Imagine peacebuilding practitioners immersed in a virtual scenario where they hone skills in critical areas of peacebuilding.
What if these professionals could ‘learn by doing’ in a safe environment where failure had no real-life consequences? Thanks to a new online game called, “Mission Zhobia: Winning the Peace”, the idea is more than a dream. It’s a reality.
Initiated by a consortium of key international peacebuilding institutions (GCSP, UNITAR, ACCORD, USIP and PeaceNexus) and developed by Rotterdam-based gaming company, &Ranj, “Mission Zhobia: Winning the Peace” is a closed-world single-player videogame. Aimed at mid-career professionals who are or will be deployed to missions or projects linked to peacebuilding, the game allows the player to navigate through complex socio-political environments, adapt to unforeseen peacebuilding challenges and adjust their strategies accordingly.
The player is deployed to Zhobia, a fictitious country recently devastated by violent conflict, tasked with the important mission to strengthen the rule of law in the country. The must player navigate a range of challenges such as limited institutional capacity; a local population that does not trust the government; insecurity caused by conflict flare-ups, and highly divergent perspectives on how justice can and should be delivered to the population.
The outcome of the game depends on the quality of the players’ analysis of the context, engagement with stakeholders and how they use this knowledge, the perspectives they uncover, the trust they build up with actors, and how they manage to discover new or alternative solutions to the ones they had initially set out to implement.
Available on PC, Mac and tablet, a full game play lasts between 30 minutes and two hours, depending on the time the player takes to process the different sources of information the game provides.
Approximately 1.4 billion people live in countries that have suffered from conflict and turmoil, and it is in these countries that development progress has been the hardest to achieve. Thus, a new model was needed to complement onsite and online training. Institutions need tools to leverage economies of scale and virtual learning techniques to enable an unlimited number of individuals to be trained using both interactive and cost-effective techniques.
“Mission Zhobia: Winning the Peace” launches 1 June 2017