much that he looked into, however, the one thing that seems to summarise all he said is that everything depends on you. We should, therefore, not blame but rather learn to take responsibility.

 

Cambodian Scholarship Awarded by ESOMAR Foundation, Women In Research and Unilever

Scholarship goal reached for Esther Tot in Cambodia to pursue the English-based Bachelor Degree program in International Business at National University of Management, Cambodia

 

 

 

 

15 January 2018 – Amsterdam, NL – Esther Tot of Cambodia was the latest recipient of a scholarship funded through a partnership of the ESOMAR Foundation, a charitable organization representing the market research industry, global non-profit Women in Research (WIRe) and Unilever. Tot will be pursuing an English-based Bachelor Degree program in International Business at the National University of Management (NUM), Cambodia.

“We are so pleased to see the market research community continue to see the value in funding scholarships in economically challenged regions, the latest being in Cambodia. This scholarship will provide Esther the opportunity to pursue her studies in order to enter a rewarding career in market research.” says John Kearon, President, ESOMAR Foundation, “Our partnership with WIRe and Unilever is incredibly valuable in investing in future talent like Esther.”

The recipient, Esther Tot, is a Cambodian native from a disadvantaged socio-economic background. Through the scholarship, Esther will have the opportunity to pursue her degree and a future career in market research. Through funding the education of women like Esther, the organizations involved help to advance the voice of minority women in the market research industry.

Women in Research (WIRe) raised the funding for the scholarship through outreach to their global community, and funds raised were supported by a matching donation from Unilever. WIRe is the only non-profit organization solely dedicated to the advancement of women in the market research industry, providing career development and educational opportunities for women while supporting gender diversity initiatives. Unilever, a global consumer goods company with a strong focus on charitable initiatives—especially in emerging markets—matched the WIRe community’s contribution dollar for dollar to the scholarship fund.

“The ESOMAR Foundation scholarship initiative aligns perfectly with our goal of advancing the contributions and voice of women in research.” says Kristin Luck, founder of Women in Research. “Ongoing support from our community for these types of scholarship programs reinforces that arming women with the tools they need for success is of great importance to our global community. We are so pleased to be able to help Esther achieve her educational goals.”

Based on the success of this Scholarship program, ESOMAR Foundation and WIRe plan to continue to collaborate in 2018 to fund additional scholarship initiatives in emerging or disadvantaged markets.

About ESOMAR Foundation
ESOMAR Foundation is a charitable Foundation representing the Market, Social and Opinion Research industry. Our industry has a wealth of knowledge and experience that can be applied to every aspect of society to ensure a more transparent, reliable and sustainable world. The ESOMAR Foundation is the charity arm of ESOMAR, the global industry association of market, social and opinion research. http://www.esomarfoundation.org

About Women in Research 
Women in Research (WIRe) is the only non-profit organization solely dedicated to the advancement of women in the market research industry, supporting educational programming and networking events across five continents. WIRe programming also facilitates leadership, entrepreneurship, mentoring and other career development goals. WIRe’s mission is to advance the contributions and voice of women in research, both for themselves and the greater good of the market research industry. www.womeninresearch.org

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Media Contact: Jessica Sage, jessica@womeninresearch.org

Make every moment worth remembering

This is the fourth blog-post from Paola Loy Villagran, the recipient of the ESOMAR Foundation scholarship in Guatemala. 

I am glad to confirm that I completed the first year of studies. Thank God, grades were good but I must admit that it was quite a challenge. I followed a statistics class with a pretty demanding teacher, so I was very busy between exams, group work, homeworks, tutorials and many others.

Honestly, everything was for a good reason because I learned a lot about statistics theories, probabilities techniques using mathematics and above all how to make decisions based on data. It was a year of much learning and profersional growth. I am very excited about the new courses and challenges that are coming.

In my personal life, I admit that Christmas is my favorite time of the year, I love to spend time with my family and friends. In Guatemala, it is celebrated in a specific way because we have many religious and old traditions that people respect, like:

 “Quema del diablo,” or “the burning of the devil,” that occurs every December 7th. Piñatas designed to be the devil are burned as a symbol of releasing any negative energy or letting go of any bad things from the past year.

“Posada” a procession that symbolizes the journey that Mary and Joseph made from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Each night, a wooden float with the statues of Mary and Joseph is carried to three different houses. At the first two houses, a part of the group in the procession enters the house and performs a dialogue; those carrying the float are denied entrance, symbolizing those who turned away Mary and Joseph. At the third house, Mary and Joseph are allowed to enter and are placed in a designated area, generally by the Nativity scene.

 “Nacimiento” the Nativity Scene is the central piece of Christmas decorations in Guatemala. If the Nativity Scene dolls are big enough, the baby Jesus is formally dressed in a white gown on New Year’s Day.

