Home » Making a difference

Category: Making a difference

Making a Difference at ESOMAR Insights Festival

From Monday almost 5000 market researchers from all corners of the world have taken the virtual environment and registered for ESOMAR’s annual industry get-together. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s lives and societies across the world and the ESOMAR Congress made no exception. The physical connections were replaced with digital ones under the umbrella of the Insights Festival, a truly global data and insights summit.

The winners of our third edition of the Making a Difference Awards will take to the stage to showcase how the best of research has made a significant difference to Not-For-Profits. The session will include 3 different presentations:

How Market Research Created Words and Changed Worlds with Mariam Ghabrial, Client Engagement Manager, [Marketeers Research] and Jonathan  Crickx [UNICEF]

Mariam Ghabrial has been working at Marketeers Research for the past five years, believing in the power of research, providing consultations that are pillared with strong market research to help empower businesses. Before treading into the world of market research, she explored the advertising industry. An experience that contributed to her passion for communication which helped her navigate better through the next steps in life.

Her words: “Adding my deep interest in psychology to the mix, it all comes back to the magnificence of the human mind and I believe finding the best way to communicate is a quest I embarked on, leading me to one of the accomplishments I’m most proud of … Utilising research to breakthrough cultural barriers and derive powerful communication messages that makes a true difference in the world, which I am looking forward to sharing with you today.”

Jonathan  Crickx is the Chief of Communication for UNICEF Egypt since July 2017.

“I am covering all aspects of communication and advocacy, from press releases to field visits, documentation of programme activities and social media. One of the most interesting aspect of this is the social and behavioural change campaigns we are leading in Egypt. Before that, I held similar position for the European Union in Palestine and Afghanistan. In a previous life, I was a journalist for the Belgian public TV news channel RTBF for 11 years. I am married and the lucky father of a wonderful 8-month-old boy. I enjoy listening to music, kitesurfing and diving.”

Pro Bono Research for Light of Life Trust: Providing earning capability and opportunity to rural women, Indu Upadhyay [Ipsos] India; Sheela Iyer [Light of Life Trust (LOLT)] Indi

Indu Upadhyay is a graduate in social anthropology and psychology. With a strong background in the study of human culture and behaviour, she is passionate about applying a people-centered approach to solving real world problems. Indu has a penchant for statistical research coupled with two years worth of experience in the market research industry. Her paper was featured as well in the local Research Got Talent competition in India.

Sheela Iyer has a major in Physics and a Post Graduation in Computer Software and Applications and was working in the software industry when the bug to do something meaningful stung and she switched to the development sector. It’s been over 5 years since she has been working with the Non profit, Light of Life Trust and is completely addicted to the feeling of contributing to the work to impact and transform lives for the common good of society.

Public Perceptions of Schizophrenia with Çigdem Penn [Xsights], Elif Elkin [Abdi İbrahim Otsuka İlaç] and Haldun Soygur, MD, PhD [Federation of Schizophrenia Associations]

Çiğdem Penn is an experienced researcher with twenty years of expertise in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. She is well versed in both high-profile and international projects. A graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science, Çiğdem started her career in management consulting and focused on change management and resistance to change. She then moved into market research and worked in two of the largest agencies in the UK. In 2006, Çiğdem started her own research consultancy, Xsights in London and opened the Turkish branch in 2010. She has been delivering results-driven research and consultancy projects ever since, both in Turkey and internationally.

Çiğdem is a member of ESOMAR, the Market Research Society and the Turkish Researchers Association and is the founding president of the Turkey and Nepal Business Council. Çiğdem has lived in Kathmandu for three years consulting with the United Nations, is now based in Turkey. Çiğdem Penn, a mother of three, is a frequent public speaker and an occasional columnist. She speaks French and English fluently.

Elif Elkin was born in İstanbul and graduated from Robert College and from the Chemistry Department of the Bosphorous University. She had her MBA at the Yeditepe University. From 2001 she held various positions in sales and marketing departments in Deva, one of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in Turkey. In 2007 she was appointed General Manager and continued this role parallel to her position of Executive Vice President of Marketing & Sales in Deva until she joined Abdi İbrahim in 2009.

