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Office of Technology Innovation and Economic Development

ERAMAT the Game


 
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SUMMARY: JMU's Culturally Anchored Eco-Game (CAEG) Project integrates systems modeling, environmental science, anthropology, and political ecology.


JMU’s Culturally Anchored Eco-Game (CAEG) Project integrates systems modeling, environmental science, anthropology, and political ecology to develop culturally credible and ecologically valid board game simulators of problems involving human interactions with their environment. Because these games allow players to see connections between actions and their consequences in “fast forward time,” a more holistic understanding is enabled, leading to deeper insights, more productive dialog, reflection, and cooperation.

JMU faculty and students have partnered with Maasai communities in southern Kenya to develop the first CAEG named ERAMAT (“mind your cattle” in the Maa language).  The game was inspired by the 2008-2009 drought, in which many Maasai, including family members of one of the project principles (Jacob Mayiani), lost up to 95% of their herds.  ERAMAT provides an engaging learning environment to explore the dynamics contributing to this accelerating cycle of drought and hunger in the region, and it encourages deeper understanding for pastoralists and non-pastoralists alike. This can generate conversations leading to the development of effective strategies for coping with the problem.

Pilot studies from 2012 and 2013 confirm that ERAMAT is ready to scale up for extended deployment and evaluation of long-term impact. The long-term goal for the project is to evaluate the impact of CAEG’s like ERAMAT in U.S. classrooms and East Africa in order to position the CAEG project to secure continuing funding and develop more CAEG’s. You can click on the “give now” icon below to give a small gift to the ERAMAT project.

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To learn more about ERAMAT you can read this Breeze article, or watch this video.

Published: Monday, September 29, 2014

Last Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017

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