During this time, I also had the opportunity to help a friend I met years ago, but the interesting thing about this story is that he and other friends formed a nonprofit organization called “Heroes of Happiness” with the objective of helping families living in situations of poverty in the country. Especially in this time of sharing and helping people in need we organized activities for children from various communities so they could share with Santa and receive a gift.

Children waiting for Santa!
Families receiving bags of food.

In addition to that, we also prepared bags with food so that people can have a better nutrition during these months. Our next project is to build houses so that people in need can live in a better place and prevent fires and diseases caused by drastic temperature changes.

Houses destroyed by fire in a poor community.

Happy New Year to all, I wish all your dreams come true. Make this new year full of joy, peace and purpose.

 

How you can support Paola

If you wish to support Paola and be the donor of this scholarship, we would be happy to connect and provide you more information. Please contact: info@esomarfoundation.org

How you can support in your country

If you are a market researcher, a national market research association, an NGO involved in research or a university interested in a scholarship in your country please contact us at info@esomarfoundation.org

Partners & Sponsors

We are always on the lookout for partners and sponsors. If you are an organisation looking to understand more on how you can support us, please find more information here or contact:  info@esomarfoundation.org 

 

 

How to make a difference and bring out the holiday spirit!

This is the fourth blog from Nutsa Kvitashvili who is following the BA Program of Sociology at Caucasus School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Nutsa is the recipient of the ESOMAR Foundation Scholarship sponsored by Inizio.

I’m halfway through the first semester of my 4th year at Caucasus University and everything is going pretty well. I wrote my last midterm few days ago so it was a busy month for me. In this semester I study very interesting subjects such as sociology of education, sociology of religion and so on but sociology of arts and visual sociology are my favorite subjects. I have great lecturers in every subject. It’s my senior year in university, so during classes we are more focused on discussions and seminars rather than quizzes. The homeworks are so interesting that I’m reading them like an adventure book.

Every year my university (Caucasus University) has a lot of fun activities during the holiday season to cheer up students. In the hallway we have charity boxes so students can put warm clothes, toys, Christmas trees and food in them, and all those things will be donated to children’s orphanage and to the families with social vulnerabilities. This kind of activities really make a difference and brings out the holiday spirit.

Also, we have activities like Secret Santa which is a Christmas game. If you want to be a part of this game you have to register on the site and each registered student will receive a name but doesn’t tell which name they got and after registration they are responsible for the gift for the person they received. All the gifts are placed in a general area for opening at a designated time and each recipient then finds out who their Secret Santa is. Students, university managers and workers are participating in this game so this time of the year in our university is filled with a holiday atmosphere.

I finished my midterm exams so now I’m looking forward to holiday vacations. This year I will spend new year with my family and my friends at the holiday dinner. Christmas is a time for making new memories, cherish friends, family and it’s the season of loving and sharing the spirit of the holiday season. I want to wish a merry Christmas and a happy new year to you, may this new year bring you peace, love, joy and happiness for you and your loved ones.

How you can support

If you are a market researcher, a national market research association, an NGO involved in research or a university interested in a scholarship in your country please contact us at info@esomarfoundation.org

Partners & Sponsors

We are always on the lookout for partners and sponsors. If you are an organisation looking to understand more on how you can support us, please find more information here or contact:  info@esomarfoundation.org

    

 

 

To a More Sustainable World Through Education

Dilek Ozler thoughts on her experience as a volunteer trainer at a series of workshops run in Sri Lanka on behalf of the ESOMAR Foundation

 

 

Dilek Ozler is Sr. Consumer & Market Insight Manager, People Data Center at Unilever and Executive Coordinator, Paragon Partnerships

One of the most important Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among the 17 that got adopted by all UN member countries unanimously in September of 2015 is “Quality Education”.  In fact, when the citizens of Developing Countries are polled to express the SDG that most matters to them and their families, “Goal #4: Quality Education” consistently comes up at the top.  It all starts with education!

Paragon Partnerships

In my view, the second most important SDG is “Goal #17: Partnerships for the Goals”.  Nobody can single handedly implement the goals on their own.  It all requires alliances, partnerships and working with others to find the best way to implement the SDGs in the short time frame that we have until it is too late for our world.  That is why, I decided to commit part of my time and brain power to Paragon Partnerships.  Paragon is an organization spearheaded by our CMI EVP Stan Sthanunathan, with the sole purpose of helping UN, Governments, Academia and NGOs with the measurement of progress and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.  It is a global network of market research companies and their clients coming together to provide pro-bono market research assistance in the shape of consultancy, training, ad-hoc researches, or adding questions to the already running questionnaires.  And I am privileged to be running it globally, trying to bring demand and supply together to help with SDGs.

