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My experience of being a first time traveller and alone!

Blog-post from Esther Tot, who received the ESOMAR Foundation Scholarship to study at the English based Bachelor Degree program in International Business at the National University of Management (NUM) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

This is how my new chapter of 2018 began! On January 8th I won a SHARE Scholarship to study in Myanmar for one semester and I have been there for three months from January 8th 2018 until April 4th 2018, which is the day I left, and I wish I could have stayed longer!

That is where God created a new chapter for my life on New Year Eve. I couldn’t be more thankful to him and everyone who leads my way including my family, my teachers, all the people who are working at the ESOMAR Foundation and WIRE who helped me reach one of my wishes that is to at least travel once in my life. But now after my first experience I actually want some more. This reminds me  of my teacher Ms. Kerry Slattery who once told me that you get addicted when you have traveled once! It’s never enough because that experience is changing you in some way like being more cheerful and happy in life, you meet new people and make new friends and your life would never be the same without making new friends and experience new things.

From that persuasive phrase from my teacher I started to view life from a different perspective. Then lately I started questioning myself, what is life without moving? It’s nothing without moving because you will be stuck in the same place, same zone, and probably your comfort zone. This experience has changed my thoughts and my perspective, as well as my view from being pessimistic and become more optimistic. Honestly, this is the first time that I really broke out of my comfort zone and stepped into a real world. Travelling alone is the scariest thing I decided to do and would like to thank my mom and my family for supporting me to reach my goal. Travelling alone at just 19 years of age has built up my confidence to step out of my comfort-zone and explore my life. These 3 months have been amazing and more than what I had expected!

During these 3 months I met new people, made new friends, and I survived in my new environment even though there were some difficulties at first with the foods texture, ingredients, and smell. I ate both Myanmar food as well as Indonesian food as I was staying with Indonesian students and they were like siblings to me. They always cooked me Indonesian food and I was quite ashamed as I rarely cooked for them any Khmer food (Cambodian food) as our ingredients are rare and hard to find in there even though we are Asian, but we are not the same because we are unique in our own ways.

It was more interesting when it came to religion because in Myanmar it is allowed to embrace many religions. I have now many friends from different religions such as Baptists, Catholic, Buddhists, Muslims. It is quite interesting to get to know and understand and observe the inner behavior of each of my friends from different places and different religions and different languages. This experience has been an important part of my exploring.

During those 3 months I haven’t really stayed in contacted with my family or friends in Cambodia because the Internet connection was really bad, so I wasn’t able to call home often and haven’t really kept up with what’s going on in social media, but it was a nice experience being able to stay away from social media and really connected to people around me physically. I’ve been spending time with my Burmese, Indonesian, Korean, and American friends, discussed about our experiences and exchanged our knowledge, we ate dinner together and cooked for each other and went out and explored Myanmar together which helped make me make new friends almost every day.

On the other hand, I want to talk about the difference between Cambodia and Myanmar in the way people worship Buddhism.  In Myanmar I have seen people going to pagodas to worship their gods everyday as we all know that Myanmar has thousands of temples. In  Cambodia people don’t go to worship in Buddhist temples everyday. I have a relative who practices Buddhism so I learned a little about this fact as I see my relative go to temple to worship his gods only on what is called the “holy day” or on special occasions such as Khmer New Year, Pchum Ben, or Visak Bochea Day and many other days, but as I have mentioned above that it is not every day as in Myanmar. It is my own observation and experience so only if you experienced it yourself you would know what I am saying is true or false, but based on my own experience I can prove myself 75% right at this point. Anyway, this is not about making a declamation about religion; it is just what I have learned from being there which helped benefit my knowledge in observation and understanding and seeing something different from my own country.

People in Myanmar speak many of their own ethnic languages which I can’t understand but I could still communicate (half of the Burmese now can speak a little English including some taxi drivers and food sellers at the supermarket). It is amazing how sometimes me and my Indonesian friends walked across the local food stores and the sellers were not able to speak English, but we could still communicate and buy food by using our body language and we have even learned a little Burmese! To pay we usually opened our phone calculator for the seller to type the price (because it is a local food shop, street food so there is no price tag). When I look back at those moments I feel amazing and proud of all people who are able to communicate to each other no matter how hard it is and this is the amazing fact about our human being that I admire most.

Lastly, I would describe Myanmar as an amazing country even though it has been through a hardship of political background and damaged but it never gave up and it keeps on growing and developing. I am full of admiration of the country and the people. They are so friendly and so hospitable and food is somehow delicious. The thing that I love most is the beauty of their nature. In some places it is the best thing I have ever seen!

