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|USAID is rolling out the third phase of the Chi Initiative|
On December 18, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Wildlife Asia in partnership with TRAFFIC and SBCC agency Intelligentmedia, released two public service announcements (PSAs) in Hanoi, Vietnam as part of its Chi Initiative Phase III.
The Chi Initiative focuses on reducing demand for rhino horn and other illegal wildlife products among Vietnamese businessmen – a key consumer population. Vietnam is a key destination and transit country for rhino horn and other illegal wildlife products. Reducing demand for rhino products in the country is integral to decreasing trade flows and combating poaching.
Rhino horn products are consumed in Vietnam largely for their perceived health benefits and reflection of wealth and status. The two newly-launched PSAs challenge these beliefs.
The first PSA emphasises the fact that strength and stamina do not come from consuming wildlife products but are the direct results of work and perseverance.
The second PSA highlights the incompatibility of wildlife consumption with international business practices. It stresses the risks, including the loss of prestige and reputation, of using, buying, or gifting illegal wildlife products such as rhino horn.
To ensure their effectiveness, the PSAs have been developed in partnership with the Vietnamese business community. They will be disseminated through multiple media platforms including print, billboards, and social media to achieve maximum exposure. They will also be promoted by partners such as the Central Committee of Propaganda and Education, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vietnam Automobile and Transport Association, and Vietnam Central Buddhist Association.
TRAFFIC, a non-governmental organisation working on wildlife trade, developed the Chi Initiative in 2014 based on consumer research which identified wealthy Vietnamese businessmen between the ages of 35 and 55 as a key rhino horn user group. The overarching message of Chi drives the concept that success, masculinity, and good fortune come from an individual’s strength of character and not from the use of illegal wildlife products.
The initiative uses behavioural science to encourage Vietnamese businessmen to demonstrate their Chi by becoming leaders in corporate social responsibility and in wildlife protection. Chi Phase II built on the successes of Phase I, expanding its geographic reach by forging key partnerships with some of Vietnam’s largest civil society organisations.
The Chi Initiative Phase III, funded by the USAID, was launched in August 2018. The campaign is working to further mobilise the business community to integrate the protection of wildlife as an element of corporate social responsibility and as a means of making Vietnamese businesses more competitive. The initiative also works with the National Assembly on advocacy against wildlife crime.
USAID Wildlife Asia works to address wildlife trafficking as a transnational crime. The project works to reduce consumer demand for wildlife parts and products, strengthen law enforcement, enhance legal and political commitment and support regional collaboration to reduce wildlife crime in Southeast Asia, particularly Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. The USAID Wildlife Asia focuses on four species: elephant, rhinoceros, tiger, and pangolin.