Get the Grade: A Game about Natural Resource and Water Management
Get the Grade is a role-playing game designed to engage a wide range of people on natural resources and water management. In the game, the room the group is in represents a river basin, and each table represents a sub-basin within that basin. Each player is a stakeholder who lives in a given sub-basin.
The game is targeted to a variety of audiences—policymakers, conservationists, companies, and community representatives, among other stakeholders—and designed to be used at small, intimate meetings or large conferences. The purpose is for these diverse individuals to experience and embrace the complexities and opportunities of working together for better basin health. After more than a dozen sessions of the game, player and organizer feedback confirms that Get the Grade:
- Illustrates how management decisions have a ripple effect and impact a variety of stakeholders
- Demonstrates the importance of engaging diverse stakeholders in natural resource management
- Supports team-building and collaboration
- Introduces Basin Health Report Cards as one tool to help inform decision-making
Participants will be divided into small, diverse teams. The diversity within teams is crucial, as there is always a mix of perspectives and demands at play when water management decisions are being made. The teams will have to create a report card based on a fictitious basin, then make governance decisions to improve their grades.
Participants will leave with a better understanding of the interconnectivity of ecosystems and services provided by rivers (e.g. fishing, navigation, etc.), the role that the stakeholder-based report card process can have in freshwater management, and how they can start creating report cards in their basins. We anticipate the following outputs:
- New commitments to develop report cards in key basins
- Feedback on the report card development process
- Input on how to make credible report card development more accessible to basin stakeholders around the world
Why Get the Grade Matters
Serious games are emerging as an effective way to communicate complex information in an engaging, memorable way. Get the Grade was designed to do exactly that: explain the complicated—but important—process of stakeholder engagement in natural resource management, and introduce the report card as an effective tool for bringing diverse water users together for better basin governance.
Studies show that games enhance learners’ content retention and skill acquisition, critical thinking, systems thinking, and group problem solving, and produce positive learning, attitudinal and behavioral outcomes. Organizations from the US military, to the Red Cross, to the World Bank are designing and deploying games for enhanced content learning, critical thinking, and targeted behavior change.
The literature on learning and behavior change point to the significant opportunities for game-based approaches to have direct and significant impact on how people take actions through informed decision-making.
WWF's Get the Grade is a serious game that can be implemented at key conferences and workshops, including SIWI’s World Water Week, IUCN’s World Conservation Congress, and the International River Symposium. The game both introduces the report card development process to participants and demonstrate the value of report cards.
For more information on the game and how your organization can use it, please contact HealthyRiversForAll@wwfus.org.