Engagement Game Lab launches global civic engagement game in Moldova

April 10, 2014

Engagement Game Lab at Emerson College launches global civic engagement game in Moldova in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program, European Union, and National Youth Council of Moldova

More than 450 Moldovans signed up to participate in Community PlanIt:  Youth@Work—taking action on high youth unemployment rates and related social issues

BOSTON, MA—Emerson College announced today that its Engagement Game Lab (EGL), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the European Union (EU), and National Youth Council of Moldova (CNTM), has launched an online civic engagement game in Moldova. Using its flagship game platform, Community PlanIt, the EGL developed Community PlanIt: Youth@Work to give players the chance to exchange ideas and provide input for solutions to the country’s high youth unemployment rate. In Moldova, 16% of young men and women between the ages of 15 and 24 are jobless, nearly three times the rate of the overall population. More than 450 Moldovans of all ages have signed up and are participating in the online game.

Moldova borders the Ukraine and Romania and while the majority of citizens speak Romanian, more than a quarter speak Russian and identify themselves as Transnistrian with deep roots in Ukraine. With this in mind, the EGL’s latest version of Community PlanIt allows players of both languages to experience the game in their native language, while still contributing to a common dialogue.

“Understanding the cultural differences in various regions and getting input from our UNDP partners and youth in Moldova has been an important step in designing this particular EGL game,” said Eric Gordon, director of the EGL, who organized hands-on workshops in Moldova prior to the launch of Community PlanIt: Youth@Work. “We’re very excited that the game is live and has had such a great response right away from young people across the varying cultures within Moldova.”

Community PlanIt: Youth@Work comprises three time-limited “missions,” each focusing on different areas of Moldova’s youth unemployment problem. During this first mission of the game, players will discuss their personal experiences with unemployment, including the foreign countries they are likely to emigrate to for work, what they believe are the root causes of unemployment in the region, and the damaging influences of corruption. Mission two shifts focus from personal experience to more complex systemic issues, such as education and job preparedness. In the final mission, players will be able to suggest solutions to some of the causes of unemployment that have been identified.

UNDP Team Leader for Moldova Alexandru Oprunenco has been leading projects to study and prioritize Moldova’s socioeconomic and human development needs since 2010. He coordinated the partnership with CNTM, which has ties to many local youth-oriented organizations across the country. Through this partnership, EGL was able to get local input on game content from the young leaders of these organizations. “All of the game content was developed by Moldovans and addresses the issues that are most important to them. The Community PlanIt platform also allows us to engage in a conversation in new and exciting ways that we never could before,” said Oprunenco.

When Community PlanIt: Youth@Work ends on April 28, data will be gathered from the game to help determine how future resources might best be allocated to more effectively address the problems of youth unemployment, at a time when the young country of Moldova is at a cultural crossroads.

About the Engagement Game Lab

EGL is an applied research lab at Emerson College, focusing on the development and study of games, technology, and new media to enhance civic life.  The EGL works directly with its partner communities to design and facilitate civic engagement processes, augment stakeholder deliberation, and broaden the diversity of participants in local decision-making. For more information, visit www.engagementgamelab.org.

About the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

UNDP is the United Nations' global development agency, working in 177 countries to provide knowledge, experience, and resources to help create country-owned solutions to global and national development challenges. UNDP's Washington Representation Office acts as a liaison between UNDP and the U.S. government, think tanks, NGOs, and academic, diplomatic, and media communities, informing them about UNDP's role, capabilities, programs, and results. For more information, visit www.us.undp.org.

About the European Union (EU)

The EU is a unique economic and political partnership between 28 European countries that together cover much of the continent. The EU was created in the aftermath of the Second World War. As it continues to grow, the EU remains focused on making its governing institutions more transparent and democratic. More powers are being given to the directly elected European Parliament, while national parliaments are being given a greater role, working alongside the European institutions. In turn, European citizens have an ever-increasing number of channels for taking part in the political process.

About the National Youth Council of Moldova

CNTM promotes the interests of the young people from Moldova and develops youth associative structures through the implementation of program activities, training, information, lobby, and consulting services.


About Emerson College

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson is the only four-year private college in the United States devoted to teaching communication and the arts in a liberal arts context. The College has 3,660 undergraduates and 829 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups, 14 NCAA teams, student publications, honor societies, television stations including the Emerson Channel, and WERS-FM, the nation’s highest rated student-run radio station. Emerson is internationally known for its study and internship programs in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., the Netherlands, China, and the Czech Republic. A new permanent facility on Sunset Boulevard for its LA-based program opened officially in March 2014. For more information, visit www.emerson.edu.

Glenn

Communication Studies Professor Phillip Glenn

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