Monday, March 15, 2010

World Bank Institute Presents "EVOKE" Game

What is an EVOKE? from Alchemy on Vimeo.

The World Bank Institute developed an online game aimed at social innovation and youth empowerment ("especially young people in Africa", according to the website) called EVOKE. The game, which will be live for ten weeks until 12 May, 2010, puts players through missions whereby they must come up with creative solutions to social problems. The top players to successfully complete the challenges will be dubbed "Certified EVOKE Social Innovator - Class of 2010" which comes with rewards like online mentorships with social entrepreneurs, seed funding for ventures, and more. More details are available on EVOKE's website.

Will you be playing EVOKE? If so, keep us posted on your progress!


  1. very interesting, but before I start hating on the African hypocricians, i mean politicians let me ask how does one become an urgent evoke, coz I think one needs to be invited, and I am not sure how one can get himself invited. I dont think I know anyone who is a member, so trouble at sea help...hahah!!..

    This article has made me think of one particular thing, and that is our never ending talks and celebrations about our little progress in Africa. I know many African leaders measure development/ progress with technological advancement (nothing wrong with that) but the criteria, mhhh how many internet cafe are there, and how many mobile phones are purchased annually, etc etc..coz the stupidity doesnt end there (excuse my language).

    My point is this, as we celebrate our high speed internets and expansions of mobile phones technology/ networks as a continent, how come one thing (agriculture) that is depended by many is still struggling. The technology used by African farmers is still in the stone ages, mhh so much for progress huh!!...

    This is another thing that I dont understand why African leaders cannot do 2+2 to just get a simple 4. Now what do I mean by that, why the technology that is advancing by the speed of pole pole ndio mwendo coz there is no hurry in Africa isn’t used to improve the agriculture sector. It is as if the word technology and the word agriculture cannot be put in the same sentence and still make sense.

    This is my issue with most African leaders, no specific names will be mentioned today, but the problem that I see, is this. Most of them have this love or should I say passion for focusing on short term goals. Look at Obama, he is fighting for healthcare, alternative energy, all those are long term goals, but African leaders, oohh its all about what to do in the next minute instead of building for the future. Okay, some of you may disagree, fine, so I will give an example that some of us can relate to. Its been years now, but Tanzania still has constant blackouts, and if you ask why, the answer has been the same for centuries. Now the question will be, so whats been done about it. Traffic in Dar is ridiculous, so what has been done because the three way system was supposed to be a temporary fix, right?, but it has gone on and on for how many years now?.................(please feel free to fill in the blank), thank you.

    I will end there, lakini hii tabia ya viongozi wa Afrika kufikiria leo tu badala ya kuwa na mipango endelevu ya kesho na kesho kutwa, itazidi zorotesha maendeleo. Jamani, tusipime maendeleo ya uchumi na sayansi kwa wingi wa internet cafe mijini, huku kilimo kikizidi kuwa duni, huku baa la njaa likizidi kuwa donda ndugu, ni aibu hasa mkifikiria kila siku mnatuimbia ngonjera za utajiri wa Tanzania, makoo hayakauki, mmekuwa kasuku, muimbe nyie wao wafaidi hizo mali asili, umekaa kung’aa ng’aa macho. Nimemaliza

    p.s thank you stephanie for this, once I know how to sign up and log in I will definitely play the game....

  2. sorry this article/ game has just got into me..haha..i had to look for a youtube clip ( of the economic forum that President Jakaya Kikwete attended. Now listen to what his saying about agriculture, I could only ask myself two main questions, and they were how? and really?.

    He keeps saying "make" Africa, who is he telling, what we should be asking is, what has he done or planning to do. He said, Climate is conducive, mhhh then whats up with the drought. I thought Tanzania was thinking of hiring rain men from Asia, oohh my fault I shouldn't be paying attention to TMZ. Then he said, land is there, mhhh check..not everywhere though coz one of the reasons for the Darfur conflict is the national anthem makes even more sense now, Mungu ibariki Afrikaaaaaa....coz we will need those blessings for sure.

