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Author: Mirko Cosentino

Training Young Entrepreneurs and NGO’s in Rwanda!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why train entrepreneurs?

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

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

And why train NGO’s?

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

Sustainable Development Goals

in preparation….

Trainer volunteer experience in Kenya – Meltem Karahan

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


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


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


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




Meltem Karahan

Photos from the ESOMAR Foundation traning in Kenya!

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

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

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The Foundation completed another successful training in Africa!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did we learn from the feedback?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phyllis Macfarlane

Hear from Nicolin – The first ESOMAR Foundation scholarship in South Africa

Nicolin Mamuya has been awarded of the first ESOMAR Foundation scholarship in South Africa. This scholarship was sponsored by SSI- Survey Sampling International and in collaboration with SAMRA – Southern African Marketing Research Association.  Hear directly from Nicolin about the impact of this scholarship on her life:

About Me

I am currently a 3rd year BCom (Bachelor of Commerce) Marketing Management student at the University of Johannesburg and my name is Nicolin Byansy Mamuya. I was born and raised on the 25th of November 1996 in Johannesburg, South Africa although both my parents are from Tanzania. I was however, raised by a single mother who always stressed about the importance of education.

I attended Progressive Primary and then went on to Rand girls’ High School in 2009. I was always the quiet girl in the background until the 10th grade when I joined the RAPS acting club. It was a huge boost to my confidence and I felt it safe to label myself an extrovert. I initially wanted to study BCom Law and placed Marketing as my second choice however, I was only accepted for Marketing.

My first year in Marketing was very insightful and by the time I finished my 2nd year, I was already speaking Marketing. I found myself constantly rating service performances and being able to spot marketing strategies in ordinary convenient stores.  In my second year I was awarded a two year bursary from a well-known billboard and radio company called Primedia.

Now doing my 3rd year, I am a mentor for first year Marketing students as well as the Deputy Chairperson of the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO). I am also part of a group called Unique women were we aim to inspire and build women to achieve success. We are currently starting with visiting orphanages where we can assist, donate and speak to the young girls about working towards a bright future.

I am an outgoing, enthusiast who always plans for the future. Alongside my career in Marketing, I plan on opening a Jazz restaurant that offers a taste into the world. My ultimate goal in life however, is to be a strong, successful and influential woman, one that others can look at and admire but yet can relate to.

How will the scholarship help me and what do I expect from the experience?

On the 13th of March 2016 at 00:10am, 2 days before her birthday, my mother had a stroke. She was taken to the hospital where the doctor revealed the severity of the stroke. My family thought it best to return her to Tanzania where she would be properly taken care of. I was forced to grow up and learn to do things for myself. However, because my mom was the breadwinner it meant that I would suffer financially and my chances of pursuing Honours in Marketing would slim.

My lecturers always mention that a degree has become as common as a High school certificate, which means competition is very high. Hence, they constantly emphasize the importance of pursuing honours as a means of differentiating oneself. This scholarship will therefore, not only assist in providing for my basic needs but also the opportunity to pursue my Honours degree.

I would like the affiliation I have with the foundation to build on my personal career. I look forward to gaining greater insight on the Market Research field and hope to get the opportunity to apply my knowledge once I graduate. Greater insight and guidance in the field will assist in deciding which area in Market Research I would like to go into.

I am also hoping that my affiliation with the foundation, not just through the scholarship, will be a huge stepping stone towards my success in future, which in-turn, will also contribute towards the realisation of my long-term goals.


Nicolin Byansy Mamuya