I would like to recommend anyone who would like to visit Myanmar, to go to Mandalay, Bagan, Shan State (Innlay Lake, where they speak a language similar to Thai), Yangon, Chin State, and if possible also Kachin State  but a little dangerous as there is a conflict still going on and a small war in that region, so better do some research about the situation first before heading to visit there, but it is such a nice place. I have friends who live there and they told me that they also have snow in December. This place is on my bucket list and I definitely want to visit there some day not just for the snow but for many other beauty of nature they have there, including the Heart Shape Lake (can research in Google), some of the other beaches site which are really, really wonderful.

For this truly amazing experience I would like to thank the ESOMAR Foundation and WIRE who sponsor me in the first place to be able to study at National University of Management and so I could apply for the SHARE Scholarship to go to Myanmar. I would also like to thank all the teachers who helped lead the way. Without all of you I wouldn’t have had such an amazing experience. Thanks everyone so much for helping me to accomplish my education and help me chase my dream and get a better life. I really appreciate everyone and everything, and thanks God for everything.

Partners & Sponsors

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


Annual Report 2017 is out!

We are pleased to share the Annual Report and Financial Statement 2017 of the ESOMAR Foundation.

In 2017 the Foundation strengthened several activities and enjoyed an increase in awareness and support from the industry and beyond. These developments provide a promising outlook for the future. The Foundation can continue to execute its activities in partnership with the many stakeholders who have provided both financial support and expertise and will hopefully continue to do so in the years to come.

As charity arm of ESOMAR, the global industry association of Market, Social and Opinion research, we have continued to benefit from the ESOMAR Council and the Supervisory Board support. The ESOMAR Foundation is on the right path of executing its mission “to use the skills, knowledge and support of the industry to do social good”.

Results so far are encouraging! With the help of our wonderful industry, we look forward to continuing to grow and achieve even better results in the years to come!

A special Thank You!

Without the generous help and support of the many volunteers, sponsors, friends, ambassadors and partners, the ESOMAR Foundation could not survive! So, we would like to take this opportunity to warmly and sincerely THANK YOU ALL for ensuring that together we can pursue our mission of contributing to a better world.


The use of Qualitative Research by Non-Profit Organisations

May kicked off with the first webinar of the series How can Qualitative Research support and inform a Non-Profit Organisation’s aims and objectives?  Speaker Sven Arn took insights from the research industry and explained how to address and understand different types of Donors.


It was fantastic to be a part of the kick-off for a new series of webinars set up by the ESOMAR Foundation to help and encourage non-profit organisations to use qualitative research. In our piece we focused on how principles of commercial marketing thinking (like the customer journey) can be translated effectively for non-profits for their communication with the general public and donors.

My co-speaker, Sonia Whitehead from BBC Media Action spoke about how qualitative research is used in actual development projects. Showing that qualitative approaches can be applicable in many different areas of non-profit activity.

Research for non-profit organisations, however, has its own particular set of challenges. These include

  1. Non-profits are driven by their principles and aims rather than by commerce so the very nature of ‘consumer’ research itself may be questioned.
  2. Because they are focused on effectiveness of their activities, they tend to be quite numbers driven and thus less inclined to use qualitative research.
  3. From the donor perspective, the concern that money is being spent on non-essentials rather than going to the projects and people that need it.

In the webinar we talked about how qualitative research can be an excellent reality check and lead to better decisions when it comes to addressing donors. In our experience we have often seen it invaluable in finding that fine line between creating reaction through impactful (and sometimes controversial) messaging rather than reactance.

Adjust claims using qual. research to better reach your target audience

In a recent project we conducted for a conservation organisation, we explored different claims that the organization is planning to introduce to support a new communications strategy. A small quantitative pre-check helped to separate out the strongest three claims, but it was only through qualitative research that we could understand which of the claims had the strongest potential to engage the audience.

Using storytelling research techniques we could explore how the claims worked in reassuring donors that their donation could really make a difference. This does not happen when communication is too optimistic and positive – but is equally endangered if the messaging is too drastic.

Qualitative research offers fantastic possibilities to explore individual reactions but also to set these in a social context. There is something fundamentally social in the relationship that people have with the non-profits they support, but the decision to become a donor is very personal. With qualitative research you can look at both sides of the donor experience and this can be invaluable in optimizing communication and messaging.

Methodologically there are a few considerations to bear in mind. First and foremost, it is important to get research participants on board. Careful explanation is required to avoid perceptions that money is not being wisely spent. This can elegantly be offset (and costs reduced) by offering participants the possibility to donate their incentives.

