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Thursday, December 24, 2009

One last post from Saint Lucia

Check out a collection of photos from our experience at the EMC blog:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Poverty in Paradise

We are in the airport in Saint Lucia. We've been here awhile. Our flight is delayed from New York. We are assuming it is on the US side as it is beautiful weather here - as it seems almost always to be. So families and friends you may expect that we might not be in tonight. They expect us not to leave for two hours after our scheduled departure. This means our layover in NYC is very tight.
We've just spent a luscious day and a half in beautiful Saint Lucia. We explored the beaches, the sun, the shopping! The students finalized their Christmas shopping, explored, and did some saltwater swimming at the beach in Rodney Bay. Wendi, Ray, Jim and I were able to explore the national park at Pigeon Island. All of us were able to see some of the weddings the island is known for.
Away from our work, we saw the island more the way a traditional tourist would. We explored the darker side of the touristic events with a street party at Gros Islet - where stray dogs begged and then fought over plates of street food and poorer residents tried over and over to sell us braided palm and beads for much too much money.

However we also saw the beauty of a very fine restaurant and hotel with a pool that seemed more at place in Disney World. We strolled lovely beaches and met other tourists from around the world. The salt water and sunny skies called us to pull up stakes and relocate to Saint Lucia. And we began to understand and appreciate the pace of life here as a T-shirt Jim found that stated "Live Slow, Saint Lucia".
The striking thing is the paradox of poverty in paradise: the beauty of the surroundings and the beaten up nature of the living conditions. One thing I do know for sure, the people here are confident, polite, friendly, complex, and in charge of their destinies.

To see more of the contrasting images please visit our Emergent Media Center Facebook page and look through our photo albums.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Heart of a Culture

Part of the wonder of this project is being able to visit the heart of a culture – their children. It still amazes me how we've gotten to understand and know the children of this island within the context of their school lives. In a school one also sees how a community cares and teaches its children the knowledge it wishes to impart. Much like our visit to Africa, we are discovering the children here to be curious, affectionate, and open to us. In these communities, though also in poverty, there is an even greater knowledge of technology and how to use it. The schools however still do not seem to possess much. We find that the children may or may not know how to read.
Today we are compiling all our findings and I thought that it would be good to share some of my observations on the localities in which we ran the game tests.

Dennery: When we arrived in at the school in Dennery, we drove into a large empty parking lot to a series of low buildings that were had U shaped courtyards. Water faucets were outdoors (as we discovered they were at all the schools). There were two sports fields behind the buildings. One had a chain link fence surrounding it and a cricket match was in play. Despite 80 degree heat the players were in full uniform similar to old-fashioned baseball uniforms from around the turn of the century on the US. The field without the fence was the soccer/football field. Dogs and goats wandered freely in the parking lot and sat under the eves for shade.

The children were selected by the physical education teacher/coach. They all were football enthusiasts. As we were let into the classrooms the children were lined up outside the building sitting on a ledge. The classrooms were a bit ragged with open concrete grid work for ventilation.

The desks were an assemblage of wooden hand made child sized picnic tables or desks made of wood similar to the desks in our game but no metal legs. One classroom in particular was very gaily painted with primary colors and messages and objects upon the walls – it was their music room. Later we discovered that it was done by our PMC coordinator Alleyne’s wife.

Vieux Fort: After along drive through narrow twisting roads where cars passed –but just barely we arrived in Vieux Fort some children were waiting for us. Wendi logged the children in as rooms were opened up for us to test in. Each group of testers got a single classroom. The classrooms were like an arrow pointing to the highway (widest in Saint Lucia that we encountered) and were loud due to the proximately to the highway especially that classroom nearest the road (about 40 feet from the road).

Here horses walked freely along the roadside along with short versions of tractor-trailers and cars. The schoolyard was set up in a U shape with a high fence solid all around. The courtyard was paved with blacktop and exposed fully to the sun. Behind it was the technical school and playing fields. These classrooms seemed even poorer than those in Dennery with broken furniture, floor tiles, and water on the classroom seats from rain coming through the ceiling. Again it was open grid work ventilation. The desks were like those in our game for the most part. The chalkboards were dark green and light green some that could hardly take chalk anymore. Some signs were on the walls that contain motivational phrases, some information posters but not many.

