Bring communities and conservation together
WHY COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT?
Humans can negatively impact nature, but humans can also restore and protect nature. Therefore, SVW believes that connecting and creating a favorable environment to raise awareness and promote positive attitudes and behaviors in the community are solutions which contribute to sustainably protecting nature.
Anyone can be a nature conservationist. So you are!
We follow an explicit theoretical framework with five levels of conservation education to design and implement evidence-based Community Engagement programs for different types of targets. The framework has been flexibly adapted from the Tbilisi Declaration in 1977 by the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in cooperation with the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP).
Five levels of conservation education:
– Awareness: Helping target groups to be consciously aware of the conservation challenges that can affect human life
– Knowledge: Aiding target groups in gaining knowledge and understanding of wildlife and conservation challenges
– Attitudes: Inspiring target groups to develop attitudes of appreciation and concern about wildlife issues
– Skills: Encouraging target groups to develop the capacity themselves or providing them with skills to help tackle and resolve the conservation challenges
– Participation: Providing opportunities for target groups to participate in all processes of resolving conservation challenges
*Adapted from UNESCO, Tbilisi Declaration, 1977
Among the five levels, SVW’s education outreach team considers Participation to be the utmost important goal for each and every program of ours. Participation will ensure the sustainability of the projects and empower the community to realize their potential and actively take actions to protect wildlife. Different target groups will be provided different ways to participate in wildlife conservation, i.e. local communities to share ideas on alternative livelihood development, school children to conduct awareness-raising activities for their communities, local partners to join in designing, implementing, and evaluating the education outreach program, etc.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT GOALS
Community engagement programs’ final goal is to empower communities to take informed actions in conservation. Hence, we achieve the conservation mission and objective of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife. FOUR outcomes we aim to achieve are:
Developing and implementing community engagement programs which are evidence-based, sustainable and for different target groups. The programs created must be practical, simple and efficient, which enable active participation from the key program stakeholders to produce long-term impacts that benefit both humans and wildlife.
HOW TO ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY?
We carry out social surveys to help understand the demographics and characteristics of our target groups, identify local needs, then establish the conservation requirements of our targeted species. This is the key step to ensure our awareness-raising campaigns and education programs work effectively.
* Data from 2014 to 6/2023
Community Outreach Activities
Carnivore and Pangolin Education Centre
SVW opened Vietnam’s first Carnivore and Pangolin Education Centre on World Pangolin Day in February 2016 – a great kick-off for a new year with two wonderful events within one day. Dream comes true – the Vietnamese now have one destination to learn and demonstrate their interest and commitment in saving carnivores and pangolins.
Come visit our Education Centre to:
Experience interactive exhibits to learn about the 39 precious and irreplaceable carnivores and pangolins in Vietnam;
Visit our Education Ambassadors – permanent animal residents rescued at the Centre (Pangolin, Small-clawed Otter, Binturong, Mask Palm Civet, Common Palm Civet, and Leopard Cat)
Learn how we fight for wildlife and how you can take action to save wildlife;
The future of nature relies on young generations, yet Vietnamese children have limited opportunities to connect, discover, and learn about the forest and wildlife. In order to address this gap, we develop a wide range of school programs for children aged 5 to 17 across Vietnam, mostly in protected areas.
Programs’ agendas and activities are developed to ensure the suitability for children’s physical, cognitive, and emotional development and education purposes. We also aim to maximise the engagement and participation of not only students but also local partners, teachers, and local communities. To evaluate the changes that our programs create, we conduct pre and post-survey on a specific group of participants.
By July 2021, over 11,133 children living in the buffer zone of National Parks have participated in these program activities, which took place in person at the class, school, and in the forest. Besides, hundreds of high-school, secondary, and elementary students in big cities have also joined our online courses on wildlife conservation. Find more details about our four key school programs here.
Community Engagement Programs
We are working with local communities in the buffer zones of wildlife strongholds in Vietnam to raise awareness, find viable alternative livelihoods, reduce impacts on forest resources, and inspire them to protect wildlife. We conduct background research, to determine the local needs and assess the current situation before developing and implementing interventions. We carry out different programs using diverse approaches: organizing community engagement workshops, using large billboards and diverse self-sustained education outreach tools to encourage forest-dependent people to take informed actions to protect wildlife, and developing alternative livelihoods.
Until now, 105 villages in and around Pu Mat National Park have been involved in our community programs, in which 2,837 forest-dependent people have participated, pledged, and shared ideas on developing alternative livelihoods and other initiatives to protect wildlife. In addition, outreach tools that we sent out and communication media have helped spread our conservational messages around the whole area.
We are developing more conservation tools, which are simple and low-cost so that the locals can continue to use them for a long time. We aim to increase sustainability resulting in a long-term impact on the activities and community engagement program. Also, we connect businesses and social enterprises to develop and implement alternative livelihoods in the area. These alternatives would make use and take advantage of the previous livelihood that proved to be working in the area to ensure cost efficiency, local approval, and participation, and at the same time minimize possible harms to natural resources and wild animals.