Traditional qualitative methods like focus groups can be a quick and easy way of exploring the audience’s perceptions and gauging reactions to ideas. Newer, collaborative methods such as co-creation sessions and online communities an excellent way to develop ideas and to engage different audiences and internal stakeholders. It also gives internal audiences a real sense of the point of view of the general public.

One thing we have learnt in translating marketing principles to the non-profit world is that these organisations need to engage fast and emotionally. The decision to support an organisation does not usually come from carefully considered reflection but is made relatively spontaneously.

In summary, qualitative research provides extremely valuable ways of identifying how to achieve this connection.

About the author

Sven Arn is Managing Director and Partner at Happy Thinking People in Germany. He has been with the company since 1991 and became Managing Director in 1997. His research focus is in international and cross-cultural research with a specific expertise in insight development, positioning and brand strategy.

Missed out the presentation? You can still check it here.

Interested to learn more about the topic? Join us for the next webinar!

What different Qualitative Approaches can be used to achieve various objectives?

The ESOMAR Foundation continues the series “How can Qualitative Research support and inform a Non-Profit Organisation’s aims and objectives?” with a new webinar. The second webinar of the series will identify and tackle different Qualitative Approaches that can be used to achieve various objectives. The online event will take place on 26th of July.

The ESOMAR Foundation is embracing qualitative methods as a means to improve the impact of NGO’s. With the knowledge and support of the many qualified researchers in this discipline, the ESOMAR Foundation wants to build an offer of online training webinars to advance knowledge of NGO’s in this discipline and to showcase the outcome of great research.

An overview of the different qualitative approaches

One of the things that non-researchers can find confusing is to understand the different qualitative techniques and what they are best used for.

–        When exactly should you use depth interviews versus a focus group?

–        What is the difference between ethnographic research and qualitative research? And when is ethnographic research appropriate?

–        And if qualitative research is about ‘really’ understanding people through observing body language and identifying unspoken triggers and drivers … how can it be done properly online? When is it appropriate to do qualitative research online?

Experts from the NFP world and market research agencies will share their experience of using ethnography to bring to life the situation (e.g.) Street Invest’s work to change donors and the public’s perception of and attitude to Street Children. Of using Focus Groups and In-depth interviews to develop the actual communications and get the best out of media strategy. Aiming to make the best of online qualitative approaches.



ESOMAR Foundation Making a Difference Competition 2018 – Winners announced!

At this year’s first ESOMAR Foundation “Making a Difference” Competition we received a large number of entries – all of which of great value and relevance for highlighting and promoting how the best of research has made a significant difference to Not-For-Profits. 

We are particularly happy to announce the winners of the first edition of the ESOMAR Foundation “Making a Difference” Competition.



Most innovative NFP case study

Reducing child mortality- a provider, a mother, and a powder

Sema Sgaier, Surgo Foundation, USA/India

NFP Surgo Foundation

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

Best international NFP case study

Empowering Digital Storytelling for Good

Justine Lukas, Kantar Millward Brown, Singapore

NFP Singapore International Foundation – Our Better World

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

Best local/domestic NFP case study

Menstrual Hygiene Management Study in DRC

Charlotte Antoine, Forcier Consulting, DR Congo

NFP Catholic Relief Services DR Congo

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

Each of the three winners will receive a donation for their featured Not-for-Profit and are invited to present their work at a special ‘Making a Difference’ session at this year’s ESOMAR Congress in Berlin on 23-26 September.

A hearty congratulation to all three winners for such a fantastic achievement!


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:

‘Stunting” in Indonesia

Nurhasanah Ayuningtias, Astrid Novianti, Astiti Suhirman, Kantar TNS, Iwan Hasan, IMA World Health, Indonesia

“Malnutrition is a massive issue and this was a very innovative approach and a contender for most innovative”; “Excellent case study – really getting underneath the issues”

Girl-Friendly Toilets Qualitative Insights To The Benefit Of Female Students In Public Secondary Schools In Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

Andre Linden, Luxembourg, Simon Patterson, QRi Consulting, UK

“Creative and insightful research and making a meaningful difference to girls there”, “Beautiful simple example of the effectiveness of good qual research”

Women, a key player om economic development

Cristina Paez, Ipsos, Ecuador

“Very good and very effective! An important issue for half the population and rightly topical”

Giving the World’s Children a Voice: A UNICEF Case Study

Benjamin Riondel, Unicef, Switzerland

“A delightful study!”

