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Giving the World’s Children a Voice: A UNICEF case study

The need was to bring children’s needs to the world’s attention by letting children speak for themselves.

Every year on the 20th of November, UNICEF celebrates the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child through World’s Children Day. This is a very special day for UNICEF when the organization strives to get the world’s attention on the suffering millions of children across the globe experience and the criticalness of fighting for the rights of every child.

UNICEF, United Nations agency for the protection and advancement of Children’s rights, works to improve the lives of children and their families.

See the world through children’s eyes

UNICEF’s daily work typically involves adults exchanging with other adults about children’s issues. Despite being UNICEF’s ultimate stakeholders, children are rarely part of those conversations. For 2017 World’s Children Day, UNICEF’s goal was to give the world’s children a voice. The overarching objective was to see the world through their eyes: to hear their perspectives on the most pressing issues affecting children globally and in their home country, to understand their hopes for the world’s children, to hear what they would change if they were in charge. To put results in perspective, we also wanted to understand their world: who they admire (and are influenced by), whether they feel they are being heard and if so by whom and get their opinion on world leaders’ job at addressing children’s issues.

This research is the product of the collaboration between UNICEF, Grey Advertising (the communications agency for the World’s Children Day) and Kantar’s Lightspeed Research: for the technical aspect of the research project.

Methodologies used during the research

UNICEF and Lightspeed agreed on adopting a quantitative approach in the shape of an ad-hoc survey among children and teens aged 9 – 18 in 14 countries. This was the most adequate methodology given our goal of getting reliable quantified data on children’s views and opinions. Considering UNICEF’s global mandate, the aim was to run the study in as many countries as possible within the available budget, to ensure the widest geographical coverage and to include a mix of developed and developing countries. The study was complex on many levels, agreeing on the adequate sample age bracket, capturing responses from 12,950 respondents, utilizing translations to include their local language and following all ethical standards and ESOMAR’s guidelines on conducting research among children. To help capture spontaneous reactions and give children their own voice, open and closed-ended questions were utilized.

We utilized descriptive statistical analysis to obtain children’s views to help paint a picture of the world through their eyes. The analysis was mainly kept at total eligible sample due to the lack of substantial differences identified through analysis of demographic sub-groups. Verbatim responses were left in raw format and used to get compelling quotes to bring the figures to life.

What about if you were in charge of your country. What would you do differently to improve the lives of people your age?

“Make sure children all have healthcare, access to good food and education.” – USA

“I would not steal. I would teach sports and add more classes at school.” – BRAZIL

“I will take immediate actions for girls’ safety.” – INDIA

“I would make more schools where they give all children breakfast, where the teachers would not be absent, and teach them well and love them, and take good care of them.” – MEXICO

Results were analyzed at country and multi-country level given the goal to relay the children’s voice into media at country and global-levels. Finally, we brought external perspectives to the analysis, e.g. comparing children’s perception versus reality to adults.


The research provided a multi-country perspective, across both developed and developing countries, on children’s concerns for themselves and for children across the world, their hopes, and their views on world leaders, but also on how they live their lives: what they do outside school or the personalities they admire.

The verbatim to the open-ended questions also provided some very poignant statements from children in their own words, about what they would do if they were in charge, and issues they would address if they had a “super power”.

I like to get the magic pencil. Everything I draw will come true.

I will draw food and schools and teachers for children.”

a child in India on the superpower they wish they had to improve the lives of children

The findings fed into press releases, media headlines and communications material that were shared and used at global and national level. The survey formed a key part of UNICEF’s media activity around World Children’s Day, which during the first 48 hours of launch garnered a high volume of mentions in online media outlets.

The research improved the existing practice

It is often felt, at least at headquarters level, that for an organization whose mandate revolves around children, UNICEF does not listen directly to children enough and does not consult with them enough in the organization’s decisions. Traditional thinking suggested that since it takes adults to help children, it is adults’ opinion that mattered.

