You are here: Home » Blog » Training

Tag: Training

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!

The Impact of Social Research: a review on the workshop

Researchers – and research buyers – want their research to be impactful. NGO’s and donors want to create programs that are impactful. How can we unite the market research industry, NGO’s, and donors? How can we use Market Research methods to best fit the needs of NGO’s committed to creating positive social change in the world?

These questions were addressed in the Impact of Social Research Workshop, on the opening Sunday of the ESOMAR annual Congress. So many of us enter research because of a profound curiosity about people, and a need to leverage that curiosity professionally. And many of us would like to know how to use that curiosity to create social change. In this workshop, we heard concrete examples of how our skills can go to work for the world.

The workshop opened with an introduction by Phyllis Mcfarlane, the treasurer of the ESOMAR Foundation. The ESOMAR Foundation began in late 2013, staffed by a team of four volunteer ESOMAR members, hailing from the UK, India, and Argentina. After the initial growing pains of establishing an international foundation, the group focused its attention on its goals. These include the Education Programme, which focuses on the education and training of young professionals in the market research industry in countries where access to such training is traditionally limited, the Better Results Programme, which helps NGO’s around the world to obtain better results, and finally, and finally the Researcher in Need Programme, which aims to assist researchers who have suffered from political unrest or environmental catastrophe.

Mcfarlane spoke to us of the fantastic successes the Foundation has achieved in its first few years. The foundation launched its first education project, in 2013, in Myanmar. The Myanmar project was a great success, brought about through partnership with the Myanmar Marketing Services Association and the MMSA. The programme provided one week of training in market research techniques for 40 students and young professionals. It was such a success, that the programme will be repeated. The Foundation is also expanding this programme to Kenya, with cooperation from the Kenyan Social and Market Research Association and MSRA.

The Foundation has also assisted the survivors of the Rwandan genocide to develop business skills and market research skills. These skills will prove invaluable to those that will eventually use them to start their own businesses. The Foundation also provides scholarships to promising young scholars and aspiring market researchers, in countries such as South Africa And Kenya.

We heard next from Sally Panayiotou, the Director of Kantar Public Research UK. Ideally, social research can inform social policy so they can create the most positive impact. Panayiotou emphasized that social research requires us to engage frequently with at risk and difficult to engage research subjects. This requires us, as researchers, to be particularly careful when selecting our methodologies. How will we discuss sexual health with women in Africa? How will we talk to AIDS victims? How can we discuss child abuse? How can we be truly empathetic, make respondents feel comfortable enough to talk to us, and reassure them that their answers are confidential? How can we create research that does not alienate our respondents? These are all important questions when working with these groups. Sally noted that we can frame our questions in non-threatening ways, be empathetic, and help respondents to feel comfortable by giving them “examples” of what others might think or feel about an issue.

But most importantly to NGO’s and donors, how do we know if programmes are working? Social change must be measured, and that, of course, requires research. Ongoing partnerships between research vendors, NGO’s, and donors can help provide important insights along the way to social change. So, there are various points at which those committed to social change can benefit from ongoing research.

Panayiotou pointed out that through all of this, it is most important to remember that social research gives the underrepresented a voice. Social research must come back to people, and create meaningful progress in their lives. In order to be providing research that enables this, we must be methodologically rigorous, and we must design research that is appropriate for the intervention.

Next, we heard about a fabulous project with great potential to provide insights to NGO’s and policy makers. Imagine if survey by survey, IDI by IDI, we could all contribute to a global body of research, a constantly growing social dataset, accessible to anyone who might need the information…. Imagine that the data collected could be targeted towards issues, generating data that could answer some of our most pressing global questions? This would be wonderful, wouldn’t it? Well, this is the aim of Paragon Partnership. Paragon, presented Namika Mediratta of Unilever, partners companies such as Uniliver and Coca-Cola with research vendors such as Kantar and Nielsen, NGO’s, and organizations such as ESOMAR. The partnership aims to provide the research required to tackle the UN’s 17 point plan of Global Goals (http://www.globalgoals.org/).

