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UN SDG Global Festival of Action – 1500 people determined to change the world – what could be better?!!

A review by Phyllis Macfarlane, ESOMAR Foundation Board Member

At the beginning of May I had the unprecedented pleasure of attending the UN SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Festival of Action, which has been held annually in Bonn, Germany, since the SDG’s were launched in 2015. I just can’t tell you how energizing and inspiring it is to be in the company of 1500 mostly young people (I think I might have been the oldest person there!) who are all doing their best to make the world a better place – either through their jobs or by setting up their own NfP organisations (or both). And it was fun, as well!

The Festival aims to share different perspectives, test and accelerate new ideas, and build an environment where the SDGs become a priority for political engagement, democratic participation and personal behaviour, while deepening the coalition for SDG action. That’s what it says on the website. For me what came across was the emphasis on personal action – that unless we each take action as individuals then things won’t change. One of the overall themes was the ‘butterfly effect’ – the phenomenon that small actions started in one place can have big consequences all around the world, and …

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,

The hand can’t hit what the eye can’t see…

…was the very unexpected quotation we had thrown at us at the beginning of the second day’s plenary session.

Both surprising and unexpected because it sounds quite aggressive, and the first day had been very celebratory, showcasing the Awards and all that had been achieved. But on the second day we settled down to the serious business of facing up to how much still needs to be done – hence to the emphasis on individual action – and also to an exploration of measurement (my favourite subject!). So the phrase – the hand can’t hit what the eye can’t see… is actually extremely relevant. You will remember that ESOMAR Foundation supports Paragon Partnerships, and that Paragon’s main objective is to help the UN measure progress with the SDG’s.

I was at the Festival with Hayk Gyuzalyan, expert social researcher, at the invitation of the UN SDG Action Group, and representing Paragon Partnerships. I was invited to be a judge of the UN SDG Action Awards, and Hayk to talk about the questionnaire library that we (mostly he) has developed to measure awareness and perceptions of progress with the SDG’s at country level.

Judging the Awards was an awesome experience – they had over 2000 entries from 142 countries and the quality was unbelievably high. These are very prestigious awards. There were 7 categories:   innovators, mobilizers, connectors, storytellers, communicators, visualizers and includers – clever names, aren’t they? All themes and activities which help spread good deeds and the word across the globe!

I was on the judging panel for Story tellers and Visualisers, and I presented the Award for the Visualiser category.  The winner was my personal favourite: Safecity  – who have created a platform that crowdsources personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces, in India. This data gets aggregated as hot spots on a map indicating trends at a very local level. The idea is to make this data useful for individuals, local communities and local administration (like the police!) to identify factors that causes behaviour that leads to violence and work on strategies for solutions. It allows us a new perspective at looking at the problem and trying to solve it. or sexual violence

Hayk spoke at a session on MyWorld which is an online questionnaire/survey about awareness of the SDG’s  – we, as researchers, want a proper nationally representative random sample approach, and can be a bit ‘sniffy’ about unrepresentative  samples – but for the UN SDG Action Group there’s also the concept of the survey as a voice of the people – of those who care. Governments have to take notice of such ‘voices’ these days.

So, two new concepts to think about : firstly research as an expression of popular tension – like a petition – the voice of those who care enough to say something – and secondly the new power of youth expressing through individual actions the desire for global change, justice, peace and equality – in many ways the exact opposite of current political ‘populist’ thinking movements which are about conservatism and localness, preservation of the status quo and suspicion of others/outsiders. Technology is, of course, the new enabler, for everyone, but the leadership and commitment of the young people that I met in Bonn, makes me bet that they’ll win in the long run.

As from all good events, I came away with a different perspective – full of respect for the young people who want to change the world and are not going to be beaten down – but also with a new view of research as a ‘voice ‘for the NfP sector. And, after all, that’s what ESOMAR Foundation and Paragon are all about – we want donors and implementors to do research to listen to the voice of the people they are trying to help. And, by listening better, to make more of a difference.

Phyllis Macfarlane ESOMAR Foundation Treasurer and Board Member

Making a Difference Competition Extension – New Deadline April 29th


Deadline for applications extended until April 29th

Due to demand, the new deadline for the Making a Difference Competition is e.o.d. April 29th. You now have 10 extra days to submit your entries and have the chance to present your work on the main stage of the ESOMAR Congress in Edinburgh. We’d be thrilled to receive your proposals!