The study was a reminder that UNICEF does not carry out opinion surveys among children often, and that the findings from such work are both highly valuable and compelling.

Also, the decision to make ‘Access to quality education’ a focus of UNICEF’s advocacy in 2018, initially came from the survey findings which highlighted that this was one of the issues children cared most about.

Relevant for society

Children represent one of the most vulnerable groups in a society. They also represent a society’s future: future decision makers, leaders, consumers and employees. Despite the progress achieved in numerous areas, children continue to face high distressing situations across the world.

UN0146396 © UNICEFUN0146396Dejongh

This research is an attempt to give children a voice and make the rest of society aware of what children are concerned about, and what changes they would like to see so their opinions are also taken into account in the decisions being made. It is also a reminder to all to make sure we are talking to the right people.


About the Author:

Benjamin Riondel, Consumer Insights Manager, UNICEF, Switzerland

Girl-Friendly Toilets

Qualitative Insights to the Benefit of Female Students in Public Secondary Schools


Kankali Secondary School (KSS) in Naikap, Nepal, is high up on the west side of Kathmandu valley in a very poor area. Started in 1982, its young Headmaster, Bishnu Paneru has helped build KSS into a high achieving Public Community School, with almost 400 students. KSS is now regarded as a model school in Kathmandu Valley. It also functioned as a support hub for the community after the earthquake in April 2015.

The non-profit Association Luxembourg-Nepal (ALN), started to support the Kankali Secondary School in the 1990’s. Inspired by their work, André Linden, a retired Market Research Director from Soremartec (Ferrero) and ESOMAR member, who studied at Heidelberg University with Claudine Hengesch, the President of ALN, started to sponsor the KSS students, and the school itself from 1993.

In 2013 Kankali Secondary School faced a decline in the number of students. The Nepalese newspapers were reporting an “unhealthy competition” in the Nepalese education system due to commercially-oriented Private schools. To be able to understand better the situation and find ways to support KSS, André Linden commissioned research with Simon Patterson and his team at QRi Consulting.

A three-stage methodology was adopted:

  1. Desk Research. QRi conducted Desk Research sourcing relevant reports from UNESCO, World Bank, UN Development Programme, USAID, and education conference papers. The findings were written into a 120-page draft report; “Understanding the Nepalese education system today – Looking for sustainable opportunities for development of Kankali Secondary School in Kathmandu Valley”.
  2. Qualitative field trip inspired by cultural anthropology. Simon and André organized a visit to Kathmandu in March 2014 to see for themselves the differences in quality standards, in all respects, between Private and Public schools. Together with a group of Headmasters, they visited 9 schools, including KSS, and conducted interviews with the Directors of each school. In addition, a meeting was held with the District Education Officer (DEO) of Kathmandu, during which the draft report was reviewed. Everything was documented with video, audio recording, and photographs.
  3. Field Analysis and Report. Once back, QRi completed the report, integrating the findings from the field trip, all the input received in Nepal, as well as input from Associate Professor Martha Cardell (Edinburgh University), whose papers on the subject had been recommended by the DEO, and who, during a subsequent mail exchange, underlined its importance for the community.

In July 2014, the final report was sent to all participants and stakeholders.

The Desk Research confirmed to Headmaster Paneru and his colleagues the value and importance of Public Community Schools. It also highlighted that boys’ education is given priority by the Nepalese Society. Boys tend to be sent to Private schools (at high cost), and girls, by default, are sent to Public schools in Nepal.

The field trip enabled us to understand in concrete terms the competition that Public schools were experiencing. We also heard first-hand the high potential of the female students. At a debriefing with the headmasters, everybody agreed “Girls are the hidden treasure of Nepal’s Public secondary schools”.

Whilst visiting one particular Public school the issue of girls’ safety and attendance came up. Then, as the discussion developed, we became aware that the girls’ toilets were rather basic, and the Headmaster disclosed that the girls had in fact been increasingly complaining about them. The existing toilets were only able to facilitate communal urination, with no cabins and no privacy. Defecation had to be done in the woods (part of the general Open Defecation problem in the region).  The poor facilities also meant that girls tended to stay home during their monthly cycle, thus missing classes.

