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Public Awareness of HIV Epidemic in Ukraine

Ukraine has the second-largest HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In 2016, 240,000 people were living with HIV – 120,000 more than in 2010.

Annual new HIV infections in the country have risen from 9,500 in 2010 to 17,000 in 2016, although the infection rate slowed down in 2014 and 2015, suggesting recent prevention measures are having a positive effect. However, recent gains are being threatened by the military conflict that broke out in 2014.

The research on Public Awareness of HIV Epidemic in Ukraine has been conducted by GfK Ukraine annually starting from 2013 for Public Health Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and funded by GIZ. The last wave of the research was conducted in November 2017.

The objective of the research is to evaluate the awareness of the State All-Ukrainian Informational Campaign “Don’t Give AIDS a Chance!” implemented with the Public Health Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, and to measure HIV and AIDS-related knowledge, behaviour, and attitudes in Ukraine.

The research presents the detailed overview of public awareness of HIV/AIDS, general public attitude to HIV issues, the practice of responsible behaviour – condom use and HIV testing – and the level of tolerance towards HIV-positive people. It covers four main levels of perception of PLWH: the perception of unfamiliar PLWH (Bogardus scale), perception of acquaintances in case of getting HIV, perception of the acquaintances that are PLWH, and perception of HIV-positive children.

Thus the survey shows trends in changes of public opinion, attitudes and level of knowledge of HIV/AIDS topics. The study of the latter issue is very detailed. Specifically, there are the questions of HIV transmission via unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex.  Ukrainians know about HIV transmission via oral and anal sex significantly less often than via vaginal sex.

This data can serve as a basis for NGOs and state institutions in the planning and realization of effective interventions/initiatives in the field of HIV/AIDS.

The sample size of 2,260 interviews includes 1,000 respondents aged over 15 years for a nationally representative sample and boosters of 1,260, which were conducted in order to have the sufficient sample for the analysis of the population aged 15-24 and the population of the two target regions of the State All-Ukrainian Informational Campaign “Don’t Give AIDS a Chance!”.

Planning responsive measures

The research results provide data that help to plan and organize responsive measures to the HIV/ AIDS epidemic among the general public and also contribute to the process of the ongoing healthcare reform in Ukraine. The research measures and shows the demand for different services, such as HIV express testing. For example, according to the results of the last research, the number of people, who were tested for HIV in the cabinet of family doctors, increased from 5% in 2015 to 10% in 2017. This data is used during the planning and implementation of different healthcare interventions.

Within the frame of the State All-Ukrainian Informational Campaign “Don’t Give AIDS a Chance!” implemented with the Public Health Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, almost all waves of the Campaign were based on the results of the abovementioned study.

For instance, the Campaign of 2015 “To Believe or Not” was designed to convey two messages – condom use and HIV testing. This Campaign was created based on the survey results. It showed that 38% of people did not use condoms when they trusted their partners, even if they saw him/her for the first time. The campaign suggested taking an online test that checks whether a person would believe the handsome partner who is telling compliments and persuades to have unsafe sex.  After taking the test, the person could find the explanation of test results and description of HIV-related risks.

As of 2015, 60% of Ukrainians never were tested for HIV. As a result of the dissemination of information, in 2017 more people were tested, and early diagnostics of HIV in the regions increased up to 7%, according to the data from the regional AIDS-centers.

Furthermore, the above-mentioned research provides the national indicators for Global AIDS. Monitoring (GAM) report. This year’s indicators of “the percentage of young people who correctly identify ways of preventing sexual transmission of HIV and reject major misconceptions about HIV” and “the percentage of women and men who have had sexual intercourse with a casual partner in the last year and used a condom during the last sexual intercourse”, measured in frames of the survey, were included into the GAM report provided by Ukraine to UNAIDS headquarters in order to report the situation with AIDS epidemic in Ukraine. Both indicators showed positive trends compared to previous years.

The full report is available here:


The site of the State All-Ukrainian Informational Campaign “Don’t Give AIDS a Chance!” can be found here:  http://aidsfacts.helpme.com.ua/


About the Authors:

Tamila Konoplytska, Senior Researcher at GFK Ukraine

Inna Volosevych, Head of Social and Political Research Department at GFK Ukraine

Driving the Efforts to Prevent “Stunting” in Indonesia

Stunting 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 on 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.

Research Study Objectives and Methodology

Kantar TNS Indonesia conducted the in-depth study for the 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.

