Background About two years ago, Conservation India was launched as a technology platform to facilitate wildlife and nature conservation by providing reliable information and the tools needed to campaign effectively. Today it has grown to be the default forum for wildlife conservation in India with over 350,000 unique visitors. Conservation efforts in India today are largely led by NGOs, individual ‘Conservationists’ or activists, often acting on their own against concerted efforts of big industry, encroachment, illegal wildlife trade and sometimes even the government. While their effort does yield results, there is an opportunity to significantly augment their effort by using professionals across fields to contribute to conservation through their fields of expertise. This participation is either as individuals or as part of the institutions they represent. Today more and more professionals are actively interested in contributing to conservation. These are the prime candidates to enlist in the campaign for conservation. What is the idea?
A forum for professionals from their respective fields to engage and contribute to wildlife conservation leveraging their professional competencies. While each professional may have limited bandwidth it is the onus of (someone like) CI to piece the various skillsets in a workflow to achieve desired results. Why is it needed? There are skilled professionals who have a passion for wildlife and would love to contribute toward wildlife conservation. However, there are several barriers to this:
- They don’t have time
- They have no idea how to contribute effectively
- There is a perception that conservation is a full-time activity
- Practicing conservationists seldom engage with them
- They contribute money, time or energy to sub-optimal causes or in a sub-optimal manner. This includes CSR activities.
- There are big skill deficiencies in the conservation sector. Some of this is (justifiably) viewed as non-core but very important to enable conservation successes.
- NGOs hiring these skills is again sub-optimal (the professional rather be elsewhere) and expensive. NGOs cannot appropriately mentor or provide a career path to these resources.
- Also, the “volunteering” market in India is weak and extremely unreliable.
What are the areas where professionals can contribute?
- Design — Creating a distinctive and recognizable identity for a conservation initiative or a campaign.
- Marketing & branding — Conservation needs to enlist the masses if it is to move mainstream. Reaching large audiences and various stakeholder groups in an effective & efficient manner is critical. Smart and professional graphic design (in websites, project logos, etc.) create strong identities for conservation initiatives.
- Technology — Conservation can be quite hi-tech though a lot of its practitioners are not. Technologies related to web / internet, mobile, GPS, remote sensing / mapping are useful tools in modern-day conservation. Technology helps enable ‘citizen science’ projects that helps crowdsource important data in an efficient manner.
- Film-making — Powerful conservation films helps reach the general public, policy-makers, or targeted stakeholders like no other medium.
- Media & public relations — media is an extremely useful tool in providing mass awareness to various conservation issues and campaigns.
- Social media — Conservationists are increasingly using social media for outreach.
- Legal — A lot of conservation action is legal and engages the courts. Legal help / advice can be extremely helpful. Also, plenty of legal assistance is needed in filing RTIs / petitions / PILs, etc. — critical weapons in conservation.
- Organizational — Many conservation NGOs need advice on organizational structure, strategic planning, fundraising, HR, etc.
- Writing / editing — Like filmmakers, writers and editors help communicate conservation issues in an impactful manner by writing articles, editing content, headlining photo-essays, scripting videos, etc.
- Document writing / layouting for conservation proposals
In addition to the above, other professional skills that could prove invaluable to conservation includes teaching, medical, banking, etc. Interested professionals who care about conservation and wish to contribute can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.