Peace Day Observed with the Launch of a Serious Game that Educates on Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Using Technology

SRSG Parfait Onanga-Anyanga delivers opening remarks at the event. On his right, the newly appointed AUC PAPS Governance and Conflict Prevention Director, Ms. Patience Chiradza & H.E. Stephan Auer, German Ambassador to Ethiopia

23 Sep 2022

Peace Day Observed with the Launch of a Serious Game that Educates on Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Using Technology

Jointly commemorating this year’s Peace Day, UNOAU collaborated with AUC’s Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (AUC PAPS) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to launch a serious game called, ‘Mission 55 – Conflict in Anaka’. A serious game is a new way of gaming that incorporates learning while using the technology at hand. ‘Mission 55’ accordingly has been developed under the auspices of the AU Youth for Peace (AU) Y4P programme with support from the GIZ Office to the African Union in particular. By solving conflicts that erupt in the various stages of the game, users are introduced to tools included in the AU’s African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the African Governance Architecture (AGA).

Opening remarks were delivered by the Ambassador of Germany to Ethiopia, H.E. Stephan Auer, the newly appointed AUC PAPS Governance and Conflict Prevention Director, Ms. Patience Chiradza, and Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) to the African Union and Head of UNOAU, Mr. Parfait Onanga-Anyanga. Youth from various African countries attended the event, including the AU’s African Youth Ambassadors for Peace (AYAP).

In his remarks, UNOAU SRSG Parfait Onanga-Anyanga reiterated the importance of the UN-AU partnership in peace and security and also noted that the day was ‘devoted to our young people, their innovative potential and more specifically to the use of technology in peacebuilding.’ He commended the AU Y4P programme for spearheading the development of the game and acknowledged contributions from Africa’s youth towards the success of this endeavor.

On his part, Ambassador Auer reflected on the game’s potential for helping users learn about the African Union’s conflict prevention and peace-building mechanism and called for joint AU-GIZ-UN continued engagement to ensure the game reaches as many of the target audiences as is possible. Speaking on behalf of Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Director Patience Chiradza encouraged African youth to continue to leverage new technologies to grow their knowledge and understanding to enable them to contribute meaningfully towards achieving sustainable peace in Africa.

In a panel discussion that followed, participants were introduced to both the background and technicalities of the game by the developers, Dr Philip Busch and Mr Jake Manion, and also had an opportunity to hear from two other young panelists including Ms Khouloud Baghouri, African Union’s Youth Ambassador for Peace (AYAP) from Tunisia, North Africa, and Ms Focus Adegbami, a young lawyer and youth representative from Nigeria. Both youth panelists shared their experiences in adding young perspectives into the development of the game and also their thoughts on pre-testing the usability and effectiveness of the game. They both also spoke on the broader topic of Africa’s technology landscape with respect to mitigating conflict and building peace.

Participants also had an opportunity to test the game during the event and engaged in quizzes that involved both individual and group quizzes to enhance their problem-solving skills throughout the stages of the game. Winners of the competition were awarded and closing remarks were delivered by the AUC PAPS’ Ambassador Fred Ngoga, Head of Conflict Prevention and Early Warning at AUC PAPS, who spoke on the importance of partnerships.

UNOAU supported the developers to also launch the game at another Peace Day event that was taking place at the UN Conference Center, in UNECA, organized by the UN Communication Group (UNCG) on behalf of the UN Country Team (UNCT). As this event had a more national and regional focus, looking at peace education as a means to both prevent conflict and build peace, the launch of the continental game presented an opportunity to further enhance outreach to youth in Ethiopia. Participants at this event also interacted with the developers and the game.

As a way forward, a campaign led by the AUC PAPS and GIZ will popularize the game which is available in English and French and can initially be downloaded on Android operating systems, Apple versions will be released soon. The Android game can be downloaded here.