Conference launching “Chi” or “Strength of Will” initiative on July 6, 2016

Presentation of Madelon Willemsen, head of TRAFFIC’s Vietnam Office at the conference launching “Chi” or “Strength of Will” initiative on July 6, 2016.

The initiative, co-hosted by the wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic and Intelligent Media – the global media monitoring service for the entertainment industries – targets wealthy urban men aged between 35 and 55, who are identified as the primary users of rhino horn. The overarching message of the Chi Initiative is that Vietnamese men succeed from their inner strength.

Conveying the message that success and masculinity of men come from their strength of character rather than from a piece of horn, the initiative encourages wealthy businessmen to demonstrate their strength by becoming leaders in corporate social responsibility and in wildlife protection.

It also calls on individual businessmen to act as leaders in their community and take a stand against the consumption of rhino horn in their personal lives and business networks.


From our perspectives, Chi initiative for rhino horn demand reduction via behavior change launched by TRAFFIC in Vietnam and Intelligentmedia Behavior Change Communication Organization shows a creative, positive, civilized and strategic direction. Different from other social communication campaigns on conservation, the message of Chi initiative encourages and changes not only the perception but also the behavior of each individual. By conveying positive messages, Chi initiative creates a new civilized social trend in which each individual fulfills his/her responsibility for society, nature and environment in a creative and active manner.


In the framework of Chi initiative phase I, CCPE has coordinated with TRAFFIC to implement numerous behavior change social communication activities, particularly the presentation of social communication images of not using wild fauna and flora at International Departure Lounge - Noibai International Airport, Workshops, Trainings on behavior change for staff, civil servants, the Party members, individuals playing an important role in propaganda and leading in the protection of resources, environment, wild fauna and flora. It can be seen that Chi initiative has gained significant achievements in wild fauna and flora demand reduction, including rhino horns consumption in Vietnam.

Speaking at the launch, actor-businessman Tran Bao Son proclaimed that men should harness their inner strength and character, and refuted the notion that these traits come from external factors, such as rhino horn. 

Presentation of Madelon Willemsen, head of TRAFFIC’s Vietnam Office at the conference launching “Chi” or “Strength of Will” initiative on July 6, 2016.

Chi initiative

Good afternoon and thank you for joining us for the launch of the second phase of our Chi initiative.

I would like to start to thank the Peaceparks Foundation, Save the Rhino International and UK government for generously funding our Chi initiative. Also a big thank you to VCCI and CCPE for your dedication on integrating Chi in the Vietnamese of business and society. Also a thank you to Intelligentmedia for the development of the second phase of Chi.

Most of us here today are, to some degree, aware that wildlife around the world is in strife due to illegal wildlife trafficking. For example, ENV showed that in 2015 988 cases of wildlife crime took place in Viet Nam - crimes from possession, to trade, to the illegal hunting of animals. That is approximately four violations per day. In the last year alone, over 1,300 rhinos in Africa were slaughtered for their horns – these rhino poachings have increased of 9000% in the last eight years. Just because of the demand for rhino horn in Asia, mostly Viet Nam.

With government working in curbing wildlife crimes, we join forces to battle against these wildlife criminals by reducing consumer demand.

In 2014, we launched Chi with Save the Rhino International to change the behavior of the primary consumers of rhino horn in Vietnam: wealthy urban men between the ages of 35 and 55. The message of Chi is based on the Vietnamese concept of “Strength of Will” where success, masculinity, and good fortune come from within the individual and not externally from a piece of horn.

In the 20 months since the Chi initiative launched, we have made great strides in fostering a culture of zero-tolerance towards the consumption of rhino horn. We know compared to 2014, 18% more people that have been in contact with Chi are encouraging their peers networks not to use rhino horn. Our research also indicates that people have become less inclined to consume rhino horn now than 2 years ago.

We are so fortunate that VCCI, CCPE, and T5G have stepped forward to become leaders in corporate social responsibility and in wildlife protection. These organizations, and plenty others, are the irreplaceable and powerful driving force that continue to change the knowledge, attitude and practices of business men and business community and traditional medicine practices.

Unfortunately knowing and understanding the plight of a species does not necessarily mean people care to do something about it. We are very proud to have worked with these organisations to initiate a shift communication from just awareness raising to active behavior change messaging.

With the support of individuals such as business leader Khai Silk, the CEO of Luala, Do Minh, and music producer Huy Tuan we are making great strides in integrating a zero-tolerance of rhino horn consumption. These leaders have come forward to declare that men should harness their inner strength and character and refute the notion that success comes from external factors such as rhino horn. And we are proud that businessman and actor Tran Bao Son also joins in our efforts.

The second phase of Chi will actively engage these important Chi champions who will lead the business community and society towards a culture of zero-tolerance towards the illegal consumption of wildlife. We want Vietnamese people to look proudly at everything they have accomplished and say “I built this. My Chi, the strength and will from within, are the only drivers of my fortune and success.”

The evidence based approach behind the Chi initiative can be applied to change behaviour towards a zero-tolerance to endangered wildlife consumption in Vietnamese society. Which will not only help rhinos but also other threatened species such as tiger and pangolin. Together with behavior change initiatives such as Chi, we can lay foundation for leadership of the people, organizations and government to engage and actively combat wildlife crimes.

With meaningful humane message potraying a model of new civilized and modern lifestyle in which individuals “Gain prosperity from inner strength – Invite hardship by using horns”, it is hoped that Chi initiative continue to yield engaging methods, create positive changes in conserving endangered wild fauna and flora and preserving environment and resources sustainably in Vietnam.




Key Word :

Intelligentmedia | Behavior change communication | Truyền thông thay đổi hành vi | Demand reduction in Vietnam | Chi initiative | Strength of Will initiative