Training the Market Research Society of Sri Lanka

In late November, I found the opportunity to volunteer at an activity that brings these 2 SDGs together.  In collaboration with ESOMAR Foundation, I co-facilitated a workshop to train the researchers of Market Research Society of Sri Lanka (MRSS), representing Paragon and Unilever.  The main purpose was to provide education to researchers in Sri Lanka that do not have the local resources or experience to deliver training themselves, with the ultimate objective of having more non-profit sector/NGOs come to them with market research requests; and hence help with SDGs.

The whole experience was one to remember and the 20-hour flight from New York City to Colombo was well worth it!  The facility where the training was held was right by the Indian Ocean, with unforgettable sunset views.  And, I was impressed to see the level of patriotism and the loyalty that the Sri Lankans have towards their country.  The 2-day training workshop kicked off with everyone singing the Sri Lankan national anthem, followed by the most memorable moment of oil lamp lighting ceremony.  The Exco of the MRSS, the ESOMAR Foundation representative (Phyllis Macfarlane) and I took turns lighting a tall oil lamp, which was brought to the venue for this purpose.  According to Sri Lankan tradition, it signifies “joining and becoming one”, which was quite appropriate to the overall objective.  We trained, in total, around 100 researchers during the course of the 2 days, and they were all in their best outfits throughout, with the female Exco members in their beautiful and colorful saris.

The hospitality and willingness to help of everyone I met in Sri Lanka was notable.  The delegates were coming from different market research agencies, all with varying degrees of experience.  And the most heartening thing was to see the enthusiasm and the attention they showed throughout the 2 days.

Upskilling researchers

The agenda for the training was split by Qualitative vs. Quantitative research, each through the lens of how to ensure quality market research, telling stories with data, and getting insights that are actionable.  There was also focus on the future of market research, where we touched upon topics like online research, using Social Media and Big Data, as well as using Video for impact on decision making, and Behavioral Economics.  The feedback we got was that their experience was truly inspiring and eye opening. The researchers were enthused to try out new things and embrace the changes that are taking place.  And I feel we have made them more aware of the shifts that are occurring in the global market research space.  And I was pleasantly surprised in the last day of the workshop when the MRSSS Exco showed us the newspaper article on Sri Lanka Daily Financial Times that featured us and the whole event.  That was definitely an assurance that our contributions were truly appreciated.

I also had the chance to meet Sajeevani Hewage, the CMI Manager in Unilever Sri Lanka, who helped us with her contributions in terms of learnings and case studies during this event.

NGOs and charities

I feel so lucky to be part of this experience!  While I helped improve the skill level of market researchers in a developing country, I also contributed in increasing their likelihood to provide help to NGOs, and charities.  These NGOs and charities are all working towards goals that are very much aligned with SDGs, i.e. women`s wellbeing, etc.  And therefore, through this activity I feel I ultimately helped with the SDGs. The additional bonus we got was also the fact that by upskilling these researchers, we were also making sure they provide higher quality market research to Unilever as their client!

All-in-all it was a great experience and I am so grateful that my organization and my leadership management supported me in this journey!

Our thanks go to The Sri Lankan Market Research Association, Himalee Madurasinghe, ESOMAR Representative and CEO Kantar Sri Lanka; Roshani Fernando, COO at Quantum Consumer Solutions for making this new ESOMAR Foundation training session a success!

Training in Sri Lanka – A review by Phyllis Macfarlane

On 21-23 November Phyllis Macfarlane, Treasurer of the ESOMAR Foundation and Global Training Programme Manager at GfK, Dilek Ozler, Sr. Consumer & Market Insight Manager, People Data Center & Unilever Executive Coordinator of the Paragon Partnership and Sajeevani Hewage, Consumer & Market Insight Manager, Unilever Sri Lanka, addressed the Sri Lankan Market Research, Marketing and Sales fraternity with a programme including qualitative and quantitative advanced research training, a special session on the future of market research and a knowledge forum for senior industry leaders.

Part of ESOMAR Foundation’s mission is to provide training in smaller, developing markets that do not have the resources to develop such training for themselves.

So far we have run 2 training workshops in Myanmar, and one in Kenya, and this year we had a request from the Sri Lankan Market Research Association to support them.

Sri Lanka is emerging very dynamically and successfully, it appears, from years of internal conflict within the country, which only ended some 10 years ago. And the recently set up MR Association is full of plans and energy to get their MR industry onto a thoroughly modern footing, and growing!

Change is in the air!

How exciting to be a country at a point where you have just successfully transferred (almost) all your F2F fieldwork to CAPI  – and internet and smartphone penetration are both at 35% and growing.  You have a real opportunity to learn from what has happened elsewhere in the world, and plan for a whole new online and digital future. Perhaps able to leapfrog technology (online data collection going straight to smartphone, for example?) and learning and utilising all the new tech and opportunities that are available.