Find out more details of our community engagement program here.
Behaviour Change Programs
SVW applies different approaches (e.g. social and behavior change communications, law enforcement and community workshops, mobile exhibitions, etc.) to communicate messages that create positive perceptions towards our focus species, therefrom creating attitudinal change. We hope it will positively affect the human behaviors that are negatively impacting wildlife populations.
Two key behaviors targeted in SVW’s behavior change programs are (1) demand – the purchasing and consumption of wildlife products, especially bushmeat, and (2) supply – the sale of wildlife products, especially in restaurants that serve bushmeat. To ensure the development of appropriate campaign messages and interventions, we conduct background research interviewing targeted audiences before each program.
From 2020, consulted by Influence At Work, we started to apply CARING Framework – a social norm approach, and remove environmental associations into our behavior change programs to ensure the objectives of our campaign messages, increase participation of local authorities and communities, as well as maximize intervention effects.
We currently collaborate with governmental authorities to implement some behavior change campaigns to increase combat illegal wildlife poaching, trading, and consumption. In addition, we convince, consult and provide technical support to government bodies and local partners to implement wildlife demand reduction programs.
Between 2018 and 2019, we worked together with the University of Oxford to implement the project “Exploring the effective use of celebrities in wildlife demand reduction: changing perceptions of pangolins in Vietnam”. Find more details about the project here. The report will be published and updated .
The Education Outreach Team conducts two different types of social research: background research and evaluation research.
1. Background research aims to understand the demographics and characteristics of our target groups, identify local needs, establish the conservation requirements of our targeted species, and develop appropriate interventions in response to identified conservation needs. From 2015 to 2021, the EO team conducted 4 background research, interviewed a total of 10,447 Vietnamese people across 15 provinces in Vietnam. Find out more details about the 4 background research here.
Besides the research conducted by the EO team, SVW also collected data on the illegal Pangolin trade, surveyed wild meat restaurants and traditional medicinal stores in six cities across Vietnam.
2. Evaluation research aims to provide data to assess the effectiveness and impact of our education outreach program. It is conducted before implementing the program interventions, and after a specific time that the interventions take effect in the community. Find out more about the evaluation research findings of the school programs for children living in the buffer zone of Cuc Phuong National Park here. Reports of the evaluation research for the demand reduction program and school program for children living in the buffer zone of Pu Mat National Park will be published soon after the projects end.
Building Capacity Programs
We apply storytelling, interactive and participatory approaches in training and building capacity workshops to increase participants’ excitement and engagement. This resulted in positive changes in trainees’ attitudes and behaviours toward wildlife. By providing knowledge, information, and practical skills, we aim to empower trainees to participate in protecting wildlife and deliver effective conservation practices. SVW has worked with partners to train more than 2,500 local government officials and law enforcement officers working in conservation hotspots about protecting wildlife, combating illegal wildlife trade, handling confiscated wildlife, and promoting the responsible and pro-conservation placement of confiscated wildlife over a ten-year period.
As a part of the law enforcement effort, we have worked with our partners to train environmental journalists to involve their participation in combating illegal wildlife poaching, trafficking, and consumption. We have also carried out numerous seminars and training courses for students in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand to involve them in conservation actions.
Currently, we are planning to conduct a training program for Vietnamese wildlife conservationists. The program will cover numerous modules including many different topics of field survey skills, species ecology and identification, law enforcement, wildlife criminology, GIS, camera trapping studies, radio telemetry projects, research, project design and grant proposal development.
Find more details about some of our previous trainings here.
Awareness - Outreach - Media
We use various communication mediums such as educational publications and materials, Education Centre, and the media to spread the word and gain public support for Vietnam’s wildlife. Over 60,000 people followed our social media channels, millions of people reached out to our conservation work via the media. Furthermore, over 1,000,000 educational materials were distributed to hundreds of thousands of people in Vietnam and around the world. Access our educational outreach materials and publications here.
SVW team members also delivered awareness talks, guest lectures, outreach public events, Education Centre visits, and conference presentations to various communities, businesses, and higher education groups to spread our conservation messages to thousands of participants and give them the opportunities to get involved in our conservation work. SVW hand-on experiences presented at those events contributed greatly to not only awareness-raising but also policy changes. We have also developed a paying volunteer program for international visitors who wish to stay longer for a more comprehensive experience. These hands-on experiences also made a significant impression on participants as they were left more informed and inspired to spread the word and become active supporters.
SVW widely connects with national and foreign press agencies such as BBC, Animal Planet, The Telegraph, The Guardian, CNN, 360o, VNExpress, Dan Tri, VTV, HTV, and so on; and we participate in the worldwide conservation network to spread the mission, demonstrate our achievements, attract new partners, and build trust in a better future for nature conservation in Vietnam.