Ho Thi Kim Lan
I served as the Education Outreach Manager at Save Vietnam's Wildlife, working to make change for the better.
Which ASAP species you are working to conserve, and can you tell us a little about your work?
I work at Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, a local NGO which acts to stop the extinction and champion the recovery of pangolins and endangered species in Vietnam by holistic approaches: Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, Site Protection, Education Outreach, Conservation Breeding, Species Conservation, and Advocacy.
My direct work doesn’t focus on doing field research, patrolling in the forest, or rescuing pangolins; but the education outreach to empower people to take informed actions to protect these ASAP species. I lead the team ranging from 7 - 10 educators to develop, deliver, monitor, and evaluate education outreach programs for different target audiences. E.g., school programs from school children aged 4-17; wildmeat demand reduction for wildlife consumers; building capacity for university students, law enforcement officers, and conservation practitioners; raising awareness and involve forest-based communities in conservation, social research for the public, and engagement programs with donors and partners.
These programs have been being strategically developed and delivered for targeted groups in and around protected areas where there are wildlife strongholds and wildlife consumption hot spots in Vietnam.
What inspired you to start a career in conservation?
My university lecturer introduced me the phrase “wildlife education” and thought it might fit my desire of doing good for communities and nature. And it does! At that time (2008), no universities in Vietnam offered courses about wildlife conservation education. Even all referencing documents on the internet are in English that I had to use Google Translation to understand. Realising that early on, I spent two years in university and one year after graduating volunteering to learn more about that field. After that, I participated in a field course in Borneo Island in Malaysia, sponsored by the British Ecological Society and Tropical Biological Association (TBA). Being inspired by TBA trainers and course-mates, and experiences in conservation after that, I got more motivation for pursuing the field of wildlife conservation education over the past 12 years.
For 7 years working at SVW, my education outreach team built and ran Vietnam’s first Pangolin Conservation Education Centre. Our programs directly involved over 20,000 school children aged 7-17, trained 2,500 law enforcement officers, 200 university students and conservation practitioners, advocated and convinced 3,956 forest-based citizens to participate in our community programs, and engage with hundred thousands of people, students, teachers, enterprises, NPOs.
How do you think the Women in Conservation Leadership Programme will help you in carrying out your work?
Firstly, the Women in Conservation Leadership Programme will increase my understanding about gender issues in wildlife conservation to address gender challenges for myself, my staff, and conservation colleagues. All my team members are women. Our work requires us to work with diverse stakeholders with different characteristics, education, careers, social status, and genders. The insights, knowledge, and skills gained from the programme can assist me and female conservationists and colleagues to protect ourselves (female conservationists and colleagues) from gender issues so that we can work in a safer, more inclusive, and equal environment to fight for our ASAP species.
Secondly, the programme will help to keep my insights, knowledge, skills, and network in conservation up to date to deliver better conservation programmes as well as address management issues. As a founding employee, my responsibilities in the organisation are growing and more challenging, not only to ensure the team achieves our education outreach goals but also to sustain the organisation’s development. The insights, knowledge, and practical skills provided in the three modules of the course will assist me to address potential challenges to work more effectively, with my team, to achieve our organisation’s conservation goals in conserving ASAP species.
Lan participated in Phase 1 of WiCLP and is also a part of the ongoing Phase 2 Visible Leadership Programme.