Serious Game Application to enhance Protection of Civilians (POC) in conflict (deadline now 08/25)

Washington, DC

About The Position



Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) is seeking proposals to produce a serious game (playable on smartphones and laptop computers) aimed at soldiers and/or law enforcement members. The goal is to improve these forces’ behavior towards civilians in conflict zones. The scenario content for the game will be provided by CIVIC.  


General Information 

CIVIC is an international nonprofit with offices around the world working to improve protection for civilians in conflict. Our mission is to work with armed actors and civilians in conflict to develop and implement solutions to prevent, mitigate, and respond to civilian harm.  

Established in 2003 as the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC), the organization was founded by Marla Ruzicka, a young American activist and humanitarian who saw first-hand the impacts of conflict on civilians and their surviving family members. In April 2005, Marla was tragically killed by a suicide bomber in Baghdad. She died advocating for civilian war victims.  

CIVIC continues to carry out Marla’s legacy. With 85 employees implementing life-saving initiatives in 12 conflict-affected countries across the globe, CIVIC is proving that the status quo need not be accepted. By getting militaries to change tactics, holding governments accountable, training communities to be agents of their own protection, and calling for amends when civilians are harmed, CIVIC is changing mindsets, policies, and practices on civilian protection. These efforts have successfully put the protection of civilians on the global agenda and driven responsive action by parties who have the power and influence to enact real change for conflict-affected civilians. Learn more at 


Project Information 

CIVIC seeks concise and tailored proposals to design and develop a serious game (playable on smartphones and laptop computers) aimed at soldiers and/or law enforcement members. The goal is to improve these forces’ behavior towards civilians when they encounter them in zones of armed conflict or other situations of violence.  

To achieve this goal, the serious game will first put armed actors in the shoes of civilians trapped in conflict and thereby sensitize them to the various protection needs and rights civilians have. Topics to be incorporated in the gaming content can include: stigmatization of civilians, consequences suffered from a lack of applied distinction (by armed actors) between combatants and civilians, disproportionate use of force, conflict-related sexual violence, extortion, arbitrary arrest and detention, forced displacement, and suffering caused by excessive use of force by security forces in law enforcement contexts.  

The game will then permit the armed actors to practice modifications to their behaviors and actions so that they better respect the rights of civilians, such as when operating checkpoints, calling in for close air support or plan for civilian evacuations. The content for storyboard(s) and connected decision-making trees for the players to navigate through will be provided by CIVIC.  

CIVIC is a nonprofit organization. We welcome creative, effective and cost-sensitive proposals that take a Good/Better/Best approach.  

Project Description 

The serious game app in this project will support and strengthen the pedagogical teaching by CIVIC’s Nigeria team when engaging with the Nigerian military and other security forces to instill a Protection of Civilians (POC) mindset and practical POC reflexes towards civilians when they encounter them before, during, and after their operations. The serious game app will support and complement face-to-face analog or ‘face-to-face’ virtual training sessions (including scenario-based exercises) that CIVIC has been undertaking with the Nigerian security forces at various institutional levels. This serious game app will be the first for CIVIC. It should be developed with a view to potentially expand upon with ease, so as to include more protection issues and different storylines and avatars.      

By realistically immersing the player in Nigeria’s conflict contexts, the game seeks to sensitize Nigerian security forces to the protection challenges civilians face. The game will test the players’ understanding and recognition of the various dilemmas and vulnerabilities that different civilians face when trapped in conflict (e.g., children, women, the disabled, and the elderly). As a subsequent step, the game will instill different protection reflexes amongst the players to adapt their specific behavior as a security force member to avoid and/or mitigate civilian harm. The contractor will be expected to creatively think through how to provide interesting formats, including with engaging audio and visual support to meet the deliverables above. 

The game may be displayed on our website, shared with our donors, and used in presentations by staff to illustrate the variety of approaches CIVIC uses to influence the mindset and behavior of armed actors towards civilians. The selected contractor will be expected to work closely with CIVIC’s Senior Protection Advisor based out of Washington D.C as well as CIVIC’s Nigeria program team, particularly the Nigeria Country Director and Senior Military Advisor.  


