VIENNA/MEXICO CITY, 9 March 2018 (UN Information Service) — The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has launched “Chuka, Break the Silence” – www.chukagame.com – a creative, bespoke video game helping young girls develop ways to respond to psychological, physical and sexual violence. By playing as the character Chuka, a 13-year old female YouTuber and gamer who encounters haters and monsters in a nightmare, children learn to be assertive and to take actions which help them defeat various forms of gender-based violence.
Chuka was designed and produced under UNODC’s Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration with the Mexico City-based Gargamel Estudio, a renowned women-led developer firm specialized in educational children’s games. It is an engaging game aiming at teaching boys and girls aged 7 to 12 to recognize different types of aggression and to deal with them appropriately, either personally or with the help of trusted adults. The game also looks to build values such as fairness and respect, as well as skills such as critical thinking, decision-making and empathy.
The game’s artwork was inspired by the drawings of children depicting the monsters of gender-based violence, rendered into the graphics; with the input of psychologists and educators, dozens of new emoticons were also created for players to communicate with the aggressors.
The launch event in Mexico City’s iconic Centro de Cultura Digital was attended by education officials, technology and educational gaming specialists, as well as diplomats from numerous countries. Presided over by UNODC’s Representative in Mexico, Antonino De Leo, the event was also addressed by the country heads of UN Women and UNICEF, reflecting the focus on female and children’s rights.
Also speaking at the launch, the country’s Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Miguel Ruiz Cabañas Izquierdo, stated: “Chuka has four ingredients that will lead to her success. First, it is a video game designed to tackle gender-based violence. Second, it has been designed by an all-female team. Third, it is supported by the United Nations. And finally, it was launched at the perfect time to raise a voice against violence against women and girls – not only in Mexico, but worldwide.”
The game has already been praised by LEGO: “It’s remarkable how much power and value playing has, and how it is used to touch such a relevant topic for the society through Chuka,” commented Government and Public Affairs Senior Manager, Javier Valadez Ortega. “This videogame is proof that education is achievable through different play experiences. Great actions from UNODC!”
Part of the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, the game is the programme’s first venture into educational video games. To find out more about the Global Programme and E4J, please visit www.unodc.org/dohadeclaration.