There are many organisations involved in lobbying South Africa’s government to stop the lion bone trade, including the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), the Campaign Against Canned Hunting and LionAid, but there is only one organisation taking the South African government to court over the issue, and that’s Avaaz.
Way before the startling posters were designed or the court case was filed, Avaaz’s campaign was born online. The advocacy organisation’s mandate is to work on any issue of public concern. Instead of selecting a few key causes and building up teams around them, Avaaz tries to stay as nimble as possible, assembling teams and strategies around causes that its 21 million-strong community cares about.
Each year, Avaaz sets out its overall priorities through all-member polls. From these, campaign ideas are then polled and tested with random samples to see which initiatives have the most support. These range from lobbying H&M and GAP to back a life-saving safety code for clothing factory safety, to putting pressure on the Maldivian President to end the practice of flogging victims of sexual abuse. Fighting the lion bone trade was one of those causes that resonated with the community.