The story began with Zeynep. She is a nine-year-old girl who said she only knows male scientists, so she never thought that a woman can also become one. She never even dared to have such dreams. In fact, she is not the only one who thinks so. Only 18 percent of senior managers are female in Turkey according to the latest Global Gap Report.
Realising how such stereotypes and lack of role models affect children, Learning Designs team (a group of women from Turkey) decided to make a tool that will be fun, easy and above all useful and educational for kids. They came up with a kit called TEK -it stands for social equality kit in Turkish- consisting of a board game, posters tailored for children aged between 9 to 14. TEK is designed to encourage players to question gender prejudices, perceptions and social inequalities
So, how does the game work? The main rule: The game is play in mixed teams of boys and girls. Adults can enjoy it, too. Parents and teachers are especially encouraged to play it with children. Game is divided into 5 stages: "Find a friend", "Empathies", "Guess", "Countries" and "Correct the language". Through these playful stages, the game presents inspiring stories of women and men who have great achievements in science, politics, sports, arts and literature, corrects sexist language among other things. Changing opinions and helping kids to comprehend gender equality from an early stage can have a great impact in every aspect of children's development.
Innovation doesn't have to be only about robots, virtual reality and face recognition. A quite conventional game method can be used for innovative purposes as well. With that in mind, Learning Designs didn't start with a digital game, because they wanted children to learn with games and materials they can touch and feel when addressing their feelings and issues.
Now, Learning Designs team plans to reach more people in Turkey. Schools are great places to start, because kids' thinking and perceptions are shaped through education everyday. So, they decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign and send 100 sets of TEK to 100 different schools around Turkey, hence the campaign title "100 Games, 100 Schools". After they announced they'll be sending the kit, in just 72 hours they received 355 applications from schools interested in this project! With the supervision by imece and AltFinLab, campaign was designed and schools were chosen. Campaign is 37 percent funded as we speak and it will remain online till the end of the year.
"We expect to have an impact on at least 100 children per school, which means that we can reach 10.000 children with this game. So, imagine; together with their families, this means at least 30.000 people! Once we succeed with this campaign, our plan is to have TEK in other languages to reach more children all around the world and create a learning platform around it, which offers activities promoting gender equality that can be implemented by families at home or by teachers as a part of school curricula." says Tuğba founder of Learning Designs.
Want to help them reach more people? You can find out more about the campaign here and contribute.
Marina Petrović ( Alternative finance expert, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub)
Duygu Kambur (Head of Strategy, Business Development and Partnership at IMECE)
Lucija Nađ (Intern, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub)