The United Nations designed this interactive educational board game to appeal to school children throughout the world. Together with the German branch of UNISDR (International Strategy for Disaster Reduction) in Bonn, the Austrian company katmakon, and the children’s rights organisation Save the Children we have prepared a German version. In many countries the young are increasingly exposed to emergency and catastrophe situations. Risk awareness is key to identifying and assessing environmental risks. Consequently UNISDR has designed this educational game for children, who are among society’s weakest members especially in developing countries. The game is already available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Creole, Thai, Nepalese and Cakchiquel, a Maya dialect. Finally, a German version is on the market.
Risk awareness as life-safer
Natural catastrophes are being on the increase in central Europe, too. Global warming in that region is causing not only stronger storms and floods but also a higher incidence of frequent, intense heat waves. But even in not immediately endangered regions it makes sense to introduce children to the subject. The case of the British schoolgirl Tilly Smith went around the world after the tsunami catastrophe in the Indian Ocean in 2004: She had learnt at school how tsunami waves are generated and propagated and could warn many fellow holiday makers at the beach in Thailand.
An important contribution to education
Designed for teachers and pupils alike “Riskland” is an attractive package consisting of question and answer cards, and texts and illustrations as well. The game comes with a comprehensive booklet explaining what natural hazards are, what dangers they pose and why catastrophes are becoming more frequent. Pictures and puzzles help to understand the learning material, and a glossary of the most important terms rounds off the package. A close look is also being taken at the role of climate change. Hence the game is an important contribution to reinforcing the lessons children are taught at school about catastrophes and the environment.
One of the game’s main features is that it shows children and young people that they themselves can and have to take responsibility. It uses realistic examples to illustrate how they should behave in an emergency or a catastrophic situation. They find out how to assess risks and take action where possible. After all, if preventive measures and warning systems fail, it is each individual’s awareness of risk that determines whether he or she takes the right course of action and avoids loss. This is the idea behind “Riskland”.
The initial run of 250 games of the German version will be distributed to schools free of charge. A free online version can be downloaded at: http://preventionweb.net/go/2114