The Minigrid Game – A Participatory Gaming Approach to Community Energy Planning

One of our SEPS exchange activities aimed to increase community understanding of minigrid design, management and operation via a novel approach: a role-playing game built around the representation of a minigrid system, intended to be used as an educational and collaborative planning tool. The project has now been successfully concluded.

This knowledge exchange programme led by ENACT targeted rural communities, energy access practitioners and the broader energy access community through a series of workshops in rural villages in East Malaysia, an online workshop with South and Southeast Asian energy practitioners, and an active online campaign publicising The Minigrid Game.

The community workshops were well received and the three selected communities found the gaming process novel, engaging, easy to use, and fun. Community members reported an improved understanding of their individual and collective electricity consumption and of the limitations of their minigrid’s capacity, as well as finding the game useful for practicing household energy budgeting and methods for improved system cost recovery.

Through pre­workshop social mapping and game facilitation, the project team was able to observe how community members interacted with one another and how they made individual and collective decisions that represented or aligned with their community protocols or rules of conduct, value systems and existing governance structures and institutions.

The online practitioner workshop organised in cooperation with the Hydro Empowerment Network gave the project team and practitioners the opportunity to share experiences and exchange lessons learnt from community energy planning and engagement activities. For practitioners, the workshop also presented the opportunity to try the game for themselves.

The online campaign was conducted using a dedicated website with videos featuring the community workshops and social media feeds. The project team initially believed this campaign would snowball naturally and reach the target communities, but it became clear that the support of paid promotion and advertising was necessary. This was the team’s first attempt at running an online campaign of this nature and much knowledge on digital marketing and online campaigning was gained along the way.

More general information on this SEPS Exchange is available here: Exchange: A Participatory Gaming Approach To Community Energy Planning in Southeast Asia: Spreading Best-Practices on Community Engagement

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