Access to Technology | Jordan

Facebook game, Our City, empowers Jordanian youth in civic participation

Civic Discontentamong jordanian youth

60% of Jordaniansare under 30

Engage Youth through gaming

Status:
Complete

The Problem

As the Arab Spring unrest began to take off around 2010, political instability and protests in Jordan were brewing. Simultaneously in Jordan, more than 60% of the population is under the age of 30; young people experience disproportionate unemployment, underemployment and unrest around politics, education and general social wellbeing. This cultural dissatisfaction combined with the peaking demographic ‘youth bulges’ of the Middle East has developed into a youth crisis in the region.

The Solution

To meet the needs of Jordanian youth, NetHope and USAID’s Innovations for Youth Capacity and Engagement (IYCE) program developed Our City, a social game used to empower Jordanian youth to participate in civic engagement and improve their local communities.

Through Our City, Jordanian youth get the chance to run their own virtual Jordanian city, adding buildings, caring for their population, electing leaders and dealing with common problems like sustainability and energy use. Quests like these encourage players to consider everything that goes into running a happy and healthy city – caring for those around them and making smart decisions for the greater good.

OurCity was piloted in Jordan in Arabic and in English with resounding success, reaching more than 10,000 unique users on Facebook within a month of launch.

Local Jordanian Promoters:
  • Al Nasher
  • Gate2Play
  • Curlstone Studios
  • Jordan Gaming Lab
  • Jordan Education for Employment
  • Jordan Green Building Council
  • Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
  • Jordan River Foundation
  • Ms. Rama Halaseh

Results

  • More than 26,000 monthly active users of Our City
  • 52,000 total participants in Our City
  • Youth gain an increase in confidence from online success, positively affecting their lives
  • Youth gain an increase appreciation for the role of women in city management

The IYCE Program has worked toward proving an innovative theory of change around effective youth engagement – one of today’s greatest global challenges. IYCE show the power of serious gaming and paves the way for more effective youth programming enabling the youth bulge to be an asset/dividend as opposed to a risk/threat.

Sherry Youssef, Program Manager for Our City