Check out some of the previous winners of the Making a Difference Competition.




EF announces partnership and board appointment

We are very pleased to announce that Frédéric-Charles Petit, CEO of ITWP Group, Founder and CEO of Toluna, CEO of Harris Interactive Europe has taken yet another challenge and has joined the ESOMAR Foundation Board. This decision is part of the partnership agreement signed by Toluna Group for ESOMAR Foundation’s webinar programme. Toluna identified the immense benefit of the Foundation’s Educational programme and offered to support it by sponsoring the annual webinar series whilst keeping its non-commercial aspect.

Frédéric holds a master’s degree in comparative jurisprudence from New York University and a diploma in advanced studies in international economic law from the Sorbonne in Paris (D. E. A.). He practiced as a French lawyer in the corporate department of Allen & Overy’s Paris office before establishing Toluna in May 2000.

Frédéric and his team acquired several companies over the course of Toluna’s development and they have grown the company from one individual based in Paris to a global company of more than 1,200 staff in 21 offices on 4 continents. Frédéric is an industry visionary and speaks often among industry leaders about the transformation of market research, impacts of automation and more. His mission is to revolutionize the way brands and consumers engage with one another, with the ultimate objective of transforming the market research industry into a real-time, mass market and social experience.

“The work that the ESOMAR Foundation is doing is aligned with my vision for the consumer insights industry.  Our goal is to democratize market research, and by supporting the ESOMAR Foundation, and work, we can ensure that developing markets have access to the power that consumer insights provide” he said.

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.

About Toluna

Toluna is a leading digital market research and technology company. A pioneer in the dynamic world of marketing research, data collection, reporting and visualization, Toluna brings together people and brands in the world’s largest social voting community. Built and driven by experts in consumer intelligence, Toluna does not only integrate industry-leading technologies into their platform but also maintains its online community of influencers—the world’s largest—who are highly engaged and ready to respond at a moment’s notice. ITWP Acquisitions Ltd. is a private investment firm that is the sole shareholder in Toluna, Harris Interactive Europe, and KuRunData.

About ESOMAR Foundation Board 

The ESOMAR Foundation is governed by a 6 member board, consisting of four full board member appointments and two representatives of the ESOMAR Supervisory Board.

ESOMAR Council appoints new ESOMAR Foundation board member

Amsterdam, 30 January: At the first ESOMAR Council meeting of 2019, Nijat Mammadbayli was appointed Council Representative to the ESOMAR Foundation board. The decision was made unanimously by the ESOMAR council members. He will replace Pervin Olgun, who held the position of Representative of the Supervisory Board previously.

Nijat is a young and ambitious Senior Analyst specializing in consumer research in FMCG and Telecom. He has over 3 years of experience in helping multinational clients answering complex business questions as well as executing non-standard pricing and communications studies. He has a strong interest in learning how to have a positive impact by doing Social Research. In 2017, Nijat led a team that won the ESOMAR Corporate Young Professional Award for his work on “Turning a Corner on Negative Perceptions of Refugees in Europe”.

Nijat holds an MSc degree in Marketing Management from the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. By having international mind-set (born in Azerbaijan, lived in the Netherlands, South Korea, and the UK) and being multilingual gives him a better perspective in working with different cultures and mindsets.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nijat to our board, we are hoping that his energy and enthusiasm will bring a fresh and important perspective to our work to help us make the world a better place”, said John Kearon, President of the ESOMAR Foundation.

Calling on SDG Advocacy change makers

Paragons Partnerships member, UN SDG Action Campaign is running the 2nd edition of the UN Sustainable Development Goals Awards.

The United Nations SDG Action Campaign is a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General administered by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and mandated to support the UN system-wide and the Member States on advocacy and public engagement in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) implementation. The UN SDG Action Campaign aims to mobilize and inspire individuals and organizations to take action and join the global movement for the SDGs, while connecting people’s actions and perceptions with decision makers in SDG planning and review processes at all levels.