Soufriere: Soufriere seemed to be geographically more remote. It is on the Caribbean coastline and to get to it, one drives a very rugged coastline through some very poor looking coastal towns. The town itself, though it is a tourist destination for the cruise ships is ramshackle and looks glued together. There is a coconut oil processing plant across from the school. It seems to be falling apart but has recently gotten a government grant to be updated. It used to employ about 300 workers and now has about 50.

When we arrived at Soufriere we drove into a school that had a classroom facilities and architecture much like those we had seen before but it was in one of the most spectacular settings with the Pitons rising above the school courtyard. The fenced in school and courtyard were off the road with large trees in the courtyard. It was colorful and looked inviting.

However we were not to do the testing in the classrooms. Instead there was a long building that housed the teacher resource room. It was air-conditioned and full of many sorts of learning materials: posters, manipulatives, and even books! This meant again that we would share the testing space. Two groups were in one room with conference like furniture. The other three were in a classroom like setting more familiar to American eyes with tables and chairs sized to groups of children.

However there was confusion when we arrived due to miscommunication. The person who had arranged to host us was an official of the football association and a local coach. They thought an American Football Team was coming to play against their team! There was a large football stadium behind the school complex. It had the largest playing field in Saint Lucia until they recently build the stadium for it. The stadium had multiple tiers of seats, an announcer room and a roof. It was full of mothers and children who had expected the American team. There was a young boy with a crowd of other young boys around him avidly playing upon his Nintendo DS.

A football match was live in session between two towns in the field. These children were our test subjects.

The coach could not pull the young people form their match which had two more hours to go. So after much negotiation and flexible thinking we were able to round up a group first of ten – then twenty children! We only needed ten children for the best results. They fell nicely within the demographics for our game. We split the group into two under a large tree in front of the Teachers’ Resource building. Wendi and I took half of the group of eight ranging in age from nine to thirteen and sat outside asking the marketing questions. A big takeaway for me was that they accessed the web both on the computer and through mobile. Often this was through the use of relatives’ hardware. They all played games – especially anything to do with football/soccer. And many used Facebook and some played Farmville. Another ah ha was that they have a girl on their football team much like in our game concept. Luckily she was one of the children being tested in the building by our Champlain team. She was the football coach’s niece.

The lack of ability to read should not be surprising. Much like in Africa, in general the classrooms here do not contain much. There is a definite lack of reading materials available in the schools. No books and yet the children manage to access the web through mobile and computer. Truly if information could be delivered in an engaging way (what is more engaging to a child than play and games) through the internet, we could educate a world – and in doing so compound the human capital and end poverty and much more besides. So do I believe in educational games? This trip only reinforces my belief. Do I think the entertainment world will rise to the question? Not yet. Do I think we are working towards solutions and that this process will deliver on this? Sure do.

Close-up photo of young boy in red shirt by Mollie Coons during our tests.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day Three in Saint Lucia

Merry Christmas from a classroom in Saint Lucia. The children are all on break but we've been fortunate. Alleyne the PMC representative in Saint Lucia has rounded up children and teachers/coaches across this island to participate in our testing of the game.

The internet at the Inn can be iffy. I’m not sure if it is because of the amount of techies that have descended on it or that’s just the way it is. Long and short it took about 3 hours to try to upload our photos to Facebook and only partially succeeded.

Luckily our first day of testing, Wednesday, was very successful. We went to two schools. One in Dennery and one in Vieux Fort. We were able to work with approximately 30 boys between the ages of 8-15, and one girl. The group was a good slice of the demographic we are creating the game for.

Mollie relates that it was interesting when the goats and the horses walked into the classrooms.
Other observations from the Champlain College students are in regards to the game. There were slight differences in how the boys viewed aspects of the game dependent on age. Most of the participants thought that the game characters were roughly the age we created them to be although Mary was thought to be slightly older than we targeted. As for where the game characters came from – it ran a range from Brazil to Georgia to England to eastern Caribbean to a hotel (this makes sense because of the influx of tourist on Saint Lucia and the corresponding ethnicity discrepancy).

As for the game play that varied. One aspect was how they used the keyboard. There was a range in how they used it – some proficient and quick, others used two hands in a unique way and even collaboratively shared the keyboard. We tested both the skill-based games and the narrative. We did have some technical problems but even that brought forth interesting information. For example with a test in which the audio did not play throughout, a small group of boys they would follow along with the dialogue with voice over and refer to each other to make selections. When the play switched to the skill building games they would play singularly.