Elif has been serving as the General Manager of Abdi İbrahim Otsuka Pharmaceutical since January 2017. She is 40 years old, married and has 3 children named Bora, Nehir and Mira.

Prof. Haldun Soygur is the Chairman of the Board of the Federation of Schizophrenia Associations, of which he is also a founder. Believing in the value of close cooperation between service providers and service users in the provision of mental health services; From the beginning, he worked in the organisation of schizophrenia patients, their families and mental health professionals all together. He ensured the establishment of the Blue Horse Cafe (Mavi At Kafe) where schizophrenia patients work. He is still actively engaged in the correct recognition of schizophrenia in society, the fight against stigma and discrimination, and to offer the best possible treatment and rehabilitation opportunities for patients with schizophrenia.

During his tenure as the Clinic Chief at the Oncology Training and Research Hospital Psychiatry Clinic, where he founded and worked for ten years, he pioneered the establishment of the psycho-oncology discipline, consultation-liaison psychiatry services and the provision of mental health services for oncology staff. He served as the Head of Psychosocial Support Unit of the Cancer Advisory Board of the Ministry of Health for two years. He published as an editor Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders, Schizophrenia Treatment Guide, Basic Psychopharmacology. For the community, he published the books of Schizophrenia: Voices, Faces, Stories and Sleepless Children: Schizophrenia Articles.

If you are registered at the Insights Festival make sure you do not miss the the Making a Difference sessions.

ESOMAR Foundation Making a Difference Awards – Winners announced!

We are thrilled to announce the winners of this year’s edition of our Making a Difference Awards. We have received a large number of entries – all of which of great value for highlighting and promoting how the best of research has made a significant difference to Not-For-Profits. 

We had an overwhelming response and three winners were chosen by the expert jury. The judges considered projects that made the biggest difference to the most important issues of our time, as identified by the UN SDGs.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 Making a Difference Awards!

 

Making-a-Difference  – Good Health and Well-being

Public Perceptions of Schizophrenia

Çiğdem Penn, Xsights, Turkey

NFP Federation of Schizophrenia Associations

 

Making-a-Difference  – Gender Equality

Pro Bono Research for Light of Life Trust: Providing earning capability and opportunity to rural women

Indu Upadhyay, Ipsos, India

NFP Light of Life Trust (LOLT)

 

Making-a-Difference  – Quality Education

Anti-Bullying Campaign Progressive Copy Development

Mariam Ghabrial, Marketeers Research and Consultancy, Egypt

NFP UNICEF Egypt

 

The winners are invited to present their case studies during the ESOMAR Insights Festival from 14-17 September 2020.

 

COMMENDED

Among the entries there were a number of them which deserved a commendation for their excellent approach, so, we are particularly happy to announce the entries which were commended:

Why Don’t We Talk About This? Why Kenya needs to start talking about mental health

Paul Drawbridge, Be Forward Foundation, Kenya

Project Butterfly: Transforming Perceptions of Transgender People

Sarah Jenkins, Magenta, United Kingdom

Human Trafficking survey: Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine

Inna Volosevych, Info Sapiens, Ukraine

Street Sports Incubator

Mohammad Alomari, Jordan Youth Innovation Forum (JYIF), Jordan

The Healthy Priorities

Florencia Rojo, Fine Research, Argentina

The ESOMAR Foundation wishes to thank all those who participated in the competition. We aim to promote and highlight the excellent case-studies – to encourage the use of more insightful and inventive research for massively increasing the overall impact of market research in building a better world!

 

Submit your entry for the 2020 Making a Difference Awards

The ESOMAR Foundation’s annual Making a Difference Awards are now open for entries. Our annual Awards are a chance to applaud and reward the best examples of Market Research making a difference to the world’s Charities.

Through these awards, the ESOMAR Foundation aims to raise awareness of the impact of great research on the work of Charities, by offering a platform for these stories to be heard.

All Charity case studies, whether they are international, national or local and in any sector, are encouraged to apply.

