Half the Sky Movement: The Game is a Facebook adventure game that helps players learn about gender inequity issues around the world. In the game, the player starts as Radhika, an Indian woman beginning a global journey to fight for equality from India to Kenya, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and lastly the U.S. In gameplay, Radhika must make choices and take actions to address daily life challenges (e.g., seeking financial resources for her daughter’s education and healthcare); she also has many opportunities to work in various community projects like collecting books for local schools and helping H.I.V. infected women. The Facebook platform allows players to ask for helps from friends and invite them to play the game together.
The excellent integration of Facebook’s social networking feature makes Half the Sky Movement a great serious game to raise awareness about women’s empowerment issues. In some tasks, the players invite their Facebook friends to join the game and help their gameplay activities. In other instances, players share posts about gender equity issues on their Facebook walls. This game also bridges online social actions with real world donations. For instance, as Radhika collects books for her daughter's school, the player can help activate a real world book donation drive; the player’s game score is also eligible for sponsorship (e.g., fistula surgery donations) from partner non-profit organizations. All these activities let players learn about important global gender issues naturally through gaming narratives.
Half the Sky Movement is a freemium game, and at certain points the players can purchase energy through donations to continue, though it is also possible to move forward through waiting for energy to replenish naturally. In addition, some gaming activities require only mechanical clicking to level up, which may not provide players with an integrated learning experience.
Half the Sky Movement is a good example of using games on social networking platforms for civic purposes. This approach is a powerful tool to raise global awareness about social issues. The game has reached over 2,795,100 players across the globe and is most popular in the United States, Brazil, Turkey, the Philippines, and Argentina. The most effective part of this game is the real world action and discussions it creates on social media. So far the game has inspired over $447,700 in donations to Room to Read and the Fistula Foundation. The Half the Sky Movement also includes a film, a book, and global engagement activities which supplement the game and make this suite of tools both a powerful learning experience and a real life empowerment tool for women around the world.
Image: via Half the Sky Movement: The Game