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An Inside Job: Reflecting on AfA Connect's First Edition!

As we gear up for an exciting second edition of AfA Connect in June 2024, we thought we’d do a quick roundup of the inaugural event held in March this year and revisit some of its key highlights! 

AfA Connect aims to serve as a unique platform, uniting diverse stakeholders dedicated to animal welfare across Asia. Hosted by the Asia for Animals Coalition and the many working groups under it, AfA Connect is rooted in providing animal protection workers with the chance to engage on the issues affecting their work and to find solutions, together, to the challenges that animal advocates, and the movement, faces as a whole. 

The debut edition shone a spotlight on the crucial role of within-country advocates. It underscored the importance of supporting them, providing an opportunity for animal protection professionals to come together, engage in critical discussions, and collectively tackle the challenges facing the movement in Asia right now while keeping regional animal advocates and their needs at centre stage.

Uniting for Change: Highlights from the first edition

The two-day event featured engaging discussions and presentations by 24 distinguished speakers across eight sessions, delving into the challenges impacting animal advocates in Asia and the diverse array of animals we strive to safeguard across the region. Kicking off our series of quarterly events on March 5th and 6th, we welcomed an impressive turnout of over 188 participants from various regional civil society organizations across Asia, all passionately dedicated to addressing a multitude of animal welfare issues.

The event featured an impressive lineup of speakers, each bringing invaluable expertise and insights to the table. From welfare conservationists like Jeremy Phan (Lao Conservation Trust for Wildlife) and Thuy Nguyen (IMC Asian Turtle Program), to international policy experts such as Jackson Zee (Four Paws International) and Adeline Lerambert (Born Free Foundation), among many other spectacular speakers, the goal was to create a space to address both local, grassroots challenges and those affecting animal advocates on the international stage.

Throughout the event, attendees delved into a wide range of topics, from navigating the complexities of rescuing and rehabilitating both wild and companion animals to exploring the intricacies of animal welfare legislation and effective advocacy strategies. Additionally, sessions were dedicated to fundamental topics such as fundraising, budget management, and other essential aspects of capacity building for grassroots NGOs. These discussions provided invaluable insights and practical tools to equip organizations with the resources needed to make a meaningful impact in their communities.

“Listening is the most pro-conservation behavior you can practice and may foster positivity towards your work” 

- Sian Waters

Highlighting the importance of digital advocacy in today's interconnected world, strategies for effectively addressing the issue of social media cruelty content were also discussed. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, so do the challenges animal welfare advocates face. On this, Anbarasi Boopal from ACRES pointed out: “The dominance of social media in communication nowadays and its worldwide use means that it has become an accessible tool to promote and coordinate animal cruelty acts. When we take a closer look at the acts of cruelty that feature in this content, this is where we see the real relevance to all those advocating for animals. This content is promoting in one way or another cruelty acts to animals that you are spending your time and resources trying to end.”

Let's now take a look at some of the standout moments and key highlights from AfA Connect!

Hear from the participants!

Curious about the impact these sessions had on its participants? Let's hear directly from those who experienced the event firsthand! Here are some testimonials from attendees who found inspiration, insight, and invaluable connections at AfA Connect:

Looking ahead

We're thrilled to announce the upcoming second edition of AfA Connect, scheduled for June 5th and 6th, on the theme: "Insurmountable Challenges: Aiming for Solutions". Building upon the momentum of our inaugural event, this next installment promises to delve even deeper into the most pressing issues facing animal welfare across Asia. As we navigate through unprecedented challenges, from habitat destruction and wildlife trafficking to legislative hurdles and social media cruelty, it's essential that we come together to brainstorm innovative solutions and chart a path forward. 

Join us as we convene once again to share knowledge, foster collaboration, and explore actionable strategies to overcome these seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Together, we can pave the way for a brighter future for animals in Asia. Mark your calendars and be a part of this journey at AfA Connect 2024!


Thanks for reading! Remember to keep up to date with other Asia for Animals online and in-person events and more by subscribing to our monthly mailing list.

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