The Game Changer Fellowship
What is our Programme?
UNDP is excited to announce the launching of the “Game Changer Fellowship” which aims to promote and accelerate leadership and innovation in the use of games for social change. This one-year programme is in partnership with the Engagement Lab at Emerson College in Boston USA.
The Game Changer Fellowship was created in order to formalize the UNDP’s programme on Games for Social Change. The objectives of this fellowship is to develop games aimed at tackling social challenges, create a society that have shared interests in this field, and to focus on the professional development of the fellow. The Fellowship was launched on the 1st of November 2015 as invitations to apply were sent out to UNDP’s Games for Social Change community. On the 15th of November, the fellows were evaluated, interviewed and selected; the Fellowship officially commenced!
The programme will kick off with an Advanced Game Mechanics Workshop, to be held at the Engagement Lab in Boston in December. For the duration of the programme, the fellows are expected to fully develop their games and facilitate their own Games for Social Change workshop in order to spread the games mindset within their own communities. Additionally, fellows will be writing three blog posts, and mentoring other teams in UNDP’s games community.
Every year, a group of five young innovators from Egypt will be accepted into the fellowship programme, where they will be supported in the work of applying games to identify solutions for development challenges in the country. UNDP, along with the Engagement Lab, will provide the fellows with the necessary tools and resources to allow them to develop their knowledge about game design, and equip them with the skills to spread this knowledge in their community. In order to support the fellows, the UNDP will be providing them with training and networking opportunities, up to 1500 LE to cover prototyping costs, 12 hours of online mentorship by the Engagement Lab team, and covering the visa and flights expenses to Boston.
Am I Eligible?
- Fellows must be willing and able to fulfill their responsibilities
- Fellows must have attended a previous UNDP Games for Social Change workshop
- Fellows must have a viable game idea with a clear social impact
- Fellows must have a good command of English
- Fellows should have a prior experience in game design and demonstrate good leadership skills
The selection process was tough as there were many great applicants to choose from. After filling out an application form, interested candidates were evaluated based on the viability of their game idea and whether it has a clear social impact, their background and leadership skills, and their participation in previous UNDP game events. Eight applicants were shortlisted and interviewed, and the final five were selected based on the formerly mentioned criteria, ensuring diversity in the ideas and the group.
Introducing the 5 Fellows 2016:
Name: Ali Azmy
Background: I am easily amused, curious, confused and enjoy ice cream and documentaries. Other than that, I strive to know just a little bit of everything. I am most curious about how to integrate learning in our social interactions and how communities could self-organize. I am currently inviting people to play more through creating games and facilitating activities. I am part of the team that developed 'Baladna' a board game celebrating the culture diversity of Egypt
Project: Baladna is a colorful, illustrated map of Egypt that invites children to journey through the different governorates. At each stop and in teams, players explore questions on the communities that make up Egypt, their traditions, daily habits, food and the environment they inhabit.
By challenging straitjacketed education methods, Baladna mixes creativity with learning; children will be asked to draw, act and exercise their imagination to usher their teams to the finish line.
What he hopes to achieve: To be in an engaging learning environment that allows me to explore game design and acquire the skills needed to transform ideas into dynamic games.
Name: Menna Samir
Background:. I’ve studied Energy and Renewable Energy Engineering. Upon graduating, I’ve worked as a researcher in the field of nanotechnology application in clean energy systems. However, later on I’ve become more interested in the field of Edutainment. I am currently working as a science communicator at the American University in Cairo. I’m also a fellow at the UNDP Game Changer Fellowship program. Being a fellow, I got to design my first game ever. It’s pretty exciting, yet challenging experience for me to create something that’s both fun in nature and at the same time triggers positive change in ones society. I hope my game would act as a medium to promote real-world action.
Project: The project I am working on is to design a game that aims to encourage the youth to participate in solving their country's challenges through raising one’s awareness of such challenges and how to tackle them.
What she hopes to achieve: I hope my game would act as a medium to promote real-world action.
Name: Atef Mohsen Mohamed Atef
Background: I am a father and architect currently working on establishing my very own architecture studio with creative and talented partners. At the same time, I am running my family business in marble and granite. I am also a volunteer and have volunteering experience with the UNDP and the Arab Medical Union. My volunteering experience includes, but is not limited to, providing psychological support to the civilian victims of the Gaza war and initiating a fundraising campaign in cooperation with Arab Medical Union for the people of Somalia. I have also participated in a number of workshops organized by the UNDP, such as the “Design for Integrated Living” workshop and the “Games for Social Change” workshop. I love design in general and architecture design in particular and I want to help people solving their problems making their world a better place thought design and creativity, but don’t have prior game development experience. I am passionate about change and freedom, knowledge transfer, and helping others..
Project: Since November 2014, I am working with UNDP on finding solution to help people with disabilities, especially people with hearing impairment to integrate them into society through inclusive design focusing on solving the lack of communication between them and other people. Using the concept of Gamification and social media, I designed with my team a collaborative digital game about a deaf child that gets help from sign heroes. The aim is to teach the players sign language and enable communication with people with hearing impairment. The game consists of 6 locations to be visited and with 12 worlds related o each location. Each player has to selects a location and 4 cards with random words on each card along with their corresponding signs. A player wins when he/she neutralize all the locations in the game.
What he hope to achieve: I hope me, my team and I could achieve our first goal to launching the first game that teaches sign language, helping millions of people with hearing impairment and their families in Egypt and inspiring others to follow our lead to help them using creative methods.
Name: Fady Michel
Background: I am in a tug of war between my passion for space exploration and teaching innovation. I am an assistant professor at the American University in Cairo, with a joint appointment between the School of Science and Engineering and the Centre of Learning and Teaching. I have a great passion for creating positive deviance and designing change, with three years of experience in Human-Centered Design and Game Design for Change. I have worked on several design iterations for games on Environmental Sustainability, Animal Geography, First-Aid, and Knowledge Trivia. I am currently working on an entrepreneurship board game, which up skills players through launching and managing a startup in a competitive ecosystem.
Project: I am currently working on an entrepreneurship board game, which up skills players through launching and managing a startup in a competitive ecosystem. It is a board game that simulates the journey of a startup in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and is targeted for aspiring entrepreneurs. The player with the highest net worth at the end of the game wins.
What he hopes to achieve: My design challenge is to strike a balance between real-life content design and game flow.
Name: Radwa Abdelhalim
Background: I grew up in Hurghada, Red Sea. I moved to Cairo 3 years ago to study Electronics and Communication Engineering at MSA University. I find joy in making things and innovating, that’s mainly the drive that got me into this field of study. I’m also the founder and board member of an environmental organization called ETEA (Egyptians Taking Environmental Action) and I’m absolutely passionate and determined to spreading environmental education and raising awareness in Egypt. I believe using games to foster social change catalyzes and accelerates the process.
Project: I’m working with a great team on a card game called Tetra. Tetra is an environmental game which focuses on raising awareness on the environmental pollutants and how our actions can contribute to wither adding up to the pollution and eventually ruining the balance of nature, causing natural disasters or counteracting all the pollution and greenifiying our lands. The game has a lot of action and environmental knowledge embedded into the gameplay and it’s generally fun to play for most ages.
What she hopes to achieve: We hope to spread environmental awareness to people – or youth specifically – of different ages and backgrounds through fun and interactive games with strong social impact.