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Rising Water, Safer Shores

In the face of the climate crisis, are children helpless victims or agents of change?

Although children are often the population group most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, they have the capacity to develop the skills needed to adapt, find innovative solutions, and protect themselves and their families. The "Rising Water, Safer Shores" board game project was guided by several questions: What constitutes a child’s capacity for facing climate-change-related disasters in developing island states? How can we engage children with climate-change-related disasters by co-designing a board game? How can we harness children's capacities by adopting 'child researchers' and 'child-to-child peer research' methodologies? The ultimate goal of the "Rising Water, Safer Shores" board game project was to harness children's capacities to decrease their vulnerabilities and increase their resilience to current and future climate-change-related disasters.

“Children are not the victims, but the agents of change in the face of the climate crisis”
Funda Atun

Together with children, we co-developed a board game on flooding and climate change adaptation for children aged 9-11. The co-development process and the ideas "travelled" and iterated through different stages, children's contributions, and geographic locations.

It started in a school in Panju Island India in December 2019, where some of the children's drawings were incorporated into the board game. It continued in Enschede, the Netherlands, at an International School where the board game was tested and further co-developed using the children's ideas and contributions.

With the help of more than 60 children, a 9-year-old team member, and the valuable help of five interns, we developed the "Rising Water, Safer Shores" board game to provide children with the knowledge of what to do before, during and after a flood event. The activities demonstrate that educational materials prepared by children enable learning, and that drawing is a universal language for children.

The "Rising Water, Safer Shores" game will be downloadable and printable, and published as open source. Children can colour it in, and it can be reused, translated if needed, and adopted in other schools.

The "Rising Water, Safer Shores" board game engages children in climate-change-related disasters, particularly flooding. Situated on an estuarine island in India, the board game connects children of different backgrounds with current and future global challenges.


  • -
    Funda Atun
  • -
    Vera Glas
  • -
    Silke Heesen
  • -
    Vera Jansen
  • -
    Javier Martinez


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