WHY YOU SHOULD ENTER THE COMPETITION:

  • It encourages excellence, educates and motivates the industry to produce great research on and for Charities
  • Share your work for mutually beneficial inspiration and learning.
  • The competition will highlight ‘Making a Difference’ case studies to increase the 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
  • Winners get flights, accommodation & passes to present at the ESOMAR Congress in Toronto, the biggest event in the market research industry
  • It’s a fun, challenging and exciting way to share your work.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW:

  • All Charity 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
  • If you’d like help from a research expert writing your submission, we can find a willing volunteer in your country

LOOKING FOR INSPIRATION?

Check out the previous Making a Difference Competition winners

SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY!

MaD Award Winners Session

Kai Jimenez of United Nations Population Fund

We had many excellent entries for our Making a Difference Competition this year – selecting the best for the Awards is a very difficult task – so much research is being used so well to make the world a better place! Though that doesn’t mean, of course, that our task is done – there are still many stories of aid money being spent badly and/or ineffectively. Research still needs to be more widely used to ensure good outcomes.

We aligned the best case stories – the Award Winners – with the UN SDG’s (Sustainable Development Goals) so that we can see the effect on progress with the goals in multiple areas.

For SDG #3: Good Health and Well-Being we had a study on ‘Towards an Open-Defecation-Free Clean India’, by  AV Surya and Saptarshi Guha of KANTAR. Perhaps not for the squeamish, this study demonstrated the need for long term monitoring and measurement to measure progress – cultures are not changed over-night – this is a 5-year programme! And also the requirement for on-going qualitative work and ethnography to overcome barriers to adoption – which change over time.

AV Surya and Saptarshi Guha of KANTAR India receiving the MaD award

SDG #16: is Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, and we had a presentation on ‘Social Media to Strengthen Political Participation of Young People in Nigeria’, given by Anu Mohammed and Chibuike Utaka, of BBC Media Action – an excellent demonstration of how to use social media to engage youth in a subject that they were really quite apathetic about. Let’s face it – it’s difficult to engage young people in politics and voting in European countries – much more so in countries where the political climate is extremely challenging!

Gender Equality (SDG #5) was represented by a paper ‘Breaking the Silence: Uncovering Truths about Gender-Based Violence in Mongolia’, by Kai Jimenez, of UNFPA Mongolia. This was an extremely large and high-quality study designed to demonstrate the reality of a subject that no-onwants to acknowledge or talk about in Mongolia. In fact, the lack of information meant that most people could deny it existed! Kai’s UNFPA study showed the truth and started the conversation, which is the beginning of change.

We were also very pleased to include a study from the developed world. For SDG #4: Quality Education we had a Study of Young People with Dyslexia presented by Christian Vestergaard Sloth, of EPINION. Which showed that Dyslexia, if not diagnosed early, and supported well throughout the education system, can lead to very poor life outcomes even in a country like Denmark! Everyone deserves a quality education – people with dyslexia have the same levels of intelligence as everyone else – so the fact that they tend to do less well in life, means there is a failure somewhere in the education system, which should be addressed.

In summary, an excellent, thought-provoking and inspiring session which demonstrated the real value that research can bring to the Not-for-Profit sector in all areas of life. The session ended with the awards ceremony sprinkled generously with the local tartan. 

The warmth and interest received from the audience validates our belief that promoting the use of research is the right thing to do, to make the world a better place.

Speakers at the end of the Session

Making a Difference at ESOMAR Congress 2019

From Monday over a thousand market researchers from all over the world arrived in Edinburgh for ESOMAR’s annual industry get-together. The only truly global data and insights summit.

The same as last year, ESOMAR Foundation has dedicated an entire session in the program on Tuesday 10th of September. The winners of our second edition Making a Difference Competition will take to the stage to showcase how the best of research has made a significant difference to Not-For-Profits.