Considering our need for in-depth understanding the study was conceived as a qualitative research study with multiple elements for a 360-degree view of our core target audience – Pregnant women, Mothers with children up to 2 years. In all we had 12 FGDs, 16 IDIs and 12 In-home observations and ethnographic interviews. In 3 rural locations with high stunting incidence – of which 2 locations (in Kalimantan) had a much higher incidence than the one in Sumatra. The different study elements were: …

  • FGDs in our core target group, Grandmothers, and Husbands
  • Full day in-home observation to learn real behaviors, family interactions, living conditions and hygiene
  • Paired interviews in-home with family members to clarify and probe deeper to understand motivations for observed behavior.
  • In-depth interviews with opinion leaders in the community, including religious/culture leaders; village heads, local officials and legislators, health workers and province/national level officials.

Salient Study Findings

  • Awareness was high for nutritional needs during the 1000-day period from conceiving. They had adequate (not complete) knowledge about the right diet. Their beliefs and attitudes couldn’t be faulted. However, the practice was not as desired. The critical task ahead was “behavior change”
  • Stunting is not a visible illness and nutrition needs are forgotten or traded off for other things in lower SES. Lower long-term orientation among Indonesians compounds it. Enhancing salience of “Stunting Illness” and prevention through nutrition and health care is the first step.
  • Enhancing knowledge on local, lower cost foods is important.
  • Creating salience of this issue among other family members (particularly husband) is critical. Today, the full burden is on the mother who tradeoffs others’ needs over hers.
  • Need to invest significantly in interpersonal behavior change interventions since we need to go beyond knowledge and attitude to action.
  • It’s a multi-sector problem and ensuring policy advocacy to improve the economic status (income earning opportunities, family planning) and easier access to medical facilities will go a long way.

Actions and Outcomes

Informed by these findings, NNCC has developed the communication strategy and plans with multiple communication elements and interventions

  • The rich insights from the study led to prioritization of core messages and led to effective creatives that tested well.
  • To drive awareness and salience mass media (TV, Radio, Dailies) is being used.
  • Supplemented with Digital channels –  Facebook, YouTube, NNCC website
  • Inter-personal communication training for health workers has been conducted with relevant materials. Activation events have been done in all health centers.

Multi-stakeholder advocacy interventions have helped in gaining support of decision makers, increased their commitment and support.

  • Project was mainstreamed into local nutrition programs with suitable regulations.
  • Multi-stakeholder District level forums have led to innovative local interventions.
  • National Summit on Stunting Prevention was attended by Vice President, 34 Provincial Governors, key ministers and officials.

Program implementation is ongoing. However, feedback from NNCC, IMA World Health suggests that we are on the right path … “This research program has made a big contribution to our mission …helped us start right. Stunting is no longer invisible. It’s a mainstream issue backed by the government and local communities. We have no doubt that we will see progressive reduction in stunting.

Credit to:

Kantar TNS: Team of Researcher: Yanti Zen, Astrid Novianti, Nurhasanah Ayuningtias, Widya TarunaHasty Larasati, Anastasia Seke

Clients: IMA Worldhealth, MCA Indonesia


Who violates the electoral legislation, and why?

The survey was carried out by GfK Ukraine for the Council of Europe within the project “Reform of the electoral practice in Ukraine”.

According to the research of the activities of Members of Parliament who were elected in 2014 in majoritarian districts, only 2 out of 84 MPs included in the research were not engaged in any “charity” (which actually means direct or indirect buying of voices)[1].

Upon the results of 2015 local elections, the national law enforcement authorities received 8,220 notifications of alleged electoral violations. 422 criminal proceedings were opened.

According to the results of the research conducted by Civil Network OPORA, among 422 criminal proceedings opened most are related to vote-buying (159) and to preclusion of the right to vote (97). Among 422 criminal proceedings opened, only 66 resulted in an indictment brought to a court for further consideration of the case.

Causes for electoral violation

To understand the causes and motivation, which lead the citizens to commit electoral violations, and to figure out necessary types and directions of further support to enhance effectiveness of mechanisms of accountability for electoral violations, it was necessary to conduct a sociological survey on causes for electoral violations.

At the first stage of the survey, six focus groups were conducted in six Ukrainian cities in order to collect insights for the quantitative survey.

At the second stage, the quantitative f2f survey was conducted with 1,635 respondents. The sample is representative of the adult population of Ukraine. After that, six focus groups were conducted with the members of election commissions, and the other six focus groups – with the members of the political parties in order to discuss the most prevalent types of electoral violations.

The survey questionnaire and guides include the following topics:

– Experience of violations during the elections in Ukraine (both national and local);

– Perception and attitude to the election-related violations;

– Readiness to combat the violations during the election process;

– Possible ways how to combat the violations during the electoral process.