Deliverables include: 

One serious gaming app playable on mid of the range smartphones and laptop computers and that can also work offline once downloaded (internet connectivity is often weak and spotty where the game will be played – downloads should not require high-speed internet capacity).  



25 August 2020- Proposals due 

20 November 2020- Coordination on project objectives, success factors and metrics, building framework of factors, data and criteria, generation of creative concepts and selection of game dynamics 

20 December 2020- Build game application and interface 

28 March 2021- Alpha testing, improvements and adjustments, full version of game produced for initial release and beta-testing, final adjustments. 


Technical Requirements 

Final serious game app should meet the following technical requirements:  

  • Safe and easy to download and play on Nigeria’s most-used smartphones/tablets/laptops (with Android as the main mobile Operating System (OS) but with ability to also adapt to iOS at a later stage if needed); 
  • Ability to play offline, understanding network challenges in Nigeria; 
  • Error-free, easy to use, easy to understand, and likeable user interface; 
  • Effective user experience to obtain desired learning outcomes; 
  • Compelling format including visual and audio effects to ensure immersive learning environment; 
  • Ability for players to compare results with his/her previous attempts and be motivated to do well via point/token reward system; 
  • Ability to provide CIVIC individualized, safe access to app and the players’ results with user-friendly pathways to collect, analyze, and store relevant game analytics, especially players’ learning curves; 
  • Ability to remotely fix bugs and ensure continuous software functioning; 
  • Compliance with applicable data protection and security protocols, especially the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR); 
  • Remote ability to ensure continuous security of app and protection against outside hacking, especially linked to analytics, e.g. cloud services;  
  • Ability of game app to be used in modular fashion, i.e. to be built/expanded on to become first part of a growing serious POC gaming platform for the future; and 
  • All completed by March 28, 2021.  



  • Expertise and experience designing and producing serious games that can be played via smartphones and computers in environments with unreliable internet connectivity;  
  • Knowledge and experience creating realistic gaming scenarios featuring humanitarian consequences and protection challenges in contexts of violence and war;  
  • Proven ability to think analytically and plan strategically, including setting objectives and identifying and applying opportunities for learning and development; and  
  • Must provide equipment for development of game, but content for storyboards will come from CIVIC. 

The contractor and CIVIC’s Sr. Protection Advisor and CIVIC’s Nigeria Program team will have consultation meetings to ensure agreement on the storyboards. CIVIC’s Sr. Protection Advisor will remain involved throughout the project and be the focal point, including for validation. The contractor and CIVIC’s Sr. Protection Advisor will remain in contact throughout the project, including a weekly progress report. The report does not need to be formal – it can be by phone or email – but will keep CIVIC apprised of progress. 

Proposal Requirements 

The proposal must include: 

  1. INTRODUCTION – summarize relevant experience and production resources; 
  2. SAMPLES & REFERENCES – provide past projects that illustrate/inform your proposed approach to this project and at least three corresponding references and their contact information; 
  3. CONTENT – Outline creative approaches to effectively integrate project goals into a contextualized, realistic, immersive yet easy-to-play mobile/tablet and/or laptop-based serious gaming application. Describe your approach to ensuring that CIVIC’s objectives are met. Explain how app would function for player and for CIVIC, e.g. how software bugs would be fixed after roll-out, how and where data from game will be safely collected, stored, and made accessible to different parties.  
  4. SCHEDULE – outline your suggested work plan with relevant dates in addition to the timeframe above (e.g., milestones and payments); 
  5. BUDGET (Good/Better/Best) – include a breakdown of fees for production and administration of app, including both professional services, and breaking down game production costs per different phases of game development; 
  6. CONTACT INFORMATION – list your point of contact and whether this will remain the same throughout the project. Include name, title, phone, email address, and anything you’d like for us to consider about this person’s work style. 