Old Girl’s Toilets in Janabikas Secondary School, March 2014

This issue had not emerged through the desk research and had not been openly discussed before. This moment of truth had been made possible by the atmosphere of openness and trust that we encouraged as we toured the schools with the Headmasters, in a research setting.

Actions and Outcomes

The key difference this research made in human terms was the building of Girl-Friendly Toilets first at KSS’s sister school, Janabikas Secondary School, in 2015, then at KSS in 2017.

New Girl-Friendly Toilets in Janabikas Secondary School, 2015

The Girl-Friendly Toilets have increased morale and self-respect amongst the female students, as well as increasing attendance of classes. One headmaster wrote: “The facility of Girl-Friendly Toilets has given the school pride for all the students, staff, stakeholders and the community.”

 Another impact of this innovative research, resulting in the building of Girl-Friendly Toilets in two Secondary Schools in Kathmandu Valley, is that two other Luxembourg NGO’s active in the region have asked ALN for detailed information, studying it as a model for their own school projects.

We believe this case to be a significant example of where Qualitative Research has really made a difference relevant for society and NGO’s.

About the Authors:

Simon Patterson, Founder & CEO, QRI Consulting

André Linden, retired Market Research Director from Soremartec (Ferrero)

Umbrella of Hope

St. Jude Child-care centres (SJ), established in 2006, provides free accommodation and holistic support for needy families travelling for their children’s cancer treatment to metropolitan hospitals in India. Lumière conducted two research studies for SJ in 2010 and 2011.

SJ was on the threshold of expansion and needed to assess how their vision could be expanded while keeping the core intact. There was a need to evaluate project operations and efficiency in the three centers in Parel and in Kharghar, to bring maximum benefit to the children and families. Lumière conducted in-depth interviews with all stakeholders for a 360 degree feedback, and provided SJ a situation analysis with suggestions on expansion of services and new initiatives to better serve the beneficiary families. The initial study provided an insight into how families perceived SJ. It helped SJ arrive at the core essence which gave SJ the confidence to replicate the model across geographical boundaries. Venturing out of Parel and testing the first ex-Mumbai pilot, Kharghar, gave SJ the confidence to build a road map for scaling the vision.

A 360-degree research approach

Qualitative research methodology was used for the strategic social research projects for Parel (2010) and Kharghar (2011) centers. Our project team led by Deepa Soman visited all centers under consideration and used a combination of techniques, one-on-one interviews with founder, COO and center managers, family interviews, ethnographic observations. The sample included a mix of families by demographics, to cover children of different age of child, new/ returnee child, place of origin, parents’ profession. A 360-degree research approach was used to allow for in-center ethnographic observations (family units, community kitchen, dining area, washing and common areas), family interviews and focus group discussions. The moderator brought great sensitivity given the context (kids with cancer), build rapport, trust and comfort with the families and children, as many belonged to rural and disadvantaged societies. Multiple visits to the centers helped build familiarity and bridge distance with respondents. Focus group discussions were groups of 15 people. They were inclusive, long and more like ‘sharing circles’ than a focus group discussion. It included a mix of cohorts to optimize interactions. Notes taken from the interactions were used for analysis and report preparation. We used the brand key framework and archetype theory to arrive at the SJ core.


SJ sought to anticipate the challenges to scale with questions on whether to extend outside Mumbai, or have more centers within the city, disease focus on cancer or to consider diseases like heart and tuberculosis. The output helped arrive at core values and confidence that the core was robust and replicable. The strong, stable, committed leadership team was equipped to strategize and execute their road map for growth.

In 2006 SJ served 159 families through 3 centers, in the vicinity of the top cancer hospital in the country, Tata Memorial Hospital. The SJ team gained more confidence after setting up the center ex- Mumbai in the ACTREC facility of Tata Memorial Hospital. Unlike Parel centers which had the advantage of constant monitoring, visits, and guidance for smooth working, the Kharghar pilot was remote working. Lessons learned from stabilizing Kharghar centers were used to expand to other cities. This study provided a tipping point in the expansion strategy of SJ.

