Social enterprise Hack the Planet: conflict resolution through Virtual Reality

Social enterprise Hack the Planet: conflict resolution through Virtual Reality

Imagine, arch enemies, getting to understand each other by stepping into a Virtual Reality (VR). That’s exactly what Hack the Planet did with members of rivaling tribes in Uganda by using smart technology. The result: ‘Meet the Soldier’ a moving humanitarian documentary.

At the Nudge Global Impact Challenge: bringing technology to NGOs

Hack the Planet is a social enterprise aiming to help NGOs solve complex global problems through technological innovations. Floris van der Breggen, co-founder, says: “The commercial world invests a lot in technology, resulting in amazing applications. But relatively little of it is used in the social domain.” Practice shows it is difficult to convince NGOs that technology can make positive contributions to effectuating their goals. That’s why Hack the Planet joined the 2017 Nudge Global Impact Challenge and pondered with young professionals over suited funding models to present to NGOs. Floris: “We realise these organisations will always have question marks. It’s our job to find hacks that offer NGOs effective technology with low cost to solve global problems and sometimes even help them attract donors to remain independent.”

Floris van der Breggen at the 2017 Nudge Global Impact Challenge (Photo Bibi Veth)

Step into my shoes

Three months after the Challenge, Nudge catches up with Floris and finds out Hack the Planet teamed up with Mensen met een Missie (People with a Mission), an NGO dedicated to promoting peace and justice around the world. “In the region of Karamoja, Uganda tribes have been torn by brutal violence for decades. For outsiders it’s weird because these people are so much alike but have such deep-seated hatred towards each other”, Floris said. Mensen met een Missie challenged Hack the Planet to come up with an innovative way to bring these tribes together, so they can embark on a journey of conflict resolution. They opted to do so via Virtual Reality (VR).

Photos Teddy Cherim

Research shows that evoking empathy is important for people to see the other in a different light. VR can aid in that process as it lets you experience the world of the other through a first-person perspective. This formed the basis for Meet the Soldier. Want to know what happened with the tribes in Uganda? Check out the teaser.

The impact we want to make

Floris: “We want to spread the word about VR in conflict resolution. That’s why we’re submitting Meet the Soldier to film festivals. Furthermore, we have great things planned for 2018, amazing projects are coming! But we also want to reflect with the NGOs we collaborate with, showing the impact we’ve created and that our approach works.” At Nudge we couldn’t agree more. We will keep in touch with Hack the Planet to stay up-to-date on their impact creation through smart technology.

Are you interested in learning more about storytelling through VR? Join Hack the Planet at their meetup on January 25th in The Hague!

Find out more about Meet the Soldier and other projects from Hack the Planet.

Photo Floris van der Breggen