The session will feature:

Saptarshi Guha and Surya AV from Kantar India presenting Towards an open-defecation-free, clean India

Saptarshi possesses a rich experience in evaluation & monitoring of several projects/studies in the areas of Population, Health, Nutrition, Education, Women and child development and has an expertise in delivering research values in the domain of Water & Sanitation in rural India. He has a combining background in liaising with external clients with hands-on experience in social research, offering insights to the experts of development sectors and commended for being an impressive communicator with strong work ethics.

Surya as Kantar India CEO leads a team of multi-country market researchers who generate high-quality evidence on which various decisions related to marketing and corporate strategy are based.  His team informs program strategy, monitors the performance of the programs and also measures the impact of various social marketing activities for clients like Unicef, World Bank, UN Organisations, Government of India, etc.  He has been one of the key researchers on various pulse polio studies conducted by Unicef in their efforts to successfully eradicate polio.  He is a pioneer in behaviour surveillance surveys in India.

Anu Mohammed and Chibuike Utaka from BBC Media Action Nigeria with “Social media first: leveraging digital platforms to strengthen the political participation of Nigerian youth” case study.

Anu Mohammed is the head of Research and Learning at BBC Media Action in Nigeria, which is the international charity of the BBC that uses media to inform, connect and empower people around the world. She has significant experience, spanning over a decade, conducting and managing qualitative and quantitative research projects in Nigeria’s development sector from design to implementation and data analysis leading to the delivery of impactful development projects. 

Chibuike Utaka is a content maker and editorial leader. He currently works with BBC Media Action Nigeria as Senior Producer where he leads a team of multi-platform content producers who deliver on radio and digital materials for national broadcast. When he is not at work, he creates digital contents about food and agricultural processes as a hobby.

Kai Jimenes from UNFPA – United Nations Population Fund presenting the case-study “Breaking the Silence: Uncovering the Truth about Gender-Based Violence in Mongolia”

Kai is a researcher, strategist, and all-around storyteller. She recently transitioned into an international development neophyte, working to promote gender equality in Mongolia with the UN Population Fund. Prior to this role, she built her career in the private sector specializing in development and corporate communications, business strategy and innovations, and research and analytics.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Political Economy and gives talks on branding, storytelling, and research in local and international forums.

Christian Vestergaard Sloth from Epinion, Denmark presenting “Study of young people with dyslexia – challenges and needs in the Danish education system”

Director and Head of Education and Science at Epinion within the areas of education, market research, statistics and projections. In charge of Epinions operations in Greenland working primarily within the areas of education, social affairs and labor market.

This session is part of the complimentary event for charities and NGOs called evocatively Research for Charities Seminar. If you are working in a charity and you are fairly close to Edinburgh here is your last chance to secure your free place on this link.

If you are in Edinburgh on Tuesday 10.09 make sure you do not miss the the activities we planned for you. Cannot attend the ESOMAR Congress? You can tune in to watch the live broadcast

ESOMAR Foundation Making a Difference Competition 2019 Winners announced!

We are excited to announce the winners of the second edition of our “Making a Difference” Competition. We have received a large number of entries – all of which of great value for highlighting and promoting how the best of research has made a significant difference to Not-For-Profits. 

We had an overwhelming response and four winners were chosen by the expert jury. For this edition, the judges considered projects that made the biggest difference to the most important issues of our time, as identified by the UN SDGs.

Congratulations to the winners of 2019 Making a Difference Competition!

Making-a-Difference  – Good Health and Well-being

Towards an open-defecation-free, clean India

Saptarshi Guha, Kantar, India

NFP Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Grameen, Govt of India

 

Making-a-Difference  – Peace Justice and Strong Institutions

Social media first: leveraging digital platforms to strengthen the political participation of Nigerian youth

Anu Mohammed, BBC Media Action, Nigeria

NFP BBC Media Action

 

Making-a-Difference  – Gender Equality

Breaking the Silence: Uncovering the Truth about Gender-Based Violence in Mongolia

Nastasha Francesca Jimenez, UNFPA, Mongolia

NFP United Nations Population Fund

 

Making-a-Difference  – Quality Education

Study of young people with dyslexia – challenges and needs in the Danish education system

Rie Schmidt Knudsen, Epinion, Denmark

NFP Egmont Foundation

 

The winners are invited to present their work at a special ‘Making a Difference’ session at this year’s ESOMAR Congress in Edinburgh, 8-11 September.

