FNF Triggers Civic Engagement, Adds Fun to Solving Complex Issues Through Games

2018 Training of Trainers
2018 Training of TrainersFNF Philippines

To boost civic engagement and democratic participation among young people, FNF Philippines collaborated with FNF Thailand to introduce to youth leaders three innovative and engaging civic education tools: the Human Rights Card Game, Media Literacy Card Game and SIM Democracy board game.

“These games are designed to educate, motivate, and raise awareness. Learnplaying has been effective in encouraging young Thais to understand human rights and democracy. I hope you, young Filipino leaders, would gain from these too,” said Dr. Mary Dusadeeisariyakul, Project Manager of FNF Thailand. 

According to Dr. Dusadeeisariyakul, the concept of playing a game has been a motivating way for young people to appreciate democracy and to engage them in governance. She added that these games are designed for players to exercise analytic decision-making skills in solving artificial conflicts that mirror authentic experiences. It also addresses other skills that are vital in cultivating and enabling civic life: communication, collaboration, idea generation and creativity, and problem-solving.

“With these games, the players can understand the relevance of issues in their lives in a more fun way,” added Dr. Dusadeeisariyakul.

Participants playing the Human Rights card game
Participants playing the Human Rights card gameFNF Philippines

Eleven young leaders participated in the workshop, which was aimed to train them to become game facilitators.  The presentation on the board game and detailed instructions on its rules were given by game designer Dr. Dusadeeisariyakul and game expert Mr. Wasin Punthong.

“Playing the games helps build our confidence to verbalize our opinions and exercise critical thinking in a risk-free space,” said Rizza Duro, one of the young leaders who participated in the workshop. 

Another participant, Jiggy Calucag added: “Through the SIM Democracy game, we were able to take part in participatory budgeting, exercising checks and balances, accountability and transparency – the pillars of good governance.” 

“The most essential part of the whole process for me is the processing at the end of the game – when we flesh out and synthesize the important learnings from the games,” said Jobelle Domingo of the Liberal Party Youth Group. 

“With the current political climate in the Philippines, these innovative tools offer a refreshing method to enhance open communication and healthy discourse of an otherwise highly politically charged and contentious issue. The interaction among players is always the most potent form of learning – when the participants discuss, debate, agree and disagree with each other, that’s when real learning unfolds,” said Pauline Sanchez, Program Manager of FNF Philippines.

The games, especially the SIM Democracy board game has been garnering huge success in Thailand-- already covering hundreds of schools in different regions. It has also been recognized at the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg, France. The games have been introduced and used in other countries, such as Malaysia, Bhutan, Indonesia, Korea and Germany.

Dr. Mary Dusadeeisariyakul with the participants of the Training for Trainers
Dr. Mary Dusadeeisariyakul with the participants of the Training for TrainersFNF Philippines

“We are thankful to FNF Thailand that this breakthrough in civic education has finally reached the Philippines. Seeing the high level of engagement of  these young individuals in learning about human rights, media literacy and good governance encourages us to become better and more proactive citizens ourselves. We look forward to working with these young leaders and game masters in spreading this civic participation euphoria in more areas in the Philippines,” said Wolfgang Heinze, FNF Philippines Country Director.   

The FNF campaign, “It’s All About Freedom,” brings freedom closer to the Filipino people, by translating its complex concept into everyday language. It aims to take advantage of the modern and creative civic education tools to lobby for social and political advocacies.

It advances human rights and rule of law through contemporary and traditional approaches to raise awareness and understanding of everyone’s rights and duties.Through trainings, dialogues and internship programs, among others, a more active engagement in protecting and defending human rights and rule of law is cultivated.