Practitioners ‘learn by doing’ in a virtual scenario where they can hone skills in critical areas of peacebuilding.
An international consortium of key peacebuilding institutions has convened to make this vision a reality. ACCORD with four other organizations, the United Nations Systems Staff College (UNSSC); the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR); the United States Institute for Peace (USIP); the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP); and PeaceNexus Foundation has been working in developing the computer game, since 2013.
Internal Staff Seminar organized by the Peacebuilding Unit held on the 1st of June 2017, announced the official launch of the game. The seminar introduced the game to ACCORD staff, followed by consultation on ways to utilize the game as a training tool by the organization. The presentation discussed existing training gaps, what the game offers, who it targets and how to use it.
While international and national civilian and military professionals have sufficient technical knowledge in their area of specialization, they may receive little training in how to adapt to unforeseen peacebuilding challenges. At the same time, limited financial resources, time constraints and professional demands often prevent individuals from attending face-to-face training courses.
Mission Zhobiais a new model prepared to complement onsite and online trainings. Institutions need tools to leverage economies of scale and virtual learning techniques to enable an unlimited number of individuals to be trained using both interactive and cost-effective techniques.
The game targets at mid-career professionals who are or will be deployed to missions or projects linked to peacebuilding. The game is set in a fictitious country called Zhobia that was recently devastated by violent conflict, the player is tasked with the important mission to strengthen the rule of law in the country. The player will navigate a range of challenges such as limited institutional capacity; a local population that does not trust the government; insecurity caused by conflict flare-ups, and highly divergent perspectives on how justice can and should be delivered to the population. While manoeuvering through the game, the player will also face pressure from a headquarters that wants the project implemented as fast as possible. The game allows the player to navigate through complex socio-political environments, adapt to unforeseen peacebuilding challenges and adjust their strategies accordingly.
The outcome of the game depends on the quality of the players’ analysis of the context, engagement with stakeholders and how they use this knowledge, the perspectives they uncover, the trust they build up with actors, and how they manage to discover new or alternative solutions to the ones they had initially set out to implement.
The game can be accessed at www.missionzhobia.org
For more information on the game, contact Ms. Bezawit Kefyalew, Senior Programme Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org or Ms Nontobeko Zondi, Programme Officer at email@example.com. The African Peacebuilding Coordination Programme (APCP) at ACCORD is an initiative funded by the Government of Finland since 2007.