The SJ model was created for cancer care with the vision, ‘Every child coming to the city for treatment should have a SJ home to stay’. SJ grew in other cities, with centers in Kolkata (2012), Delhi (2013) and Hyderabad and Jaipur (2014).

Lumière conducted a baseline study in 2013 as part of a donor management requirement for funds utilization. This was a formal audit that used methodology of observation, documentation reviews on issue and usage, as well as traditional methods of face-to-face interviews of center staff. Building robust donor management systems is key to expansion.

In 2014 technology and process audits was conducted to identify the situation analysis, identify gaps and success process and technology improvement to enable ramp up. Post the study inputs, MIS systems have improved and offer real time feedback and proactive issue identification and resolution. Currently in phase I, staff across the country is trained to update MIS with patient information. Daily reports are generated through MIS.

Today in 2018

SJ operates 35 functional centers pan-India in 6 locations with on-going expansion. 2648 new families were admitted at SJ since 2009. SJ has opened centers in Vellore in 2018, and Guwahati will commence later this year. SJ caters to pediatric cancer patients with chances of survival. The support systems for families includes counselling for patients and families, art-based therapy, yoga, education, skill development for parents. An impact study of 60 families who went back home showed adopting healthy practices leading to an improvement in children’s response to treatment.

About the Author:

Deepa Soman, Managing Director, Lumière, India


Changing Global Consumer Habits for a Healthier Planet

Levels of meat supply have risen dramatically over the last decades according to the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation1.

However, according to Greenpeace, the organization behind this research, the consumption of meat is associated with many negative effects on our climate and environment as well as on our health, such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, type-2 diabetes and several cancer types. Greenpeace hence identified the crucial need to change people’s behaviour for a better health, climate and environment in the future.

Decreasing meat consumption requires extensive knowledge of the role of meat in the society and of how to motivate a change of habits.

To be able to successfully promote a decrease in meat consumption Greenpeace first needed to gain an understanding of the cultural connotations of meat and current eating habits to then be able to identify strategies that could lead to a shift in consumption patterns – having in mind that the final goal is a change in mindsets and habits rather than only short-term behavioural changes.

To understand the role of meat and derive promising strategies, Danish market research consultancy Epinion conducted an explorative cross-country study using a mobile ethnography platform. The study focused on uncovering the complex and varying local perceptions, traditions, emotions and behavioural patterns surrounding meat consumption that can be expected to affect the potential for changing dietary habits. The end goal of the research project was to create input for a campaign with global appeal whilst allowing for local adaptions to ensure maximum impact.

Figure 1: 62 consumers from 6 countries participated in the qualitative research study by Epinion

The study included 62 consumers from 6 countries (Argentina, China, Denmark, France, New Zealand and Thailand), representing various cultural dimensions as well as different patterns in meat consumption. The group of participants covered families as well as singles and couples that were identified as the target group in the screening process.

Meat plays a lead role in meals across the world because it is seen to satisfy essential needs.

Figure 2: The different layers representing the meaning of food

The study confirmed that what people eat and under which circumstances holds numerous meanings across countries. There are overall three “layers” in which to understand the “meaning” of food and meat.

In a busy life, meat is chosen because it is an accessible, cheap, easy and fast way to provide oneself and the family with nourishment. Furthermore, in many cultures meat is considered essential for a healthy diet and is, not least, strongly associated with indulgence and hospitality.

The study identified a lack of knowledge and awareness of the societal and personal implications as the first obstacles that must be overcome to reduce meat consumption.

The fear that a reduction of meat in the daily diet would decrease the quality of life, as well as the lack of ideas regarding how to operationalize a decrease in meat consumption in daily life, has been diagnosed as a further barrier.