Next, imagine that Paragon’s data could be collected as easily as receiving a text message. It could be, with GeoPoll. SMS research is unique for its global reach, and the place that mobile phones play in our lives. Phones are now among the most personal of devices, especially in Africa. More affordable and more accessible than computers, mobile phones are a great avenue for research. In Africa, where respondents can be inaccessible due to low levels of internet penetration, rural conditions, and far distances, SMS research offers many solutions to these problems.   Cathy VonderHaar, of GeoPoll, USA, spoke about the phenomenal success GeoPoll has found through SMS based research around the continent. They have had remarkable success, owing partially to the fact that they have secured strategic partnerships with many of Africa’s mobile phone service provides, allowing them them to have databases that include least 50% of mobile phone users in all of the 26 countries in which they currently operate. This allows them amazing results even when incidence is low.

Research conducted through SMS has the benefit of being administered on a device with which the respondent is very comfortable. They can respond from their homes, and they will also respond succinctly, due to the format. But, since the device is so familiar, GeoPoll has gotten extremely personal, compelling responses, on everything from domestic violence and rape in the DRC, to the perceptions and fears surrounding the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone. And just as importantly, since mobile technology is convenient and fast, GeoPoll is able to monitor quickly evolving situations.

These four fascinating projects have the unique commonality of leveraging market research tools in the service of the public good. As Maaya Sundaram of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pointed out during the panel discussion, their success relies on their ability to adapt their service and their language to the needs of the social and public sectors. Speaking to donors and NGO’s is a different language, and a different set of priorities than many of us on the consumer side are used to. Learning these languages, and recognizing the unique needs of this very important sector is essential if we, as a professional community, are to participate in the social changes that so many of us would want to see in the world around us.

 

First published on RW Connect. Written by Stephanie Alaimo

 

 

Outcomes and reflections from training young entrepreneurs and NGOs in Rwanda

Phyllis Macfarlane and Will Goodhand have been involved to the ESOMAR Foundation training in Rwanda that was held in Kigali from July 25 to 29. Here you can find a little description of how the training was implemented and how the ESOMAR Foundation contributed to this. 

 

BUSINESS SKILLS PROGRAMME – YOUNG ENTREPRENEURSHIP TRAINING PROJECT

This was a 4-day programme to deliver business skills to young survivors of the Rwandan genocide. The Young Entrepreneurship Training Project (YETP), which is orchestrated by SURF, aims to eradicate extreme poverty and secure viable livelihoods and empowerment through entrepreneurship training and greater access to capital; enabling young survivors to establish their own businesses and build skills relevant to quality employment. As ESOMAR Foundation’s contribution, Phyllis and Will trained 24 young entrepreneurs in marketing and market research skills.

The daily schedule was as follows:

Monday/Wednesday July 25/27th

– Business planning: Vision, Mission, Business Goals.

– Business development: Marketing, Market Research, SWOT Analysis.

Thursday July 28th

– Financials: the P&L and Cash flow.

– Management and Business plans: Case Study, Developing a Business Plan.

Friday July 29th

– Using Social Media for your business/Presentation of Business plans: Awards for best Business Plans.

The ESOMAR Foundation’s role:

Thanks to the expertise from Phyllis and Will, the ESOMAR Foundation was able to deliver the Marketing, Market research skills training, and support the delegates throughout the programme with the development of their Business Plans.

Commentary from the ground: 

Rwanda is a very small country (the size of Wales) with a population of 12 million, mainly young people, and not a lot of natural resources. The Economy is basically agriculture (84%). The delegates from YETP were in their early 20’s, just graduating from college – some with businesses already thought about and set up – some with plans or looking for ideas for their business. Their businesses were mainly agricultural, for example the 3 award winners were:

1. Two girls who were breeding pigs, to sell pork and sausages to hotels and restaurants;

2. A guy who planned to grow mushrooms;

3. Two people who planned to grow bananas.

We had to have a translator, since neither English nor French is fluently spoken, and translation is not easy, because the local language does not always have the precise business/marketing terms that we have in English/French. Nevertheless the delegates were keen to learn and interested, and you could see the difference in them by the end of the course – they were more confident.

We need to remember that they are ‘entrepreneurs’ not by choice, but out of necessity. It is the most likely way that they can make a living.

