EU-UNDP Project launches National awareness campaign “New Ukrainian consumer” (24/10/2008)
23 October 2008.
The joint initiavite of the European Union and United Nations Development Programme “Consumer Society and Citizen Networks” has launched the first national consumer awareness campaign aimed at raising consumer activism among Ukrainian consumers.
This is the first large scale event ever to happen in Ukraine that brings into question how well consumers are informed about their rights and mechanisms of their protection. The campaign will last 8 months and cover a majority of national and regional media to bring to every consumer the value of an input of knowledgeable and vigilant consumers into good economic governance in Ukraine.
At the initial phase of Consumer Society and Citizen Networks project it was apparent that only 20% of Ukrainian consumers declared readiness to take an active stance in protection of their consumer interests. And only 3-5% did something to make it really happen.
Large international organizations such as the Delegation of the European Commission to Ukraine and the United Nations Development Programme have a strong commitment to enhancing welfare and establishing principles of sound economic ruling in Ukraine and emphasize the role of consumers as key players in market economy. As the country is moving rapidly from administrative distribution of goods and services to liberal market economy, it is people who have to appear as watchdogs and control businesses and service providers to improve their quality standards and product safety. This is only possible if consumers are aware of their rights and ways of their enforcement.
“With the help of the Project, Delegation of the European Commission to Ukraine and Belarus has been trying to foster emergence of knowledgeable and vigilant consumers who will be able to regulate market economy with their informed choice of safe and quality goods”, - says Ms. Laura Garagnani, Counsellor, Head of Operations at the Delegation of the European Commission to Ukraine. “The consumer awareness campaign is a powerful tool which will help us target the widest audience possible”, - she adds.
The issue of consumer protection and development of consumer policy has a particular relevance to Ukraine because more and more goods are sold internationally. The volume of consumer market in Ukraine in 2007 was above 20 billion EURO and it continues to grow. Every citizen is a consumer at some point and therefore supporting citizen’s participation in development of consumer policy and civilized market means enhancing living standards of 46 million people in Ukraine.
Ms. Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecka, Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme, adds further that - “Development of consumer society in Ukraine faces many challenges. One of the biggest is that consumers in Ukraine often require more proactive approach to be properly informed about their basic rights, confirmed by international and Ukrainian society. And securing for a Ukrainian consumer the rightful place among other players of market economy will not be easy”.
The campaign in focus is supposed to spur Ukrainian consumers to be more responsible towards the choice of products they buy and take active stance in protecting their violated consumer rights in case of buying faulty goods or services.
“Creative ideas in animated format and humorously grotesque style are sure to help consumers overcome psychological barriers which prevent people from acting decisively when their consumer rights are violated,” – says Ms. Klavdia Maksimenko, the Consumer Society Project Manager.
Creative ideas are executed in animated form, which is stipulated by results of GfK research in 2007 which demonstrated that only 4% of respondents treat advertising as source of information about the product.
Main communication media will be TV and radio channels. Apart from public advertising, the campaign provides for a number of generally educational and interactive programs, which will enable consumer to participate in the process directly. Ukrainian consumers will also have a chance to meet campaign main characters on posters in local trains and subways, which will help to attract a wider target group. Additionally, they will come to people’s homes appearing on communal services bills.
Additionally, the Project presented a Book of Complaints developed to enable consumers leave their feedback on the most reputable and unbiased web-resource for consumers, Consumer Portal www.consumerinfo.org.ua. Leaving a complaint on the web-page a consumer can expect that his voice will be heard, since information about the claim will be filed to a producer of service provider whose products or services failed to meet expected standards. The moderated nature of the functionality makes it stand out among the so called “black lists”, disable the possibility of unfair competition and help establish dialogue between business and consumer.
For more information, please, contact Maria Savchenko, Monitoring and Information expert, by phone: (+380 44) 253 67 05; 253 67 32; fax: (044) 253 6679 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The Consumer Society and Citizen Networks project (CSCN) is a joint initiative of the European Union and UNDP started in 2006. Its goal is to increase civil society role in sound economic governance in Ukraine according to the European standards. Specifically CSCN aims at promoting access of citizens to information on product safety, consumer rights protection, and to results of independent testing, as well as promoting wide public discussion of challenges facing the consumer society in Ukraine.