Activating change with Zambia’s first-ever bushmeat-themed behaviour change campaign

By Mirriam Nasilele

The “This Is Not A Game” campaign represents a comprehensive action aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of consuming illegally sourced bushmeat while advocating for safer alternatives like legal game meat. Despite its seemingly suggestive tagline, the campaign’s activation event cleverly combined fun and interactive games with a serious message, attracting over 500 individuals at East Park Mall and engaging approximately 50, 000 social media users on Facebook and Instagram.

Early this year, Wildlife Crime Prevention (WCP) Zambia, collaborated with East Park Mall and strategically placed campaign messaging in one of the busiest areas in the mall, spotlighting themes that shed light on the unsustainable and unsanitary practices associated with bushmeat consumption. These messages emphasised the gruesome methods used in poaching wildlife for bushmeat, as well as the unhygienic processes the meat undergoes before reaching consumers.

By integrating various communication channels such as social media, television, radio and newspaper, the campaign has ensured broad outreach and reinforced its crucial messaging across diverse demographics.

Since its inception in 2017, the campaign has continuously evolved, employing innovative methods to engage its target audience, primarily urban consumers who are significant drivers of the illegal bushmeat trade in Zambia. Through collaborative efforts with government agencies, conservation NGOs and the private sector, the campaign aims to support existing initiatives to combat wildlife poaching for bushmeat and promote sustainable wildlife conservation practices.

An evaluation conducted after the first three years of the campaign revealed insights, notably the importance of promoting legal game meat as a viable alternative to illegal bushmeat. To this end, the campaign emphasises the affordability and availability of legal game meat, encouraging consumers to make informed choices that contribute to wildlife preservation.

The success of the activation event justifies the campaign’s effectiveness in capturing public attention and fostering engagement. Beyond winning prizes, participants pledged their support by committing to actions such as creating awareness content, purchasing legal game meat, and offering marketing and documentary filming services to further the campaign’s objectives.

Looking ahead, the campaign is yet to host similar events. For those who missed the recent event, an opportunity to participate awaits at Lewanika Mall on April 27th 2024. Through these initiatives, WCP strives to make a tangible impact in reducing illegal bushmeat consumption and tackling other forms of nature crimes to safeguard Zambia’s natural resource heritage.


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