       

BUSINESS SKILLS PROGRAMME FOR ELE

This programme was intended to train members of the UK Department for International Development (DfID)’s ELE scheme (Empowering Vulnerable Young Survivors who have left Secondary School to Create, Secure and Sustain Employment).  DfID is increasingly acting as an NGO, and is targeting 9,000 vulnerable school dropouts, focusing on women, to improve their lives through Entrepreneurship and job-readiness training, increasing female involvement in local decision-making and increasing the number of female entrepreneurs. Phyllis and Will went to Rwamagana, (about an hour and a half’s drive from Kigali) on Thursday July 28th   to teach 12 young people from ELE about marketing and market research.

Commentary from the ground:

These young people were younger and less well educated than the YETB delegates. And with a bit more ‘attitude’ – they were school drop-outs.

Again their businesses were mainly Primary: Beer and Honey, Beans and Maize, Fruits, Avocadoes, Domestic Animal Trading. Or Retail: Cooking Utensils, a Boutique, Shoes, a Pub. Some were just selling their produce in the market.

Half had active businesses, half were at the planning stage.

We told them about the 5 P’s of Marketing (Product, Place, Promotion, Price, Profit), and how to do basic market research. About the importance of understanding their markets and their customers, and giving good customer service.

There was the usual discussion about the exact meaning of terms – the Rwandan word for ‘Product’ can mean the overall ‘Business idea’, which is a bit confusing for them when we talk about which ‘P’ should be their focus.

They seemed at times to be a little ‘phased’ by it all, but then did ask good, intelligent questions – there’s a perception that (low) price is everything (which we try to dispel)  – and what if the price of your product/service is fixed by government – how can you attract more customers?

They all gained (and could articulate) some ideas of something that they would do differently as a consequence of the training, and at the end they give us a great ‘Rwandan clap’ in thanks.

 

NGO TRAINING PROGRAMME

Weds  July 27th – Association des Etudiants et Eleves Rescapes du Genocide Board Training

Commentary from the ground:

On Wednesday morning, we also did a session of Governance Training to some of the AERG Committee/Council and Senior staff – the issue here was that the governance approach of AERG has not really evolved – the Committee/Council is still an elected body of Students from the University (mainly second/third year), and they believe that they should be very intimately involved in the day-to-day management of the organisation – which was probably, quite correctly, the case at the beginning, when they had no permanent staff. But now the organisation is much larger, and has highly qualified full-time specialist staff, who can be safely left to handle the day-to-day management and decisions, so that the Council can focus on developing strategy etc. But the Council still expects to be consulted on quite minor management decisions.

Once again there were language issues: we referred to a ‘particular’ project – meaning a single, normal, everyday project (ie that Committee/Council need not be involved with), but to them the term means a special/particularly difficult/ project (that the Committee/Council should definitely be involved with). It was interesting and challenging to sort it out!

But by the end we all had a better understanding of the proper relative functions of the Council and the Staff, which should be helpful going forward.

Friday July 29th – SURF Partners Committee

Commentary from the ground:

This Board, which comprises the heads of all the SURF Partner NGO’s, had asked for Training on Meetings Management and Presentation Skills – so we did some standard trainings, which they said they found useful.

 

CONCLUSION – DID THE ESOMAR FOUNDATION MEET ITS OBJECTIVES?

From Phyllis Macfarlane

1) Training Entrepreneurs

It is a great belief of mine that everyone in business needs market research skills – and particularly entrepreneurs and start-ups. So many small businesses fail because they don’t systematically collect the information they need  to make good business decisions.They don’t make the effort to understand customer needs properly and fail to acquire new customers, or grow current customer spend.

These are  things that knowledge of market research can help with. So, training entrepreneurs to ‘think’  about understanding and listening to customers, about being systematic in what they do, and counting/quantifying the effect of different actions, should have a huge effect on the way in which they tackle their business development.

