Remember the days when we were all spending most of our Facebook time playing interactive games?
I’ll admit, I spent more than a few hours leveling up in Sorority Life, trying to beat my friends’ best score at Bejeweled Blitz and yes, playing Farmville.
But gaming doesn’t have to just be about entertainment.
What if there was a way to marry the best aspects of social gaming – great visuals, interacting with friends, and engaging challenges – to educate, inspire and actually have a direct impact on people in need around the world?
That’s the concept behind an incredible new Facebook game called Half The Sky Movement: The Game. It’s a Facebook adventure that raises funds and awareness to empower women and girls across the globe. Half the Sky Movement: The Game is the first game of its kind, translating in-game actions and achievements to generate donations to seven nonprofit organizations worldwide.
The game is part of the overall Half the Sky Movement, whose goal is to increase awareness around the idea that empowering women is the greatest opportunity to expand prosperity and stability around the world. The movement includes a New York Times bestselling book and a critically acclaimed PBS series.
I previewed the game, and I was impressed with how well the game weaves together information about the struggles women in 5 different countries face with poverty, access to education, maternal and child health, and much more with fun, interactive challenges, or “quests.”
As players complete quests, they’re also unlocking funds that provide real-life donations to important organizations like The Fistula Foundation, Room to Read, and others.
The game is developed with support from Zynga, so you’ll see a lot of similarities in gameplay to the Zynga favorites you know and love. You’ll need to keep track of energy levels and money, and make decisions along the way to help you level up and donate even more.
As you move through quests, there are not only opportunities to earn donations through your play, but to donate directly to specific organizations that are helping women in the geographic areas covered in the game. For example, during a quest where I was helping an Indian woman obtain an important vaccination for her sick daughter, I was able to donate $20 to Shot at Life right from within the game.
My twenty minutes of gameplay also earned a book donation to Room to Read. It was an incredible feeling to know that my time was used to help a child learn to read. I’m so inspired by this union of technology and social good. By simply playing this game for 30 minutes, each of us can directly impact the lives of women and girls by creating opportunities and access to surgeries, education and resources that they might not otherwise have.
Johnson & Johnson is inspired by Half The Sky Movement: The Game, too. In fact, we’ve allocated $250,000 to be donated through gameplay to The Fistula Foundation, to fund life-transforming surgeries for women suffering from the childbirth injury, obstetric fistula. Obstetric fistula is caused by unrelieved obstructed labor, and untreated leaves a woman incontinent until she can receive surgery that costs as little as $450.
How You Can Become An Ambassador For Social Good
• Become a Fan: Like Half The Sky Movement: The Game on Facebook.
• Play the Game: dive right in and start completing quests to help women and girls across the globe! You can access the app from the Facebook fan page, or go directly to the game.
• Invite Your Friends: you can invite your Facebook friends to join in on this social good effort. When you play the game, there’s an option on the bottom screen to invite your friends. Reach out to those to whom this cause might resonate.
• Join the Game-A-Thon: There’ll be a 24-hour online game-a-thon, from Wednesday, March 6th, 2013 at 12pm ET through Thursday, March 7th, 2013 at 12pm ET. Unlike traditional game-a-thons, we are not asking that you play for 24 hours consecutively, but that you recruit as many friends as possible to play in this 24-hour period. The more people play, the more real impact we can make, and all it takes is a 15-minute session to make a difference.
• Tweet It Out: we’d love for you to spread the word about this amazing opportunity. Feel free to use the sample tweets below, or create one of your own using the hashtag #halfthegame and mention @halfthegame
Gaming for a good cause. Play @halfthegame and create real change for women and girls. http://bit.ly/halfthega
me #halfthegame #JNJ
Create opportunities for women and girls around the world. Play @halfthegame now: http://bit.ly/halfthegame #halfthegame #JNJ
We hope you’ll consider playing along with all of us here at JNJ Parents. Let us know what you think of Half The Sky Movement: The Game…and have fun playing!
Gigi Ross is a wife mom of two kids (a 10 year-old boy and an 8 year-old girl) living in San Diego, CA. Gigi works as a content and community manager for Johnson & Johnson. A blogger and writer in her spare time, Gigi’s work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Babble, BlogHer and Mamapedia. She keeps her personal blog at KludgyMom.