Olson Global Communications
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Here is a sampling of some of the fascinating people I have met and photographed in recent years.
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I would love to put my 25+ years of experience in strategic communication and nonprofit management to work for you. I have a unique combination of experience in communications, social marketing, policy and international development implementation, in four languages, on five continents. To find out more, click "About me," "My professional experience" and "Services I offer" on left. I enjoyed developing this website, and I hope you enjoy reading my stories, viewing my photos and videos and listening to my radio spots. Thanks to my website designer, Steve Chambers of Creative Services (creserv.com).  

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I worked overseas for 10
years leading three different health social marketing programs
, all of which produced radio and TV spots. Some of my favorites were from Paraguay, like this animated TV spot we developed for Pantera condoms. It features Silvia and Jorge who start making love but Silvia quickly cuts it short after discovering Jorge forgot to bring a condom: "'Without a condom, no way!" she exclaims as she makes a hasty exit.


"Ponete Pantera" Radio Ad (MP3)
And here's a radio spot for Pantera condoms that won the 1999 award for Best Jingle of the Year at the 2nd International Radio Advertising Awards covering Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.
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Improving COVID Communications in Senegal

In August 2022, I started an assignment as COVID communications manager for USAID/Senegal. The position was done remotely but I did travel to Senegal in November 2022. I developed and supported communication for the USAID Health Office's COVID-19 response, part of a new $15 million COVID vaccination campaign in Senegal.

Continuing My Work with WFP, 2020 Recipient of Nobel Peace Prize

After returning from Burundi to the U.S. in March 2020, I continued my WFP work remotely, updating the social and behavior communication strategy for the COVID-19 context. And in the midst of this, WFP was named the 2020 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize on October 19, which was a huge thrill for all of us. See more here: https://bit.ly/3o8ib74

In Burundi, Developing a Communication Strategy
for Nutrition and Hunger

In September 2019, I started my second consultancy with the United Nations. I arrived in Burundi as the social and behavior change communication (SBCC) advisor to the World Food Programme, and my main task is developing an SBCC nutrition strategy. I was there through March 2020. Burundi is a very beautiful and poor country where 54% of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition. This short video explains the context of my work: http://bit.ly/2n82KRx

Applying Social Marketing Principles to Strengthen Health Education for Hurricane Harvey Survivors

In October 2018, my newest assignment is my first in domestic disaster work: I am helping to provide community health education and evaluate the impact of the service in 41 counties affected by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. My new client is Americares, the large domestic and international relief and development organization based in Connecticut.

In Mozambique, Helping Start A Behavior Change Communication Program
After an absence of 15 years, I am back in Mozambique in April 2017, this time to help the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs to start up a four-year health communications program. I've collaborated informally with JHU/CCP for years but I'm excited now to have them as a client.

20 Years Later, Back in Zambia to Work on Health Social Marketing
In 1992, I started PSI's social marketing program in Zambia, which became one of the first successful social marketing efforts in Eastern and Southern Africa. In December 2016, I was back to advise Palladium's new social marketing program which carries on that spirit.

Back in Mali to Strengthen Social Marketing Effort
In 2015, I spent three months starting up and working to strengthen a brand new social marketing project for Palladium. Since then, I have returned eight times to support our on-going social marketing work there.

Promoting Family Planning at Huge Conference In Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia
I was in Bali in January 2016 to cover the International Conference on Family Planning for DKT International and the Faith to Action Network, promoting the unprecedented presence of 85 faith leaders at the conference to advocate for family planning. I used those observations to write a variety of articles.

Addressing Cancer during First Job in Middle East
I was thrilled to have my first work experience in the Middle East, traveling to the United Arab Emirates to give a communications workshop to a group of developing country cancer advocates for the American Cancer Society.

Return to Mali to Launch Social Marketing Effort
For five years, I lived in Mali, working with local NGOs to implement agricultural projects. 24 years later, I am back with Palladium to launch a social marketing project, working and living in Mali for four months of 2015 and continuing to support the project from the U.S.

Marathon Tour of South Asia to Visit Social Marketing Programs
In December 2014, I visited DKT International social marketing programs in Pakistan and northern India. I am using those observations to write a variety of articles. Here's the first one, and here's the second.