What we learnt in Kigali was that many of these young ‘entrepreneurs’ are planning Primary Sector businesses: ie Growing Mushrooms, Making and selling Pork sausages, Farming Chickens and selling eggs. These are very basic businesses and so you have to tailor the training to be appropriate for them. There is little concept of value-add, and not a lot of concept of customer service – these were new ideas for them. But useful one’s, I think.  Nevertheless, by the end of the course you could see the difference in the delegates – they were more confident in themselves

2) Training NGO’s

The concept here is that many aid initiatives are not as effective as they should be because they fail to understand the people they are trying to help – if EF can help NGO’s think about their ‘customers’ in  a market research way – understanding what really makes them tick, then we believe we can also help make their interventions more effective. At ESOMAR Foundation we’re building a ‘body of knowledge’  of all the great social research experience we have as an industry. Sharing that expertise with NGO’s will help, I’m sure. The training in Rwanda was a ‘pilot’ for EF.

What we found was that, in Rwanda, the issues for the NGO’s are much more about Governance structures, running effective meetings, making effective presentations. They’ve had a lot of M&E (Monitoring and Evaluation) training from others – it’s how to run  an NGO that’s the issue for them. So, we were useful, but not in a MR sense. This aspect needs more thought and improvements for future actions.

Training Young Entrepreneurs and NGO’s in Rwanda!

Our next Training Workshop will be held in Kigali, Rwanda, July 25-29th , and brings together two of our passions at the ESOMAR Foundation – the Education programme, which aims to train researchers and young people in market research skills in disadvantaged markets. And the ‘Better Results’ programme,  which aims to help the philanthropy sector to make more effective use of market research expertise and skills to monitor and evaluate aid initiatives.

Will Goodhand, Social Researcher at TNS, has been involved for many years in a UK Social Action programme to support SURF (the Rwanda Genocide Survivors Fund), and has proposed that we should support SURF and AERG (Association des Etudiants et Eleves Rescapes du Genocide) in a project to train c40 young entrepreneurs in Business Skills, including Marketing and Market Research, and also to train the board of AERG, and other Rwanda based NGO’s, in Market Research and Governance skills.

Here’s what we’re planning to do in July as the ESOMAR Foundation:

1) Deliver market research, market analysis and marketing training to young survivors of the Rwandan genocide.

The Young Entrepreneurship Training Project (YETP), which is orchestrated by SURF, aims to eradicate extreme poverty and secure viable livelihoods and empowerment through entrepreneurship training and greater access to capital; enabling young survivors to establish their own businesses and build skills relevant to quality employment. We will be training c40 young entrepreneurs in market research skills.
Also, whilst we are there, we hope to train members of DFID’s ELE scheme (Empowering Vulnerable Young Survivors who have left Secondary School to Create, Secure and Sustain Employment).  The UK Department for International Development (DFID) is increasingly acting as an NGO, and is targeting 9,000 vulnerable school dropouts, focusing on women, to improve their lives through Entrepreneurship and job-readiness training, increasing female involvement in local decision-making and increasing the number of female entrepreneurs.

2) Deliver market research and governance training to Rwandan NGO’s.

Principally  AERG, the 43,000 strong organisation of student survivors in Rwanda, and also potentially other NGO’s based in Kigali.

The aim here is to help them better monitor and evaluate the impact of their work in Rwanda.

Why train entrepreneurs?

It is a great belief of mine that everyone in business needs market research skills – and particularly entrepreneurs and start-ups. So many small businesses fail because they don’t systematically collect the information they need  to make good business decisions. They believe they are ‘close’ to their customers, but they are biased in their views, so they don’t see the whole picture, and can lose customers. Or they  are so convinced by their own product that they fail to see what others see with regards to its faults or its position relative to competitive offerings. They don’t make the effort to understand customer needs properly and fail to acquire new customers, or grow current customer spend.

These are all things that knowledge of market research can help with. So, training them to ‘think’ in the way we do about understanding and listening to customers, about being systematic in what they do, and counting/quantifying the effect of different actions, can have a huge effect on the way in which they tackle their business development. A lot of aid initiatives these days are about developing entrepreneurship in emerging markets – the market research industry has a lot to offer. You should think about mentoring young entrepreneurs – there are lots of online schemes run by big charities. You’ll help someone and at the same time learn a lot – not just about business, but about the situation in these countries and doing market research there.

And why train NGO’s?

