About Us Activity Publications Inquiries & Access


Inter-University Event: Africulture Simulation Game


Participants in the game negotiate
with members of another “family”.

On Saturday July 9, 2016, a simulation called the “Africulture Game” was held as an inter-university event. The idea of the game was to help students understand the challenges faced by people living in a developing country. Participants in the game take the role of small farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and have to come up with strategies for surviving with their families and the rest of the community in the face of unexpected events including bad weather, sudden fluctuations in crop prices, family illness, death, and births.
On the day, 14 participants from four universities were divided into eight families within a single community, playing the roles of husbands and wives within each group as they gained a simulated experience of the problems faced by farming families in Sub-Saharan Africa. Three representatives from IC Net Limited acted as leaders and moderators.

Students were divided into small groups to share
points they had noticed during the game.

The game covered a four-year period, and the families varied in size and composition, including widows and large families with many children and babies. The rainy season (early and late) and harvest season (early and late) came around every year. In addition to carrying out agricultural work in accordance with the natural cycle and dealing with the daily housework and childrearing, family members also traveled to towns and cities as migrant workers during the off-months between busy times on the farm. The busy days never let up. When there were not enough people to handle all the work at home, people could ask other families to help with looking after the children or to lend a hand with farm work. Students negotiated with people from other “families,” arranging the loan of a bicycle to enable a family member to get to town to find work in the off-season, for example.
The game lasted the course of the day, with a good amount of time set aside for participants to reflect on their experiences individually and in groups, and to give presentations on their findings. It was clear that participants were learning a lot about a wide range of fields besides just the problem of poverty, gaining an understanding of the importance of cooperation within a community, and learning about issues relating to education, gender, nutrition, and agriculture.

Presenting group work findings.

At the end of the session students were asked to complete a questionnaire and write about some of their impressions. A selection of their feedback follows.

“Even though we all started the game with the same amount of money, it was striking how real gaps in wealth developed within the space of just four years.”
“In the game, going to school didn’t really bring many real benefits. I think this was because often in developing countries the quality of education is not very high. I feel that improving the quality of education needs to be a priority in the years to come.”
“Not wanting a baby to be born, or not being able to send children to school even though you’d like to... I’d tended to assume that these were just things people said without really meaning them. But the game made me realize that sometimes you have to think this way about things in order to survive.”
“As a participant from another university I was a little apprehensive at first, but I was relieved to find when I got there that nearly half the people taking part were from other universities.”

For the participants, the event was a valuable opportunity not only to deepen their understanding of issues in a wide range of fields, but also to build a network of contacts beyond their own universities.

  • このエントリーをはてなブックマークに追加