 

COMMENDED

Among the entries there were a number of them which deserved a commendation for their excellent approach, so, we are particularly happy to announce the entries which were commended:

Lives matter: A heuristic approach to prevent child mortality in rural India

Pallavi Dhall, Kantar, India

A market research approach to understanding and reaching high-risk men in South Africa with HIV testing and linkage to treatment

Shawn Malone, Population Services International (PSI), South Africa

Driving Change in Behaviour Management

Karan Sabnis, Kantar, India

Government Policies for the Disabled vs. the Ground Reality

Divya Meenakshy Harish, Brandscapes Worldwide, India

How Research Proves a Difference was Made

Will Goodhand, Survivors Fund SURF, United Kingdom

Identifying nudges for the growth of women in Bhap, Rajasthan

Madhur Mohan (Kantar) & Niyati Taggarsi (Ormax Consultants), India

The ESOMAR Foundation wishes to thank all those who participated in the competition. We aim to promote and highlight the excellent case-studies – to encourage the use of more insightful and inventive research for massively increasing the overall impact of market research in building a better world!

 

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.

WHY YOU SHOULD ENTER THE COMPETITION:
  • 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.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW:
  • 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

LOOKING FOR INSPIRATION?
Check out some of the previous winners of the Making a Difference Competition

SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY!

Making a Difference Competition: Empowering Digital Storytelling for Good

Winner of the Best international NFP case study of our Making a Difference Competition. This project was carried out by Kantar Millward Brown Singapore on behalf of Our Better World / Singapore International Foundation

“This simple and impactful case study is set for making a tremendous difference across all NFPs globally”

Six years ago, Our Better World (OBW) was created as the digital storytelling initiative of the Singapore International Foundation. This was the result of the opportunity that arose from the sweet spot of these three trends:

  • A media landscape filled with negative news or mindless entertainment
  • Ground-up non-profits/social enterprises doing great work but relatively unknown to the public
  • People feeling passive about giving back and not knowing how they can help

Telling stories of people doing good in Asia, to inspire the online audience to take action, became the mission of OBW.

The initial years of OBW saw proof of concept when non-profits/social enterprises attributed part of their growth to the stories OBW told. However, the team believed that greater success could be unlocked through deeper understanding of the online audience.

In Asia, there was no research in digital storytelling for social impact. Unlike in the US, where research is funded by large philanthropic organisations which believe in using media for good, the concept was ahead of its time in Asia.

Primary research was needed to understand national psyches and uncover drivers of culturally and socially relevant story themes, to better connect with audiences across Asia. Only by understanding this, would OBW be able to nurture and grow an online community of action takers. OBW approached Kantar to form a partnership to undertake this primary research.

Given the lack of such research in the region, Kantar designed the qualitative research to be both wide and deep. A dual approach was developed: personal interaction on the ground, combined with the wide reach of digital – deployed in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and the Philippines.

Face-to-face interviews gave researchers insight on meaningful, emotionally-charged experiences among participants. Digital forums created spaces for dispersed OBW community members to gather and freely voice, evaluate and develop ideas, and tap into their hearts and minds.

This approach fused exploratory, evaluative and projective perspectives in the analysis, enabling not just an understanding of current realities and their contexts, but also the building of deeper insights for future strategies.

The research analysis decoded what “contributing to social causes” means for people, based on two attitudinal anchors: a personal, deeply emotional and social experience, and an antidote to an unsympathetic world. Furthermore, a spectrum of motivations in social contribution was identified – ranging from a desire to change (e.g. overturn atrocities) to a desire to enhance (e.g. improve lives and communities).

