What if we told you that this time, you can actually save a life by sharing and playing on Facebook? After growing crops and indulging in gang wars on Facebook, here comes a game that will actually help you make a difference to the real world on the sensitive subject of women’s rights.
Half the Sky Movement: The Game, based on Pulitzer Prize winning authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book, is a going to hit the social networking platform in a few weeks. The game is a collaborative effort between Games for Change and Canada’s Frima Studios and also has gaming giant Zynga’s support too.
Games for Change had put out a $1 million proposal for game developers to suggest concepts and raised funds from institutions like Rockefeller Foundation, Intel, United Nations Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Frima finally won the bid. “Our vision has always been to think about games not only as entertainment, but as a way to modify behavior or teach things,” said Frima’s CEO Steve Couture.
Players will have to face challenges from Radhika's POV
The game will offer to be a bridge between real and virtual life, helping out associated NGOs and organisations through the actions in the game. Half the Sky is a story of Radhika, a small village girl from India who must find her voice, not just within her own house to gain financial and social independence, but also to become a community leader as she travels from her country through Kenya, Vietnam, Afghanistan and the U.S., changing the lives of women she meets.
She undergoes trials and tribulations all women in developing countries go through while trying to maintain a healthy family life and struggling to discover her own identity. One of the issues Radhika faces in the game is struggling to get her ailing daughter medical attention. Radhilka’s husband realises he doesn’t have enough money for her treatment and the mother ends up finding a way to make ends meet. She buys a virtual goat and sells milk, slowly turning it into a small business that takes her on a journey around the world.
Whether helping a girl in the village to buy a bicycle that will take her to school, or fighting off an international gang of sex traffickers, Radhika becomes a force within her world within the game. As the game progresses, players will get an opportunity to unlock real-world giving opportunities that mirror actions in the game.
Every time Radhika goes through a difficult situation within the game, players will have an opportunity to donate to NGO partners of Half the Sky, including the United Nations Foundation, Fistula Foundation, GEMS, Heifer International, ONE, Room to Read and World Vision.
For example, when Radhika’s unwell daughter has to undergo surgery, players will be able to donate to the UN for life saving vaccinations. Partners like Pearson and Johnson & Johnson have even offered to do surgical operation donation if enough players use the game.
This genre is virtually unheard of in a time where games are developed only for recreational purposes. This is one “please-share-Facebook-will-donate-one-dollar” message we will absolutely not mind seeing on our walls!
Facebook, Facebook games, Fistula Foundation, Frima Studios, Games for Change, Half the Sky, Half the Sky Movement, Half the Sky Movement: The Game, Nicholas Kristof, Radhika, Rockfeller Foundation, Sheryl WuDunn, Social Networking, United Nations Foundation, Zynga