The survey was conducted in June-July 2017.

The survey shows that most Ukrainians (68%) are dissatisfied with the integrity of the electoral process, and the society needs effective prevention, discovery, and investigation of electoral violations.

Moreover, 68% of Ukrainians have faced at least one type of election violations since 2014: election campaigning violations (named by 65%) and vote-buying (named by 13%) are the most prevalent types of violations. As vote-buying is one of the key problems in the electoral process in Ukraine, which needs to be tackled by an electoral reform, the present opinion poll is particularly focused on the question why a Ukrainian voter would sell his or her vote.

Results and possible outcomes

Results also indicate that most Ukrainians do not realize the seriousness of consequences of election violations (some violations are even perceived positively), and they are not ready to appeal to the law enforcement agencies if a party or a candidate offers them money or gifts in exchange for their votes. At the same time, the majority supports the increase of liability and strengthening the punishment for election-related violations.

Press Conference

The survey was designed jointly with experts from the Council of Europe and Civil Network OPORA and became subject to long-term public and expert discussions. Survey outputs were used as a justification for the development of a law on the inevitability of punishment for electoral crimes.

Consequently, in April 2018, the Government voiced the approval of the draft law “On Introduction of Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Aimed to Strengthen the Liability for Violation of Electoral Legislation”, which was elaborated by Civil Network OPORA in cooperation with law enforcement agencies.

There is a high chance that Parliament will pass the law before the next elections in 2019. In that case, more liability will be imposed on both voters and campaigners, and the mechanism that prevents electoral violations will be improved, providing more integrity to the electoral process.

[1] Konieczna-Sałamatin J., Pryshchepa K. The efficiency of patronage mechanisms in post-Maidan Ukraine. Presentation at 3rd ISA Forum of Sociology, July 10-14, 2016, Vienna. The abstract is available via link


About the Authors:

Tamila Konoplytska, Senior Researcher at GFK Ukraine

Inna Volosevych, Head of Social and Political Research Department at GFK Ukraine

Dmytro Savchuk, Researcher at GFK Ukraine

Women, key players in economic development

I reflected the other day on the importance of International Women’s Day and its impact after the tragic fire in which 123 textile workers died in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York, since then women have  been fighting tirelessly to win spaces in all the areas of life, on an equal footing with men, in society and in their integral development as a person.

In 2016 we, at Ipsos Ecuador, conducted a study promoted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which aimed to provide relevant and reliable information to develop and propose alternatives to increase the participation of women in senior management and the directories of companies in the country.

The study demonstrates the importance of gender diversity in management positions. In general, the fact that a woman fulfills an important managerial position represents for a company the increase in competitiveness:

  • higher profitability,
  • better customer satisfaction rates and even,
  • greater degree of loyalty of the collaborators in said institutions.

The main findings of the study were:

  • At the country level, 65% of the largest companies in Ecuador do not have specific policies for the participation of women in directories and managerial positions, more accentuated in family businesses.
  • 8% of companies in the country do not have women at managerial levels, more evidenced in the city of Guayaquil, especially in family businesses.
  • Only 26% of the total managers are women, the most common trend is to find only 2 female managers per company.
  • Of those managements found almost half is within the administrative, HR and Commercial area of the companies.
  • Of the General Managements, 90% are occupied by men and only 10% are occupied by a woman.
  • 10% of companies do not have women on their boards and only 27% of all directors are women.

It is fundamental that as a society we work in the empowerment of women, that women should be free to choose what they want to be and to pursue their dreams. In Ecuador, 60% of citizens believe that if the mother works then the children suffer – which is not the case when they are asked what happens if the parents worked – the children will suffer? – There are already multiple studies that show that the children of working mothers are equal or even more successful in their lives than the children of mothers who do not work (they are more independent, more recursive and more sociable).

Likewise, 40% of women think that if they earn more than their partner then this will bring problems in their home – who in their right mind wants to have problems? – Women renounce their professional development before giving up their jobs.

In my case, I am an entrepreneur, Regional Manager of Ipsos in Ecuador, the only woman as a member of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce of Guayaquil and member of the directory of the Ecuador Productive and Sustainable project in 2030 and I am also a mother of Alejandro, my 3 years old son and my absolute priority. I will not say that it is always easy, but you can achieve a successful career and a family life in balance as long as the roles are shared and it is not the woman who carries the full responsibility.

