Going to Bolivia with UNICEF for Brighter Futures

13 Nov 2012|Marina Cozzika

Part 1 : Going to Bolivia on a field trip with UNICEF.
When Ben Wood, Added Value Group’s Innovation Director, came by my desk to share the news that we had won the Big Idea competition to raise money across the Kantar’s network for UNICEF, and that I was going to Bolivia on a field trip as a first prize winner, it took me a moment to process the news.
And then excitement took over.

But as I started to be put in the loop of emails to prepare the trip, I began to wonder: what did I really know about UNICEF? Plain simple, what did I know about Bolivia?

Apart from what I learned about Bolivian art through my history of art studies at the Ecole du Louvre like the famous “Gate of the Sun” at Tiwanaku, and what comes through international daily news on BBC International, I did not know much. I started reading books and talking to friends to gather more information but I realized that we, Westerners, don’t know much about this part of the world. And so I was soon gathering facts and figures about Bolivia and the work  UNICEF was doing there.
To discover more about the tremendous work UNICEF is doing in Bolivia click here.

Part 2 : How UNICEF helps adolescents in conflict with the law
Sometimes you get to meet amazing people in the oddest places. When UNICEF took us to a center taking care of adolescents (14 to 18 years) in conflict with the law, I was not prepared for what I was about to experience.
Have you ever been obsessed by a thought over and over again? My thought for the rest of that day was: “Why did I not take my Leonardo da Vinci art book with me?”.

We were allowed to interact with adolescents in conflict with the law. By sheer chance, I happened to meet a young boy called Fernando (I changed his name to preserve his anonymity). He was carrying a book with him, but I didn’t really pay attention to it at first. I also didn’t ask him what crime he had committed to end up there. He didn’t deny having done anything to end up in this place. Fernando was serving his sentence, he liked the center and the teachers but he was counting the days till he would be free again. He had projects: he wanted to be a painter like Diego Rivera, the famous Mexican painter who helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement.
To read more about my encounter with Fernando, click here.

Part 3 : Through the looking glass
It is nice when you discover that all the effort you bring to fundraising actually makes a difference to people’s life.
This is what we found out on our Bolivian field trip, when we discovered that the kind of facility room used almost daily across market research companies was used to create a protective environment for children who are victims of violence and that the one we visited in La Paz had been funded by Kantar’s Brighter Futures.

At Kantar group, we use one-way mirrors dividing two rooms for qualitative market research Focus Groups, allowing our clients to watch without being seen. But those rooms have other purposes as well.
Called ‘Gessell chamber’ in this context, it is a place where the child will feel safe and free to talk about the suffering endured. His testimony will be recorded so that he will not have to tell his story in front of the Court, sometimes up to twelve times and confront his aggressor again.
To learn more about how social workers and UNICEF help the victims, click here.

If you want to see pictures taken during my trip check the Added Value Group’s Facebook page here.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to know more about my field trip with UNICEF at m.cozzika@added-value.fr

Written by Marina Cozzika, Public Relations, Added Value France.

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