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FHI 360 climate resilience video-game concept selected for Global Resilience Challenge

March 24, 2015

DURHAM, NC — A team of experts from FHI 360 — a global, nonprofit human development organization — and their partners have advanced from a pool of nearly 500 competitors to reach the second stage of the Global Resilience Challenge. FHI 360 proposed using game theory as a tool to address community resilience in a changing climate. The FHI 360 concept is one of 17 innovations that has been chosen to move to the second stage of the three-stage grant competition.

The Global Resilience Challenge is part of a US$150 million effort to help nations and communities drive evidence-based investments in adapting to climate change. It is an initiative of the Global Resilience Partnership, which is spearheaded by The Rockefeller Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

The eight-member FHI 360 team, which includes technology development and university partners in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand and the United States, is led by Josh Woodard, Regional Information and Communications Technologies and Digital Finance Specialist. Their submission — utilizing gamification strategies behind popular video games such as Angry Birds and Minecraft to help youth and community leaders build climate-change resilience in South and Southeast Asia — was chosen to qualify for up to US$1 million in implementation and continued innovation. FHI 360’s climate resilience game concept has the potential to spread virally, while introducing its players to the concept of resilience.

“We are honored to have been selected as one of the resilience teams,” said Josh Woodard, FHI 360. “We are hoping to tap into the huge potential of video games and mobile phones to engage and excite students so they can better understand the role they can play in disaster risk reduction and climate change resilience.”

Teams moving forward in the challenge include scientists, policy practitioners, humanitarians and experts from dozens of disciplines. The 17 teams will explore the effects of persistent cycles of drought, storms, famine and other disasters in the focus regions of the Sahel, Horn of Africa, and South and Southeast Asia and will identify locally driven, scalable solutions that can help communities and households adapt to and recover from chronic shocks and stresses while reducing vulnerabilities.

“The diversity and ambitions of the hundreds of teams that applied is another testament to the incredible momentum and interest in building resilience,” said Dr. Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “The teams have bold and innovative ideas for getting ahead of the next crisis in a way that will make millions of lives better day-to-day, so that they and their communities realize a resilience dividend — investments that yield positive economic and social impacts every day particularly for poor and vulnerable people, and that can prevent disruptions from becoming disasters.”