 To trigger attention, the campaign had to create a strong sense of urgency in a way that empowers people to act and highlights the personal benefits of changing dietary patterns.

Greenpeace always had a reputation for confronting those in positions of power with their responsibilities – often through interventions to stop an immediate environmental wrong right there at the scene. But this time another approach was needed: one that raises the awareness and changes the actions of the general population.

This study provided the NGO with clear and practical guidelines on how the need for a reduction in meat can be made comprehensible and relevant to a broad audience. With insights into the behavioural patterns and attitudes of the general population as the starting point the study clarified that abstract problems must be addressed with tangible measures that allow people to take the steps towards a healthier planet that are relevant and realistic in their specific cultural context. 

Since completing this research project in 2017 Greenpeace has implemented a variety of local and global initiatives.

All of them, including the global ‘Less Meat More Life’ campaign, play into the identified behavioural patterns and barriers. The ‘Less Meat more Life’ campaign encourages a better life though less meat, rather than shaming people for their current lifestyles. It also provides concrete strategies that translate the overall aim into everyday actions, empowering people to make changes in their daily habits and their local communities, e.g. by providing appealing recipes that help people to easily include more plants in their diet.

Figure 3: The Greenpeace cookbook – Helping people to reduce meat consumption

With this research project, Greenpeace has therefore taken a crucial first step towards ensuring their ability to create lasting change and impact globally. With the gained knowledge Greenpeace was able to improve their communication to ensure it will not simply speak to their existing supporters, but also to the millions of people who are not naturally engaged in politics or the preservation of the environment.

At the time of writing 259.915 people have actively joined the Greenpeace campaign.

  1. UN Food & Agriculture Organisation. 2018. FAO. [ONLINE] Available: http://www.fao.org. [Accessed 28 June 2018].

About the Authors:

Antonia Dedekind, Manager, Epinion

Helena Linde Pedersen, Senior Consultant, Epinion


Public Awareness of HIV Epidemic in Ukraine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Planning responsive measures

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

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

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

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

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

The full report is available here:


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


About the Authors:

Tamila Konoplytska, Senior Researcher at GFK Ukraine

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

Driving the Efforts to Prevent “Stunting” in Indonesia

Stunting is the impaired growth and development of children caused by poor nutrition and repeated infection resulting in their height being two standard deviations below the WHO Standards.

Stunting in the first 1000 days from conception, has adverse consequences on cognition, educational performance, adult wages. It’s not a “visible” illness and goes undetected in the early days. Behavior change on health and nutrition leading to prevention of stunting is a key task in emerging markets.

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

Research Study Objectives and Methodology

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

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

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

Salient Study Findings

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

Actions and Outcomes

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

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

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

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

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

Credit to:

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

Clients: IMA Worldhealth, MCA Indonesia


Who violates the electoral legislation, and why?

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

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

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

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

Causes for electoral violation

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

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

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

The survey questionnaire and guides include the following topics:

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

– Perception and attitude to the election-related violations;

– Readiness to combat the violations during the election process;

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

The survey was conducted in June-July 2017.

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

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

Results and possible outcomes

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

Press Conference

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

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

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

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


About the Authors:

Tamila Konoplytska, Senior Researcher at GFK Ukraine

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

Dmytro Savchuk, Researcher at GFK Ukraine

Women, key players in economic development

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

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

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

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

The main findings of the study were:

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

Cristina Paez, Regional Manager at Ipsos, Ecuador

Stateless and at risk population and their needs for assistance

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

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

Project’s implementation was the first serious effort to:

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

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

The following vulnerable groups were surveyed:

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

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

Majority of stateless persons do not legally exist

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

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

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


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

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

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

About the Authors:

Tamila Konoplytska, Senior Researcher at GFK Ukraine

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Learning from Lived Experience of Suicide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Putting Sustainable Research Infrastructure in Place

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Ongoing Role in Delivering Optimal Workplace Mental Health

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

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

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



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

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

Look after yourself, your colleagues and your clients!

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