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Table 1: Summary of game intervention studies
Game States Year # site Outcomes
Groundwater
pilot
Andhra Pradesh 2013,
2014
17 Some effect on attitudes
Communities more likely to adopt water
registers & rules for groundwater *
Surface water Rajasthan
Madhya Pradesh
2016,
2017
30
60
Communities more likely brought swelling
water conflicts to the table and engaged in
dam maintenance activities *
Groundwater
expansion
Rajasthan
Madhya
Pradesh, Andhra
Pradesh
2014
-
2019
184 Total 3357 farmers adopted less water
consumptive crops or varieties and irrigation
scheduling to save water**
Forest game Andhra Pradesh
Rajasthan
2017,
2018
60 Positive attitude towards game experience
but limited changes in views or behavior
*Compared to randomly selected control communities where game has no been played
**Compared to farmers’ reported behavior, prior to the games
Background
Rural groundwater management has strong implications for agricultural
food production (SDG2), water availability (SDG8), economic growth (SDG8),
adaptation to climate change (SDG13), and avoiding land degradation
(SDG15). However, there is a considerable risk of groundwater overdraft and
depletion. In India, half of all wells show falling water tables, and current
trends of over-extraction will put at least 25 percent of agricultural
production at risk within 20 years. The need for effective governance of
groundwater is well established; what is not well established is what can be
done to strengthen this collective governance, particularly on the scale
necessary to address widespread depletion of resources.
This paper examines the potential to adapt behavioral games as a
structured, replicable approaches to facilitate the emergence of sustainable
natural resource management (NRM) at large scale. Games have been
adapted as learning and stakeholder engagement tools to improve
management of the commons, strengthen self-regulation of resource use
and enhance constructive interaction of resource users. We synthesize
experiences from four applications of games as social learning interventions
in India.
Table 1 summarizes key findings of our studies. Observed impacts include
changes in attitudes, debates about water conflicts, adoption of water
management tools, and increases in collective infrastructure maintenance.
Results
This work was undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies,
Institutions, and Market (PIM) as well as the Program on Water, Land, and
Ecosystems (WLE). This work received financial support from the German
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
commissioned and administered through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für
Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Acknowledgements
Approach
The authors have conducted a series of studies testing the use of behavioral
games for institutional capacity development and social learning. All games
are framed public good or common pool resource games. The detailed game
designs can be found under gamesforsustainability.org.
Meinzen-Dick, R.(1), Falk T.(2), Zhang, W.(1), Seema, S.(3), Priyadarshini, P.(3), Sanil, R.(3)
(1) International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Environment and Production Technology Division, Washington DC/USA, R.Meinzen-Dick@cgiar.org; W.Zhang@cgiar.org
(2) University of Marburg, Working Group Sustainable Use of Natural Resources, School of Business and Economics, Marburg/Germany, Falkt@staff.uni-marburg.de
(3) Foundation for Ecological Security, Anand/India, Bvseema@gmail.com; Pratiti@fes.org.in; Richu@fes.org.in
Conceptual
background
A conceptual
framework was used
to structure the
reflections on game
interventions. The
framework, as
illustrated to the right,
integrates inter-
disciplinary behavioral
science insights.
In summary, we assume that the games can influence mental models, support
pro-social norms, in this way affect support local resource governance which
leads to more sustainable management.
Reflecting on the design of the games, we identified the following aspects as
critical game design features:
1. Accuracy, complexity, and flexibility of the game framing.
2. Multi-player environment, communication, and group competition.
3. Participatory learning environments.
4. Incentivized payments.
Conclusion
The games provide a structured and therefore replicable approach for
influencing behavior. They can improve system understanding, raise
awareness, influence norms, facilitate dialogue, train for crisis response, and
increase legitimacy of decisions. Acknowledging the diversity of intervention
tools developed, there is a critical need to guide practitioners in selecting the
right tools for the right purpose. For more information, please see
https://doi.org/10.2499/p15738coll2.134238
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Strengthening local groundwater governance through experiential learning

  • 1. Table 1: Summary of game intervention studies Game States Year # site Outcomes Groundwater pilot Andhra Pradesh 2013, 2014 17 Some effect on attitudes Communities more likely to adopt water registers & rules for groundwater * Surface water Rajasthan Madhya Pradesh 2016, 2017 30 60 Communities more likely brought swelling water conflicts to the table and engaged in dam maintenance activities * Groundwater expansion Rajasthan Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh 2014 - 2019 184 Total 3357 farmers adopted less water consumptive crops or varieties and irrigation scheduling to save water** Forest game Andhra Pradesh Rajasthan 2017, 2018 60 Positive attitude towards game experience but limited changes in views or behavior *Compared to randomly selected control communities where game has no been played **Compared to farmers’ reported behavior, prior to the games Background Rural groundwater management has strong implications for agricultural food production (SDG2), water availability (SDG8), economic growth (SDG8), adaptation to climate change (SDG13), and avoiding land degradation (SDG15). However, there is a considerable risk of groundwater overdraft and depletion. In India, half of all wells show falling water tables, and current trends of over-extraction will put at least 25 percent of agricultural production at risk within 20 years. The need for effective governance of groundwater is well established; what is not well established is what can be done to strengthen this collective governance, particularly on the scale necessary to address widespread depletion of resources. This paper examines the potential to adapt behavioral games as a structured, replicable approaches to facilitate the emergence of sustainable natural resource management (NRM) at large scale. Games have been adapted as learning and stakeholder engagement tools to improve management of the commons, strengthen self-regulation of resource use and enhance constructive interaction of resource users. We synthesize experiences from four applications of games as social learning interventions in India. Table 1 summarizes key findings of our studies. Observed impacts include changes in attitudes, debates about water conflicts, adoption of water management tools, and increases in collective infrastructure maintenance. Results This work was undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Market (PIM) as well as the Program on Water, Land, and Ecosystems (WLE). This work received financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) commissioned and administered through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Acknowledgements Approach The authors have conducted a series of studies testing the use of behavioral games for institutional capacity development and social learning. All games are framed public good or common pool resource games. The detailed game designs can be found under gamesforsustainability.org. Meinzen-Dick, R.(1), Falk T.(2), Zhang, W.(1), Seema, S.(3), Priyadarshini, P.(3), Sanil, R.(3) (1) International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Environment and Production Technology Division, Washington DC/USA, R.Meinzen-Dick@cgiar.org; W.Zhang@cgiar.org (2) University of Marburg, Working Group Sustainable Use of Natural Resources, School of Business and Economics, Marburg/Germany, Falkt@staff.uni-marburg.de (3) Foundation for Ecological Security, Anand/India, Bvseema@gmail.com; Pratiti@fes.org.in; Richu@fes.org.in Conceptual background A conceptual framework was used to structure the reflections on game interventions. The framework, as illustrated to the right, integrates inter- disciplinary behavioral science insights. In summary, we assume that the games can influence mental models, support pro-social norms, in this way affect support local resource governance which leads to more sustainable management. Reflecting on the design of the games, we identified the following aspects as critical game design features: 1. Accuracy, complexity, and flexibility of the game framing. 2. Multi-player environment, communication, and group competition. 3. Participatory learning environments. 4. Incentivized payments. Conclusion The games provide a structured and therefore replicable approach for influencing behavior. They can improve system understanding, raise awareness, influence norms, facilitate dialogue, train for crisis response, and increase legitimacy of decisions. Acknowledging the diversity of intervention tools developed, there is a critical need to guide practitioners in selecting the right tools for the right purpose. For more information, please see https://doi.org/10.2499/p15738coll2.134238 Strengthening local groundwater governance through experiential learning