Instead of spending to grow virtual crops faster, Facebook gamers can turn those purchases into donations for cattle donations and fistula operations in the developing world.
The game is called Half the Sky Movement: The Game, based on The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book about women. It’s a collaboration between a non-profit called Games For Change and Canada’s Frima Studios.
In the game, a young woman named Radhika has to go through the everyday struggles that women in the developing world confront. She realizes her daughter is very sick, but her husband doesn’t have money to take her to a doctor. Radhika has to find a way to make the money for medical treatment.
According to Games For Change’s co-president Asi Burak, “There’s a range of stories. Every time, she becomes more successful and more independent.” Radhika buys a virtual goat, starts to sell the milk and through that, starts her own small business. Eventually, that brings her on a journey around the world through India, Kenya, Vietnam, Afghanistan and the U.S.
Here’s an example of where the virtual world and real world meet:
When Radhika buys a goat, a player can make a donation to Heifer International. Or when she gets her daughter treated, the player can make a vaccine donation to the UN. Bigger partners like Pearson and Johnson & Johnson have offered to do book or surgical operation donations if enough players trigger them.
Zynga has also offered to pledged to help distribute it with their nearly 298 million monthly active users. The game will be available on Facebook on March 4, 2013. (From TechCrunch)
Why I’m Curious
People are going to continue playing games, and the world’s problems will always need solving. So an online/mobile game that allows people to play a game while also engaging in an act of social good, sounds like a win. The partnerships with the UN, Heifer International and other reputable organizations also help gamers feel assured that their donations will actually be delivered toward cause.
The game is based off a bestselling novel (which inspired a PBS series and international music project), adding another educational layer to the story. So there’s an opportunity for users to learn more about the human issue of women’s right that is being addressed.