WPS Serious Game

The Water, Peace & Security Serious Game is a gamified analytical tool that facilitates strategic thinking around water-related security risks. Using a fictive scenario of a water-related security situation, participants are tasked with developing a (mock) long-term mitigation and prevention strategy for a set of water-related security challenges.

Serious Game at the WPS MENA Training in Amman (February 2024)

The game invites participants to come to a joint understanding of the risks at play. Together, they develop a response that is integrated (addresses three aims: adaptation, response & recovery, and resilience-building), inclusive (considers all relevant stakeholders), and informed (considers cross-sectoral and cross-regional interlinkages). The aim of the exercise is to allow for structured conversations about the most important interventions needed, and spark discussions about trade-offs and opportunity costs. 

When designing their intervention approach, participants choose from a set of pre-defined interventions, which are based on good practices for water management and security risk mitigation. The full set of interventions showcases an ideal scenario for comprehensive responses to water-related security risks, which could not realistically be implemented due to scarce resources. The game consists of several rounds of negotiations and discussions, during which participants have to select and prioritise a more restricted set of interventions. The selected cards are placed on a board, which represents a framework of four intervention sectors and three intersecting intervention aims.  

After the game, the moderator leads the participants in a critical discussion about how the selection process went, and the characteristics of the resulting intervention approach.

The WPS Serious Game in Amman, Jordan

This Serious Game was used during the WPS regional training in Amman, Jordan, in February 2024. It was the last activity of the 1.5-day training and it was used as a tool to apply the learnings of the preceding sessions. As such, the game integrated discussions around water-conflict root causes and effects, developing a causal loop diagram on water-society links, and designing inclusive and conflict-sensitive interventions. By trying to mitigate a fictive water-related conflict between the government and water user groups, participants were put in the position of practicing how to integrate the various approaches into robust interventions. 

Session objective: Understand and apply an integrated approach to conflict-sensitive water management policies. 

Main discussion questions: 

  • Which measures should be prioritized to facilitate conflict sensitive water management in an integrated manner? What are the trade-offs?
  • What capability and knowledge gaps persist after having developed the mock intervention?
  • How could the learnings from the training be combined and implemented in an integrated approach to water management?

MENA training


Laura Birkman
Senior Strategic Analyst | Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)
Irina Patrahau
Strategic Analyst | Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)