The UN SDG Action Campaign inspires and empowers people with knowledge, platforms and tools to share their opinions and experiences and actively contribute towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

The UN SDG Action Awards recognize the most brilliant individuals, civil society organizations, subnational governments, foundations, networksprivate sector leaders who are working on SDG advocacy to advance the global movement for the Sustainable Development Goals in the most transformative, impactful and innovative way.

To enter a project or initiative please prepare the application by filling in this form.

The window for submissions runs until 30 January 2019 with all shortlisted finalists being notified by March.

Read more on UN SDG Action and its relationship with the ESOMAR Foundation.


Join the Making a Difference Competition 2019

The 2nd edition of Making a Difference competition is now open for entries. The centrepiece of the ‘Making a Difference’ programme aims to highlight and promote how research has made a real difference to Not-for-Profits. The competition is open to all non-profit case studies whether they are international, national or local.

This competition plans to raise awareness of the impact of great research on Not-For-Profits by offering a platform for these stories to be heard.

The winners of the competition will be announced at ESOMAR’s Asia Pacific Conference on the 22nd May. The winning authors together with their NFP counterparts will be invited to present their work during a special ‘Making a Difference’ session at the ESOMAR Congress, in Edinburgh, in September 2019. The Congress provides amazing exposure and an ideal opportunity for networking and promotion.

  • It encourages excellence, educates and motivates the industry to produce great research on and for Not-For-Profits
  • Share your work with your peers for mutually beneficial inspiration and learning.
  • The competition will highlight ‘Make a Difference’ case studies to massively increase the overall impact of market research in building a better world!
  • Your work will be promoted throughout the year on all our platforms
  • Win a category and an award, receive a trophy
  • Participate and present at the ESOMAR Congress in Edinburgh, the biggest event in the market research industry
  • It’s a fun, challenging and exciting way to share your work.
  • All non-profit cases are welcome whether they are international, national or local!
  • You may showcase any innovative and insightful research work
  • There is no limit of entries per author
  • Each case-study must have a separate application

New entries deadline: 29th of April 2019

Check out some of the previous winners of the Making a Difference Competition


A feel-good story

At the end of 2018, ESOMAR Foundation and the ESOMAR staff were involved in one memorable Charitable activity. Throughout the month of December, we have managed to collect at our office in Amsterdam clothes, accessories, toys and other goods for adults and children in need.

Joining hands with the local organisation Surf the Earth Project – STEP, we had reached several remote rural communities in Bacau county, Moldova region of Romania. Together, we managed to offer a Christmas present to individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds (social, economic, geographic). 330 kilos of goods, accessories, and clothes traveled from Amsterdam to Romania and were added to the collection of the local campaign.

A total of 700 bags and backpacks equipped with school supplies were offered to school children in 8 villages from 2 counties of Nord-East Romania (Bacau, Vaslui). The campaign exceeded the initial expectations with the help received from the ESOMAR Foundation.

Please take some time and enjoy this selection of photos which were taken during the first day of Christmas when the children received their presents.

not easy to get there

The ESOMAR Foundation would like to thank the ESOMAR staff and everyone that took part in this lovely activity. We would like to extend our best wishes to all our beneficiaries, partners and supporters.

In the year ahead, we are looking forward to working with you to make the world a better place!

Paragon Partnerships wins the MRS President’s Medal!

14 December 2018 – Paragon Partnerships, supported by ESOMAR Foundation, won the MRS President’s Medal which is awarded annually to an organisation that has conducted extraordinary research but who might not be recognised through the usual channels.

On choosing the winner, Jan Gooding, President of MRS, said:

“I was immensely impressed by what was achieved on a voluntary basis. It was a huge act of generosity on the part of everyone involved. At a time when the UN can find itself justifying its work and existence, when the problems in the world are so huge, this kind of collaboration to provide evidence of effectiveness is something to be celebrated and applauded.”

Paragon Partnerships was launched in 2016, by Stan Sthanunathan of Unilever, in response to the UN’s 17th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) – the call for private sector partnerships to help the UN achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) by 2030.