Building on this, the insights helped to construct the defining characteristics of meaningful stories by market and the role digital can play to influence attitudes. In brief, the construct looks like this:

  • India: Social change – the desire to confront a flawed system, where storytelling themes revolve around changing social inequalities; the role of digital being sensitisation
  • Malaysia: Social preservation – the desire to uphold ethics in the midst of social decline, where storytelling themes revolve around values and ethics that inspire a sense of nostalgia; the role of digital being a reminder
  • Philippines and Indonesia: Social cohesion – the desire to improve communities, where storytelling themes revolve around initiatives that positively impact communities; the role of digital being to garner support
  • Singapore: Social welfare – the desire to improve the lives of others, where storytelling themes revolve around individual actions and initiatives that improve the lives of others; the role of digital being amplification

In addition to the construct, a trigger to action was identified – the most effective stories were ones that evoked a combination of complex and intense emotions.

Overall, this framework connected consumer motivations with storytelling, and provided OBW a much-needed formula for defining authenticity and meaning for impactful storytelling, spanning the production of videos to social media copy. The following examples highlight how research helped to meet this objective.

  1. India: Post research, OBW told a story about child sexual abuse, calling for social change and action, which saw 1,020 volunteer enquiries. This was a significant jump in impact compared to a pre-research story about animals, that, whilst heart-warming, lacked strong call for change, and resulted in only 105 volunteer sign-ups.
  2. Singapore: Post research, OBW told a story about a volunteer group helping to provide gowns for babies who pass away prematurely, garnering over 340 volunteer enquiries for the cause. The story focused on how volunteer actions have helped bereaved parents. A previous story which called for volunteers for a hospice, but angled on what the volunteers did, resulted only in 24 additional volunteers for the organisation.

Research has helped empower OBW with confidence and a stronger base for compelling impact storytelling. The impact from applying the insights is increasingly evident.

Beyond OBW, the findings are also applicable for non-profits/social enterprises in Asia. Organisations can use the insights to craft their own strategic communications to cater to different audience motivations, to drive more impact.

OBW wants to play a catalytic role in spearheading research, applying insights for best-in-class digital storytelling for social good in Asia. What has been accomplished so far serves as a strong foundation for new partnerships and support, and OBW is now seeking further research investment to be made in this fast-evolving digital space. Not only would OBW apply fresh insights for better impact outcomes, it would also share them with the relevant sectors, contributing towards the media playing its role as a force for good.

About the Authors:

Making a Difference Competition: Reducing Child Mortality – A provider, a mother and a powder

Winner of the Most innovative NFP case study of our Making a Difference Competition. This project was carried out by Surgo Foundation in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Clinton Health Access Initiative

“Huge potential impact in India and internationally where diarrhea kills large numbers. This is a really excellent, thorough and innovative and effective piece of research”

Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death among children worldwide. It kills mainly by causing dehydration. Fortunately, a simple, cheap, and scalable solution exists – the use of oral rehydration salts (ORS). Yet India sees more than 200,000 diarrheal-related deaths every year. Its most populous state, Uttar Pradesh (UP), accounts for a substantial portion of these.  ORS is available and relatively inexpensive in UP, but surveys showed that only 30% of children with diarrhea in the state were treated with ORS. Why were children not receiving this potentially lifesaving medicine?

In Uttar Pradesh, India, 84% of caregivers of children with diarrhea seek care from rural medical practitioner (RMPs) – informal community providers who often lack medical training. Several organizations trying to tackle this problem hypothesized that improving RMPs’ access to ORS and informing them about best practices for treating diarrhea would significantly improve the uptake and use of the treatment. A statewide program was begun to provide ORS directly to RMPs at prices that would improve their profit margins. This was combined with training RMPs on how to prescribe the treatment properly. However, after three years of investment, levels of ORS use among children had not improved. Surgo Foundation began working on the project with the aim of answering the ‘why’ – why ORS uptake was so low? Did families and providers understand the benefits of ORS treatment? Did RMPs have sufficient access to the drug to prescribe it? What else could be driving the low uptake of this critical drug?

In the first phase of our work, Surgo analyzed and integrated insights from several surveys, including a state-wide, large-scale quantitative survey of caregivers and a “mystery client” survey. This enabled us to map and understand the ORS treatment “cascade” – each step along the child’s path from having diarrhea to visiting an RMP, being correctly diagnosed, receiving ORS, and using the treatment. Our goal was to see where the largest drop-offs occurred on the path to ORS use.

