The Oasis Game is a tool to support citizen mobilization for the realization of collective dreams. Composed of players and communities, the game considers a broad definition of community that involves diverse actors, such as residents, NGOs, local government, leaders and companies. Designed to be freely used, and practiced in a totally cooperative way, so that everyone together can achieve something in common, Oasis proposes rules that allow everyone to win, without exception.
You can play and download the Oasis Game hereOasis Game in action
The Oasis game is a six to ten day event that invites a community to project and build in a cooperative way a challenging project chosen by the members of the community to suit their needs. Projects can range from a square, a park, a kindergarten to a cultural center. The game considers a broad definition of the community and involves representatives from different sectors of the society – NGO’s, Government as well as community members from other parts of the city.
The idea behind the name Oasis came from history books: an oasis offers hope, refugee and stability for the tired traveler in the desert. Our world is full of vast “deserts”: regions and communities where the vitality was destroyed both socially and/or environmentally. However, in these places, there are still inevitable points of light full of hope, beauty and joy. The Oasis Game has the intention of developing more of these points of light, be it by creating new ones of expanding what is already there. A community can work together in a cooperative, creative and quick way in order to build a modern Oasis in only a couple of days: a physical space that promotes life, joy and restoration.
The Oasis Game is based on the 7 step Elos philosophy and is a gamified format to transform communities in a playful and collective way. Guided by the steps, assignments, roles and other tools in the game a group of players involve a community in physically and socially transforming their reality.
The game is a distillation of the Warriors without Weapons program, with an emphasis on the community. In the Warriors, the game aims at awakening and cultivating a spirit of social and cooperative entrepreneurship in the members of the community, but is also emphasizes the stimulus in the community itself. In this aspect, two of the main objectives are restored and/or strengthened the relations and affective connections that unite the community, and cultivate a sense of opportunity and responsibility of caring for people and the environment.
- Stimulates and habilitates entrepreneurship and cooperation in groups and communities;
- Promotes an appreciative gaze and broaden the capacity of each person to propose creative solutions for critical questions pertaining to the community of our neighborhood;
- It brings a daily change of perception to our participants that it is possible to change the world without suffering; without compromising its liberty and autonomy and still make it in a pleasant way.
- Promotes the practice of human values such as: respect, compassion, cooperation, acceptance of differences and etc.;
- Broadens the level of information about environmental sustainability strategies and construction;
- Restores or builds a community dream, making it possible to be replicated;
The Oasis game is recommended for the following situations:
- When you want to stimulate and develop work in group;
- When a company wants to stimulate volunteer work;
- Initiate a local development plan,
- When we want to disseminate values that can hardly be assimilated by intellectual learning;
- When we want to stimulate the “MAKE IT HAPPEN” in a group;
- When you want to promote radical changes of culture in a group or team;
Why Oasis Game?
The oasis game has a social effect (empowerment, stronger sense of community) and a physical result (dream is materialized during the process) and is realized in a very short time. We’ve experienced that the Oasis Game meets a pressing need with communities to meet one another more and take matters more into their own hand, without having to fill in 20 forms. At the same time local government and housing institutions wish to service that need, but have no clue how to really engage with communities.
The Oasis Game process
The Oasis Game is played by active community members, local stakeholders and volunteers. A group of 20 to 30 people are supported, hosted and facilitated by a team of 2 or 3 ‘gamehosts’.
This group goes out into the community to mobilize the people to find, design and realize the dream of their community. This starts after a 1,5 month preparation and the actual Oasis Game with this group is played in 6 to 7 days, most of the time spread over two weekends.
In these days they go through 7 steps of the Oasis Game, explained here:
Step 1: The Gaze
the essence: Appreciative gaze at ones community
The purpose: To cultivate an appreciative view of the community and its environment, with the purpose of setting a stage of abundant resources and possibilities
The action: the group goes into the community to look at the beauty that’s already there and harvest that, instead of to look for problems.
Step 2: Affection
the essence: Building genuine relationships
The purpose: To encourage the creation of relationships between people based on common values to generate trust and a desire to care for one another, fueling and strengthening a collective spirit.
The action: the group goes into the community to look for the people behind the beauty to build honest, affectionate relationship, looking for their talent and histories.
Step 3: Dream
the essence: Allowing the best world the community can dream of arise
The purpose: To create a space and relationships where people can express their most ambitious and profound collective aspirations that we all have, going beyond the usual focus on problems.
the action: After building a network of affectionate relationships we invite people to dream. An essentially different approach than asking them what problems they’d want to see solved.
Step 4: Care
The essence: Collective design to shape common dreams
Purpose The careful planning of projects and strategies so that they include the community’s collective dreams in all of their diversity. The right care is the one that is good for yourself, for your neighbours and for the planet.
the action: The group invites the community to a great interactive meeting to find the most collective dream and to design it using world café, open space and maquetes to come up with a tangible dreamplan
Step 5: The miracle
The essence: Moving together giving our best for a great result
Purpose: The collective’s action strengthened by its best attributes, enriched by the resources that already exist in the community, relying on the emotional ties that unite them, and motivated by its most ambitious collective dreams.
The action: Two to three days of collective action, involving as many people in the community as possible, using their talents, but also their resources. A chaordic, fun and result-oriented part where people are always amazed that the result is beyond our ideas of what was possible.
Step 6: Celebration
The essence: Sharing happiness and nurturing life
Purpose: Coming together at the end of the journey to share the joy of working together, recognizing and celebrating everyone’s contribution to the collective accomplishment.
The action: a great celebration of the result. We tend to forget that a lot in Holland, we move on. Celebration is key.
Step 7: Re-evolution
The essence: A new cycle expanding dreams and realizations
Purpose: After discovering our great potential of action and the pleasure of realizing dreams together. It is natural and almost unavoidable the desire to continuing taking bigger steps towards new dreams.
The action: A community meeting with all the involved to build upon the energy to make plans for sustaining the results, organizing one selves more and to create new projects with the whole community. Besides carefully crafted process and steps the success of the Oasis Game can be found in a continuous process of teambuilding amongst the core team and in the community. Facilitators create a space that allows everybody’s input to be valuable and through circle dances, cooporative games and using the power of collective creativity create a positive spirit that build a bond that is deeply rooted in the heart and body of all involved.
Oasis Games always have a social and a physical outcome.
Social: At its core is all about activation, participation and cooperation with neighbors to do something for the neighborhood. Together experience that if you join forces, can realize your dreams. That’s the energy you want to create and build on. The social impact is visible in:
• strengthening of faith in own strength of residents
• more residents come together to work to get started on community building
• More people from different backgrounds come together in a peaceful way
• residents and authorities find each other easier and are more familiar with each other, especially because people worked together in an Oasis Game
• The sense of initiative has been strengthened
• people feel more ownership over their own environment
• residents to form a community together and start more projects, more unrealized dreams. In Makassar Square in Amsterdam after the Oasis Game took place within one month around 25 initiatives were put forward for a civilian council for realization.
Physical: The physical results are often expressed in public space, but can also be used in buildings. Results from previous games are a.o.:
• Parks and meetingspaces with vegetable garden, benches and trash cans
• painting of eye-catchers or important places in the community
• construction wall gardens and herb gardens
• playground equipment such as playhouses, swings, soccer goals
• a cable card - later replaced by an 'official' one
• huge neighborhood diner, which will be repeated.
• a street shop made of street materials
• a bulletin board for local initiatives