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Rare: Winner's Statement

Social Capitalists


Arlington, Virginia

President and CEO: Brett Jenks

Previous winner: 2005

What it does: In more than 40 countries, Rare inspires communities to care about their endangered surroundings with large-scale marketing campaigns and social-action projects. Rare Radio funds radio soap operas to raise awareness about family planning and health care. Rare Pride trains and employs local campaign managers in grassroots techniques to drive conservation efforts.

Results: Rare estimates it served more than 1.8 million people through 29 social marketing campaigns in 2004. Mexico has called for Rare campaigns to be implemented in all the country's national parks.

Social impact: A-
Aspiration and growth: B
Entrepreneurship: A-
Innovation: B+
Sustainability: B

Winner's Statement

What is Rare?

An non-profit environmental group inspiring conservation at the local level on four continents.

How does Rare Inspire Conservation?

By making conservation about people. Rare promotes environmental protection by providing personal motivations and benefits to people who live in the world's most biodiverse areas.

This means sending charismatic mascots of locally threatened species into communities to generate support for habitat protection; broadcasting radio soap operas that are both entertaining and effective at changing behaviors that threaten the environment; or training local entrepreneurs in ecologically important regions to build ecotourism businesses that tie profits to conservation. It means developing tools that have long been missing from the field of global conservation -- tools that go beyond science and biology to address human threats to the environment.

Rare's methods have been used in more than 40 countries and are proven to address multiple goals in a scalable fashion. Following are Rare's three core programs:

  • Rare Pride employs local conservationists, trained by Rare, to develop marketing campaigns that feature billboards, mascots, public events, pop songs, and other awareness-raising tools to drive behavior change, legislative reform, and capacity building. Extensive research measures pre- and post-campaign attitude and behavior change against threat reduction.
  • Rare Radio uses drama to tackle complex social problems affecting both conservation and quality of life in developing communities. Through locally-produced radio soap operas that feature compelling storylines and characters, the program takes a subtle approach to impacting public attitudes and behaviors on issues ranging from family planning and HIV/AIDS to environmental protection.
  • Rare Enterprises recognizes that, in addition to inspiring people to take pride in their natural resources, enabling them to profit from conservation is just as critical to ensuring long term impact. Rare Enterprises is unique among ecotourism programs in its emphasis on developing locally-run businesses and empowering them to compete in regional tourism markets in the long term.

Examples of Impact

    Saving the Saint Lucian parrot and the Grenada dove from the brink of extinction (1990)
  • Reducing birth rates and increasing visits to reproductive health clinics in Eastern Caribbean islands whose natural resources are threatened with overpopulation (1996-99)
  • Achieving a 50% reduction in forest fires and mobilizing 2,000 volunteers to collect 16 tons of garbage and reforest the watershed in Manantlan, Mexico (2001)
  • Establishing a 362,000-hectare national park in Indonesia's Togean Islands to protect some of the world's most biodiverse marine and land ecosystems (2004)
  • Establishing a legally protected area for the Philippine Cockatoo and its nesting habitat (2005)

A Partnership-Based Model

The Rare community consists of more than a hundred partners that enable us to ensure both local buy-in and management of programs, as well as their global dissemination. At the international level, Rare has formed valuable alliances with virtually all of the leading conservation organizations -- such as The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Wildlife Conservation Society, World Wildlife Fund, and the United Nations. Leveraging their extensive resources enables Rare to stay small, nimble, and specialized in building outreach tools, while at the same time taking our programs to a global scale. More importantly, Rare is offering these larger institutions the critical education capabilities they need for use at the local level.

Just as meaningful to our success are the myriad local partnerships that permeate the Rare community. Every one of Rare's programs is locally run, guided by local voices and priorities, and geared to build local capacity to ensure sustained results.

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The above Winner's Statement was provided by the profiled organization.