Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn Announce Half the Sky Movement: The Game to Help Empower Women and Girls Around the World

EXECUTIVE PRODUCED BY GAMES FOR CHANGE, THE GAME WILL LAUNCH ON FACEBOOK ON MARCH 4TH

Support from Zynga.org, Ford Foundation, Intel Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, The Rockefeller Foundation, Pearson Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and the United Nations Foundation;

Game will benefit The Fistula Foundation, GEMS, Heifer International, United Nations Foundation, ONE, Room to Read and World Vision

New York, NY – (February 18, 2013) – Pulitzer-Prize winning authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn announced this morning the March 4th launch of the latest installment of the Half the Sky Movement: a web-based game. Half the Sky Movement: The Game is a game-based adventure that aims to reach mainstream audiences to raise awareness and donations to empower women and girls around the world. The groundbreaking Facebook game introduces direct virtual-to-real-life translation, achieved by inviting players to move through a series of quests and stories related to real-world challenges that women and girls face, with issue-specific solutions provided by seven non-profit organizations: The Fistula Foundation, GEMS, Heifer International, ONE, Room to Read, United Nations Foundation, and World Vision. The game is executive produced by Games for Change, a non-profit that catalyzes social impact through digital games, and all its revenue is directed to charitable causes.

Half the Sky Movement: The Game is the latest addition to the cross-media platform of the Half the Sky Movement, which includes the #1 New York Times best-selling book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide and a critically acclaimed primetime PBS television series, produced by Show of Force, featuring A-list celebrity advocates America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union, Olivia Wilde and George Clooney. Inspired by the book and TV series, the game invites players to become part of the solution and make real-world impact through play.

“We want to reach a broader audience for these issues we care deeply about,” said Kristof and WuDunn. “We hope that a Facebook game that is fun and viral can be a way to do that, reaching people who aren’t now interested in women’s empowerment. This is an experiment, because we’re not sure that there has ever been a social purpose game with as much collective effort, and we’re hoping it is going to make a difference for the players – and for women and girls around the world.”

The idea for the Facebook game was discussed when Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn participated in the 2009 Games for Change Festival, an annual event uniting game designers and those seeking to harness their impact for social good. They had seen how games can raise awareness of important issues that otherwise tend to get neglected.

“Around 300 million people play games on Facebook across the globe on a monthly basis. If we’re able to inspire a portion of this group of players to spend 15 or 30 minutes of their time with this game, the ripple effect of players’ actions will result in significant and much-needed funding for this critical cause,” say Games for Change Co-Presidents Asi Burak and Michelle Byrd.

Players will embark on a global journey which begins in India, and moves on to Kenya, Vietnam, and Afghanistan, ending in the U.S. Along the way, players will meet different characters and take simple actions which then unlock funds from the game’s sponsors to make direct impact. For example, players can collect books for young girls in the virtual world which activates a real-life donation to Room to Read supported by the Pearson Foundation (total of $250,000). Collectively, players also trigger funding from Johnson & Johnson for life-transforming surgeries through The Fistula Foundation (total of $250,000). When Half the Sky Movement: The Game launches to the public on March 4th, $500,000 from sponsors will already be available for players to unlock by completing challenges and quests in the game. Players can also choose to make personal donations to any of the game’s non-profit partners at any point throughout the game.

Major support for Half the Sky Movement: The Game is provided by the Ford Foundation and Zynga.org, with additional support provided by the Intel Corporation, National Endowment for the Arts, The Rockefeller Foundation and the United Nations Foundation. The game’s developer is the award-winning Quebec City-based Frima Studio and Show of Force, the production company behind the Half the Sky television series, serves alongside Games for Change as an Executive Producer of the game. Show of Force previously worked with Games for Change to co-executive produce three mobile games, funded by USAID, for local communities in India and Kenya as part of the Half the Sky Movement. Launch activities for Half the Sky Movement: The Game are supported by FastCompany, Tides and Zynga.org.

On March 4th, kicking off the week of International Women’s Day (March 8th), Games for Change and Half the Sky Movement invite you to: play; explore; and share (@halfthegame / #halfthegame) to help make a real impact in the lives of women and girls around the world.

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ABOUT GAMES FOR CHANGE

Games for Change catalyzes social impact through digital games. Founded in 2004, Games for Change facilitates the creation and distribution of social impact games that serve as critical tools in humanitarian and educational efforts. The organization aims to leverage entertainment and engagement for social good. To further grow the field, Games for Change convenes multiple stakeholders, highlights best practices, incubates games, and helps create and direct investment into new projects. Its upcoming 10th Anniversary Games for Change Festival will be held in New York City June 17 – 19. www.gamesforchange.org

ABOUT HALF THE SKY MOVEMENT

The Half the Sky Movement is cutting across platforms to ignite the change needed to put an end to the oppression of women and girls worldwide, the defining issue of our time. Inspired by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book of the same name, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide brings together video, websites, games, blogs and other educational tools to not only raise awareness of women's issues, but to also provide concrete steps to fight these problems and empower women. Change is possible, and you can be part of the solution. www.halftheskymovement.org

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