The programme calls on the private sector to help the UN achieve its SDG’s by 2030. The UN SDG Action Campaign, along with Paragon Partnerships member Kantar Public, developed and tested a question library of almost 100 SDG questions. This huge project constituted the first step to enable countries to measure their journey to the accomplishment of the SDGs in a consistent way. Data from the library was presented at a UN High-Level Political Forum in July 2018 and is also publically available for any government organisation or NGO to use. Read more on Paragon and its relationship with the ESOMAR Foundation.


More information:

The UN SDG Action Campaign is an inter-agency special initiative of the UN Secretary-General to scale up, broaden, and sustain the global movement to take action for the SDGs. The UN SDG Action Campaign aims to mobilize and inspire individuals and organizations to take action and join the global movement for the SDGs, while connecting people’s actions and perceptions with decision makers in SDG planning and review processes at all levels.

Paragon Partnerships was launched at Impact 2016, the MRS Annual Conference, by Stan Sthanunathan of Unilever in response to the UN’s 17th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). The programme calls on the private sector to help the UN achieve the SDGs by 2030.

The Market Research Society (MRS) is the UK professional body for research, insight and analytics. MRS recognizes 5,000 individual members and over 500 accredited Company Partners in over 50 countries who are committed to delivering outstanding insight. As the regulator, they promote the highest professional standards throughout the sector via the MRS Code of Conduct.


ESOMAR Foundation, Women In Research, and Unilever Fund Scholarship in Guatemala

Scholarship awarded to Maria Paola Loy Villagran in Guatemala to pursue MS in market research at Universidad Rafael Landivar

 11 December 2018 – Amsterdam, NLThe ESOMAR Foundation—a charitable organization representing the market research industry—in cooperation with global non-profit Women in Research (WIRe) and Unilever, recently funded a scholarship benefiting a female student entering into an market research related field of study in Guatemala. The scholarship has been awarded to recipient Maria Paola Loy Villagran, who will be pursuing a Master of Science in Marketing with a focus on Market Research, at Universidad Rafael Landivar.

“We are ever so grateful to WIRe and Unilever for providing the opportunity to Paola to pursue her studies in the market research field,” says John Kearon, ESOMAR Foundation President. “It is through their generousity and support that we can ensure that talented students in need can fulfill their dream of a better life”

This year’s scholarship recipient, Maria Paola Loy Villagran, is a Guatemalan native from a disadvantaged socio-economic background. Through the scholarship, Paola will have the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree and, in the future, a career in market research. Through funding the education of women like Paola, the organizations involved help to advance the voice of women in the market research industry as well as the voice of Guatemalan women in the practice. Upon receiving word that the scholarship had been funded, Paola remarked that “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard WORK!”

Women in Research (WIRe) raised the funding for the scholarship through outreach to their global community, receiving a generous outpouring of gifts and support on Giving Tuesday: an international day of giving. These gifts were further supported by a matching donation from Unilever. WIRe is the only non-profit organization solely dedicated to the advancement of women and underrepresented communities in the market research industry, providing career development and educational opportunities for women while supporting a variety of 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 for the scholarship fund. ESOMAR Foundation, WIRe and Unilever have previously collaborated to award scholarships in Kenya and Cambodia.

“We are thrilled that, for the third year in a row, the WIRe community and market research industry have come together to amplify underrepresented voices in this industry through the continued support of WIRe’s Global Scholarship Fund,” says Kristin Luck, founder of Women in Research, “The aims of the ESOMAR Foundation and this scholarship initiative align perfectly with WIRe’s mission to advance the contributions of women in market research while fostering a more vibrant and just industry for all. We’re pleased to offer this support to Paola as she advances in her studies with the goal of a career in Market Research and I’m humbled by the WIRe community’s continued enthusiasm regarding this initiative.”The ESOMAR Foundation and WIRe plan to continue to collaborate in 2019 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) champions diversity in the marketing research industry by arming women with the tools to develop professionally, build connections and stay inspired. We believe in the positive impact of women in business. Our mission is to advance the contributions and voice of women in research, both for themselves and for the greater good of the industry. www.womeninresearch.org


 Media Contact:Jessica Sage, jessica@womeninresearch.org, +1 (760) 933-7274

Esomar Foundation logo

ESOMAR Foundation webinar: Focus on Design and Taking Action


The 4th and last webinar of the What different Qualitative Approaches can be used to achieve various objectives?” series will focus on research design and action. The webinar will give listeners an overall understanding of how to design and deliver a qualitative project that will really make a difference to their Not-for-Profit organisation’s impact.

