Games for Peace - Minecraft Talk

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Games for Peace - Minecraft Talk: Stereotype Reduction Program

IsraelDafna 38 Kfar Mordechai, 76854, Israel
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Scaling
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Using the popular game Minecraft , the program creates a dialogue through playing video games between 7th or 8th grade students from Jewish schools and Palestinian schools.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if young Jews and Palestinians could play together in a welcoming and respectful environment?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In the infinitely complex cultural, political and human situation that exists between Jews and the Palestinians, one of the saddest quiet facts is that a typical Jewish teen reaches the age of 18 without ever having had a meaningful, positive interaction with a Palestinian counterpart of the same age. And vice versa. This leads to a situation in which both sides hold a faceless, sometimes dehumanized picture of the ‘Other’.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The Minecraft Talk program creates a dialogue through playing video games between 7th or 8th grade students from Jewish schools and Palestinian schools in Israel. The program is comprised of four major elements: Teachers' workshop,six virtual meetings of playing Mindcarft, face-to-face meetings between the participant before and after the virtual meetings and the continued virtual contact through Facebook. The game has been customized in order to encourage cooperation between players from different backgrounds. The chat system automatically translates messages into Arabic, Hebrew and English and the virtual world will be monitored constantly, to ensure a safe gaming environment is maintained.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The program has four major components: Teachers' workshop, six virtual meetings of Minecarft (at school), face-to-face students meetings and the continued virtual contact. In January 2014 we started a pilot with 2 schools: • The Democratic School in Kiryat Ono - A Jewish Israeli School • St. Josef Seminary from Nazareth - A Palestinian Israeli School The pilot included 8 sessions and was accompanies by Dr. Ronit Kampf and Dr. Rony Berger from Tel Aviv university. Before the program started, 98% of the Israeli Jewish participants had no previous interaction with Israeli Palestinian, and 99% of the Israeli Jewish participants had no previous interaction with Israeli Palestinian.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The pilot has been evaluated by pre- and post-activity questionnaires and analysis of chat log files of the interaction between the students. The evaluation suggested promising results in terms of inter-group contact. For instance, the analysis of the chat log files indicated a growing amount of interaction between Jewish and Palestinian students as the project progressed and learning about one another (e.g., schools, hobbies, family). Finally, Jewish and Palestinian participants established a joint Facebook group by their own initiative, suggesting transfer effects of the intergroup contact. This is especially important because Jews and Palestinians seldom have an occasion to meet , interact and learn about one another. In May 2014 a second pilot started with other two schools.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The program is scheduled to start in September 2015- beginning of the school year in the Israeli education system. In the six months prior to the program launch 6 classes from the relevant age group (10-14) will be chosen from Israeli Palestinian schools and 6 matching classes from Israeli Jewish schools. An effort will be made to pair IP and IJ schools which are geographically close (e.g.: Jaffa and Tel Aviv). Group sizes will be up to 30 students per class. In total, the program targets a maximum of 12 classes (6 IJ and 6 IP), 12 schools, 360 students and at least 24 educators.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Games for Peace is a non-profit organization. We run the program through our volunteers and finance it through funds and donations.
Team

Founding Story

Behind “Games for Peace” stands the belief that peace can only be created by fostering dialogue between civil societies. Peace is achieved when two societies interact and get to know one another. Game for Peace is a non-profit organization that aims to foster dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian youths through interactive computer games. By utilizing the popularity of online computer games, we want to promote dialogue, reduce prejudice and create shared, positive experiences, between Israelis and Palestinians.

Team

Uri Mishol has over 18 years of experience in the Israeli high-tech industry. Dr. Rony Berger - A senior clinical psychologist. Dr. Berger led several Palestinian-Israeli co-existence groups of professionals and youth. Hans Shakur - Entrepreneur. Expert in the Middle Eastern Arabic and Islamic cultures. Dr. Ronit Kamf - Conducts studies with interactive games among Jewish and Palestinian students.
About You
Organization:
Games for Peace (non-profit organization)
About You
First Name

Shay

Last Name

Hamama , MBA

About Your Project
Organization Name

Games for Peace (non-profit organization)

How long has your organization been operating?

