Pride Campaign Manager Duan Honglian is hard at work in the Gaoligong Nature Preserve, working to protect the forest habitat of the Hoolock Gibbon. Through the combination of promotional materials and events, she is making great strides towards changing attitudes in the surrounding communities.
Honglian created a wide array of promotional materials to raise awareness of the plight of the gibbons. 500 canvas bags were given out to farmers, each replete with a picture of a gibbon on one side, and the phrase “Love My Homeland, Protect the Gibbon” on the other. The campaign also gave out 1000 notebooks to surrounding communities. These notebooks served several functions, not only did they contain beautiful pictures of the Gaoligong Reserve, but they also provided valuable information on biodiversity, plant and animal resources, and Hoolock Gibbons. In addition to the notebooks, 5000 calendars containing information and pictures regarding the gibbon were given out to farmers. The impact of these calendars cannot be understated, as prior to their distribution, very few farmers had ever even heard of the gibbon. After the calendars were handed out, however, Honglian surveyed the surrounding area and found that 35 of 37 houses visited displayed the calendar. The only two houses that did not display the calendar lacked adhesives powerful enough to combat the wind. Finally, the campaign created badges (see picture) to use during their visits to schools. The badges act as a great motivator to get children involved in the campaign.
The campaign held several promotional events that were extremely successful. In Nan King Village, the campaign worked closely with the primary school to create a cooking competition, puppet show, songs, and other gibbon themed activities. The cooking competition was intense, as it pitted some of the best local cooks against one another in a contest to see who could use the new electric stoves to create the best dish. The puppet show and song (“Love My Home”) saw the participation of Beithou and Azhen, the two pride campaign figures. They were, as always, a huge success with the children of the village. At the conclusion of the event, a survey was taken that resulted in 80% of the attendees saying that they recognized the value of protecting gibbons.
Community Pride Week was another event organized by Honglian and her partners. The activities, while fun, also focused on celebrating the construction of household stoves, use of electric stoves, arrival of energy saving light bulbs, and a decrease in firewood consumption. Furthermore, the event was able to show movies about conservation several times. Although this may seem minor, the entertainment provided by a movie was a special treat to people in the area.
Finally, here is a story shared by a mother in the area about the effect electric stoves have had on her and her son’s lives. The son, who is seven years old, did not like going to school. He would often use the excuse that he had to tend to the fire and, therefore, could not go into school that day. The mother, while wanting her child to learn how to read and write, also understood the need to tend the fire, and would often allow her son to stay home. When the Pride Campaign arrived to the area, one of the many things they contributed was electric stoves. As the son learned how to use the cooker, which only took about a week, the need to tend the fire diminished. Now, the son no longer has an excuse not to go to school, and is present every day. The campaign has affected people’s lives in ways that they never originally intended.
Child with badge