And from a training point of view – how refreshing to be there at a point where change is in the air. To be able to emphasise the values of traditional MR skills (and help enhance them) and also to demonstrate how these skills translate into the new age digital of MR. In fact, the training couldn’t have been timed better.

What did we do?

Our Hosts were determined to get the most out of us. Beforehand we had discussed various scenarios, and we ended up with a really packed and interesting agenda. We spent one very full day on Quantitative research – focussing on quality and insight and adding value (50 attendees), and a very full half day on Qualitative research – again focussing on qualitative data collection, analysis and insight and how to communicate research to have more impact (38 attendees).

And then a full half day (100 attendees!) on the Future of Research where we covered: quantitative research, qualitative research, passive measurement, Social Media, Big Data, and Behavioural Economics – Phew!

From the feedback I think we did inspire some young researchers to look into these new areas and make them their own.

And then, on the final day, we did a breakfast presentation for clients (c 90 attendees) – who were a very impressive lot, interested mainly in return on research investment (what else?!), and who asked very difficult questions – mainly about the future of communications, social media, Big Data etc. As I mentioned earlier – it’s clear that Sri Lanka is determined to become a very modern business centre – and, based on the people I met there, I think they are very likely to succeed!

Inspiring!

It is always inspiring to meet researchers from other countries – particularly developing ones – and hear about their concerns and aspirations, and  perhaps be able to help and advise them on how to tackle the issues, and also on how to learn new things to achieve their ambitions. It’s also inspiring for me to consider their unique market and how they might develop it. But the workshop was also an opportunity to meet the committed and charismatic Sri Lankan research leaders, and my fellow trainers: Unilever colleagues – Dilek Ozler and Sajeevani Hewage.

Dilek and I have been working very well together on Paragon for nearly 2 years now and we had never actually met – it seems strange to have to travel half way round the world to actually meet – but that’s what happened! And Sajeevani, a young but very experienced Sri Lankan researcher, had great stories about the local industry – which is such an important context in any training programme.

We were very happy to work together to deliver this series of Workshops, which we hope had an effect on everyone who attended.

Training NGOs

Our next task as ESOMAR Foundation is to develop this training programme for NGO researchers. Their language and requirements are very different from our usual commercial clients – so we can’t deliver the same content – it needs to be tailored to their needs.  Do let us know if you have any experience or ideas as to how we should do this, we would love to hear from you.

Our thanks go to The Sri Lankan Market Research Association, Himalee Madurasinghe, ESOMAR Representative and CEO Kantar Sri Lanka; Roshani Fernando, COO at Quantum Consumer Solutions for making this new ESOMAR Foundation training session a success!

Nicolin hopes to find employment!

The end of the year is fast-approaching and I am not looking forward to searching for new hobbies to keep me occupied. I doubt I will be visiting my family this Christmas due to the fact that I have not found employment as yet. However, I have to remain positive for the sake of sanity.

The exam season ended on the 24th of November, just the day before the 25th being my birthday! A great way to end the exams. I also presented to Colgate-Palmolive on the 27th of November with Patience, Ridwanaah and Farzaana (the girls who attended the SAMRA conference with me).

The presentation was based on an assignment we wrote on ways to improve the sales of the Colgate toothpaste in informal stores around South Africa. Hopefully the company will consider recruiting us after listening to our creative ideas. We can only pray!

The scholarship awarded to Nicolin was sponsored by SSI and in collaboration with SAMRA.

Developing the Impact of Research in Sri Lanka

This year the ESOMAR Foundation training programme will conclude with a series of events taking place in Colombo in cooperation with the Market Research Society of Sri Lanka, MRSSL.

On 21-23 November Phyllis Macfarlane, Treasurer of the ESOMAR Foundation and Global Training Programme Manager at GfK, Dilek Ozler, Sr. Consumer & Market Insight Manager, People Data Center & Unilever Executive Coordinator of the Paragon Partnership and Sajeevani Hewage, Consumer & Market Insight Manager, Unilever Sri Lanka, will address the Sri Lankan Market Research, Marketing and Sales fraternity with a programme including qualitative and quantitative advanced research training, a special session on the future of market research and a knowledge forum for senior industry leaders.

Phyllis Macfarlane
Dilek Ozler
Sajeevani Ewage

We offer training for the purpose of improving the quality of market research in emerging and developing economies. We hope that through this effort we will be able to stimulate both young and experienced researchers to stand back and think about their work and the future of MR.  We wish to provide the opportunity to researchers to develop and adapt approaches which are suitable for them and their culture.

Watch this space for a review of this exciting training programme!