What was rewarding was that the boys wanted to continue to play and even asked where they could get the game. The only thing that trumped their desire to play the games was an actual soccer/football game that began when almost all the testing was completed. In that game Alex and Ray even jumped in to play!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Testing in Saint Lucia the Week Before Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas and all through Champlain,
the students were being tested except for a few...
And those few were the testing team from the Emergent Media Center and Population Media Center working on this project.

Until December 20th we are as far from snow and ice as a Vermont resident could get at this time of year. We are in the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia population around 180,000. The residents are 80% Catholic and equally of African descent. However this little island holds many more as over 500,000 tourists visit it a year. The economy is largely based on tourism, in fact we heard it is one of the most popular destinations in the world for honeymoons. Previously, an economic mainstay was the banana crop until other nations were able to grow and harvest them for a much cheaper price. The worldwide economic downturn has effected this small island nation as well.

We departed from Burlington, Vermont yesterday at the early hour of 5:30AM and after a long day of flights and a drive of about an hour arrived in Rodney Bay in the Northern end of the island.
We drove through roads that twisted and turned up through volcanic mountainsides, through the rain forest and past banana plantations. The weather is very warm and the colors are vibrant. Those we have met here are confident and friendly with a good sense of laughter.

Today we have spent most of the day in a small conference room preparing for a week of tests. We will be testing aspects of Episode I of the game in four different schools - one from each quadrant of the island. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's CRUNCH time!

In the game industry "crunch time" is the "critical period of time in which it is neccesary to work hard and fast" usually before a final milestone or shipping. Here's a link to a fun definition in Urban Dictionary, read the first one:

Here at the EMC it is the same on a number of fronts but particularily in regards to our game to end violence against women. We are promised to deliver Episode I, suitable for testing by the end of this month. At the same time, it is finals and the holiday season here. Everything is in high gear. The art team has planned a mass render of the poses and animations to be completed by early next week (did I mention they are still producing the poses and animations), the narrative team is realigning the storyline to encompasses a revised and powerful dynamic based on a conversation with UNFPA this week, the programmers will be incorporating the rendered art into the Episode and the UI and storyboard team are pushing to get those completed as well.

Then there's the rest of our team! We are planning the following for the next two weeks:

  1. a presentation to Dwight Assets about the project and thanking them for their support.
  2. a proposal to the UN for funding to get the project through to the World Cup,

  3. multiple meetings and brainstorming sessions with advisors from EA, A2M and JDK,

  4. producing the market plan and the mobile plan,

  5. and conducting a field test of the game in St. Lucia from Dec. 14-20 with a team of 12,

  6. a "mind meld" of other groups on and off campus to discuss the issue of violence against women!

So come join us for the “Mind-meld” Drop-In Discussion:
Violence Against Women ( ) Wednesday, December 9th

4:00 – 5:30 pm.

Miller Information Commons, Vista Room, 3rd floor

Cookies and cider will be provided.

And stay tuned for updates from our tests in St. Lucia!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Come do a little thing that’s powering BIG change!

is holding a fundraising

THIS WEEK! Wednesday – Friday, November 4-6
11 am – 2pm
IDX Atrium, outside the dining hall on Champlain College campus

Come do a little thing that’s powering BIG change!
(And get some holiday shopping done while you’re at it!)

Raffle ticket pricing:
Top-level prizes, tickets cost: $5 for 1 ticket or $20 for 5 tickets
Other prizes, tickets cost: $1 for 1 ticket or $5 for 10 tickets.

… And for $0.25, you can have a spin on our PRIZE WHEEL and win:
• Movie tickets
Pizza Putt Passes for laser tag, mini golf, and pizza
• Jazzman’s gift certificates
• Free raffle tickets

For pictures of prizes and more information, please visit our Facebook event.
Follow us on Twitter for updates!

Empowering Play is a project of the Emergent Media Center, with collaboration from Population Media Center and the United Nations Population Fund. This innovative project is aimed at preventing violence against women and girls. Violence against women and girls is a pervasive global problem, often deeply rooted in cultural stereotypes. More information on the project and the Emergent Media Center can be found at

Also, check out our newest video (10 minutes) on the status of the project.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Project Update - Good News to Share

Wow we have some very good news to share!

It's all due to all of you 've reached out and supported our this project through our thin summer and fall months! We have completed post-production and last week received news that the UNFPA is committed to funding the project through December 31, 2009. This is awesome news.

Your support has kept the project on track and our team working on this complex project through today. Any gifted funds are a vital cushion to be deployed when the project is between funding cycles (like this summer and anticipated again in January). Likewise they will help fund next year’s even larger effort! Without them, the project would end.

