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Engaging local communities in tackling illegal wildlife trade. Can a ‘theory of change’ help?

Recent alarming rises in illegal wildlife trade (IWT) show that tough law enforcement is not enough to stop poachers devastating populations of iconic or endangered species. Local people must be empowered to benefit from conservation and be supported to partner with law enforcement agencies in the fight against wildlife crime. Here we present a ‘Theory of Change’ for understanding how community-level interventions can help in tackling IWT. Do the ‘pathways’ we present reflect your experiences from IWT-related projects and programmes? Do the assumptions that we suggest hold true? Please join the discussion and help expand the theory to support better policy and practice on the ground.

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Biggs, D, Cooney, R, Roe, D, Dublin, H, Allan, J, Challender, C and Skinner, D (2015) Engaging local communities in tackling illegal wildlife trade: Can a ‘Theory of Change’ help? IIED Discussion Paper. IIED, London.
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The First Line of Defence (FLoD) initiative uses a theory of change approach to explore the design logic of programmes intended to engage communities in tackling the illegal wildlife trade (IWT). It compares and contrasts the logic and assumptions of the designers and implementers of such initiatives with that of the communities at which they are targeted, with a view to improving project design and therefore effectiveness in tackling IWT.

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First Line of Defence (FLoD)

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