POSTED BY 60milliongirls | May, 09, 2024 |

May 2024

Wanda Bedard Awarded the Meritorious Service Cross

Photo credit: Sgt Anis Assari, Rideau Hall
© His Majesty the King in right of Canada, represented by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, 2024. Reproduced with permission of the OSGG, 2024.

Our President, Wanda Bedard, was deeply honoured to receive the Meritorious Service Cross from Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada at a ceremony held at Rideau Hall on March 21st. Notably, 60 million girls was recognized for the development and impact of our Mobile Learning Labs. The profoundly moving event allowed us to meet many other honorees and learn about their remarkable contributions, both in Canada and around the world. The gathering facilitated valuable connections that undoubtedly will support our ongoing efforts.

Please see the full citation here:

Wanda Bedard, M.S.C.
Montréal, Quebec

Wanda Bedard is the founder of 60 million girls, an organization dedicated to girls’ education in developing countries. Each year, the foundation supports two or more major projects, with girls making up at least half of the students impacted. Recently, its solar-powered, remote learning labs, developed for use in communities without electricity or Internet access, have allowed children to continue studying without gathering in groups during Ebola and COVID-19 outbreaks.

Create4Good – What a Weekend!

The ongoing climate crisis is worsening existing inequities worldwide, including a widening gender gap in education. The Create4Good event, held from March 22 to 24, brought together McGill University students and field experts to crowdsource ideas for one of the first-ever digital climate education games of its kind, aiming to build resilience in communities most impacted by climate change. After six months of discussion, ideation, and collaboration, 60 million girls and McGill’s JED for the Community hosted some 30 students who competed in seven teams over three days to conceptualize this game.

Wanda Bedard presenting at the Create4Good event at McGill in Montreal.

And the Winners Are…

First and foremost, 60 million girls emerged as the significant winner of this event, gaining valuable insights, connections and continued support of our mission.

And, of course, congratulations to the winning team behind “EcoCrisis”! Kudos to Unai Aranda, Bridget O’Hare Cervera and Steve Frantskevich.

The winning team Unai Aranda, Steve Frantskevich and Bridget O’Hare Cervera.

Our Heartfelt Thanks

McGill’s Jed for the Community team: Kai Hollett, Paige Evans (not pictured) and Radia El Amrani.

We would like to highlight the remarkable, professional and creative efforts of McGill’s Jed for the Community team: Kai Hollett, Paige Evans and Radia El Amrani. Despite juggling mid-terms, finals, regular coursework, and even internships in Europe, their dedication and belief in the project never faltered over the 7 months we collaborated. Needless to say, this project wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Our many Canadian NGO partners played an integral role in the success of the event by sharing poignant stories from students worldwide on how climate change is impacting them. A heartfelt thank you to: CAMFED, Change for Children, Crossroads International, CAUSE Canada, Nyaka, Plan International Canada, Right to Play, Save the Children, the Stephen Lewis Foundation, and The Jane Goodall Institute.

We also extend our deep appreciation to the mentors who generously volunteered their time over the weekend and to JED Consulting for supporting this crucial work.

Lastly, our gratitude goes to the many students who have offered to continue supporting 60 million girls as volunteers!

What We Learned

Our panel of mentors and judges brought knowledge from the gaming sector, environmental sciences and perspectives from communities worldwide, including indigenous communities in Nicaragua.

Some of our mentors and judges (from left to right): Alfredo Chaves, François Lafortune, Emily Sheepy, Marco Purich, and Wanda Bedard.

We gained invaluable insights as students worked on concepts throughout the weekend. Equally important was our discussion with the judges on which concepts and ideas would have the most impact for our game.

Topics ranged from the use of avatars to ensuring accessibility for the widest range of child users, to the importance of featuring girls in leadership roles in the game. We gained a clearer understanding of mitigation versus adaptation, considering children’s well-being and mental health, and the role of indigenous communities in caring for our planet through their long held traditions and way of life. Each activity during the event provided nuggets of ideas for the full development of the game.

The enthusiasm was palpable all weekend! We emerged re-energized and feeling confident that the future is in good hands with the students we met.

Next Steps for Game Development

We eagerly anticipate continuing this momentum as we embark on the development of the final game and delivering it to over 700,000 students worldwide.

We are now crafting the detailed game design concept, laying the foundation for the game. Two of our mentors and judges, Alfredo Chaves and Marco Purich, are guiding us through the world of video game development. Their extensive knowledge and experience will be invaluable as we finalize the game’s appearance over the next two months. Then will come the heavy lifting of coding by programmers and creating the game’s look and feel by artists.

It’s an exciting road ahead for us! We will build upon the ideation sparked at Create4Good, test our game design in the field, and work with our partners to ensure our efforts have the greatest impact, providing children everywhere with access to information and pathways to support their communities in the face of climate change.


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TAGS : Climate resilience climate action climate education gamification Climate change gender equality Girls' education