    My conclusion to what Pres. Kikwete is saying about “the world should have a goal”, is this, if the world wants to have that goal, fine but don’t be surprised if we all go hungry with the type of leadership I see in Africa…thank you.

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  4. Thanks for posting this, Stephanie! Bahati, thanks for the comments.

    I think what's at stake here is the 'locality' of solutions, and Bahati - you bring this up when you talk about technological innovation.

    With developing countries, technological progress leapfrogs from one innovation to the next (eg: Tanzania may have skipped the laptop phase and moved straight to smart phones, etc). But my question is: How does EVOKE ensure that solutions that are brought up can be implemented at a local and accessible level for each setting that requires it?

  5. Bahati - thank you for your comments. You certainly know more about the points you addressed than I do, and I appreciate the education.

    Al - Very insightful question. That is exactly what I'd like to know. I have signed up for the game (and I recommend all of Vijana writers do as well) and hope to find out. Now I'd like to know how the World Bank Institute and the powers-that-be intend to use this "information". As in, are they using EVOKE to create a study or are they interested to see how the public would like our problems to be solved? Are we being included in the decision making process or is this game solely a "feel good" thing, intended on "educating" the public but nothing more? We shall see!


  6. Mwangaluka Bahati!, you seem to be very passionate and critical of the government and its leaders. I used to be frustated with many of the empty promises from the leaders. My mindset changed when I took time to listen to one whole session of "Bunge takatifu la Tanzania". After that one, I made a habit of listening to as many sessions as I could.

    The Budget laid out by the government is definetly not enough to sufficiently solve every problem. No matter how much the "Wabunge" fight and make a case for their constituencies /ministries. There is just not enough money. The numbers simply dont add up.

    What happens is, the little money gets divided among all the ministries, hence being too little to eradicate any of the major problems. I'd like our leaders to be more creative and unconventional. They keep doing the same things which have failed over and over again expecting different results.

    We can discuss for the sake of discussion. Its not like we all new to the challenges facing africa. Thousands, if not millions of reports are available containing studies/solution of those problem.

    I just dont see the point of EVOKE Game ( I've visited the website and read through it). They might as well given the money they used to prepare the event an orphanage or something.

    My apologies for the randomness of my opinions. Anyway, what I want to say is, just do your part. The hell with the govenment. In my case my plan is to tackle the energy problem..TANESCO oyeeee....

    Did you know that...only 15% of Tanzanians are connected the grid. If the solar cells could be manufactured in TZ. They would be even cheaper. I know all the problems with initial costs of installation and stuff. God willing, If I could pull it off, I would have done my the hell with TANESCO....boooooooooo...alamsiki

  7. true Paul, umenena....the budget is not enough, specially when you consider all the 4X4 that Wabunge get, and all other little allowances spent on Wabunge that could be done away with.

    The Evoke game, thats true also, it doesnt seem to make alot of sense on what is it geared to. I am sure it will be fun playing and eventually winning, but the question will be, then WHAT?

    Issue ya creativity ni muhimu, they need to do away with using same strategies that have failed over and over, that tells you, "they dont want to be bothered, let alone care"...

    Hongera ukifanikiwa na plan ya solar, that will be very helpful and very lucrative business, thanks to Tanesco's incompetence...
    utatoa Taifa la Wadanganyika gizani...kwaheri ya kuonana

  8. ...I am sure you have observed some kind of a trend. Every time we discuss about the crucial Tanzanian issues, we end up expressing our frustrations towards Govt. officials.

    Anyway, as Paul said, we have no choice but try to take control of our own destiny; or at least, for our kids. Unfortunately, it's only a handful of us who are lucky enough to have the b@*l$ to achieve something without any significant influence from our leaders. You know the situation - how can a normal farmer dream of anything...?