The Convention's CEPA Programme
The Ramsar Game
About the game
Ramsar is a game where the player becomes a droplet of water and starts an incredible journey. Falling as rain from the clouds, the droplet enters a small river in the mountains and descends to the sea, encountering many challenges on the way there. Throughout this exciting journey, players test their knowledge of water, wetlands, and the good and bad effects that human activities have on clean water and healthy wetlands.
Targetted at 5-14 year-olds, players encounter a variety of squares where almost anything can happen! Information, Awareness, Question and Luck squares maintain the interest of players. Questions are available at 3 different levels to accommodate a range of ages of the players, such as "Name at least two jobs that people do in or near a wetland" or "Name two sources of water pollution". The Luck cards can speed you up or slow you down e.g. "The banks of your water course have been cleaned up by some volunteers concerned about the environment. Go forward two squares" or "A factory has poured some pollutants into your water course. Go back to the water purification plant square". Thus some knowledge of wetlands and a small measure of luck determines who will arrive first at the glass of water at the end of the board.
The game was developed by the Ramsar Convention during 2004, with the pedagogic support of UNESCO, funding through the Danone/Evian Fund for Water for the Ramsar Convention, and the creative talents of our publisher, Publicitron, with technical assistance from specialists in life and soil sciences and pedagogy as well as teachers. After a test phase, made possible thanks to UNESCO's network of associated schools, the final version of the game was launched at Ramsar's 9th Conference of the Parties (COP9) in Uganda in 2005 and made available to each of the Contracting Parties present.
It is currently available from the Ramsar Secretariat in English, French and Spanish (all in the same box).
Other language versions
Ramsar has made the design files of the game available for any organisation interested in producing a version of the game in the national or local language. The opportunity exists also to include some additional questions that are of local or national relevance. There are some restrictions: the game board itself cannot be changed and questions cannot be removed so that the integrity of the game is maintained.
Since the launching of the game in 2005, Indonesia has produced its own version of the game using our design files, so too have Hungary, Iran, Mexico and Mongolia. Others are in the process of doing so. Read their stories here Indonesia - Iran - Hungary - Mexico - Mongolia.
In these versions, the players become the water drop counters and move along the 'board' according to the throw of the dice. The first floor-sized version was developed in 2006 in Mexico (see immediately below) and a second was launched in China in early 2007 (scroll down).
Photo by Sebastià Semene
Produced by Cecadesu/SEMARNAT (el Centro de Educación y Capacitación para El Desarrollo Sustentable and the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales), and funded by Bonafont (Danone-Mexico), a floor-sized version of the game was launched at the fourth World Water Forum in Mexico in 2006. Measuring 3m X 4.5m this version of the game permits teams to compete with each other, with one member of each team acting as the water drop, moving along the board towards the winning square. Read the story and view the pictures here.
The Xixi National Wetland Park, located in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, has developed a Dive into Wetlands schools outreach programme. They have developed a floor-sized version of the game which can be easily transported from school to school. The game is used alongside other activities in a two-hour programme about wetlands in general and more specifically about the Xixi Wetland Park. The schools outreach programme will be taken to schools in Hangzhou, Shanghai, Suzhou, Ningbo and surrounding areas and will include follow up options back at the wetlands at Xixi. Read the story about the use of the game and view the pictures.
The Grande Cariçaie Ramsar Site, Lac de Neuchatel, Switzerland, celebrated World Wetlands Day in February 2010, with a range of activities for schoolchildren and the general public in the nearby medieval town of Estavayer‐le‐lac. One of these activities was the use for the first time of their floor-sized version of the Ramsar game which was used with the help of Ramsar Secretariat staff and with great success, with 13 classes of schoolchildren, ranging in age from 8‐13 years. The game will be used for other outdoor events by the staff at the site and by the Ramsar Secretariat. More pictures of the game in use here.
The game has been translated into Farsi by the Ramsar Regional Center for Cental and West Asia, and with the help of the NGO Bachehaye Ab (the Ramsar CEPA NGO Focal Point) the game was designed in both the table and the floor-sized version. This floor-sized version was used during the the International Environment Festival held in Tehran in 2009 (see images below) and during the World Wetlands Day celebrations in 2009 and 2010. Both the schoolchildren and adults showed much interest and enjoyed playing the game.