The phase 1 research found that RMPs had ample access to ORS in the open market, which meant that the direct retailing of the product by NGOs was not filling the previously hypothesized gap. Surgo also identified a stark “know-do gap” among RMPs when it came to dispensing ORS to children with diarrhea. Around 80% of the RMPs knew they should use ORS, yet only 20% of children with diarrhea received ORS directly from RMPs. In essence, even though a majority of RMPs knew ORS was the right treatment, they weren’t prescribing it. These findings showed that the theoretical underpinning of the original project was not correct – lack of access to ORS and a knowledge gap among RMPs were NOT the main barriers to ORS use.

In phase 2, we undertook ethnographic research with RMPs and their mentors, and with caregivers, to better understand the “why” of low ORS uptake. We aimed to capture their views, practices, motivations, and treatment decisions. Our research allowed us to develop hypotheses on the mental models, beliefs, and emotions of both RMPs and caregivers. We found that caregivers judged the effectiveness of a treatment by how quickly it provided relief to the child. This led them to prefer antibiotics, which relieve symptoms even though they do not treat the diarrheal condition. Caregivers also held strong beliefs about the efficacy of medicines based on what form they came in: powders were seen as least effective, pills, syrups, and injections as better, and intravenous drips as best of all. In sum, because ORS was a powder, caregivers didn’t perceive it as an effective treatment.

These insights provided Surgo with a basis for our phase 3 research, in which a specially designed decision-making game incorporating behavioral-science concepts was used to identify and test the factors driving RMPs’ treatment decisions. We found that the behavior of RMPs was determined by a trade-off among three considerations: economic insecurity, the desire to make money, and the desire to provide the right treatment. Since people were unable to pay large sums to RMPs, there was fierce competition among RMPs to get as many patients as possible, and to retain their loyalty. This was where economic insecurity and the wish to make money came into conflict with prescribing the best treatment. In an effort to appear “expert” and meet caregiver expectations (and thereby retain their business), many RMPs focused on providing immediate relief for the symptoms of diarrhea. This meant prescribing IV fluids, injectables, and antibiotics – and avoiding ORS, even though this was in fact the correct treatment.

With this deep and nuanced understanding of what was driving ORS uptake, we developed a radically revised theory of how to increase the use of ORS to treat diarrhea in children. Instead of focusing exclusively on RMPs, programs should create demand for ORS by reframing caregivers’ perception of the treatment. This would help RMPs to bridge their “know-do” gap and prescribe ORS with confidence. We recommended a portfolio of new interventions, including:

  • Targeted media campaigns to shift the paradigm of ORS so that it was not seen as a treatment, but rather as immediate care
  • Mass marketing of ORS to create demand among caregivers of infants and children
  • Phasing out direct retailing of ORS to RMPs (this led to significant cost-savings)
  • Interventions to increase RMPs’ sense of economic security

Collectively, these strategies led to an increase in ORS uptake in UP from 30% to 50% in under two years. Our approach to getting a deep and nuance understanding of the ‘why’ before jumping into solutions has significant implications for diarrheal treatment and child mortality programs globally.

This program was implemented in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which funded the ORS delivery program in UP, and the Clinton Health Access Initiative, which implemented it. The study was designed, led, and analyzed by Surgo Foundation. We thank Ipsos and Final Mile for their contributions to the research.

About the Author:

 

Making a Difference Competition: Menstrual Hygiene Management Study in DRC

Winner of the Best local/domestic NFP case study of our Making a Difference Competition. This project was carried out by Forcier Consulting on behalf of Catholic Relief Services D.R. Congo.

 

“This very important piece of research is something that could make a real difference to half the population.”

