Children against desertification
01 June 2021
The project “Children against desertification” was designed by the UNCCD Capacity Development and Innovation Office to raise awareness of desertification and land degradation among younger generation in two Italian primary schools located in the Montespertoli municipality, with 40 children ages 10 to 11 participating.
The idea of an exercise in which the children had to combat the advance of desertification came from resource-management board games, approved together by the counselor for the culture of the municipality and an early education expert. The children would be immersed in the imaginary world of Alkubra, which consists of four billboards, each corresponding to a district controlled by a city proud of its past and traditions. In the center of Alkibra is the Great Desert, which, to the misfortune of the inhabitants, is expanding in all directions. The player’s ultimate goal is to make the right decisions and stop the advance of the desert.
The children were divided into four teams, each representing a city council. Each team was given one of the four cardboards to draw their city in the white space and give it a name. Each city council was then assigned resources to be placed in the space between the city and the desert. The simulation progressed via a quiz with multiple-choice questions that stimulated the understanding of ways to combat and prevent desertification. Each answer meant an increase or decrease in resources depending on the decision made. For example, one of the questions was about water consumption: the right answers included turning off the tap when brushing one's teeth and the wrong answers included increasing meat consumption. The team that won the game made the right decisions to combat desertification in the shortest possible time and had the most resources . The children participated in the project with great enthusiasm and shared their dreams and challenges, such as building a more peaceful world. Stay tuned for the next UNCCD initiative for children and youth!