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Chapter 1 - How can we develop behavioural change campaigns to fight forest crime?

Note: This chapter provides a step-by-step guidance on developing a behavioural change campaign to tackle forest crime. This involves undertaking a baseline study and situation analysis, identifying the audiences, channels and messaging, and preparing a monitoring and evaluation framework.



The drivers of forest crime are multi-dimensional and complex. Communication can play a crucial role in reducing both demand and supply for illegal forest trade through educating the public and changing the perceptions, attitudes and behaviour that drive illegal activities.


But communication alone can seldom move an individual through all the stages of behavioural change. Financial constraints, social norms, and lack of law enforcement are examples of barriers that can prevent individuals from being compliant.


The results of the Knowledge, Attitude, Practices (KAP) survey conducted across the Lower Mekong countries and China shed light to different factors linked to illegal behaviour which can then inform the development of communications programmes and behavioural interventions.


Behavioural change campaigns can help address the drivers of forest crimes

The drivers of forest crime in the Lower Mekong region are complex and multi-dimensional - ranging from high consumer demand, weak law enforcement, high earning potential of rare tree species to more systemic issues such as extreme poverty. Campaigns based on behavioural insights can play a critical role in addressing some of these drivers through educating target audiences, addressing barriers to compliance and stimulating a positive change in practices

The backbone of behavioural change campaigns comes from a combination of research data, knowledge, attitude and behaviour analysis, and stakeholder inputs.

3 Main Steps in Designing an Effective Behavioural Change Campaigns 


Step 1 - Analyse the Situation

A broader, more comprehensive picture of the whole problem tree and solutions is the key starting point to designing a behavioural change campaign.

This can be done through a mix of primary and secondary data generated through desk research and/or a survey looking at evidence that can be used to inform the campaign. For the purposes of this handbook, a survey on Knowledge, Attitude, Practices on forest crime targeting the general population in the national capitals (except Myanmar) and rural communities near forest areas was conducted in five Lower Mekong countries and in China.


Step 2 - Design the Intervention

There are often barriers that stop people from adopting the desired behaviours. It is important for programme planners to identify these barriers during the data gathering and research stage so they could introduce barrier removal strategies as part of the communications campaigns or similar initiatives.


Step 3 - Monitor and Evaluate

The final step is to develop a monitoring and evaluation framework detailing how to measure impact and outcomes as well as the Key Performance Indicators of the campaign. In order to measure change over time in indicators, it is usually necessary to conduct baseline research to measure the indicators before the program, and then again later during and/or after, the communication program has been implemented.


This chapter looked into the steps needed for developing behavioural change campaigns, starting from gathering primary and secondary data on knowledge, attitude and behaviour, to designing context-specific interventions, to monitoring and evaluating the changes over time. The next chapters will delve deeper into the results of the KAP survey that will inform the development of the behavioural change campaigns and interventions.