In Turkey, online games teach energy efficiency

children smiling
"When you have a project with the right substance, you get rewarded with a lot of big smiles" (Photo: Meltem Ucal)

A new online game in Turkey is showing that raising children’s awareness on energy efficiency isn’t only important. It can also be fun.

Meltem Şengün Ucal is a professor at Kadir Has University. Using her background as a social scientist, she brought a differnet perspective to energy efficiency studies with a new research project on raising awareness among children.

She says, “I came across a grant call for projects on energy efficiency in household appliances on the Internet. I decided to develop a project for this grant about the relation between climate change and energy for new generations. It is they who will be most affected from adverse effects.”

This call to which Meltem applied for was with the Market Transformation of Energy Efficient Appliances in Turkey project - a UNDP, GEF, and Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources General Directorate of Renewable Energy-supported grant programme.

Highlights

  • Meltem’s project was selected as one of the five winning grantees. In January, her proposal was awarded US $100,000.
  • The game has been played by 3,500 children in 26 elementary schools visited by the project team, and over 3,700 unique visitors have visited the website to play.
  • Targeting women consumers and children, the project ran an awareness-raising campaign in three cities conducted a survey of 1,300 women consumers.

Meltem’s project was selected as one of five winning grantees, and in January 2014 her proposal was awarded US $100,000.

Targeting women consumers and children, the project ran an awareness-raising campaign in three cities (İstanbul, İzmit and Bursa), and conducted a survey of 1,300 women consumers.

Along with special brochures for kids and women distributed during these meetings, a demo of an online game on energy efficiency at home was developed for a new generation who will deal with challenges of climate change in the future.

(Photo: Nazife Ece)

The interactive game - suitable for children from 6-12 years old - provides a simple and fun opportunity for learning how to use household appliances efficiently.

The game has been played by 3,500 children in 26 elementary schools visited by the project team. According to online analytics, 3,704 unique visitors have visited the website to play.

During school visits, presentations were made to children not only on how to play the game but also on energy efficiency and how it should be a part of our daily lives.

Meltem was fascinated by how eager and excited the children were to learn about energy efficiency:  

“We have noticed that the kids had shown a great interest in energy efficiency especially in the schools located in low-income areas. It was really exciting to see how new generation is so smart and already an advocate for energy efficiency. It was a relief to see that when you have a project with the right substance, you get rewarded with a lot of big smiles,” says Meltem.

She adds that the kids also wanted to play the game on their iPads and asked the project team why they couldn't.

Some results of the survey conducted in three cities were shared at the conference on “The Role of the Women in Energy Efficiency and Climate Change” in June 2014 at the University’s Cibali Campus in Istanbul; the survey report and full results will be available soon.

Finally, the elective course titled “Gender, Woman Studies and Climate Change” is now available for the 2014 Spring semester. Video recordings of this pilot lecture series are also available at the project website.

The game and the other awareness raising tools and activities are available at the project website.

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