Well, many aid initiatives are not as effective as they should be because they fail to understand the people they are trying to help – if we can help NGO’s think about their ‘customers’ in  a market research way – understanding what really makes them tick, then I think we can also help make their interventions more effective. At ESOMAR Foundation we’re building a ‘body of knowledge’  of all the great social research experience we have as an industry. Sharing that expertise with NGO’s will help, I’m sure.  We’re also very excited to be ESOMAR’s representative on the Paragon Partnerships committee – more on that next.  Why don’t you familiarise yourself with the UN’s 2030

Sustainable Development Goals

in preparation….

Trainer volunteer experience in Kenya – Meltem Karahan

As a volunteer to train for this initiative, I had great experience Before, During and After the event.

 

First of all, it was very challenging to put the training content together. Besides day to day work, I had to set aside significant amount of time to understand the objectives of the training, to find out about the needs of the audience in Kenya and most importantly to develop the content that best meets the objectives and the needs for the majority. While I put the content together for the sessions such as, ensuring research quality, translating clients’ objectives to discussion guides or analyzing data to tell impactful stories, I felt quite challenged as there was so much to share but not available in an organized format and there was little time to deliver the key messages. Hence organizing my knowledge, distilling key themes and messages, tailoring them to the audience and meeting the time requirements were quite challenging. However, as much as it was a challenge, it was a rewarding exercise too.  I experienced good recall of my knowledge from many years ago which motivated me to use them again in my day to day work with my own organization.  I ended up with well organized training modules which I can reuse given the contents are timeless and will always be of value. And importantly, I better understood some of the concepts I thought I knew well before. Aristotle said “Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach”.  This is so true.

 

During the event, I met great people, heard great content from other trainers and also from the participants. Engagement with the participants during breaks and during the sessions was invaluable. We had so much information exchange. I learned about the challenges of doing research in Kenya as well as in other parts of Africa from multiple perspectives (both from clients’ and from suppliers’), I learned about the challenges of young researchers as well as of experienced ones. I met great people dedicated to doing high quality jobs, seeking wisdom. Some of the questions I got were very inspiring, making it so clear why we need to take part in such events and help each other with our diverse experiences across different industries, different experience levels and different geographies. I also felt that, by networking, sharing these experiences, knowledge and ideas, there was better understanding of client and supplier perspectives, which I believe lead to healthier relationships, deeper dialogues and eventually to better quality work on both sides. After all “sharing is caring” and we need to care for each other as members of one big researchers’ society.

 

Finally, after the event, I left with great memories and having made many new good friends. My memories of Nairobi as a great city and its great people were enhanced. I had great bonding time with other trainers and feel quite confident that I have more resources around me if I need to tap into their experiences in future. The whole MSRA team made my experience unforgettable. I now have a different level of standard for what a great event looks like. I had many returns from the participants and organizers which enable a great sense of accomplishment.  So I encourage you all to try and volunteer because “every accomplishment starts with the decision to try”.

 

 

 

Meltem Karahan

Photos from the ESOMAR Foundation traning in Kenya!

 Developing the Impact of Research in Emerging Markets – the ESOMAR Foundation Education Programme!

Forty six delegates from 19 agency, client, and academic organisations gathered together in Nairobi on April 13/14th 2016 for an advanced Training programme organised and funded jointly by ESOMAR Foundation and MSRA – the Kenyan Social and Market Research Association.

DSC_0177 DSC_0108 DSC_0107 DSC_0040 DSC_0036 DSC_0213 DSC_0211 DSC_0210 DSC_0049 DSC_0042 DSC_0213

The Foundation completed another successful training in Africa!

Developing the Impact of Research in Emerging Markets – the ESOMAR Foundation Education Programme. A contribution from Phyllis Macfarlane – Treasurer of the ESOMAR Foundation and GfK.

Forty six delegates from 19 agency, client, and academic organisations gathered together in Nairobi on April 13/14th 2016 for an advanced Training programme organised and funded jointly by ESOMAR Foundation and MSRA – the Kenyan Social and Market Research Association.

The ESOMAR Foundation volunteer trainers were Meltem Karahan (P&G), Pervin Olgun (ESOMAR Council and Barem), and myself, Phyllis Macfarlane. We’d been working together over several months on the content of the training programme, and were excited to be meeting our audience at last. (And perhaps a little nervous, on finding out it was so large!)

