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Game time: Climbing the ladder to accountability

IRM board game road to redress 2

Photo by Independent Redress Mechanism (IRM)

By Rabi Thapa

Who would have thought the process of accountability could be so much fun?

 “Road to Redress,” a new board game developed by the Independent Redress Mechanism (IRM), based in South Korea, provides an engaging way to teach players how it handles complaints from communities related to projects supported by the Green Climate Fund.

The idea for the board game arose following outreach events with communities and civil society groups.

“We’ve been trying to think about how we can make our sessions more interesting and have more lasting impact with the civil society organizations that we work with,” said Peter Carlson, Communications Associate at the IRM. “A traditional, physical board game makes it a lot easier to communicate by enticing people to play. I think being able to have something physical that people can see and that they can relate to helps with them understanding what we’re trying to do.”

The board game, which was officially launched in March, debuted in a beta version at the Independent Accountability Mechanism Network Annual Meeting in New York last November.

The game follows a Snakes & Ladders template, and is divided into four colored sections that represent the four stages of a complaint: Eligibility, Problem Solving, Compliance Review, and Remedy/Monitoring. Players pick cards and encounter hypothetical “scenarios” that determine their progress across the board – including a volcano eruption while on mission.

Sue Kyung Hwang, Executive Assistant at the IRM, said the process of conceptualizing, developing, and refining the game took several months.

“We had the idea of drawing a snake with lots of squares on it, starting from the very center of the board and then progressing toward the outer circle of the snake,” she said. “We ended up with about 160 squares! We tested it within the Green Climate Fund and got feedback on how we could make it better.”

IRM board game road to redress 3

Board game, "Road to Redress"

As the IRM's primary target audience was civil society members who did not know much about their accountability mechanism, they decided to keep it simple.

“We wanted a balance between making the game fun and easy and also trying to make it a little more realistic so people would really learn about the different steps of going through the IRM process in about 20 to 30 minutes of play,” Hwang said.

“Road to Redress” will get another try-out at an IRM outreach event in Africa later this year. At the November meeting in New York, the game was a hit. Several players wondered if they could adapt the game to reflect their own processes.

Said Carlson: “To our surprise, people who played it wanted to take it home with them. I think it's a breath of fresh air for many.”


For more information about the “Road to Redress” board game, or to learn how to obtain the game, contact


Published in March 2023

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