Over the past 6 months, our team of young volunteers and civic service volunteers developed the CartODD serious game to raise awareness among their pairs about the stakes of the day: climate change, migration, sustainable cities and gender inequality. A game designed as part of the CartODD project, supported by the Mindchangers initiative.
Using participatory mapping to tackle the challenges of internally displaced people
In a collaborative and fun way, the game aims at making the youth understand the consequences of climate change and gender inequality on the life of the main character, Alma, an internally displaced young woman. By following her journey, participants not only use participatory mapping principles to help her on 6 different missions, but can identify with her experience fostering a clearer and more emotionally resonant message.
Participatory mapping concepts guide Alma's journey, turning abstract global issues into tangible scenarios. This immersive role-playing game, combined with an adaptive roll-out, becomes an awareness-raising tool that leaves a lasting impression on players and delivers a powerful call to action.
Designed to be played by young people in high schools, CartONG conceived it in a way that the master of the game can adapt it depending on the focus they’d like to have. The first mission focuses on the theme of migration caused by climate disasters, while the last ones have a strong focus on climate change and building resilient cities. Missions can also be adapted to any level of knowledge of participatory mapping, making it adaptable to different audiences.
"I found the CartODD game to be a great way of raising public awareness of the usefulness of participatory mapping. It immerses us in the life and challenges of Alma, a young displaced person, and highlights the difficulties she faces, particularly due to the lack of maps of certain regions. Without forgetting the fun and participative aspect, this game makes us realize that everyone can help Alma - and by extension thousands of other people - by mapping "forgotten" areas of the world on OpenStreetMap. Besides having a great time, I left with a stronger motivation to get more involved in participatory mapping." - Participant who played the game in Chambéry, France
Raising awareness at a larger scale
Beyond a very local reach in France with young people, our vision is to extend the game's availability to OpenStreetMap (OSM) communities. As a first step in this direction, Ezechiel, volunteer at CartONG who greatly participated in the development of the game, hosted a game session with OSM Togo this month.
"An interesting game to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This game enabled me to discover the elements that make up a geographical map. Through this fun activity, I have an idea about the importance of mapping for humanitarians, especially in emergency situations." - Participant who played the game in Lomé, Togo
This initiative provides an additional tool to these communities to not only raise awareness of critical global issues, but also to initiate discussions within their local spheres on how OpenStreetMap can help take action on those issues. Our approach in developing the game took into consideration the diverse contexts in which it might be utilized. Acknowledging that access to computers, internet connectivity, and digital literacy vary, we deliberately crafted a game that doesn't rely on technologies so we can introduce participatory mapping and OpenStreetMap with game cards!
"We designed this game, not only to broach the key challenges of our century with the new generations so that they can better understand them, but also to spark interest in OpenStreetMap and maybe even callings!" says Manon, CartODD Project Manager.
The game is available in French, an English version is currently under development. If you’d like a demonstration of the game or more information, don’t hesitate to contact us here!
This initiative is part of Mindchangers’ project. This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union, through RESACOOP within Mindchangers – Regions and youth for Planet and People. Its contents are the sole responsibility of CartONG and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.