To build on this fund, November 4-6th, our marketing team with student Amanda Jones at the lead will be raffling great items such as the 162cm Scott Sheela women’s skis Bob Cartelli donated and gifts certificates to eateries such as Papa Franks. If you have something to contribute to the raffle, please contact me at Likewise do continue to share the word about our game to end violence against women and pass around our web site:
The new funding means is we are moving out of pre-production to build and test Episode I. Upon testing, this Episode will be able to be revised and finalized In Spring. This has the project on track to complete Episode I and other episodes for web launch during FIFA (June 11-July 11, 2010)!

A bit on our episodes. The game is to be deployed like a soap opera with episodes that we have organized into chapters. We have 6 chapters containing 2-3 episodes each. This is the key to success - balancing the fun of playing soccer with the narrative “ah ha” interwoven learning moments.

With the funding, this fall our team expands with 21 students and the expertise of Professor Josh Buck (to lead the 3D art & animation team), Professor Erik Esckilsen (to lead our narrative design team), and Dr. Elaine Young (to lead our new marketing effort to surround the game launch). Additionally we are looking to hire 3 positions: art/web development, cell phone/programming lead, and an assistant director to the EMC. So if you know anyone looking for a rewarding project to work on through until Dec. 31 leading to possible longer-term employment, please pass it on!

Did anyone see Oprah last week? She had an incredible show that highlighted the cause of women around the globe. Her guests included Nicolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn authors of “Half the Sky” which I reflected upon in the last post. Due to that post, our project was picked up and appeared most recently in School Library Journal .

The organizations highlighted on the Oprah show aid women to lift them from their circumstances. I heartily applaud and support their aims. Our project gets at the problem from a different angle. It has a long term goal of causing behavior change in the oppressors…changing the source of the violence. All methods are needed to end this problem. As the “Half the Sky” book description states:
"Half the Sky" lays out an agenda for the world's women and three major abuses:
sex trafficking and forced prostitution; gender-based violence including honor
killings and mass rape; maternal mortality, which needlessly claims one woman a
minute. We know there are many worthy causes competing for attention in the
world. We focus on this one because this kind of oppression feels transcendent –
and so does the opportunity.

Small actions do add up. Thank you once again for doing those things to end the violence.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Just to Share - Half the Sky

This book I know I am going to need to read. Nicolas Kristof presented at Games4Change in New York City this summer. Ray and I were fortunate to hear his keynote and I was able to speak with him afterward. Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn have written a book entitled "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide". The title comes from an old Chinese proverb that says "women hold up half of the sky".

What I wish to share today is a link to a review in today's Huffington Post by Bill Gates Sr. But first to another book associated with the Gates' family.

This year I read the book "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell. In this book Gladwell investigates what factors bring about extraordinary individuals; what separates them from others of similar intelligences or cultural standings. In Gladwell's book Bill Gates Jr. is one of those case studies. Interestingly enough, Gladwell points to the importance of Gates' mother at creating opportunities that led to Gates' latter success. In the "Half the Sky" review, Gates Sr. also states about his first wife, "Mary Maxwell Gates, was a force of nature."

In the Huffington Post review, Gates Sr.'s acknowledges the important role of women economically: 
"What Nick and Sheryl have done is lay out a case for why empowering women in the developing world is both morally right and strategically imperative. Their essential message is that Lifting Women Lifts the World. I couldn't agree more."
Gates further states "when a man partners with a strong woman, everyone benefits". 

All of which is essentially the message of the UNFPA and what we are conveying to young men in our Empowering Play game project to end violence against women.

Here is a bit more of Gates' review of "Half the Sky"and a link to it:
"I don't normally do book reviews. However, because I'm a recent book author, a colleague sent me an advance copy of the manuscript for Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's new book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity Worldwide and suggested that some of the themes might be of interest to me.

It was. In fact, the book is stunning. Not because it's a compelling read, which it is. Not because it immediately leapt on to the bestseller list (as an author, I pay more attention to such things now). The book belongs on the "must-read" list because it offers perspective, insight, and clear-eyed optimism for why and how each of us can and should meet one of the great moral and humanitarian challenges of our times."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Our Girls

I have as my desktop a photo (below) of five little girls we met in the townships of South Africa while doing research for our project – I call them “Sarah’s girls” as they fell in love with Sarah when we were there. They were spunky and spirited and full of life. Likewise I think of the "tween" boys I met full of smiles. They are the daily reasons my heart keeps me on this project.
Through them I am reminded that in South Africa 1 in 4 females (all ages included) is raped and every 6 days a man kills his spouse. I am outraged by the news out of the Congo where rape is being used as a tool of warfare.

