Support in the Development of a Digital Boardgame about Conservation

Activity/project background

Partner: Policy Forum Guyana (Local NGO)

Policy Forum Guyana (PFG) has implemented a successful freshwater educational board game. The board game, inspired by the Department of Conservation in New Zealand, aims to engage students in grades 6 to 11 in Guyana highlighting the importance of the country's freshwater sources.
The game allows 2-4 players to choose an animal (Jabiru, Arapaima, Black Caiman, or Giant River Otter) and navigate around the board, facing challenges and opportunities represented by River Guardians (Positive Action cards) and Eco-loser (Negative Action cards). The first player to safely return to their habitat corner wins the game.

The project has been piloted in primary schools in administrative region 4 and, after a successful teaching program, it received feedback and support from a variety of key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Natural Resources. The board game is being mass-produced by the Ministry of Education to reach a wider audience and enhance environmental education among the youth.

PFG is requesting the support of a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to create an online version of the board game to promote environmental awareness and freshwater conservation among a broader audience of children in Guyana.

PFG has not previously worked with a Peace Corps Volunteer or a VSPP. They understand that the role of a VSPP is very different than a two-year Volunteer.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

The VSPP will engage in the following tasks, in collaboration with their Host Country Partners:

● Assess and analyze existing board game by identifying potential areas for improvement and adaptation to create a digital version that aligns with the project's goals
● Co-design and conceptualize the online version of the freshwater game creating a detailed plan outlining the user interface, interactive elements, and game mechanics to ensure an engaging and educational experience for the target audience
● Assist in the integration of educational content related to Guyana's freshwater sources, environmental conservation, and climate change into the online game
● Support team to conduct user testing sessions with a diverse group of target users and analyze results to enhance the game
● Assist team to finalize the game, making it a visually appealing and functional product that can be shared with educational institutions and the wider public to promote environmental awareness and freshwater conservation in Guyana

This engagement is expected to be approximately 15 weeks. VSPPs are expected to engage in the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week.

Meetings between VSPPs and Host Country Counterparts will take place during normal office hours, Mondays to Fridays 8:00 am – 4:30 pm Guyana time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom, Email, and WhatsApp for regular communication and collaboration.

Per the Child Protection Code of Conduct, when engaging online with minors (0-18), two adults must be present.

Optional additional activities

The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:

  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

Goal 1 will be achieved through the VSPP's engagement and completion of the above tasks. The counterpart and VSPP may also choose to identify an activity that aligns with Goal 2. Additionally, the VSPP may identify a Goal 3 activity to implement during their engagement. See recommendations and tools for Goal 3 activities.

Essential qualifications

Education: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, game design, education, or environmental studies

● Demonstrated experience in game design, particularly in developing interactive and educational digital games
● Experience in integrating educational content into gaming platforms to promote learning and awareness
● Familiarity with environmental conservation, freshwater issues, or climate change-related topics is a plus

Intercultural skills and motivation: Flexible, strong cross-cultural agility, high tolerance for ambiguity, able to work independently, resourceful, creative, and genuinely motivated and capable to serve virtually

Desired qualifications

Education: Master’s degree in computer science, game design, education, or environmental studies

Technical Skills: Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication

Language: Intermediate Spanish or other languages commonly spoken in Guyana, in addition to English, would be beneficial for effective communication with diverse stakeholders

● Prior experience in developing educational games or gamified learning experiences, particularly for environmental or conservation-related topics
● Familiarity with the gaming industry and trends, especially related to educational or serious games

Terms and conditions of engagement

VSPPs will be engaging with the host country partner, in coordination with Peace Corps post staff, remotely from the US. They should have access to a computer, internet, and telephone in order to enable direct engagement with the Peace Corps overseas office and the Host Country Counterpart assigned by the host country partner.

Orientation with the host country partner will be provided, within the designated virtual service hours, during the first week of virtual service via an online presentation and discussion. The host country partner will provide an overview of its organization, the local context, and how they envision collaborating with the VSPP.

The VSPP will have regular check-ins with their counterpart and bi-weekly check-ins with Peace Corps staff. Spending unstructured time with counterparts can be critical to relationship-building and is encouraged through activities such as coffee chats and informal calls within the weekly 5-15 hours.

Engagement-specific safety and security

The VSPP will receive an orientation on Peace Corps’ Child Protection Policy and how it relates to online engagement along with IT security best practices. The VSPP will be expected to follow safety and security guidelines for online engagement to ensure their safety and that of the Host Country Partner and their counterpart, and any beneficiaries of the engagement.

Supervision requirements

The VSPP will report to a designated Peace Corps staff member. The VSPP will be expected to abide by the Virtual Service Pilot Participant and Donation Agreement and Participant Principles of Engagement. The VSPP will also be expected to check in with the designated host country counterpart as assigned by the host county partner.

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