About the Author:

Cristina Paez, Regional Manager at Ipsos, Ecuador

Stateless and at risk population and their needs for assistance

This sociological survey was conducted by GfK Ukraine within the framework of the Project “Identification and Assistance to the Stateless and At-Risk Population in Kyiv and Kharkiv regions”, funded by UNHCR in Ukraine and implemented by the NGO “Right to Protection”.

The main aim of this Project was to identify the stateless and at risk of statelessness population in two pilot areas: Kyiv city and the region and Kharkiv city and the region.

Project’s implementation was the first serious effort to:

  • understand the extent of the statelessness problem in the Kyiv, Kharkiv and surrounding regions;
  • identify protection and social needs, characteristics/demographics of the stateless and at-risk population in respective locations.

In addition, the possible ways of informing the stateless persons about legal assistance possibilities were researched.

The following vulnerable groups were surveyed:

  1. Persons older than 50 years (some part of elders in Ukraine still have USSR passports and for different reasons didn’t manage to receive Ukrainian passports)
  2. Roma people
  3. Homeless individuals
  4. Prisoners in penitentiary institutions
  5. IDPs (internally displaced persons)
  6. Stateless asylum seekers and refugees
Stateless Roma home

GfK Ukraine gathered the statistics on the number and distribution of each target group and built representative samples accordingly. 400 face-to-face interviews were conducted with the representatives of each group in March 2017 (2,000 in total, 100 stateless asylum seekers and refugees were surveyed additionally).

Majority of stateless persons do not legally exist

The number of stateless persons in each group is estimated using a network scale-up method adapted for the survey objectives. The estimation of the number of stateless persons in the two target regions (there are 24 regions in Ukraine in total) constitutes 19,000, while according to official statistics there are only about 1, 400 of such persons. Thus, the survey shows that majority of stateless persons do not legally exist and face considerable difficulties in realizing their basic rights.

An essential part of this report is the life stories of stateless people collected during the study. They clearly demonstrate the life tragedy of individuals who live among us like “legal ghosts”.

The survey confirmed assumptions that the stateless population in pilot regions is considerable, and the number of irregular stateless individuals vastly exceeds the ones appropriately documented as stateless by the Ukrainian government. In future, the survey methodology can be used for the estimation of the number of stateless persons at country level.


Based on the information gathered, a number of recommendations for government and non-government organizations were offered. Their implementation allows correcting the difficult situation of stateless persons in Ukraine.

The study confirmed the urgency of the problem of statelessness, allowed to get focused on specific actual aims and contributed to specific projects launching. The estimation of the number of stateless persons and evaluation of their needs allowed designing the projects on provision of legal aid to stateless persons.

Thus, in 2017-2018, UNHCR funded free legal aid for stateless and at-risk persons within the projects implemented by NGO “Right to Protection” and 2 other Ukrainian NGOs (NEEKA and “Desyate Kvitnya”) in 4 regions of Ukraine.

About the Authors:

Tamila Konoplytska, Senior Researcher at GFK Ukraine

Inna Volosevych, Head of Social and Political Research Department at GFK Ukraine


Saving Lives: the ultimate example of research & engagement having impact

Optimal Workplace Mental Health, Suicide Prevention, and ‘Making a Difference’

At the AMSRS Conference in 2014, I highlighted the fact that, once established in the profession, the main motivator of researchers (and other professionals) is ‘to make a difference’.

I also summarised the work I’d been carrying out in the previous 12 months around optimal workplace mental health and suicide prevention.

The ultimate example of our work having impact is, of course, when we can use it to save lives. I have been fortunate to be able to partner with Suicide Prevention Australia and the broader suicide prevention sector in Australia to do exactly that.

There are still a few managers & leaders out there who don’t yet fully appreciate the benefits of effective research & stakeholder engagement…but, thankfully, they are diminishing in numbers.

Over the past 5 years, it has been exciting to combine the benefits of appropriate and effective research and engagement with our search for more appropriate and effective suicide prevention – with genuine follow through, and evidence of success.

Breakthrough Ideas for Suicide Prevention, including a National Research Action Plan

In 2013-2014, I designed and facilitated a global stakeholder forum on breakthrough ideas for halving the number of suicides and suicide attempts within 10 years.

One of the ’10 Big Ideas’ to emerge was a National Research Action Plan, complete with a National Suicide Prevention Research Fund.

I assisted Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) in involving all the key stakeholders in developing the National Plan and presenting it to the Health Minister in Sept 2015, on World Suicide Prevention Day

Sue Carrick who co-ordinated the production of the Plan, Paul Vittles and Sue Murray, CEO of SPA

In 2017, the Department of Health provided seed funding of $12 million to set up the National Suicide Prevention Research Fund. Leveraging funds from State Governments, foundations & philanthropy, we should have an annual budget of $30 million for this essential research/R&D.

