New interactive game from CDKN explores how people cope with climate and create solutions

New interactive game from CDKN explores how people cope with climate and create solutions

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Story detail:
Date: 29th October 2020
Author: CDKN Global
Type: News
Countries: Africa, Ethiopia

How would you feel if you faced climate hazards - in someone else’s shoes? How would your age, your physical and mental abilities, your health, the way other people treat you affect how you could respond? What if different members of the community got together to tackle climate-related problems? What would your role be? How could you make the most of your potential? A new interactive role-playing game by CDKN uses a colourful cast of characters set in a fictional, small Ethiopian town to explore exactly these questions.

The scene

The small town of Kul-Bayne in northeastern Ethiopia is suffering from drought, which has impacts on crops and livestock health, and so on people’s wellbeing and livelihoods. Already it seems the land and water are straining to support the people and animals – there just don’t seem to be enough resources to go around. The government is warning of increasing stresses due to climate change in the future. How can people’s lives be more secure and resilient? That’s where you come in. Put yourself in character to have a conversation about what makes you vulnerable to the climate and what makes you able to contribute to solutions.


The overarching objectives are to enable workshop participants to….

  • Understand better how people’s different social, economic, cultural, physical status and attributes, including their gender roles and relations, interact with and contribute to their climate vulnerability and risk by ‘walking in other people’s shoes’.
  • Understand how these attributes affect different people’s ability to contribute to individual and collective disaster risk reduction, adaptation and climate-resilient development.
  • Highlight, through group discussion, some helpful tools and tactics that project managers could use, in their work, to empower diverse people’s participation in local climate adaptation planning and implementation processes. Pinpoint how the design of such climate adaptation programmes and projects can provide equitable benefits, bearing in mind people’s different social, economic, cultural, physical status and gender.


Before you begin: Download the scenario card to immerse yourself in the world of Kul-Bayne, Ethiopia, and the drought that it's facing. Read the title card for more information about the authors and organisations behind the work.

Round one:

Each Participant takes a character card and reflects on the character and their role in the scenario, paying particular attention to the instructions for ‘Round one’ on their card. (10 min) In the first round of the role play: the Facilitator (who holds the 'Environment Officer' card) explains that she is now consulting on how climate hazards are affecting people in the community and asking what is helping or hindering their participation in the planning process. She asks these questions to each Participant one by one: Why didn’t you come to the neighbourhood meeting …? How has the drought affected you and what would improve your situation? Ideally there is time for each character to provide an answer (up to 10 min).

Round two:

In this ‘Round two: adaptation and resilience plans’ , the Facilitator (Environment Officer) is presenting a range of proposals that she has drafted for the community’s adaptation and resilience plan – based on the earlier consultation.

In this scenario, each Participant, in character, is responding to the adaptation and resilience proposals, using the prompts provided under 'Round two' on their character card - and also elaborating their own ideas and responding to others.

In this group reflection, the Facilitator (Environment Officer) invites a discussion. First, for the Participants: what emotions do they feel? What frustrations, hopes, opportunities – why? Were the barriers to their participation (in the planning and implementation) something that they felt could be adequately addressed in a climate resilient development programme – if so, how? What other actions and changes would be required to enable them to participate and benefit more fully? (up to 5-10 minutes per character).

Second, for the Facilitator (Environment Officer character), how do the perspectives of the different characters change the Environment Officer's mind? (up to 5 minutes).

At the end of the role-play, everyone step out of character and be yourselves. In a full group discussion, answer questions like: What did you learn, from 'walking in other people's shoes'? Did you gain an insight into people's exposure and vulnerability to climate hazards, and their capacities for responding effectively? Did you deepen your understanding of how people are differently affected? Would this experience make you do anything differently in your work? (up to 30 minutes discussion).

Zeinab the environment officer: download her card here

Ishmael, the grain trader: download his card here

Hanna, the teenage girl: download her card here

Sitra, the sex worker: download her card here

Wesene, the elderly lady: download front of card here and back of card here

Dureti, the hard-working mother: download front of card here and back of card here

Negash, the teenage boy: download front of card here and back of card here

Semir, the pastoralist: download front of card here and back of card here  

Download the Amharic translation of this game here.

Concept by: Patricia Velasco and Camelia Sofeia, FFLA; Mairi Dupar, ODI. This game written by: Mairi Dupar and Arsema Andargatchew, Southsouthnorth. Artwork: Adam Carnegie.  

More editions

If you enjoyed this edition of the training game, you may also like:

  • Ecuador/Andes version – the fictional town affected by inland flooding and
  • India/South Asia – the fictional low-income neighbourhood affected by sea level rise and coastal flooding.





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