Emerging MarketsAmy Jones

2CV Presents TEGA at the AURA ‘Best of the Best’ Conference

In January my colleague Claire Evans and I (Amy Jones) presented at the 'Best of the Best' Aura conferences, heading up to Manchester on the 26th, and back down to London on the 31st. We had been invited, alongside 9 other award winners, to present our research for TEGA (Technology Enabled Girl Ambassadors), a product by Girl Effect, which gained the title of the Market Research Societies' Best Innovation in 2016. 

2CV Presents TEGA at the AURA ‘Best of the Best’ Conference

We were really proud and excited to talk to a host of client-side researchers about our work for TEGA. With Girl Effect and our tech partners Maido, we have created a research solution that not only provides an economy for girls living in poverty, but also allows us to gain valuable insights into hard-to-reach audiences.

Whilst this might sound confusing, the premise of TEGA is extremely simple. Girl Effect's mission is to ensure the voices of girls are authentically heard, no matter where in the world they live. They believe it's not possible to tackle the root causes of poverty without understanding what those challenges are, and hearing from the girls themselves.

However, many existing research approaches don't work as hard as they could in communities in the developing world. Having someone (often a white western man) knock on your door and ask intimate questions about your life, is unlikely to get a full and honest answer out of a young girl in places like Nigeria, particularly if the head of the household is protectively listening in.

Secondly, conventional styles of research are slow and expensive. Reports are often six months in the making and, even then, research findings are dismissed as invalid due to lack of rigor, credibility or new insight.

So we worked with Girl Effect to create a solution that would plug this data gap: TEGA - Technology Enabled Girl Ambassadors.

  • It's a smartphone based, peer-to-peer research tool that enables girls themselves to gather better, faster, more scalable and authentic research in their hard to reach communities.
  • We find and train 18 - 24 year old girls (our TEGAs), living in the places we need to understand.
  • Having partnered with The Market Research Society to create a curriculum, we then spend three months training TEGAs via bespoke smartphones to become qualified interviewers. All who complete the training gain a globally recognised qualification. All girls receive payment during training, and for their on-going work.
  • This idea is borne out of the understanding that an adolescent girl is more likely to respond openly to someone like her - who understands her background and the culture in which she lives - as opposed to an adult stranger from a foreign country who does not share her experience.
  • Through a specially developed app, which the TEGAs helped to create, the girl researchers conduct the research themselves and send the findings back to a content hub. The Content Hub can be accessed anywhere in the world by those with administration rights.

The TEGA Research App is a brand new innovation, and through mobile phones allows users to ask respondents audio and video questions, capture photo content, and pose quantitative questions. TEGAs can even operate in regions without mobile connectivity - the app 'chunks up' all the data, and uploads once connectivity is detected.

In 2016 TEGA networks were established in India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Rwanda. Our TEGAs have spoken to hundreds of girls about their lives, and interviewed boys, parents, grandparents and community members. This shared identity between interviewer and respondent (same religion, culture, background) has opened our eyes to a world of untapped insight - which wouldn't be reached using traditional methodologies such as focus groups. For example, the work of TEGAs has uncovered for the first time that one of the main challenge facing youth in Nigeria's Kano province is drug abuse. They viewed drugs as the key cause of crime, violence, and unemployment. Above anything else, it is their biggest worry. This influenced how one partner's $1 billion strategy, previously focussed entirely on education and school life, should be revised to also tackle this issue.

At the AURA conference, we were thrilled by the level of interest from the audience, which was evident from the number of questions asked. The challenges tackled by TEGA, for example conducting fieldwork in areas with low connectivity, deploying research solutions quickly, collecting data from across the globe, and tackling sensitive topics with young audiences, resonated with a variety of clients.

The last year of the TEGA project has been an exciting journey - we have grown from an idea, withstood rigorous testing during a pilot, and are set to expand into new regions while building upon existing networks. We cannot wait to see what is in store this year, and alongside Girl Effect's TEGA team, continue to share our learnings and insights with the research community around the world. 


Amy Jones

Research Manager

2CV London