It isn’t easy to create awareness or train local and international peacebuilding professionals in manoeuvring through complex, ever changing socio-political problems using existing training methods like classroom training and e-learning. Now a groundbreaking peacebuilding game is being developed by peacebuilders themselves to provide a safe immersive environment for peace practitioners to experiment and practice.
ACCORD, in collaboration with gaming company &ranj and a consortium of international peacebuilding institutions are developing a professional game that focused on peacebuilding in conflict countries. From 1-3 February 2016, ACCORD attended a rapid design session at &ranj Offices in the Netherlands with the United States Institute for Peace (USIP), PeaceNexus, the United Nations System Staff College and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Gaf van Baalen, Game Director and co-owner of &ranj, describes it as a “dream project”.
The sessions aimed to define the scope and requirements of the game concept, discuss the didactical framework including high level visual style and high level technical design and make key decisions on the structure and the content of the game. The consortium agreed on the goals that the game would contribute to achieve. These included evaluation of the validity of a program’s theory of change in a given context and the need to adjust it in real time; evaluation of the trade-offs in complex environments, recognition of the importance of ongoing conflict analysis and conflict sensitive practice, including gender sensitivity; recognition of the importance of local agency, and recognition of the need for empathy with the interests of stakeholders in the respective context. The learning objective of the game will be to produce a prospective player who would conduct on-going conflict analysis while identifying root causes and dynamics.
After playing the peacebuilding game practitioners should be able to execute their learnings in their real-life quest to peace. The game is expected launch in September 2016.