A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What 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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Is it any good?
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.