Empowering local communities to solve global conservation challenges

The power of community pride

Rare trains local conservation leaders all over the world to change the way their communities relate to nature. Our signature method is called a “Pride campaign” – so named because it inspires people to take pride in the species and habitats that make their community unique, while also introducing practical alternatives to environmentally destructive practices.

The Rare Approach

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Pride campaigns are based in social marketing – the use of private sector marketing tactics to “sell” social change. These tactics include audience segmentation; focus-group testing of highly targeted messages; use of multiple media vehicles and outlets to reinforce messages over a sustained period of time; and rigorous measurement of “product adoption” (i.e. new attitudes, behaviors, and sustainable alternatives).

Social marketing has been used for years to successfully tackle issues such as smoking, HIV-AIDS, and seatbelt use, but has not to date been fully tapped on behalf of conservation. So while many large organizations are working top-down on international regulations, corporate buying practices, and national systems of protected areas, Rare is focused on supporting their work from the bottom up. This means reaching millions of people who live in and around areas containing the highest levels of biodiversity. People whose day-to-day behaviors, livelihoods, and culture will greatly impact how well global conservation projects will be embraced and sustained at the local level.

Rare has run Pride campaigns in more than 50 countries to date. Read some success stories.

The importance of partners

Rare does not directly implement Pride campaigns. We train local organizations in methods for social and behavioral change and then rely on them to add an essential understanding of local culture and norms as they conduct all outreach. These local implementing partners are critical to both achieving and sustaining impact at the community level. Rare also partners with organizations at the national and international levels to ensure that local strategies are well-integrated with broader conservation priorities in the region. View a list of some of Rare’s local, national, and international partners

The leadership of Rare Fellows

During the application process, each local partner organization must nominate a qualified staff member to manage the campaign. Once accepted, this leader enrolls in the Rare Fellows program – two years of academic and field-based training. During the program, Fellows manage a Pride campaign full time at the site level with the support of a dedicated Rare mentor, as well as attend university-based training sessions led by Rare staff. Fellows who complete all studies and run a successful campaign in the field receive a Master’s degree in Communication, which is globally-accredited and offered in four languages through regional university partners. Training is offered in English, Spanish, Bahasa Indonesia, and Mandarin. A senior staff person from each local partner organization must supervise the Fellow and remain highly involved in campaign strategy and implementation. Download a detailed overview of the curriculum.

Learn more about Rare Fellows

The grouping of campaigns for greater impact

Each Pride campaign targets a specific site, yet Rare launches them in cohorts of 10-15 — all focused on a common issue — so that partners can share learning and serve as a network for broader change. In the Andes, for example, Rare is working with partners at 11 sites to introduce incentives for watershed protection. In the Coral Triangle – a vast area in Southeast Asia that is home to 75% of the world’s coral species - Rare is working with dozens of communities to train fishers on the benefits of better managing their protected areas, as well as providing the tools to do so.

Each year, Rare and its partners launch Pride cohorts in each of the four languages in which our training is offered. The focus for each cohort is determined approximately one year in advance, at which time Rare begins recruiting partners with shared goals and capacity to participate in the three-year program.

Read more about cohorts currently running, as well as those in development

Learn more about the Pride methodology