PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Carana

Sample of a badge given to participants in the Carana simulation

Sample of a badge given to participants in the Carana simulation

Carana is a fictional country on the 8th continent developed originally by the UNDP for their training exercises and now the country used in our simulation exercise for post-conflict recovery planning.  We use the simulation in our core course on working in fragile and conflict-affected states and have enjoyed great success with it.

In the Carana simulation, 7 to 10 participants take on the roles of President, Prime Minister, Special Representative of the Secretary General, World Bank Country Manager, Union Leader and other ministers and international organization representatives.  With fewer than 10 participants, we drop the Prime Minister, Union Leader and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General (DSRSG) successively.

Each role is given different information about the condition and needs of Carana and the participants must work together to create an action plan for Carana’s recovery, including choosing from among more than 50 actions, determining what the size and composition of the combined army will look like, setting priorities when everything seems important and getting all this within their aid envelope.   All of this happens in about 16 hours over the four day course.  We challenge the participants with incomplete information, every one starts with a piece of the puzzle, but we never given them incentives to lie or withhold information from each other – it turns out it is difficult enough communicating and prioritizing in the limited time they have without us pitting the participants against each other (no matter how much more realistic it might be).

The simulation is used to teach the basic risks associated with post-conflict recovery planning, to give the course participants an opportunity to employ their knowledge gained from the operations course and to provide a sandbox where participants can safely experiment and discuss hypotheticals about what would and wouldn’t work in post-conflict recovery.

It is very engaging for the participants and great fun to run, we usually have three concurrent Caranas running simultaneously during the course – accommodating up to 30 participants.  To me, one of the most fascinating elements of the exercise is seeing how differently each Carana turns out after starting at essentially identical starting points.  There is no better reminder that we work in a social science than seeing how who is involved determines what happens.

5 responses to “Carana

  1. Don Gemeinhardt 03/03/2009 at 5:10 pm

    I would be interested in what materials and experience evaluation is done of these people before they join the exercise. Also what evaluation methods or After Action methods do you use to evaluate both the trainee and the instruction.

  2. Gary Milante 07/03/2009 at 7:04 pm

    Hi Don, thanks for the comments, I’ve added a post on evaluations to (hopefully) answer a few of your questions:

    http://paxsims.wordpress.com/2009/03/07/evaluating-learning-from-simulations/

  3. morteza 14/10/2012 at 6:45 am

    Hi, Would you please let me know how this simulation can be accessable? Is it open-source?

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