Please select

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Project
Organization Country

, Dafna 38 Kfar Mordechai, 76854

Country where this project is creating social impact
What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, Foundations, NGOs.

Supplemental
Awards

Awards

Primary Target Age Group

13 - 17.

Your role in Education

Other.

Please specify which of the following best applies:

I am applying on behalf of a particular program or initiative.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with (if applicable)

Public (tuition-free).

Intervention Focus

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Putting Children in Charge: Giving children a voice and cultivating agency via experiential learning, project-based learning, and civic engagement.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Whole child development is undervalued: Essential parts of development get left behind as children get older, such as healthy habits, executive function, and social and emotional learning.

Need

To reduce stereotypes between youth from different background

Offer

Create a dialogue through playing video games between 7th or 8th grade students

What key learning outcomes does your work seek to improve?

Our organization aims to promote dialogue, reduce prejudice and create shared, positive experiences, between Jews and Palestinians.

Secondary Form
PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details

In the six months prior to the program launch, 3 classes from the relevant age group (10-14) will be chosen from Israeli-Palestinian schools and 3 matching classes from Israeli-Jewish schools. An effort will be made to pair Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Jewish schools which are geographically close (e.g.: Jaffa and Tel Aviv). Group sizes will be up to 20 young adults per class. In total, the program targets a maximum of 6 classes (3 Israeli-Jewish and 3 Israeli-Palestinian), 6 schools and 120 young adults.

Each group will be allocated by 2 facilitators: 1 Jewish and 1 Palestinian to allow easier interaction with the group from the other school (total of 4 facilitators per a school program).

INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.

Learning experience worldwide hasn't change much though all aspects of our life has. Learning is not anymore about accumulating knowledge, it's about imagination and inspiration. Games are a key factor in learning and changing the world.

We think that through games we can help people learn about other people and solve conflicts. Learning is not just about history or mathematics, it's about understanding the other. And games are perfect for that.

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?

We believe online games are a radical new way of bridging the gap between young adults from troubled regions across the world. We organize events and programs that encourage play, communication and collaboration in “virtual” game worlds.

Online games are perfect for our project, because they can bring together large numbers of young people, from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.

Contributions - 100%

MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?

We are a non for profit organization

FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?

Our Minecraft Talk School Program. This is the core of our activity and it's modular. Means, we don't need $100K to run the entire program but can run parts of it with partial funding.

PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.

Tel Aviv University - take part in the research and analysis of the effect.
Elva (http://www.elva.org/projects/community-safety-network/) - An organization in Georgia that tries to implement our programs and knowledge in conflict zones of Georgia. We partnered with them to help on that.

COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.
VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?
IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time

In January 2014 we started a pilot with 2 schools:
• The Democratic School in Kiryat Ono - An Israeli - Jewish (IJ) School
• St. Josef from Nazareth - An Israeli - Palestinian (IP) School

Before the program started, 98% of the IP participants had no previous interaction with IJ, and 99% of the IJ participants had no previous interaction with IP. Within 6 meeting the participants established a joint Facebook group by their own initiative

IMPACT - REPORTING SAMPLE: Please attach any examples of your impact reporting. [optional]:
RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE: Please link or attach any research or evidence resource you are open to sharing more widely [optional]. Building research and evidence is a key aim of this initiative, and the resources you share may be chosen for listing in the Center for Education Innovations library:
SOURCE: If applicable - who created the research or evidence you are choosing to share? :
IMPACT - REACH: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

0 to 500

STUDY: Has an external evaluation or study been conducted of your organization?

Yes

Other (please specify)
Number of Employees:

Fewer than 10

Number of Volunteers:

10-100

APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.

Physical Play, Play with Objects, Games with Rules, Challenging Play (play that disrupts - where rules are disregarded and levels of imagination are high).

Other (please specify)
AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.