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Gaming for Good for Women and Girls

HTS_blog2

I will admit I am not a huge Facebook gamer,  but I may change my tune on March 4 when  Half the Sky Movement: The Game launches on the world’s biggest social network. While I am not a huge gamer on Facebook I am not the norm. The average Facebook gamer is 43-year-old woman according to Gigaom. And while those numbers were released in 2010 I would wager that those numbers haven’t deviated very far judging by the insane amount of game requests I receive from mothers I’ve “friended”.

You probably have heard about the world-changing book and documentary by Pulitzer-prize winning authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. A nonstop, global movement aimed at raising awareness about the unequal plight of women and girls worldwide, the movement has now turned to social impact gaming to reach an even broader audience through Facebook.

Created by Games for Change,  Half the Sky Movement: The Game will challenge players to roll-play through real world situations in India, Kenya, Afghanistan, and Vietnam, learn about the daily lives and challenges of women in developing countries, and donate to make a difference.

“Around 300 million people play games on Facebook across the globe on a monthly basis. If we’re able to inspire a portion of this group of players to spend 15 or 30 minutes of their time with this game, the ripple effect of players’ actions will result in significant and much-needed funding for this critical cause,” say Games for Change Co-Presidents Asi Burak and Michelle Byrd.

While you are playing Half the Sky Movement: The Game you can help unlock $500,000 worth of donations that have already been pledged by Johnson &  Johnson and the Pearson Foundation. At the game’s launch on March 4, unlocked donations will go to the Fistula Foundation and Room to Read giving players the unique opportunity to be philanthropic through simple game play.

In addition to sponsors, other major supporters are Ford Foundation and Zynga.org, with additional support provided by the Intel Corporation, National Endowment for the Arts, The Rockefeller Foundation and the United Nations Foundation.

Timed for a launch on the week of International Women’s Day, the game is sure to draw a throng of initial players. The question remains, however, will it work and is it sustainable? For the sake of millions of women and girls around the world, I hope it is.

Will you play?

Read more of Jennifer James’ writing about global development and social good at Mom Bloggers for Social Good.

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