Every month girls face an additional barrier to education: their period. For Forcier, studying the relationship between menstruation and education means more than just attempting to understand absenteeism. Our goal was to provide strong field-based evidence to NGOs, the DRC government and all actors in the health and sanitation field. We believe that good research must go far beyond simple statistics, which is why we always chose to adopt a holistic approach to data collection and analysis, which in this case includes extensive research surrounding community attitudes, beliefs, and hard to see implications. In 2017, Catholic Relief Services selected Forcier to accomplish one of the largest studies on knowledge, attitudes, environment, and practices regarding menstruation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The overall objective was to determine whether menstrual management practices have an impact on school absenteeism for girls, and to evaluate how the Congolese government’s “Healthy Schools and Villages” program, supported by UNICEF, can contribute in improving menstrual hygiene management. Data was collected by local Forcier enumerators in the provinces of Kinshasa and Haut-Katanga, as well as in camps for internally displaced persons in North-Kivu, thereby allowing for an analysis in urban, rural, and emergency contexts.  In the province of Kinshasa and Haut-Katanga, both respondents living in areas impacted by the “Healthy Villages and Schools” program and respondents not living in these areas were interviewed, and, in all three provinces, both girls in school and out of school were interviewed. The results of this study will help NGOs, the Congolese government and UNICEF adapt their interventions so as to better respond to the menstrual hygiene needs of girls and women in the country.

Forcier put forth a holistically designed mixed-methods approach for this research. In order to garner a broad understanding of the different barriers menstrual hygiene can represent for women, it was essential to collect information from the various groups of people who can influence how girls and women manage their menses. Forcier conducted 2601 quantitative surveys with 10 to 17 year old girls and their female guardians and 1022 quantitative surveys conducted with 10 to 17 year old boys. Forcier in addition, uses qualitative interviews to obtain contextual details and experiences of people with opinions that can shed light on hard to see implications. Qualitative interviews were conducted through the use of focus group discussions. 60 Focus Group discussions were conducted with girls, fathers of girls, teachers, community leaders and health practitioners. To ask questions to 10 to 15 year old girls in camps for displaced persons, an especially vulnerable population, child psychiatrists used dice game to make them more comfortable discussing these issues and to overcome taboos about menses. Analysis was conducted by triangulating the quantitative and qualitative data collected, as well as information garnered through a thorough literature review.  The research was designed to allow for findings to be presented for the individual provinces in which data was collected as well as the country as a whole.

The research, made up of 3623 quantitative interviews and 60 Focus Groups, identified the main obstacles preventing girls in the DRC from meeting their menstrual hygiene needs.  Girls are unable to adequately manage their menstrual hygiene because of a lack of sufficient knowledge and understanding of menstruation in the country. Whether village leaders, educators, parents, or the girls themselves, many members of Congolese society are not properly informed on the causes of the menstrual cycle nor, critically, how to teach girls to manage their menses in a safe, private, and healthy manner.  This is largely the result of a substantial taboo that surrounds menstruation, in part consequence of a conservative social order that associates the menstrual cycle with girls’ sexuality, and which impedes open discussion with girls both before, during, and after menstruation first begins.  Additionally, poor infrastructure, especially in villages and schools – in particular, a lack of clean, girls-only and private bathrooms – prevents girls from adequately taking care of themselves when they have their menses. A lack of available and affordable tampons or sanitary napkins further complicates girls’ ability to ensure their menstrual hygiene, and adds to their fear of being seen in public at these times. As a result, girls often stay at home when they have their menses – sometimes days at a time – forgoing their usual activities, including sports, church, and, most crucially, school, for fear of being “discovered” and “shamed” by members of their community.

The findings of this study are vital because they will allow Catholic Relief Services and other organizations working on hygiene, education and gender issues to better tackle the specific challenges that girls face in living in a healthy way and in receiving an education.  Indeed, this research on menstrual hygiene management is one of the first of its kind, on a too often overlooked aspect of development that is crucial to understand for the sake of empowering women. In particular, this research will help the Congolese government, along with UNICEF, reinforce the “Healthy Villages and Schools” program that seeks to improve sanitary and hygienic conditions in thousands of villages and schools across the country, including in camps for internally displaced persons, by highlighting the need to raise awareness on menstrual hygiene, improve infrastructure and make available sanitary napkins. This will, in turn, allow girls to live more comfortable, healthy lives and live up to their true potential.

About the Author: