In collaboration with Quicksand, the Humanitarian Leadership Academy has launched the Kaya Virtual Reality app (Kaya VR) which hosts all the virtual reality content and 360-degree video experiences developed in partnership with a number of local organisations.

The app allows the users to experience the VR content on their phones with any kind of VR goggles (like Google Cardboard), or simply through a “magic window” mode. The experiences’ main objective is to help immerse humanitarian volunteers and staff in virtual crisis situations and build empathy through VR storytelling.

The Kaya VR app makes this new type of content accessible to everyone, as it is a low cost alternative to most virtual reality devices; the experiences can be streamed with a WiFi connection or downloaded to any mobile device.  The Kaya VR app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and from the Apple App Store.

Leveraging cutting-edge technology, tools and methodologies is a key objective of the Academy’s and it is to that end that the creation of VR content is one of its priorities. Virtual Reality experiences use 360-degree videos, animations or a combination of both.

Virtual reality experiences have impressive empathy building qualities, but also develop the understanding of complex subjects and provide a more active than passive learning environment. They become particularly relevant in the humanitarian sector where it is possible to immerse users in situations  that they would otherwise never see.

“We are excited to launch Kaya VR as a new way to bring immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences to our learners on their mobile devices.” – Atish Gonsalves, Global Innovation Director, Humanitarian Leadership Academy

You can access the following content through the Kaya VR app for free:

You Cannot Argue With A Flood

The Academy, together with ColLABorate: ideas and images, Quicksand and EcoWEB, created this 360-degree film available in English and Tagalog, which immerses users in the conflict-torn city of Marawi in the Philippines. The film tells the story of Hanan, a young Filipino woman, whose home is destroyed by terrorists and also suffers the consequences of a major typhoon. Hanan recovers by volunteering and providing psycho-social support to other internally displaced people in the city.

Gender in Conflict

This  immersive 360-degree documentary, available in Arabic and English, looks at how gender affects people during times of conflict. Narrated by both Syrian women and men, we hear their impressions of how their gender has played a role in their experience as refugees and witness their environments in which they experience both equality and inequality. Created in collaboration with ColLABorate: ideas and images and Amel Association International.

The Rohingya refugee crisis

This VR experience presents first-hand accounts from the Cox’s Bazar humanitarian crisis, from relief workers to refugees themselves. In 2017, escalating violence and discrimination in Myanmar’s Rakhine State drove hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees across the border into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. While the pace of this exodus has made it the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world, the concentration of refugees in Cox’s Bazar is among the densest worldwide. Created in collaboration with All We Can.

Camp 2029

Camp 2029 is an early warning for a dystopian humanitarian future we must work to avoid. The VR experience allows participants to embody the role of a refugee and future humanitarian worker as they navigate automated systems and commercial interests. The experience is not optimistic—the aim is to provoke thought around the unintended consequences of technology, and to work towards a future where there is opportunity, empowerment, and security for everyone. Created in collaboration with SixerVR.

Through the Lens

To ensure effective humanitarian response, local organisations and affected communities undertaking a leadership and decision making role is critical. Their contribution to such efforts will determine the relevance and sustainability of humanitarian work, with international organisations playing a supporting role. Through the Lens is an animated VR experience that presents first-hand accounts from the Rohingya Refugee crisis, from aid workers to refugees themselves, and highlights the importance of localisation in humanitarian response. Created in collaboration with Quicksand.

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