Our brief was to help the Kenyan MR Industry develop it’s work for market research to have greater impact on business decisions in Kenya – a big task, covering qualitative and quantitative research, understanding client’s business requirements, and reporting for greater influence at senior level.  We knew we had a lot to cover, and high expectations to meet – it’s always an issue to satisfy the needs of many experienced researchers, some interested in qual, some in quant, some in both – some in other aspects of MR altogether. And, with a big audience, it’s difficult to introduce the interactivity that everyone needs to learn effectively. Everyone was going to have to work really hard for the 2 days. So that’s what we all did – delegates and trainers alike!  It was exhausting but ultimately very satisfying.

Meltem Karahan played a major role in the training – generously sharing her 28+ years’ experience in P&G and showing us how clients distil information in order to make decisions. It was extremely useful to see how data from multiple sources is reduced to tell what appears to be a very simple story – deceptively so because of the huge amount of effort and thought that has gone into it – a real insight into how clients think and process market and customer information.

Meltem also spent lots of time demonstrating the importance of high quality qualitative and quantitative research practices – specifically asking the right questions and developing  true listening skills. The delegates truly appreciated her openness and advice on what clients expect from researchers .

Pervin shared her experience of the statistics that all researchers need – for sampling and for data analysis. And again this was much appreciated. In fact delegates would like to see even more detail on advanced analysis techniques and modelling – the challenge of Big Data was mentioned more than once!

I covered the importance of qual and quant research to business decision making, calculating the ROI of research, and speaking the right language for senior executives. The analysis and  communication challenges that the new generation of researchers face. Also Qual Group discussion techniques and the Future of MR – digital qualitative research and behavioural economics.

All the presenters shared Case Studies to demonstrate how research adds value, insight and how to report data effectively.

A real highlight of the workshop were the discussions  around client demands and to what extent researchers can push back – especially when clients clearly do not understand local culture and practices. Obviously the  way to do this is positively – explaining that certain things will not work or will not be acceptable to local respondents. The delegates particularly appreciated Meltem’s candour in answering their questions and concerns – which are clearly very real.

By the end of the 2 days everyone was exhausted, but all agreed that they had learnt a lot – both delegates and trainers.

What did we learn from the feedback?

Well, we had lots of good scores. Delegates particularly appreciated the content on story-telling and insight generation, the sessions on research quality and ethics, and  the newer techniques such as digital qual and behavioural economics. They would like more training on social research, advanced data analysis techniques, insight generation, reporting and presentation, big data, and behavioural economics.

They would also like more local case studies, more time(!), and more interactivity. It’s always a challenge, to cover both the amount of content required and spend time digesting it.

Some nice comments on what delegates particularly liked: ‘The use of case studies to demonstrate how insights can be maximised for the company’s benefit’; ‘It was forward looking and focussed on addressing changing industry needs’, and, my particular favourite: ‘It was a breath of fresh air!’ . We can ask for no more

In ESOMAR Foundation training programmes, such as this, we aim to stimulate both young and experienced researchers to stand back and think about their work and the future of MR. For so much of our research lives we are immersed in difficult and challenging process to deliver to ever increasing client demands and deadlines, gathering data from ever more busy, complex and elusive respondents – it is inspiring to see examples and hear stories of how research is used to impact our clients’ business. And it’s also important that growing, emerging markets develop and adapt approaches which are suitable for them and their culture. It should not be a case or replicating what is done elsewhere, but of innovation and fresh thinking. We hope to stimulate that thinking.

We aim to entertain as well as educate – the main enjoyment comes from sharing real case studies (with videos!)  – and we had excellent examples from Africa and all over the world. It is always good to see, and reflect on  what happens to research after it leaves the agency. After all, as researchers, we are very fortunate to lead such varied and exciting lives – many people do not have such interesting and challenging work, which impacts people and society every day.

The real highlight of the Kenya Workshop, for me, and for Meltem and Pervin, was to meet so many enthusiastic and dedicated researchers  – and hear of their experiences, challenges and questions – sometimes the best learning is done in the tea-breaks and over lunch. (The food – and especially the cake – is always excellent in Kenya!). We are grateful to the MSRA Council for all their support and hard work to deliver such an engaging and worthwhile experience. And I am particularly grateful to Meltem and Pervin for giving their time and expertise so generously. We all hope to continue in 2017!

Phyllis Macfarlane