We want tourists to stop visiting orphanages

Friends-International / UNICEF

Friends-International, ranked as one of the top 100 NGOs worldwide, focuses on reintegrating marginalized youth back into society.

The Problem

Every year, thousands of tourists visit orphanages in Cambodia thinking they are helping some of the most vulnerable children in the world. Recent reports, however, have found that tourist visits, despite best intentions, may cause more harm than good. This ‘industry’ does not respect children’s rights–not only does it often increase risks to vulnerable children, including long-term psychological damage and possible sexual abuse, it can also keep their living conditions poor and encourage the separation of families. To make things worse, 72% of ‘orphans’ in Cambodia are not really even orphans-they are children, with parents, who are taken out of school to raise money from tourists. How do you convince tourists to stop doing what they believe is helping?

The Solution

We knew this would be an extremely sensitive issue and wanted to test concepts with tourists. Our aim was to find a creative concept that would alert tourists to the issue without causing anger. After testing several concepts, we found one that struck the right balance. Since its launch, the campaign has been featured in New York Times, ABC News, Al Jazeera, Lonely Planet, Travelfish, international news agencies and numerous travel blogs.

The Campaign

campaign showing museum visitors photographing 2 small children in display case

The Orphan Factory

In a follow-up campaign 17 Triggers worked with Friends-International to develop an online campaign and microsite. “The Orphan Factory” is an animation done in collaboration with Sweetshop that gives potential tourists more information about what to do (and what not to do).

See the full microsite here (designed by the 17 Triggers team).

0 Scam Orphanages Closed
0 Page Views at Launch
0 Pages Spreading the Truth

Some of the project outputs:

  • Concept development
  • BCC
  • Social Marketing
  • Testing

The Work

Stopping tourists from doing more harm than good

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