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World Bank Turns To VR Filmmaking To Fight Global Poverty


Sparking action against global poverty using the power of VR filmmaking.

The numbers are horrific. 3 billion people around the globe are living on less than $2.50 per day, including the 1.2 billion living in extreme poverty, existing on less than $1.25 per day. 

Efforts to combat world poverty are met with fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV), affecting both low and middle-income countries. It is estimated that by 2030, FCV countries will be home to 46% of the world’s most extreme poor.

To bring these painful statistics to the forefront of a global audience, The World Bank has released Preventing Conflict, Promoting Peace, a 360 VR film that lets you experience these issues first hand. It is one of the most impactful pieces made by the World Bank and its purpose is to spark action.

Once you put on a VR headset, you are transported to the country of Niger, where violence, terrorism, and armed conflict in neighboring countries are threatening the countries peace and stability. Meanwhile, extreme poverty runs rampant, posing a significant risk to many of the Nigerian people.

You can view the 360 film online in standard 2D and look around using the trackpad or by moving your finger across the screen, but the real impact comes from viewing it in 3D as a webVR experience. 

World Bank Turns To VR Filmmaking To Fight Global Poverty 1
Image Credit: The World Bank Group

“Fragility, conflict, and violence threaten development progress and can drive communities further into poverty. Niger is a country where 80% of workers are farmers and climate change is severely impacting agriculture. With the 3rd lowest GDP per capita in the world, it’s also bordered by countries in conflict. The World Bank’s community-based investments through the International Development Association (IDA), its fund for low-income countries, is supporting social protection, safety nets, education and agriculture in Niger– preventing conflict by improving the lives of marginalized youth. Through jobs and skills training, along with psychological and social counseling, people like Kaltoum and Ramatou are now improving their own lives and contributing to the development and stability of Niger,” states The World Bank Group in an official statement.

The moment you put on a VR headset, you meet Alassane. He is constantly worrying about the amount of work available in his community. They are usually afforded roughly 3 months of work; the remaining 9 months, however, become incredibly hard due to the lack of work. When there is a conflict in neighboring countries, the impact it can have on his community is significant. It can cut off markets and roads, often preventing work opportunities during those crucial three months of work.

World Bank Turns To VR Filmmaking To Fight Global Poverty 2
Image Credit: The World Bank Group

Violent conflicts in FCV countries have seen a dramatic spike since the beginning of 2010 with the already fragile landscape becoming more complex. Things such as climate change, rising inequality, demographic change, new technologies, illicit financial flows, and other global trends are adding to those risks, making for an even more unstable environment.

The impact is so extreme that even low and middle-income countries are affected by fragility risks. The World Bank is focused on addressing FCV, emphasizing prevention and acting early. We’re also remaining engaged during active conflict, and in countries going through transitions to peace. Stronger collaboration with humanitarian, development, peace and security partners is critical for delivery in challenging environments, such as in the Bank’s response to famine

“Preventing Conflict, Promoting Peace” looks to address the hardships of these FCV countries where 70.8 million refugees, internally displaced people, and asylum-seekers are looking for relief.

The World Bank consists of 189 member countries with offices in over 130 locations around the world. Their mission is to end global poverty and promote shared prosperity and sustainable development by increasing the income of the poorest 40% of people in every country.

Feature Image Credit: The World Bank Group

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