Covering Two High-Risk Groups for HIV in Kenya
In 2014, I traveled to Nairobi and Kisumu, Kenya to profile efforts to prevent HIV among gay men and injecting drug-users, highly stigmatized groups. I wrote about those efforts in a May 2014 blog on Global Health TV.

My Report on Ethiopia
Family Planning Success Published in Journal

After almost a year and a half of work, my first peer-reviewed article, entitled "Ethiopia: An Emerging Family Planning Success Story", was published Dec. 9, 2013 in Studies in Family Planning.

Family Planning in
Ethiopia and Kenya

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- I was here in November 2013 to cover the International Family Planning Conference and write several blogs on it, including this one. I also spent a week in Nairobi, visiting IntraHealth projects.

Improving Communications At African Think Tanks
ACCRA, Ghana -- In July 2013, I started a new assignment, the Think Tank Initiative, by helping to improve the communications capacities of 13 think tanks in West and Eastern Africa.

My Primer on Contraceptive Social Marketing in Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia -- I spent the first week of June 2013 learning about DKT Indonesia, the world's largest private contraceptive social marketing project. In 2013, it delivered 7.1 million couple years of protection. I'm writing a series of articles on it.

Communications Work Takes me to Mexico,
Costa Rica and Brazil

I had a big focus on Latin America in 2012 -- in Mexico for the G20 Summit and in Costa Rica for IntraHealth and Brazil for DKT International, where I took part in a World AIDS Day rehearsal of a Sao Paulo samba school that DKT Brazil is sponsoring in Carnival. I wrote this blog about those efforts.

Blogging from the British Family Planning Summit
LONDON, UK -- I wrote a pre-summit piece about the role of the faith community in the summit for the Washington Post and a post-summit piece on Impatient Optimists.

Covering the G20 Summit in Baja California
LOS CABOS, Mexico -- I was at the southern tip of Baja California June 16-20 to cover my third G20 Summit for The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (World Health Organization). Here's my report on the PMNCH website.

Developing a Reproductive Health Communications Strategy in Kenya
NAIROBI, Kenya -- In 2010, Kenyans approved a new constitution expanding reproductive rights, including a loosening of abortion restrictions. I spent six months in 2012 working with a Kenyan reproductive health coalition developing a communications strategy to inform key audiences of those changes and wrote this blog about the experience.

Telling the Great Story of DKT Ethiopia's Work
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- I spent a week with DKT Ethiopia in April to help them tell the story of their outstanding work in contraceptive social marketing and HIV prevention among sex workers and other vulnerable groups. I wrote this blog on the sex workers.


Moderating Safe Water Conference at BU
BOSTON -- In January 2012, I moderated an all-day Safe Water for Health Now Conference at Boston University in partnership with Vestergaard Frandsen, a European company that employs a unique humanitarian entrepreneurship business model.

Communications Training in Burkina Faso, Mali
OUAGADOUGOU and BAMAKO -- In October 2011, I gave communications training to PSI staff in Burkina Faso and the staffs of Futures Group and l'Institut de l'Education Populaire in Mali. The Conseil National de Lutte contre le SIDA du Burkina, which also participated, wrote this about my workshop on their website.

Social Good Summit and NCD Summit, New York
NEW YORK -- I was in New York Sept. 18-22, 2011 for a UN High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and the Social Good Summit. Most of my time was spent at the Digital Media Lounge of the Summit which I blog about here. I also wrote two blogs for the Huffington Post - one on cancer in Africa, and another on the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa.

G8, Deauville, France
DEAUVILLE, France -- I tackled my third G8 Summit in May 2011, but global health did not fare nearly as well as it had in Canada in 2010. I wrote six blogs from Deauville and here is my final word on the summit.

White House Summit on Health & Clean Energy
WASHINGTON -- In November 2009, I spent half a day in the White House to hear and share ideas with top Obama Administration officials including Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sibelius and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson about the public health benefits of clean energy. Here's my account.

An Emotional Return
to My African Village
LOME, Togo -- In October 2009, I was thrilled to my core to return to my Peace Corps village in Togo after 24 years. The two years I spent there had a major impact on the course of my life. But had I had a major impact on my village? It was the moment of truth. Here's what I found.

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