And, in 2018, Sue Murray agreed to become the first National Suicide Prevention Research Fund Director. The Fund is in the best possible hands, and we will now get some great research, insights, policy solutions and service solutions.


Just flashing back briefly, I presented at the IIeX Asia Pacific Conference in Sydney in December 2014 summarising where we’d got to with the Big Ideas Forum, the breakthrough ideas & the stakeholder engagement to develop the National Research Action Plan.


‘Listen Hear: the Global Campaign for Effective Listening’ had already been launched and won the TEDxSydney award for “the best idea worth spreading” in 2011. We adapted it to suicide prevention in Australia.

Progress has since been made with other big ideas, including ‘Life at Work’ (e.g. optimal mental health at work – more on this later), ‘No Life Sentence’ (keeping prisoners connected to their families) and ‘Digital Life Saving’ (digital communications solutions for those in crisis) which I pitched at TEDxSydney 2014 at the Sydney Opera House to 2,300 movers & shakers. It launched several innovations. Success breeds success!

Learning from Lived Experience of Suicide

In addition to the 10 Big Ideas, the engagement process around the National Research Action Plan emphasised the importance of involving & engaging people with lived experience of suicide (ie attempted suicide, had suicidal thoughts, lost someone to suicide). The development of the SPA Lived Experience Network (LEN) has been a great achievement.

It’s a large network of people (1200) with lived experience of suicide (“made up of people…brought together by experience…united by hope”) providing valuable support, information & advice.

It’s important for people to tell their stories, and there’s an audience wanting to hear them, so SPA has helped the LEN develop a Speakers’ Bureau with necessary training, mentoring & support.

There’s also been a growing need & demand for people with lived experience to get involved in research projects – in advisory (group) roles; providing input into design, analysis & reporting; participating in and/or carrying out research and being involved in strategic reviews & evaluation.

As the website says: “We believe that the wisdom gained by those with lived experience of suicide must be used to inform suicide prevention”.

We are currently carrying out the first survey of members of the Lived Experience Network to find out more about them, their experiences, how they have been involved so far, and how they want to be involved in the future.

Making the (Evidence-Based) Case…and Securing the Funding

Australia’s Budget 2018 was great news for mental health & suicide prevention.

In addition to an extra $33.8 million for Lifeline so they can answer every crisis call (in a civilised society, no-one calling in crisis should be turned away), there was $37.6 million for beyondblue for the ‘Way Back Support Service’ to target the highest ‘at risk’ or ‘in danger’ group – those who have attempted suicide (200 Australians attempt each day).

A number of measures targeted at older Australians, finally addressed the fact that the highest suicide rate is among men aged 85+. SANE Australia got $1.2 million for a campaign to help those who have attempted suicide to tell their stories to help encourage others to seek help. And more funding for mental health research & services. An extra $338 million in all:


Putting Sustainable Research Infrastructure in Place

The National Suicide Prevention Research Fund now has the necessary infrastructure in place, including a Research Advisory Committee “consisting of leading experts from the lived experience community, research, government and clinical service delivery settings”.

Too often, new research initiatives fall into the trap of reinventing the wheel. There’s nothing like a new large pot of money to get the ‘sharks’ circling with lots of ways they can spend it!

But this Research Fund comes complete with a new Knowledge Hub which will carefully monitor & evaluate what we already know, what evidence we have and – importantly – what we know ‘works’ as well as having ongoing analysis of what we don’t know and, therefore, need to know.

The new Hub provides “An online resource to support sharing and learning of evaluated suicide prevention initiatives”.

It was launched by Health Minister, Greg Hunt, and the launch included a webcast panel discussion chaired by SPA Chair Matt Tukaki.

The SPA Suicide Prevention Hub has a research & evidence focus, although it rightly has an ultimate focus on programs & services.

It complements other resources, like the Life in Mind Hub from Everymind which has a (social) marketing & communications focus – again, with the ultimate goal of highlighting what works:

Our Ongoing Role in Delivering Optimal Workplace Mental Health

Finally, two updates are worthy of note. First, I’m currently studying for a Diploma of Counselling with the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors (AIPC) and designing a new module to help support SME Owner Managers. This was motivated by my coaching & counselling of those who are ‘lonely at the top’, including those running research businesses. It is often not appreciated that SME Owner Managers are a high risk group for mental health issues and suicide, relative to the population at large.

