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Starlight Stadium Demo: online learning game for human rights defenders

Recognizing how the challenges in providing a relevant and quality human rights education (HRE) and an enabling environment for human rights defenders (HRDs) intertwine, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has launched projects “Strengthening Democratic and Human Rights Engagement in the Digital Age” and “Increasing effectiveness, strengthening enabling environment for human rights defenders”.

Within these projects, ODIHR in close collaboration with its Implementing Partner (IP) Benetech has been developing Starlight Stadium, an online learning game based on a core game narrative and drawing on real life human rights investigations. The game will send the player on a human rights monitoring mission in a fictional country, where he/she will gradually learn and apply the core skills pertaining to investigating human rights violations i.e. monitoring, digital security, data collection, interviewing and many more. The narrative covers human rights violations related to forced labour and ill-treatment and addresses the relevant international legal framework and human rights principles while taking into account gender and other diversity considerations.

Starlight Stadium is easy to use and scalable for students and the wider public, making use of new communication technologies and grounded in scientific understanding of modern learning. This game will be available for use in formal educational settings like schools and universities across the OSCE region. The digital approach will help remove barriers to accessing quality HRE and bridge audiences with the human rights world in a stimulating and engaging way, communicating not only what the work entails, but, as important, what it feels to be a HRD.

Moreover, this gamified training curriculum on human rights monitoring, safety and security will enable inexperienced HRDs who would like to start working on the field to learn human rights values and strengthen monitoring and advocacy skills from the safety of their computers (with a view to extend the use to mobile phones) and through an alternative, engaging and entertaining medium.

Starlight Stadium has seen a diverse group of collaborators working at its development. At the earliest stage, neuroscientist, psychologists, pedagogues and other relevant actors from academia were involved in order to understand the optimal way of connecting with the audience and communicating and transferring knowledge. An advisory working group comprising of both tech and human rights experts was then set up to develop a narrative faithful to human rights work, but also to find ways to adapt it to a digital tool meant to be both didactic and engaging. Being the character impersonated by the player a HRD, various workshops, testing sessions and feedback rounds were run with activists and defenders from different areas, in order to  the needs and challenges that HRDs deal with. Finally, a professional game artist has been hired to give the final product a more colorful look.

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) will present its newest digital tool ‘Starlight Stadium’ during an interactive demo session running in parallel of the two day Forum. This year participants will have the unique opportunity to test the game, learn new skills and provide feedback to ODIHR to further improve the game. It takes approximately 1 hour to play the game. If you are interested please register via the online registration form that will be sent to all participants closer to the event.