What if we told you that you could play a Facebook game right now that has the potential to save someone’s life? What if, instead of harvesting digital crops that translate into more virtual coins, this first-of-its-kind game would give you the opportunity to empower women worldwide?  There is such a game on Facebook, and you can play from your computer and have a meaningful impact on the lives of families worldwide!

Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times journalist, and his wife Sheryl WuDunn set out to uncover our time’s ugliest reality: the oppression of women worldwide. In 2009. the couple published the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, in which the couple talks, with justified sadness, about the struggles women face daily around the world. The couple’s goal was not only to bring awareness to women’s issues, but also to demonstrate that with little help, anyone can unleash the great economic resource a woman can be for herself, her family and the economy. The critically acclaimed book transpired into what we now know as the Half the Sky Movement.

On this phase of the Half the Sky Movement, Kristof and WuDunn, along with Games for Change, Zynga and the Ford Foundation, turn to gaming.  Half the Sky Movement: The Game was launched earlier this week on Facebook. The virtual journey begins in India with the female and barefoot character Rhadika, and takes players to Kenya, Vietnam, Afghanistan and America and explores the many issues that women face daily. During the journey, players have the opportunity to choose the course of action Rhadika takes. On the first step of the game, Rhadika’s daughter is sick, and she has to decide whether to confront her husband in order to get care for their daughter, depending on the choice made, players can move ahead in the game. The rest of the game is played in similar fashion. As players move on in the game, they can unlock funds from the game sponsors, or make personal donations to help with the maternal health, economic development of women worldwide. The people who unlock sponsor donations and make personal contributions can see the direct translation of their investment in real life terms.

 

We at Worldways decided to take the game for a spin and see how much fun we can have with it! We played the game upon its launch and within minutes we unlocked a free book donation from Pearson to a child that needs it. Later in the game, we used the earned coins and bought a virtual goat for Rhadika in the game, and that triggered a real-life donation from Heifer International to a family that needs it, without spending a penny from our pocket, and how amazing is that?

What makes Half the Sky unique is that it teaches players about the real-life issues women face daily around the world and allows them to make a real change in real-time. The game counts with the sponsorship from the United Nations Foundation, Heifer International Nothing but Nets, Girl Up, Johnson & Johnson, Pearson Foundation’s We Give Books and many other great organizations, that make real life donations for accomplishments  unlocked by players. Players can unlock a myriad of donations including medical supplies. books, food and micro-loans.

As social game developers and activists for women globally, we are especially excited about this initiative and eager to see the impact that it will have in the global community. We want to invite you to play and tell us what you think of the initiative and what donations you unlock!  Reply to this post and tell us about your experience for a chance to win a copy of the book behind this movement:  Half the Sky.