According to a 2017 survey, the majority of Ugandans value their wildlife. The survey, carried out by UCF and partners Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and WildAid, surveyed 2300 respondents, of which 79% said it would matter a great deal to them if Uganda’s wildlife disappeared, while only 5% didn’t care. The survey also revealed that a large number of Ugandans think wildlife is valuable to their economy and attracts tourists who contribute a large piece of the country’s GDP (tourism contributes at least 9% of Uganda’s GDP). It is with this in mind that the project Poaching Steals From Us All came to be introduced in Uganda, having already been launched in neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania, and also in South Africa.
Poaching Steals From Us All, a three-year project championed by WildAid, UCF, UWA, is a mass-awareness campaign intended to elevate the profile of wildlife conservation in Uganda, emphasizing both its cultural and economic importance, raising awareness about the illegal wildlife trade, and promoting Uganda’s national parks and the need to protect the country’s biodiversity. While many Ugandans recognise the role tourism plays in the country’s economy, they don’t know to what extent their natural heritage is threatened, especially by poaching. An activity which benefits a few but inherently affects the lives and livelihoods of many.
Using an array of locally celebrated ambassadors, the campaign will roll out TV, radio and billboard content including public service announcements, mini-documentaries, serials, shows, and competitions, in English and three Ugandan languages, all with the intention of instilling a strong sense of pride in Uganda’s natural wildlife heritage and to fuel the desire to protect it. The campaign covers key species under threat; elephants, rhinos, pangolins, lions, gorillas and other Ugandan wildlife. With these media, the campaign is optimistic it will address issues like wildlife crime and bush meat trade and promote the economic benefits of wildlife tourism.
Ambassadors already signed up to promote the campaign include the Inter Religious Council of Uganda, the Uganda Cranes football team, the Rugby Cranes, renowned comedians Anne Kansiime, Salvador, Teacher Mpamire and celebrated singers Maurice Kirya and Irene Ntale.
Key partnerships have been created with JC Decaux, the largest outdoor advertising corporation in the world, Capital Outdoor, a leading regional service provider in outdoor advertising, Vision Group, a large multimedia business spanning print, digital, and broadcast services, and Prime Media, a market leader in digital signage and outdoor advertising. These partnerships have helped get the message out across many platforms. Digital and large print billboards featuring the ambassadors endorsing the message have been flighted at Entebbe Airport and other key spots around Kampala, while PSAs and mini-docs have aired across all Vision Group’s outlets.
More is in store for the campaign as we look to sign additional ambassadors and increase engagement, particularly using radio and competitions.