This month’s Free For All is a little off the beaten track for my usual articles, however, it has a major geographic component. This month I’m highlighting the Half the Sky Movement that works to bring awareness and resources to women and girls in developing countries with limited access to educational materials, medical resources and empowerment opportunities. The movement is spun off of a book of similar name, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.
The book narrates first-hand experiences of women and girls who face overwhelming oppression and injustice. The movement doesn’t stop at just a book, the story continues through a PBS series highlighting women in Africa, the Middle East and Asian countries ; and their fight to end oppression and empower women in their communities. The series features popular celebrity advocates and aims to present viable, long-term solutions.
The Movement recently released a Facebook game to raise awareness and funds to support their cause. The game is set up as a walkthrough, you start by playing a woman by the name of Radhika in India. You are presented with a number of common obstacles – e.g. a sick child with no money for medicine and transportation, or not enough books in the classroom – you then have to decide what actions to take. Along the way, you play games to collect food to sell and books to donate. By completing obstacles and goals, you have opportunities to donate to specific projects. As you progress through the game, sponsors will donate gifts, like books to actual children who don’t have the resources. The game itself is very well made, with colorful graphics and smooth transitions. The dialogue is engaging as well as informative.
Half of the Sky also creates mobile games for people in India, Kenya and Tanzania, with the aim to educate women on healthy eating while pregnant, to avoid intestinal worms and to empower girls to rethink their value to family and society.
Half the Sky is a movement in both the organizational and physical sense. It has created major momentum by reaching a wide number of viewers, participants, activists and celebrities across a variety of platforms . Their Facebook game is a win-win for everyone as the public is educated about Half the Sky and the work that they do, while being entertained and giving back to the organization and their cause.