The Chi Initiative: A Wildlife Demand Reduction Campaign in Vietnam

Vietnam is a principal destination and transit country for African rhino horn and elephant ivory and is a source and transit country for pangolin products. Demand for illegal wildlife parts and products in Vietnam exists within a context of strong cultural norms that encourage consumption of wildlife for prestige and by traditional beliefs regarding the health benefits obtained from their consumption.

USAID Wildlife Asia subcontracted TRAFFIC to conduct social and behavior change communication (SBCC) activities in Vietnam to reduce the demand for rhino horn and other illegal wildlife products. The project ran from May 15, 2018 to November 30, 2020. TRAFFIC delivered this work through the Chi Initiative, a social marketing program designed to encourage Vietnamese businessmen, a key user group, to reject rhino horn and lead a shift in social norms away from the consumption of illegal wildlife products.  The Chi Initiative has developed pivotal relationships, catalyzed partnerships, produced communications materials for replication and roll-out by the target audience, and shared research and insights into how to effectively change the behavior of rhino horn consumers in Vietnam.

The Chi Initiative will continue to bear an impact long after the project timeline has concluded through institutionalized trainings via its master trainer network that will continue to integrate wildlife protection messaging into their training sessions. The Chi Initiative has also produced several legacy products that will serve as valuable references guiding policy and communications discussions in the Vietnamese government for years to come while the Chi Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Guidebook will continue to promote the benefits of wildlife-related CSR among Vietnamese businesses.