Second, the research I carried out for SuperFriend to map out what a thriving, mentally healthy, psychologically safe, sustainably high performing workplace looks like itself continues to thrive. I took the measurable characteristics of a thriving workplace and designed a survey that employers could carry out among their employees with a national benchmark to assist with moving towards the ‘desired state’.

After undertaking the early surveys, I passed the baton on to a team of excellent researchers to develop the survey, analyse the data from the first two waves, and take it further than I could. The team, led by Paul di Marzio with excellent statistical analysis by Scott Maclean, enhanced the survey, and increased the sample size for the national survey to 5,000 in order to provide benchmarks by size of business and sector.



The 2018 Survey is about to be conducted. Paul di Marzio contacted me to say that he, and his client Nerida Joss from SuperFriend, was going to be presenting the research at the 2018 AMSRS Conference in Melbourne – precisely 4 years on from my presentation in 2014.

Paul asked for tips on how we can help researchers and employers of researchers to maintain optimal mental health. I was able to respond to Paul with lots of practical tips and it was another opportunity to emphasise that at the core of positive mental health is a belief that what we are doing is ‘making a difference’.

Look after yourself, your colleagues and your clients!

Paul Vittles FMRS FAMI FRSA GAICD is a researcher, engagement adviser, consultant, coach, counsellor and facilitator based in Sydney but increasingly spending time back in the UK because seeing his 5 granddaughters is good for his mental health!

Critical thinking against populism

From year to year, the Ukrainian society has been waiting for substantial transformations in the country, which would improve the standard of living. However, people often do not support the reforms, which could contribute to the quality of life. This happens mainly because many Ukrainians are sensitive to populism.

Populists act against the reforms and often receive wide support. They use manipulations, stereotypes and cognitive biases to promote ideas aimed at preserving their status quo or getting benefits for small groups at the expense of long-term interests of the whole society.

The project “Critical Thinking Against Populism” was initiated by the Center for Economic Strategy. The project targeted the most common populist stereotypes in the five reforms that have been identified as high-priority areas by the government and international donors: land reform, pension reform, education reform, health reform, and privatization.

The main project goal is to promote reforms and anti-corruption initiatives, and fight populism by developing and implementing an effective advocacy campaign based on the principles of critical thinking.



A representative survey of Ukrainian citizens was conducted by GfK Ukraine in order to find out what risks people are most afraid of when thinking about the reforms. We evaluated whether those risks are stereotypes or threats that should be effectively addressed when correcting the implementation of the reforms or when communicating them to the public.

The research provides the following data for each of the reforms:
• evaluation of public awareness of the essence of the reforms,
• degree of overall public support,
• support of the key components of the reforms proposed by the government,
• assessment of risks’ probability.

Critical thinking tools for counteracting populist biases

The survey was conducted via random dialling the mobile telephone numbers (according to the face-to-face surveys, 92% of Ukrainians use mobile phones). Unlike face-to-face surveys, this method provides the pure random sample and reaches active educated citizens better than face-to-face interviewing method (because active educated citizens more often live in inaccessible apartments for interviewers and can be more rarely found at home comparing to the rest of the population). The sample is representative to the adult population of Ukraine by gender, age, region of residence and the size of the settlement according to State Statistics Service of Ukraine data as of 1.01.2017 (excluding the occupied and uncontrolled government territories). The maximum theoretical sample error is 2.2%.

As a result of the project, the Ukrainian public acquired critical thinking tools to counteract populist biases, fostering broader support of reforms and anti-corruption initiatives undertaken by the Ukrainian government.

As a result of the performed activities:

·     The ministers and their staffers, the office of Prime Minister and Reform Support Office have received key messages and analytical toolkits based on the principles of critical thinking to be used for the communication strategies for promoting reforms in education, healthcare, pension, land and privatization;

·     Experts and civil activists have acquired critical thinking tools for counteracting populist biases by distinguishing between the facts and manipulative statements;

·     National and regional media acquired anti-populist arguments for dissemination among the general public;

·     Key reforms and anti-corruption initiatives have gained a broader support base among the general public.


*The survey was conducted by GfK Ukraine using telephone interviews and focus groups in July-September 2017.

About the Authors:

Tamila Konoplytska, Senior Researcher at GFK Ukraine

Inna Volosevych, Head of Social and Political Research Department at GFK Ukraine


Awareness of human trafficking risks among vulnerable children and youth in Ukraine

Ukraine is a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficking of men, women and children.

