Raise the Village



Sim raises funds for Ugandans, but as a game is only so-so.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The controls are not difficult, mostly just click-and-drag actions to bring buildings or items into your virtual village. The app is somewhat text-heavy with instructions and information about the village.

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This is a "velvet rope" app that offers players a chance to get a better playing experience by spending real money. However, in this case, your real-world funds are supposed to go toward buying supplies for a real Ugandan village. The way you use real money is to purchase "florins," an in-game currency that can be used to buy village items. The app also allows you to earn free florins by downloading other apps. There is no way to earn this premium in-game currency by playing the game. As with any form of giving, you will want to research the company to find out more about where your money goes.

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Privacy & safety

You will need to register an account, providing a username, password, name, age range, and gender to play; email address, photo, and phone number are optional. The app states that providing a phone number will "allow friends to add you as a friend by scanning their iPhone contacts." Biko, one of the game's creators, will automatically "friend" you. Players can connect to Facebook to find friends.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Raise the Village is a world-building simulation app that raises money for a real-world Ugandan village through a company called New Charity Era -- a low-profit, limited liability corporation (L3C). The real money spent to purchase the in-game currency needed to customize your virtual village goes toward the purchase of supplies for the real village. It's a unique form of giving. In addition to spending real money on in-game currency, you can also earn currency by downloading other apps -- both free and pay. Be aware that the app will ask for personal information, including name, email address, and a phone number, but providing much of it is optional.  As with any form of giving, you will want to research the company to find out more about where your money goes.

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RAISE THE VILLAGE is a brilliant concept for raising money for a cause. People spend tons of money to build virtual villages in "velvet rope" apps, so why not create an app that puts such money to good use? Other sim apps are a lot more fun and whimsical in their design, gameplay, and the items they offer. But the draw of Raise the Village lies in the way it connects to a real Ugandan village. You can read regular blog posts about the village, and see photos of supplies being delivered to the villagers. Each week, there will be special items you can buy for your virtual village that are said to reflect the needs of the real-world villagers. The app works better as an educational tool -- and as a fundraiser -- than it does as a game. It is intended, however, to be far more than just a game.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:March 14, 2011
Category:Simulation Games
Publisher:New Charity Era, L3C
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.0 or later

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byJinxy. June 12, 2011

One of the best!

Personally, I love this application and really believe in what the people at Charity Era are doing. The game play is similar to the popular game Farmville but even better! While the money spent in Farmville only benefits the app and its makers, Raise the Village actually donates its profits to a village in need, in a completely different continent! This game is also extremely educational, providing video clips and photos of each of the deliveries that are made to Uganda! There are additional videos throughout the site showing how your money is benefiting the village directly; how the items are used; and why they're needed. All in all, I feel this is a great app for children and their families, by showing them how people in another country survive without some of the things Americans take for granted as well as teaching them the art of giving at an early age.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written bysusanspry June 8, 2011

Great game to play with kids! Teach them about the World!

This game is great for teaching children about another culture, making choices with their money, and altruism. There is so much information in the game play about the culture in Uganda, how people live, how basic their needs are compared to the commercialism of America, it is a great tool for families to play with their children of all ages.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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