| Sep 12, 2020
Wildlife education and outreach in uncertain times
Grandpa reads about bears in his wildlife notebook
COVID-19 has changed life as we know it and how we live it. It has forced us to reevaluate our decisions and how we go about our daily lives, including our work. Schools in Cambodia were closed nationwide and public gatherings banned in March, which all but derailed the KE’s activities as we work in classrooms and bring whole communities together in outreach events. However, a silver lining is that this forced the team to get creative and take advantage of the new and uncertain circumstances by trying new tactics – we are now bringing our wildlife lessons and messaging home, quite literally into people’s homes. As social distancing is keeping people away from their usual gathering spots, the KE has taken a new tact by going door-to-door. This approach has been well received and is proving to be quite effective, as the KE can reach multiple generations under one roof. It is also quite useful during the rainy season, which runs May through October, when we cannot hold our Community Night Shows. Overall, this is an excellent solution that enables us to reach a large swathe of people during times we usually cannot. In fact, we’ve just launched a new microproject to bring in-home lessons to end wildlife consumption to 1,500 homes and reach an estimated 6,000 students and family members across 8 provinces, and all donations up to $50 from September 14-18 will be matched at 50% by GlobalGiving.
Zoonotic diseases, such as EBOLA, SARS and now the Covid-19 pandemic, are the result of wildlife consumption and habitat degradation. Now, more than ever, we are emphasizing how the health and future of people’s own communities are directly linked to that of local ecosystems and the dangers to human health posed by eating wildlife and wildlife parts. The in-home program includes handouts of a simplified version of our presentation, which covers Cambodia’s wildlife species and, threats facing them, various laws and punishments for wildlife crimes, and actions people can take to protect their natural heritage, such as not hunting and reporting wildlife crimes to Wildlife Alliance’s 24-hour nationwide Wildlife Rescue Hotline for the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team to take action. The KE also plays fun wildlife games with family members who can win wildlife-themed prizes such as t-shirts and backpacks. The team follows up with a post-visit call to each family and asks about their ideas, opinions, and suggestions to maximize impact, which ensures our efforts are effective and messaging is on target
This new door-to-door approach is working so well that the team is going to integrate it into our core program and continue to deliver it even after things normalize. Despite Covid-19, between June and August, the KE reached 5,668 community members (of which 3,063 are female and 2,082 are youth) in the provinces of Kompong Speu, Kompong Chhnang, Pursat, Siem Reap, Koh Kong, and in Phnom Penh. We are thrilled with not only how well our approach is resonating with both rural and urban audiences, but with the results as this is the largest number of people we have ever reached during rainy season! Your GlobalGiving contributions enable us to continue bringing environmental lessons to rural Cambodians who have no other access to education during this period of school closures – thank you!
Everyone gets wildlife notebooks and stickers!
Showing off the wildlife rescue hotline number