“Flying Together” Initiative publishes anti-trafficking toolkits

May 11, 2023 by Bárbara Santana

Provita announces the launch of Module I: Designing Behavior Change Campaigns to Reduce the Demand for Wild Birds in the Illegal Pet Trade, a user-friendly and freely-available toolkit for Latin Americans interested in decreasing this important threat to wildlife.

The “Flying Together” Initiative, which produced this toolkit, has stood out since its inception in 2021 for two key aspects: a commitment to generating real, applied results ; and a keen interest in sharing experiences  to help others in Latin America also reduce illegal wildlife trade. This initiative promotes change through education, so this guide shares technical knowledge and experiences acquired as it  implements its own behavior change campaigns.

Dr. Ada Sánchez-Mercado, an Associate Researcher at Provita, notes that, “The launch of this first module encourages best practices in the design of behavior change campaigns, so that they are based on the best and most up-to-date scientific information.”

Behavior change campaigns combine fundamental insights from social science and conservation biology to design, implement and evaluate initiatives that promote environmentally sustainable behaviors in specific audiences. The use of behavior change campaigns as a strategy to mitigate wildlife trafficking has been increasing in recent years. However, their application and effectiveness in Latin  America and more specifically in the illegal trade of  pet birds, has been poorly documented.

Increasing the capacity for action in Latin America is a priority:  experts  estimate that illegal trade has caused 60% of biodiversity losses worldwide between 1970-2014, but in  Central and South America these losses increase to more than 80% (WWF, 2018). 

Well aware of this urgent need, the Flying Together Initiative has documented every step in the process of designing, implementing and evaluating behavior change campaigns to reduce demand in two case studies. The first is the yellow-headed parrot (Amazona barbadensis), and the second is the iconic Venezuelan red siskin (Spinus cucullatus). Dr.  Sanchez-Mercado adds, “We want the design, implementation and evaluation of both campaigns to be a transparent, reproducible and evaluable process.”

Provita invites all those interested in generating positive changes to discourage the demand for birds in the illegal pet trade, and to join the Flying Together Initiative by downloading all three tools in  Module 1n, freely-available now in Spanish and English at www.volandojuntos.org.

Module 1 consists of three tools:

Tool 1: Understanding the behavior and the audience.

Tool 2: Defining the Theory of Change.

Tool 3: Strategic Communication.

In this first module Flying Together provide concepts and strategies to understand:

  • What is behavior and how best to assess it?
  • What is a behavior change campaign?
  • How can I design a baseline study to understand behavior and define my audience?
  • How can I integrate planning tools, such as a Theory of Change, with behavioral models to describe and evaluate behavioral change mechanisms?
  • How can I use strategic communication principles to define a campaign communication plan?

Upcoming  Modules will address the implementation and evaluation of behavioral change campaigns, both in terms of species conservation and society.

All Modules  provide the perspective of a small NGO operating in the complex and diverse context of Latin America.

We invite you to spread it widely!


The Flying Together Initiative is funded by the UK government through the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund program.


WWF (2018) Informe Planeta Vivo 2018. Apuntando más alto. WWF, Gland,Suiza.    [http://awsassets.wwf.es/downloads/informe_planeta_vivo_2018.pdf].