We are absolutely thrilled to have had our Stop Wildlife Crime campaign shortlisted for the ‘Social Marketing Initiative of the Year 2014’ award by Malawi’s Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). It’s a huge boost for us; we feel it is such a unique campaign for Malawi and incredibly important to highlight the plight of the country’s wildlife in a distinct, passionate and inspirational way, speaking to the people of Malawi.
We were up against some pretty stiff competition and unfortunately got pipped to the post, but we are still extremely proud to have been a finalist for this prestigious award!
Our awards submission is below for you to find out more about our campaign and what we are trying to achieve.
Find out more about our ‘Stop Wildlife Crime’ campaign here
Raise awareness about the importance of protecting Malawi’s wildlife, our natural heritage. Push wildlife conservation issues onto the agenda of decision makers. Specifically highlight ivory trafficking as a serious wildlife crime and encourage the public to take action if they see any suspicious activity.
WHY IS THIS ISSUE SO IMPORTANT?
Protecting wildlife has never been more critical – a recent WWF report estimated that over half of the world’s species have died out in the last 40 years. Malawi is no exception and its biodiversity and wildlife are in fast decline, and once gone will be lost forever. It is this natural heritage that should bring wealth to the country through tourism. The plight of elephants is particularly devastating – if poaching for ivory continue at current rates there will be no elephants left roaming wild by 2025.
The integrated campaign was launched on 3rd March by the Director of National Parks & wildlife with the unveiling of the first billboard by Kamuzu Central Hospital. Thanks to support from Continental and other companies the billboard activity was sustained for 6 months in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu. Posters were sent to all hotels to target tourists who might be approached with ivory products. Through a partnership with ADL, stand up banners were displayed at the airport departures and arrivals warning travellers of involvement in the ivory trade. Chichewa posters detailing the law were sent to police stations and Parks offices around national parks. Training workshops and the production of ID booklets for wildlife artefacts are scheduled for January.
Social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, were utilised to create support for the campaign around the world.
Six press articles were secured in the Daily Times and Nation over the six months talking about the issue in addition to numerous articles through online publishers. Zodiak radio were particularly supportive about covering the issue with a number of interviews and new pieces. A radio play about the dangers of the ivory trade was written and recorded by a local school and was repeated several times.
The elephant march in October was coordinated with other marches around the world and attracted hundreds of marchers from schools, CSOs and local businesses and was covered by MBC, Timveni and Times TV. The Timveni footage was posted online for an international audience and was shared on a number of wildlife websites. Over 4500 signatures were collected from around the world to ‘stop wildlife crime & protect Malawi’s wildlife’ which was presented to the Minister of Tourism & Information. The government responded with concrete commitments including burning the ivory stock pile, the only country to pledge this in the SADC region.
Thanks to an injection of funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office the campaign has been extended throughout 2015.
WHY WAS THIS CAMPAIGN FINALIST FOR THE SOCIAL MARKETING INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR?
This is the first campaign of its kind, the biggest ever for a wildlife related campaign in Malawi. It is informative (raising awareness of the law etc) and inspirational (arousing national pride in our natural heritage).
It effectively engaged a wide range of target audiences, including local youth, government. Using global events (World Wildlife Day and the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos) as focal dates also helped us gain momentum from a wide audience. As a result Malawi gained international recognition for its stand against wildlife crime.
It has produced real results. There have been calls to the hotline as a result of the campaign reporting potential wildlife crimes, results of which cannot be published in the public domain. The Minister’s pledge following the march to burn the ivory stockpiles is at the very least partly as a result of the public pressure from this campaign.
It has used every medium available on a small budget to maximise exposure, from standard print media through to social media and press interviews.
It shows the benefits of private sector cooperation. The billboard campaign was made possible thanks to support from Continental, CFAO and Skyband who donated their space especially for the campaign which meant our small budget went a lot further.