Critical Thinking Against Populism

Tamila Konoplytska, Inna Volosevych, GfK, Ukraine

“Innovative use of research”

The research on Public Awareness of HIV Epidemic in Ukraine

Tamila Konoplytska, Inna Volosevych, GfK, Ukraine

“This is important research with potential to make a real difference”

Congratulations to all! The ESOMAR Foundation wishes to thank all those who participated to the competition. We will endeavour to promote and highlight the excellent examples which have been showcased– to encourage Not-for-Profit organisations to use more insightful and inventive research for massively increasing the overall impact of market research in building a better world!


How can Qualitative Research support and inform a Non-Profit Organisation’s aims and objectives?

The ESOMAR Foundation launches a series of webinars to advance knowledge of Qualitative Research for Not for Profit organisations and to showcase the outcome of great research. The first webinar of the series will be held on 23 May.

There is demand for training, to get a better understanding of NFPs need for research, and what research really can do for them.

This series of Webinars will provide a better understanding of why NFPs should be doing more qualitative research as well as provide hands-on learning of the different types of qualitative tools and what they can be used for both offline and online, including social media.

The first webinar will focus on research which will help you identify your different audiences and develop and hone your messages to address each of them.

The webinar will feature:


Sonia Whitehead

Sonia Whitehead, Head of Research, BBC Media Action, will describe their aims, identifying the audience, and give examples of learnings and outcomes from research.

Sven Arn

Sven Arn, Managing Director and Partner, Happy Thinking People, will focus on how to understand donors  – their decision processes, barriers, touchpoints, the total ‘donor experience’ – and then taking the insights from the research to understand how to address different types of Donors.

Phyllis Macfarlane

Phyllis Macfarlane, Treasurer, ESOMAR Foundation, will moderate the Session.



Join the Making a Difference Competition!

The centrepiece of the ‘Making a Difference’ programme is an annual competition to highlight and promote how research has made a real difference to Not-for-Profits.

Send your entry by 13 April!

There will be three 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.

This competition aims at raising 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 this initiative – which will highlight ‘Make a Difference’ case studies – to encourage the use of more insightful and inventive research and massively increase the overall impact of market research in building a better world!

Join the competition: all non-profit cases are welcome whether they are international, national or local!

More info on: http://www.esomarfoundation.org/making-a-difference-competition/

Research Now SSI Establishes Tax-Deductible Fund To Benefit Families of Davao Fire Victims

The ESOMAR Foundation Inaugurates the Giving With €10,000 Donation

Dallas, Texas, (February 15, 2018) – Research Now SSI, the global leader in digital market research data and marketing services, announces that it has established a tax-deductible fund to collect donations for the families of its 37 employees who perished in the Dec. 23, 2017 NCCC Mall fire in Davao, Philippines, where the company had a call center.  The company is pleased also to announce that the ESOMAR Foundation has made the first donation to the fund for €10,000.

The ESOMAR Foundation affiliated with ESOMAR, the global insights community founded 70 years ago to promote the value of market, opinion, and social research and data analytics — has among its stated goals the mission to “help families that face economic hardships as a result of their family member having worked in the field of market, social, and opinion research.”

Gary S. Laben, CEO of Research Now SSI, states, “The concern, strong sense of community and enormous generosity of ESOMAR offers great comfort in what has been a devastating time for the families of those who died and for Research Now SSI. I want to acknowledge the foundation’s having proactively reached out to us in a heartfelt gesture of professional solidarity to see how they could help alleviate suffering in the aftermath of this terrible event.”

John Kearon, President of the ESOMAR Foundation, says, “Together with ESOMAR President Niels Schillewaert and our entire ESOMAR team, we offer our deep condolences to the families affected by this tragedy, as well as to all of Research Now SSI around the world. Each and every member of our organization was eager to show our sympathies and support in a way that would directly benefit the families of those who perished.”

Research Now SSI previously launched a fundraising effort on Go Fund Me, which raised over $119,000 which is being distributed among the Davao families. Research Now established the latest, tax-deductible fund on the Allegro platform, which allows for U.S. tax-deductible 501(c)3 status and issues an annual statement. Laben notes, “We created this fund for our investors, the industry at large, and organizations such as the ESOMAR Foundation in response to their concern for the families and offers of help.” Donations can be made by going to Allegro’s website, https://allegrosolutions.org/ and entering the code Phil-RNSSI-Davao.001.

About Research Now SSI Research Now SSI is the global leader in digital market research data for better insights and business decisions. The company provides world-class research data solutions that enable better results for more than 4,000 market research, consulting, media, healthcare, and corporate clients, and is recognized as the quality, scale, and customer satisfaction leader in the market research industry. For more information, please go to www.researchnow.com and www.surveysampling.com.


Editors, for more information, contact:

Kate Brunkhorst

Research Now SSI



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.


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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Media Contact: Jessica Sage, jessica@womeninresearch.org