One woman, somewhere in the world, becomes a victim of sex trafficking, forced prostitution, gender-based violence, or maternal mortality every 90 seconds. Now, a powerful cabal of producers, NGO’s, gamers and celebrities have joined forces in a transmedia project of unprecedented proportion to address this heinous reality.
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, the acclaimed book by Pulitzer Prize-winners Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, is the centerpiece of the project which includes a four-hour PBS miniseries (trailer above), mobile games in India and Africa, websites and educational materials, and a social action game coming to Facebook in November.
The 2009 best-seller created a global Half the Sky movement to address “the central moral challenge of our time,” stopping the oppression of women and girls worldwide.
The Half the Sky Facebook game, developed by Frima Studio, is executive produced by Games for Change, a global advocate of making games for social good, and social games leader Zynga, will contribute “significant staff time” to the production team working on the game.
“Zynga’s role in bringing this game to life is particularly special to us,” said authors Kristof and WuDunn. “Using a game to potentially reach great numbers of people helps send a message not only that there are challenges women face around the world, but also that they bring great spirit and joy to their communities when they can live safe, normal lives.”
Zynga.org has encouraged Zynga gamers to contribute over $12 million to global NGOs to improve lives through partnerships with nonprofits including Save the Children, Direct Relief International, World Food Programme, and Games for Change.
“The mission of Zynga.org is to help make the world a better place through games,” said Ken Weber, Zynga.org’s Executive Director.” Zynga’s employees are eager to leverage social games for good, and we are honored to be collaborating with Games for Change and Frima on this important initiative.”
Frima is a leading Canada’s game developer, whose titles include A Space Shooter for Free! and Zombie Tycoon.
The PBS series features Kristof, WuDunn, and six celebrity activists including Diane Lane, America Ferrera, Olivia Wilde, and Nicole Kidman as they travel to nine countries to see the problems and the solutions first-hand. The project is supported by the Ford Foundation, UN Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
With such a powerful and wide-reaching consortia, there’s hope for finding the other half of the sky.
Update: Add Microsoft to the list of companies banding working to fight human trafficking; today it announced its grant-giving to researchers looking into technology's role in abetting (and thwarting) child sex trafficking.