According to the research commissioned by the International Organization for Migration mission in Ukraine and conducted by GfK Ukraine, over 230,000 Ukrainians have become victims of human trafficking since 1991. It makes Ukraine one of the main countries of origin of trafficking of human beings in Europe. Internal trafficking is also a growing problem. The number of human trafficking victims increased as a result of the war in the East of Ukraine.

The survey aimed to define the vulnerability and the level of awareness of human trafficking among nine groups of children and youth in Ukraine. The survey covered children in difficult life circumstances and orphans; children from foster families and family-type homes; children displaced from the conflict zone in the East of Ukraine; children with special needs; homeless children; young people detained in penitentiaries; and youth of vocational schools. The most numerous group was the youth at vocational schools (315,600 persons), while the youth in penitentiaries was the least numerous (217 persons).

Forty (40%) per cent of vulnerable minors from 13 to 17 are ready to accept at least one offer that may lead to their involvement in human trafficking.

The survey was conducted via a face-to-face interview method. 2,079 children and young people were surveyed. GfK Ukraine gathered statistics on the number and distribution of each group of children and built the sample accordingly.

Six indicators of awareness of human trafficking and vulnerability were designed and calculated: awareness of the human trafficking forms; estimation of the risk to get involved in human trafficking; propensity to risky behaviour; the level of dangers of the social environment; awareness of safeguards against human trafficking; awareness of where to address if got involved in human trafficking.

The most disturbing results showed the indicator of propensity to risky behaviour. Children were asked whether they would accept different risky proposals from relatives, friends, neighbours, teachers, strangers, etc. 40% of vulnerable minors from 13 to 17 are ready to accept at least one offer that may lead to their involvement in human trafficking. The youth in penitentiaries are the most inclined to accept risky proposals (72%). Children would be most inclined to accept the proposal to work without official employment in Ukraine, to try drugs, to get in a stranger’s car, to go to strangers’ homes, or to undertake suspicious or illegal work that is well paid.

Support and involvement of public figures and the civil society

The survey has a great impact on the counter-trafficking activities in Ukraine either on national level, or on local one. According to the results of the survey, IOM Mission in Ukraine developed the strategy for counter-trafficking (CT) awareness-raising campaigns, including a public service announcement (PSA) on trafficking in persons filmed in 2017 with a famous Ukrainian singer, winner of Eurovision 2016 – Jamala, which is an integral part of the National Counter-Trafficking Information Campaign “Danger Might Be Invisible at First in Ukraine”.

IOM partner NGOs used the data on the level of children’s vulnerability to human trafficking for local advocacy and prevention initiatives, including the campaign aimed to strengthen the National Referral Mechanism for Assisting Victims of Trafficking in every oblast of Ukraine.

Impact data

IOM implements a variety of human trafficking prevention activities. To improve the existing counter-trafficking practice, it conducted specific surveys on a regular basis to identify the most vulnerable and at-risk populations. Taking into consideration the results of the commissioned survey, IOM supported NGO small-grant projects in every oblasts of Ukraine focused on targeted awareness increase and prevention work among the identified key vulnerable groups of children and youth with the highest risks of human trafficking. As a result of these projects, more than 63,000 vulnerable children and youth increased their knowledge of various types of human trafficking and basic rules of safe migration and employment.

In 2018, the second wave of the survey will be conducted by GfK Ukraine.

* The survey was conducted in December 2015 by GfK Ukraine for IOM and covered all oblasts of Ukraine except for territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts that are not under the control of the Ukrainian government and AR Crimea.

About the Author:

Tamila Konoplytska, Senior Researcher at GFK Ukraine

Inna Volosevych, Head of Social and Political Research Department at GFK Ukraine

John Kearon

‘Making a Difference’ to Not-for-Profits


A message from John Kearon, President of the ESOMAR Foundation

Researchers are a wonderful lot.

We’re not particularly loud, extrovert or nakedly ambitious.

But we are generally curious, knowledgeable and keen to make a difference.

And a world in turmoil needs inventive solutions from researchers at their best, more than ever.

Which is exactly why the ESOMAR Foundation was set up, to build a better world using the know-how and resources of the Market Research community.

The Foundation is still small and run almost exclusively on a volunteer basis. So to maximise its impact with limited resources, we’ve decided to focus the Foundation on ‘Making a Difference’ to Not-for-Profits.  To this end, we’ve created an annual ‘Making a Difference’ programme, culminating each year at the ESOMAR Congress, with a celebration of the ways in which our community of the research willing has helped make the world a better place.

