HelloGiggles readers, today we can celebrate the start of International Women’s Week by playing a video game released today on Facebook which will help women on a global scale. Yes, I’m absolutely serious.
I ask that you please put down your regularly scheduled gaming activities for a moment today, and try out a game that empowers females in need – Half the Sky Movement: The Game. Just hear me out. Like feeding farm animals or harvesting crops in games like Farmville, you can take similar actions in Half the Sky that will actually trigger a real life response – feed the goat, and find out how a real world community can use that goat’s milk as a reliable source of both food and income. Play a mini-game similar to Bejeweled and collect books that will be donated to young girls who, stunningly, aren’t given the same education as boys in other countries.
Released today (3/4/13), Half the Sky is brought to us by Games for Change, in cooperation with Zynga.org and game developers Frima Studio with Show of Force.
The game is based on the #1 New York Times best-selling book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, written by a husband-wife duo, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (both of whom are Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists). The book presents the oppression of women worldwide as being “the paramount moral challenge” of our present era:
Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity and, ultimately, hope. They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. They tell a story of a small Cambodian girl sold into sex trafficking who eventually escapes from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, builds a thriving retail business that supports her family.
Kristof and WuDunn also made a PBS TV series as one of their many transmedia components. Filmed in 10 countries, and featuring A-list celebs like America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union and Olivia Wilde, the series sheds light onto the very harsh realities of women worldwide while proving “sustainable options for empowerment”. What does that mean? It means they’re working to bring people together – not by handouts – but by educating people on how to build thriving communities.
So… how does a book / TV series which centers on sex trafficking, gender violence, maternal mortality and girl’s education translate into … a video game?! Easier than you’d think. Half The Sky absolutely works in a Facebook gaming format. And one you’re most likely familiar with. With gameplay that feels more like an interactive book, it’s an escape into a different reality – one that isn’t yours, but is very real for another woman across the world.
“Players will embark on a global journey which begins in India, and moves on to Kenya, Vietnam, and Afghanistan, ending in the U.S. Along the way, players will meet different characters and take action in a very simple way by unlocking funds from the game’s sponsors to make direct impact.”
Yes, sometimes you will have the option of “in-app purchasing” – just like you would in Angry Birds and every other freemium game on the planet. But you don’t have to spend real life money if you don’t want to. Many of your actions will automatically trigger free donations from Half The Sky’s sponsors. Actually, one of the first quests you finish will donate a book that will be delivered by Room To Read. If you want to learn more about the non-profit, there are links that will give you everything you need to know about the legitimacy of the program involved with your game.
A few of these non-profits you’ve probably heard about, and a few you need to hear about. Among the super famous is ONE, co-founded by U2 frontman Bono and dedicated to fighting extreme poverty. And then there’s The Fistula Foundation, who help women who have suffered a “fistula”, and instead of me explaining to you exactly what that is, I strongly encourage you to read about it while playing Half The Sky. In fact, you can do it while you’re regaining “Energy”.