Selection Criteria 

Proposals received will be evaluated by CIVIC on the following selection criteria: 

  • Demonstrated technical expertise and experience in serious game productions playable on smartphones/computers (20%); 
  • Demonstrated experience on pedagogical approaches to trainings via serious games, ideally with experience training militaries and/or /law enforcement personnel (20%); 
  • Demonstrated knowledge on humanitarian consequences and protection dynamics in conflict zones (10%);  
  • Understanding CIVIC’s mission and the potential to use serious gaming to further that mission (10%); 
  • Original and creative vision (15%); 
  • Proposed price, including Good/Better/Best options (10%); 
  • Ability to meet the expected timeline for completing the project (based on overall quality of proposal) (15%); 


Contact Marc Linning at 

We will not entertain telephone or in-person pitches prior to submission of proposal. If shortlisted, you will be contacted regarding next steps.  



To be considered, proposals must submitted via email by Tuesday, 25 August, 2020 midnight EST to 



Please note that CIVIC will need to vet winning bidder to ensure it is not violating applicable sanctions legislations. 

Questions asked so far by bidders and CIVIC responses:

What level of interaction is required of the game, for example will the game be a first-person simulation, or a multiple-choice Q and A game?

It should be a first-person simulation with player going through game via avatar, i.e. avatar being a civilian trapped in conflict (level 1) and then also avatar being soldier or police official (level 2). But game can/should also various moments where player is confronted with multiple choices how to process with each decision option opening new pathways to go through.


For awarded game points will the points be used for: A. Users to apply within the game to receive a benefit or see a resulting action, or B. only to track performance outcomes?

Ideally for both, A and B purposes. For example, player should need a certain amount of points to show s(he) has well understood the protection dilemmas civilians face in war when playing ‘civilian’ avatar. When ‘passing’ that ‘test’ they subsequently are allowed to play the second level of game whereby avatar is soldier/police official who then goes through different scenarios during which this acquired understanding of civil protection issues needs to translated into certain adequate protection behavior as a soldier or police official.

As for B, yes, definitely, I think it would be great that the player, and also we at CIVIC (and ideally military commanders in charge of player) could see how the player performed and made progress to get to better Protection of Civilians behavior. Ideally we would have tiered access to the analytics so various parties can see “scoring.”


Should the solution and budget assume the 8 thematic points of learning [scenarios] defined under the ‘project information’ section of the RFP?

Solution and budget should at least assume 8 thematic points as outlined in project information’, but also with options to scale-up or build out further.

Potential example: Level 1 – Choose between two civilian avatars: The solution and budget should allow for at least 2 scenarios here, i.e. one per avatar. For example, avatar could be a young woman in a village ravaged by conflict. She is forced to internally displace because of conflict consequences after having become a victim of indirect fire from security forces that destroyed her house, having to engage with ‘terrorists’ to survive. Alternatively, player could choose a young man living in a community affected by conflict who must decide whether or not to flee, stay and join a self-defense force/militia, or engage with “terrorists” to survive OR avatar could be an old disabled man/woman who cannot displace and is dependent on soldiers realizing that when planning to attack village held by the enemy.

Level 2 – Security Forces avatars: The solution and budget should allow for at least 2 scenarios here (one per avatar with different decision-making trees to go through). For example, a) soldier taking part in clearing operation in a village where everybody is a suspect but where civilians still have protection rights, b) when coordinating an airstrike and ensure that civilians are adequately protected, or c) when manning a checkpoint not to harass people and step in to prevent fellow soldiers from harming civilians.

 What kind of data is expected to be collected during gameplay for later analysis, for example participant information, scoring, period of play etc?

While we still need to figure out the how open or restrictive applicable regulations are with our target audiences (Nigerian Security forces), app should a priori have function that allows to collect anonymized participant info including service (e.g., infantry, artillery, etc.), rank, (location probably not because sensitive), past training on IHL or protection of civilians, and ideally also anonymized information that will allow us to follow up with player a few months later to assess how they felt they could apply the learning from the app on the ground and also what the specific added value of the app was in comparison with their class room lectures or other more conventional training approaches. Data security and privacy could perhaps be ensured by specific administrator rights.

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