‘Making a Difference’ Competition [Entries by 13 April 2018]


The competition is the centre-piece of the Foundation’s ‘Making a Difference’ programme. It highlights and promotes how the best of research has made a significant difference to Not-For-Profits (NFP). If you think you have a case study that shows how research has really helped a Not-for-Profit, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE enter it to the competition before 13 April. You find all details on how to enter the competition on the ‘Making a Difference’ Annual Competition page on the ESOMAR Foundation website. All submissions will be added to the Foundation’s ‘Making a Difference’ online library and made freely available, to inspire and promote the use of market research in helping to build a better world.

There will be three ‘Making a Difference’ prizes; one for the best international NFP case study, one for the best local/domestic NFP case study and one for the most innovative case study. The winners will be announced at ESOMAR’s Asia Pacific Conference on 15 May. Each of the three winners win a donation for their featured Not-for-Profit and invited to present their work at a special ‘Making a Difference’ session at the 2018 ESOMAR Congress in Berlin on 25 September.

To help promote the impact of great research on NFPs, the Foundation is looking for speaking opportunities for the three winners, at Not-For-Profit conferences. In addition, ESOMAR have generously offered a ‘Making a Difference’ slot at every one of their conferences. The Foundation will invite presentations from those who submitted a ‘Commended’ case study and are located in the country where the ESOMAR conference is being held.

Raise awareness of the impact of great research on Not-For-Profits

Currently, many Not-For-Profits see research only in terms of population level facts and figures on poverty, sanitation, medicine, education etc. They are mostly unaware of the immense value that great qualitative, ethnographic and new research methodologies can have on improving the effectiveness of their work. Our hope is through the ever-increasing database and promotion of ‘Making a Difference’ case studies, we can encourage usage of more insightful and inventive research and massively increase the overall impact of market research in building a better world.

My hope for the coming years, is by securing the Foundation’s funding, focussing on helping Not-for-Profits and creating a large ‘community of the research willing’, that together we can build and extend the impact of the Foundation’s tremendous work to date, in building a better world.

So, join the ‘Making a Difference’ Annual Competition, help us celebrate the ways in which our community of the research willing has helped make the world a better place.


Research can help us understand the human condition

Can it go further, and help us to better it? We look at an advertising campaign run by the ESOMAR Foundation using research insight to improve people’s lives. Armed with a generous gift of online banner advertising space from AOL’s own Foundation Oath for Good, here is what happened.

Three years ago ESOMAR created the Foundation to use the knowledge, skills, creativity, interest and resources of researchers to help charities improve people’s lives.

To raise awareness, funds and engagement from the research industry, the Foundation decided to run its first advertising campaign, armed with a generous gift of online banner advertising space from AOL’s own Foundation Oath for Good. The challenge was the same as researchers and their commercial clients are always facing – how do you articulate your purpose into marketing that drives profitable growth? The goals of a non-profit may be broader than for a commercial brand but the skills are the same. This is the story of one such challenge – how to turn the purpose of the Foundation into a campaign that can use research insight to improve people’s lives.

We decided early on to focus the campaign on last year’s ‘Best Paper’ from Congress: an inspiring case study from My Choices Foundation, on how a better understanding of the causes of sex-trafficking in India could help tackle the issue.

Research at its best

The My Choices Foundation (an anti-trafficking charity) and their research agency Final Mile, explored the causes of sex trafficking. The research spanned interviews with NGOs, campaigners, but also individuals directly involved, such as villagers whose daughters had been trafficked.

It was powerful, complex, and hard work – inevitably given the difficulty and raw emotion surrounding the issue.

Their work represented research at its best – and we decided to translate its nuanced and complex findings into a campaign that would grab people emotionally and raise both awareness and money. We were delighted to donate our time and skills to help.

We knew that emotional impact would be absolutely critical to the campaign’s success. As the work of Les Binet and Peter Field has demonstrated, the best route to short-term response and long-term effectiveness for a campaign is emotion. That applies to non-profits too.

Sex trafficking is obviously a highly emotive subject. But because it’s so harrowing, the sad truth is it’s an all too human response to switch off, block out the unpleasant information, and ignore it. That was our first challenge. Our second was the media space generously donated by AOL for the campaign required a banner ad approach. Banner ads have a bad reputation for emotional advertising – too many years of bland or intrusive campaigns mean people tune them out. To do justice to My Choice Foundation’s research we needed an emotional approach that would generate an immediate response, as well as build the ESOMAR Foundation’s long-term fundraising and mission to improve people’s lives.

John Kearon is CEO of System 1 Group PLC and President of the ESOMAR Foundation.