One of the main highlights of the project “MEGA Game: Strengthening Environmental Governance in Moldova through Innovative E-learning and Collaboration Platform for Environmental Action” implemented by MEGA in September – November 2015 became the first edition of the MEGA Impact Championship – a gamified initiative that is aimed at stimulating cooperation among non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around identifying and resolving social / environmental issues.
Innovation of this initiative is the usage of the concepts of gamification and storytelling applied for stimulating participants (teams consisting of members of various NGOs) to create as much positive social / environmental impact as possible within a limited timeframe. This is done through the process of the participants accomplishing missions and reporting on the results as true „MEGA Agents”. At the end of the Championship 3 winning teams are awarded, while the rest of the participants can use their XP points for „buying” additional rewards in the virtual „shop”.
The decision to transform simple expeditions and activities with other organizations within the project into a never-before-realized competition in the form of a game for NGOs was taken already during the project implementation, which posed a risk if the initiative would be unsuccessful. However, we, the MEGA Team, decided to take that risk, as the idea of holding such a Championship bothered our minds for a long time.
In reality the initiative turned out to be a success. Certainly, there were flaws and gaps in its implementation: the NGO selection process could have been better, the missions could have been more diverse and fieldwork-based, there could have been more fun elements, etc. But these are the inevitable thing in the first test edition. Despite these learning points, the MEGA Impact 2015 Championship can be considered a success story with 5 participating teams from different youth and environmental organizations, 50 young environmentalists and 16 volunteers engaged, 3 levels of progression, 5 challenging missions about water issues and management in 5 locations (Cojusna, Straseni, Singera, Tintareni, and Vatra), the grand finals in Comrat, 8 serious water-related issues identified, 3 plans for resolving them developed, 20+ bags (approximately 1 tonne) of waste gathered and removed from the shore of the lake in Comrat, 20+ trees planted in Comrat, and the Water Map of Moldova developed and made public. The Championship also received positive feedback from the organizers and volunteers and was acclaimed by its partners.
Nowadays we are capitalizing on the success of the first edition of the initiative to organize a better MEGA Impact Championship in 2016 with the focus already on biodiversity conservation in Moldova. More information about the initiative can be found at the MEGA website and in our Annual Report for 2015. The Championship was also mentioned in a number of mass-media, including Civic.md, GagauzMedia, Gagauzinfo.md, InfoPrut, Stiri positive, TNT Bravo, and Zugo.
MEGA Impact 2015 Championship was organized as part of the project “MEGA Game: Strengthening Environmental Governance in Moldova through Innovative E-learning and Collaboration Platform for Environmental Action” is supported by the program “Strengthening Environmental Governance by Building the Capacity of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)”, funded by the European Union, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and delivered by the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP).
Photos credit: Alexandr Iscenco and Gabriela Isac, 2015