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Here’s how virtual reality can boost refugee crisis awareness and action

This video is part of: Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Virtual reality (VR) shows promise in increasing empathy and encouraging donations towards refugee crises. A study by Washington State University compared the impact of a VR film, "Clouds of Sidra," about a Syrian refugee child, on two groups:

  • VR viewers reported significantly higher levels of sympathy compared to those who watched the film on a computer screen.
  • The effect was strongest among political conservatives: They showed a greater increase in sympathy and donation likelihood after the VR experience.

Virtual reality as a bridge for humanitarian action

The study's authors suggest VR's immersive nature bridges ideological divides, influencing attitudes in a way traditional media might not. This has significant practical implications for NGOs and aid agencies seeking to raise awareness and secure donations for humanitarian crises.

The Global Collaboration Village: A VR platform for action

One example is the Global Collaboration Village, the world's first extended reality platform dedicated to fostering public-private cooperation on global challenges.

This initiative by the World Economic Forum, in partnership with Accenture and powered by Microsoft Mesh, demonstrates the potential of VR technology to create impactful solutions for complex issues like the refugee crisis.

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