Demogames is an Erasmus+ Youth in Action project which provides educational tools, methods and materials for democracy education in non-formal youth work. It allows young people to approach democracy in a participative and engaging way through games.
Problems and Purpose
One sixth of the world’s population is young. Their participation is fundamentally important for the economic, societal and political developments in the future. Democracy education enables young people to recognize and represent their interests, to participate in political processes and, in doing so, to meet their fellow human beings and their concerns with respect. DEMOGAMES promotes democracy education in youth work and non-formal education through several game-based learning tools. The main purpose of this project is to engage, connect and empower young people to effectively participate in society and political life.
In order to achieve these ambitious tasks, DEMOGAMES is working to realize different outcomes. The main end product will be a comprehensive “democracy game box”, which will include a set of analogue and digital democracy games that practitioners (youth workers, trainers, and teachers) can use to teach democracy from different perspectives and to engage young people in a participatory way. Moreover, the box will be accompanied by easy and understandable training materials for practitioners with examples and exercises to use our democracy games.
Background History and Context
DEMOGAMES is a Youth in Action-project within the Erasmus+-Framework. The Youth in Action-programme was designed to enable young people to attain key skills for their professional and personal development. Its goals are to inspire young people to actively influence the future of the EU and to convey a feeling of active European citizenry. It is part of Erasmus+, the EU-programme for education, training, youth and sport. DEMOGAMES can also be linked to the renewed EU Youth Strategy proposed by the European Commisssion for 2019-2027, as it provides substantive contribution to several of its areas, including: engaging, connecting and empowering young people.
The conceptual and structural context of DEMOGAMES derives from the Reference Framework For a Democratic Culture (RFCDC), that was published by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers. The goal of the RFCDC is to carve out important competences, that will help young people to live democratic culture. The RFCDC enables a systemic and integral approach to teaching, learning and assessing competences for a democratic culture. Evidently, DEMOGAMES is embedded in a European tradition of democratic education in various ways.
This European tradition is emphazised by the large number of transnational project-partners that form the DEMOGAMES-consortium. Six different project-partners from five different countries offer previous experiences, insights and Know-How to further the newly developed and innovative learning formats that DEMOGAMES has laid its focus on.
1) First, as part of the Leibniz network, the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) follows the leading motto of "theoria cum praxi" and is actively engaged in policy advice and academic knowledge transfer into a broader public at different levels. GIGA staff members are sought-after experts among decision makers in politics, business, and civil society, as well as among media representatives and other stakeholders. Research-based policy advice and knowledge transfer to the wider public are essential elements of GIGA’s mandate. The GIGA has recently also begun to engage in the debate of the challenges for the participation of young people in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and beyond. The present project expands these activities, adds an applied element to it and strengthens the incorporation of the GIGA into a European network of practitioners. Dr. Saskia Ruth-Lovell and Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach will contribute with respect to their ample experience in the field of knowledge transfer of academic insights on democracy, in general, and youth participation, in particular.
2) Second, the project also builds on previous conceptual work of the Intercultural Institute Timisoara (IIT) as a coordinator organization of the “Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture” (RFCDC) of the Council of Europe in Romania, to which several members of the IIT staff have contributed substantially. The intimate knowledge of the RFCDC provided by IIT allows the consortium to develop educational tools and training methods against the background of a coherent framework. Especially the transnational perspective and the emphasis on four core competencies with respect to democracy education guides the consortiums efforts.
3) Third, the project builds on and expands previous experiences with analogue game development for democracy education in the field of formal education (both at the university and the school level) conducted by Dr. Rebecca Welge, Dr. Sabine Jenni and Robert Lovell from Demokrative – Initiative for political education in cooperation with Dr. Saskia Ruth-Lovell (GIGA). One project is particularly important in this respect: “Democracy-Games – the research topic democracy in educational games” (2016-). Demokrative developed several educational games on the topic of democracy targeted towards formal and non-formal education settings. The most recent one was a set of “print & play” card games on democracy, which built on insights from the research project Democracy Barometer at the University of Zurich and was targeted for the use at the university and school level to teach about democratic processes and institutions (https://demokrative.ch/index.php/de-de/projekte/db-spiele). DEMOGAMES aims to make these games applicable to non-formal youth work.
4) Fourth, for the development of new digital games on the topic of democracy, this project builds on the lessons learned from earlier browser-based, social-impact games created by output-lead Amanda Warner from the European Network on Democracy and Human Rights Education (DARE). One of these games, “Fake It To Make It”, has been played more than 150,000 times by players in 170 different countries. In this simulation-style game, players take on the role of someone creating and distributing fake news for a profit. The purpose of the game is for players to leave with a better understanding of how misinformation is created and spread, so that they are more skeptical of information that they encounter in the future. The game is freely available to access online and is also used by teachers in the classroom.
Hence, DEMOGAMES benefits from the variegated knowledge, know-how and practical experience of the partners involved in designing innovative educational methods. The project results will add value with respect to the quality of teaching materials, which will be based on scientific insights as well as benefit from a coherent framework for democracy education. Moreover, the tools expand on previous developments and add new tools to them which will be targeted to non-formal youth in particular and reap the benefits of the best of analogue and digital worlds.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
As mentioned before, DEMOGAMES is a project of six partner organizations from five countries and is co-financed for the period 2019-2022 by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.
- German Institute of Global and Area Studies, GIGA Hamburg (DE)
The GIGA is an independent social science research institute based in Hamburg, Germany. Its mission is to analyse political, social, and economic developments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as global issues.
- Demokrative – Initiative für politische Bildung, Zürich (CH)
Demokrative - Initiative for Civic Education is a non-partisan and non-profit association based in Switzerland. With its activities, Demokrative aims at contributing to the further development and strengthening of civic education, and thus strengthen democracy.
- European Network on Democracy and Human Rights Education, DARE Brussels (BE)
The European network on Democracy and Human Rights Education (DARE) advocates for independent human rights and democratic citizenship education as an integral part of lifelong learning and encourages cooperation between formal, non-formal education and youth work as a contribution towards democratic resilient societies.
- Intercultural Institute Timisoara, Timisoara (RO)
The Intercultural Institute of Timisoara (IIT) is expert in Competences for Democratic Culture from Council of Europe and experienced with past projects on democracy education for youth and young adults (including the use of new technologies).
- DA2 Trucados, Almunecar (ES)
DA2 Trucados is an organization active on the local and regional level in the south of Spain and expert in game design and gamification of learning processes as well as another layer of contact with youth groups in schools and out of school learning contexts.
- CGE Erfurt e.V., Erfurt (DE)
CGE Erfurt e.V. is experienced in the development and experimentation with various educational ICT tools such as mobile App, web based applications and has been frequently engaged in developing training courses as well as creating various tools and educational materials with high quality work and outputs.
 https://www.intercultural.ro/en/what-we-do/democratic-citizenship-and-human-rights-education/ (01.11.21) NICHT SICHER OB RICHTIGE REFERENZ
Participant Recruitment and Selection
DEMOGAMES is designed for Young People (<25 years of age) in the countries of the Project Partners, Europe and beyond. It aims to include all Young People, wether or not they already have pre-knowledge of political, societal or democratic topics.
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