In my email box today was a link to the Economist about Afghanistan. Driving into work I had been listening to the results of yesterday’s election there. Though turnout was low hope was in the air. This email however was about the child brides of Afghanistan. It is a poignant collage with narration by the photo journalist who created the story. One particularly powerful image looks as if it is the young Virgin Mary in blue and white. Another is of 11-year old Ghulam Haider glancing apprehensively as she sees her middle-aged husband for the first time. Yes the girls have not even entered puberty when married to men much, much older – not the vision we think of when we imagine Disney’s version of Aladdin. As one can imagine many of these girls die in childbirth or from other atrocities.

These examples are from around the world, but I am also driven because I fear for our daughters and my students here at home...

This week a reminder came via my dentist’s office. The hygienist, about my age, and I got to talking – mom talk (yup photo above is my mom, daughter, and my new niece camping this summer)! Our daughters are both college students in New England. We are both very proud of them – mine studying Biology, hers studying Finance. Both of ours are dating wonderful young men. They face a bright future. Her daughter returned to Vermont for her final year. The reason being she was raped last year in her apartment by a boy whom she repeatedly refused to date.

At the Emergent Media Center our Champlain students and our partners PMC and the UNFPA are working hard to stop the problem at the root cause – misguided cultural stereotypes – and the men who believe them. Our game project is for young men and boys. It is a soccer (football) game. Through this game the player’s cultural beliefs are challenged through a storyline. Within the story disrespectful behavior for girls equates to lack of success on the soccer field. Though this may seem a stretch in real life, it really is not.

Boys who grow up to become abusive men do not lead full, productive lives. Likewise abuse is directly linked to economics. The UN as one of its Millennial Goals points to ending gender inequality, violence as its worst manifestation, as a key requirement to ending global poverty. The way I see it, it is a line of dominoes. When violence in the family ends then reason and knowledge rule instead and are passed on generation to generation. Only then does violence itself come into question and peace truly has a chance on a global scale.

These are the reasons our game has such potential to create real change. We are directly speaking to the cause of violence – both the boys and the culture. The strategy for the message delivery is based on the proven success of the Sabido Methodology. We are crafting an experience that stands on the shoulders of a globally hip and popular sport. It’s fun and the boys will love playing it – yes a spoonful of sugar with the medicine – only in this case a spoonful of medicine with A LOT of sugar. If done in time we can take advantage of the timing of the FIFA World Cup. Its web site is the most visited web site in the world!

We were successful in raising the amount of money needed to continue pre-production through the Summer. We are about to enter production this Fall to make that FIFA deadline but we need a bit more of a hand. Help us continue the great work of our student teams and partners! We still are seeking donations to keep our team working this Fall. So if you have pledged, please send in your gift, if you are considering a gift now is a very good time, and if you know of others that would be interested in our project pass the message forward.

This weekend the New York Times will devote its entire magazine to the issue of women and poverty around the world. There is a powerful and positive interactive slide show that gives a sneak preview by New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof. See it at:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Speaking Out Strongly

As reported by various news sources while touring Africa yesterday, Sec. Hillary Clinton spoke out strongly against the brutality against women and their families being used in the Congo as a tool of war. 

Clinton told the Congolese President Joseph Kabila there would be "no impunity for sexual and gender-based violence" and later stated that "those who attack civilian populations using systematic rape are guilty of crimes against humanity."

As posted by CBS News in the article Hillary Clinton's Congo Trip Will Shed Light On Sexual Violence : 
"The eastern Congo has one of the highest rates of sexual violence against women in the world, with both soldiers and rebel groups using rape as a tool of war.
Sexual violence as thought of in the West does not begin to describe what the Congolese women endure. Not only are they raped repeated and physically brutalized, they are forced to watch their infants slaughtered upon birth.
The women's inability to control their bowels and urine comes from repeated rapes. The medical term is fistula. The walls of their uterus and bladder have been broken from repeated gang rapes by rebel soldiers, objects shoved roughly inside them and even guns fired into their vagina.
Just by going there, Secretary Clinton will shine further light on the sexual predation, perversion and incalculable brutality taking place in Congo. The sooner it is brought to an end, the better." 

A shocking and eye-opening discussion of the issue between Jim Lehrer and Zanaib Salbi of Women to Women International can be found at the PBS News Hour website:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Thank you!

In the last week we've reached a third of our goal for funds to continue production this summer!!!!! We have now raised $30,000 thanks to individuals who've given in amounts from $10-$1000 and thanks to our partner Population Media Center who has gifted the project $20,000. Tomorrow we will present our work to date to the UNFPA. Following that we will share our progress with you! You will be able to see the video documenting where the project is via our web site Empowering Play at do stay tuned!!!!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Spreading the Word

Thank you to all who have been sending in your support! Gifts ranging for $10.00 to $1000.00 have been coming in. In the past few days we've reached about $7000.00. But of equal impact are those continuing to spread the word. An example is John Abele's post last week on the potential impacts of the project in the Kingbridge Centre blog: 

Every little bit helps us reach our goal—changing the game and causing a rethink of the appropriateness of violence against women. We are working to launch the game internationally during the FIFA World Cup. If we can make that goal, then I will feel that we've earned the thanks that Asanda offered us nine months ago when we left South Africa:

But back in the present, we will share our work to date with the UNFPA next week. This July PMC will be testing the game concepts in South Africa - back where we started. With your donations, the plan is to offer scholarships to our student teams to rapidly develop digital prototypes (week in development), test and refine the game episodes. With these prototypes in hand we will be reaching back to parties who were interested in testing on a larger scale this fall.

But what I'd like to share is some of the student voices from the project during different phases. To date 26 students have been working on the project—working with PMC, the EMC staff and faculty, and the UNFPA, researching the problem and solutions, designing the game play, writing the narrative, designing the art and the art pipeline, coding, testing, creating the marketing plan and web presence, recording all in video format and presenting to the UN, the Montreal International Game Summit, the press, and our Champlain trustees. It is good to hear their direct voices and the experiences and impact they are having on the world:

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It was a little thing...

Dear family and friends,


It was a little thing, a one year old in a high chair who was playing with her food. But it made her father angry. And he became angry with her young mother. So he threw his glass in the mother’s face...over dinner.


That mother was myself twenty years ago...and I was stuck in a relationship with incidents like that and worse sprinkled throughout. But I was lucky - I had all of you, my family, my friends, my colleagues. And when I finally was able to realize it wasn't my fault – many of you all helped me get out. And others of you have  inspired me to believe in myself and achieve what I never would have believed I could when I was in that relationship. Luckily I am now in the most incredible marriage to my husband Jim and can clearly see the difference that men who know how to love can bring to life!


I am turning to all of you once again.


As many of you may recognize, my life could be a poster for the UN 's understanding that violence against women is one of the major sources of poverty. Ending violence against women has become one of the UN Secretary General's Millennium Development Goals.


For the past year we at Champlain College’s Emergent Media Center have been working with the UNFPA and Population Media Center, under the UNite campaign (, on an innovative global game to be played by young boys to change their attitudes about the appropriateness of using violence against women in their lives.


I’m not one to often ask for help but this is a project I deeply believe will have a global impact when completed. This project will be two more years in development but unfortunately in the this difficult financial year, funds have run dry for the 2009 project phase putting a stall on production. We have come to a funding gap this summer of $89,000.  So I am asking each of you to help once again with a donation to our project. A project that we believe will help the young men we love grow to be men who can equally love back.


It is the little things that make a difference; a child and her food, an angry father, a call of support, or five dollars towards this project to create positive change. Please do this little thing - help spread the word to your friends, grow awareness, and offer your support by visiting the student created web site:


Other information can be found at:



United Nations’ Secretary General’s UNite Campaign:


Thank you for being there,


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

like a brick

The impact of this project hit me again today – square in the face. Maybe it’s because this phase of creation is coming to an end… and we don’t know when the next phase will begin. We’ve run out of funding and as of next week, this project will be shelved.

Maybe it’s because the photos on our walls of the trip to South Africa stuck me again suddenly. The photos have always been moving, but I suppose that seeing them every day, my eyes started to glaze over them and they became more of a background fixture. Not today. Today they stirred up my emotions all over again. Alone in the office early this morning, I got teary looking at all the faces of the people we met… some sad, some oppressed, but mostly hopeful and full of possibility. Looking at the young girls and young boys, knowing that they are the reason we are pouring so much energy into this project. My eyes were filled with tears, as a huge smile spread across my face.

Photos by Nichole Magoon, Raymond McCarthy Bergeron, Ann DeMarle