The first speaker, Astrid Novianti, will talk about a particularly challenging project that was conducted in Indonesia – a very important, high profile and ‘political’ subject, with a sensitive and difficult audience – how did she make sure that the research design was right? That all aspects were covered? That the findings really drove the action strategy?

The subject of the study was Stunting – which is the impaired growth and development of children caused by poor nutrition and repeated infection resulting in their height being two standard deviations below the WHO Standards. Stunting in the first 1000 days from conception, has adverse consequences on cognition, educational performance, adult wages. It’s not a “visible” illness and goes undetected in the early days. Behavior change in health and nutrition leading to prevention of stunting is a key task in emerging markets.

Indonesia has a higher incidence of stunting among ASEAN Countries …1 in 3 children. The government of Indonesia has committed to an integrated National Nutrition Communication Campaign (NNCC) for behavior change targeted at individuals, communities, and stakeholders to minimize stunting. To this end, IMA World Health was commissioned by MCA Indonesia to design and implement an effective NNCC resulting in behavior change and lower stunting incidence.

Kantar TNS Indonesia conducted the in-depth study for understanding of knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, and behavior related to mother and child nutrition and stunting – to identify the motivators and deterrents to desired behavior, including the role of different influencers and influences to aid integrated communication strategy development covering message and media/touchpoint strategies.

Astrid will share the difficulties, the thought process she went through, and what has been done as a result of the insights generated.

In the second part, we will have three speakers, Emmanuel, Barbara and Astrid, who want to share their very current experience around another difficult, sensitive and political topic – corruption in voting behavior in Kenya. They will offer insights into a qualitative research in progress on voter integrity in rural Kenya. After losing a successful grassroots campaign in the August 2017 general election they started collecting voices among the local campaigners, to document the process and gather first information on what might have happened.

“Corruption” turned out to be a complex multivariate concept, that needs further exploration to reframe it, learn from it and make it fruitful for future democratic development. But how? They will share how they will prepare for the second round of research in January 2019 to deepen our understanding of voter decision making and concepts of democracy that will provide the database for further action, as an information-based support network for upcoming local politicians and civic education training for this rural community.

They look for ideas and contribution from you, the audience. It is a very challenging assignment – how do you get people to talk to you honestly about such a topic, in a way that helps you know what to change? Do you have relevant experience that you can share?


A lifelong market researcher currently working on the GfK Verein’s University Cooperation Programme to improve the quality of education in Market Research in Africa and China.
Astrid is a team leader in TNS qualitative unit in Indonesia. She is a psychologist graduated from the University of Indonesia and have her Master of Science degree from Rijks Universiteit Groningen, the Netherlands, and with more than 10 years of research experience, she has the passion of understanding human behavior. With the rich experience of working both in the research agency side as well as consumer and market insights role with two different multinational clients (Heinz & Samsung). Astrid is an expert in providing deep and sharp analysis with an excellent understanding of business issues. She also provides added value of cultural context and psychological aspect beyond the findings.
Emmanuel Karisa Baya is an organic farmer from the coastal province of Kenya. He is the founder and executive director of Magarini-Centre, a CBO that teaches organic farming and supports 252 orphan children. In the 2017 general election he ran I for a seat in the local council (MCA) and is since then leading the local voter empowerment project Soil Peace in his community.

Barbara Kalusche is a senior qualitative research consultant based in Dresden, Germany. For the past five years, she has been using her psychology, journalism and deep democracy facilitation background to create forums for deeper understanding in highly polarized environments e.g. by developing facilitating-deutschland and oneworlddresden a platform for German and rural Kenyan students to connect.

Astrid Kunert is the co-founder and strategist of QMR, the Munich based Institute for high-end qualitative research. With more than two decades of market and social research experience, Astrid and her team have served national and international clients in a wide variety of industries including automotive, financial services, media as well as government institutions and NGOs.


We look forward to hearing from you next Wednesday, 28 November 2018, 17:00 CET for an enlightening discussion!