Champlain College Emergent Media Center's BREAKAWAY Game a Finalist for International Award Using Technology for Social Change

BREAKAWAY designed by the Champlain College Emergent Media Center.

BURLINGTON, Vt. --  The Champlain College Emergent Media Center's  BREAKAWAY initiative is a finalist for The Womanity Foundation's "2016 Womanity Award," an international award for the prevention of violence against women using information and communications technology.

BREAKAWAY is a soccer-themed video game, encouraging players to move away from behaviour that promotes violence against women, towards behaviour promoting mutual respect. Young players meet in camps where they role-play scenarios that create environments of gender equality. The game has been played in 185 countries with over 5,000 registered users.

The Womanity Foundation defines the competition as "an international award that supports collaboration between individuals or groups seeking to combat gender-based violence, and aims to break down barriers that such organizations face. This enables groundbreaking projects that are successful in one location, to be expanded, and reproduced elsewhere, to reach and help many more women."

BREAKAWAY is competing with three other pairs of finalists using ICT hailing from all over the globe. Womanity will announce the winners of the Womanity Award for the Prevention of Violence Against Women at OuiShare Fest in Paris in May 2016.

In partnership with the South Burlington, Vt.- based Population Media Center (behavior change experts), and with Grassroot Soccer South Africa as a "Scale-Up Partner," the collaboration aims to scale-up and integrate two successful existing models in a new context with the support and mentorship of The Womanity Foundation over a three-year period.

"We are very excited that through the Womanity Award a new generation of Champlain students will be able to amplify the efforts of Grassroots Soccer in Africa by engaging youth through BREAKAWAY." said Ann DeMarle, director of the EMC. "Our long lasting partnership with Population Media Center and the UN has enabled us to bring this successful program to communities and create gender equity champions. Womanity in turn brings forward new channels for sustainable social change."

BREAKAWAY, matched with Grassroot Soccer's innovative soccer-based HIV and gender-based violence prevention curricula aims to create sustainable and effective change in attitudes and behaviors.

The BREAKAWAY initiative was created by Champlain College students under the sponsorship and guidance of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Population Media Center, and faculty and staff at the Emergent Media Center. BREAKAWAY is part of the United Nations' UNiTE campaign and supports the United Nations' goals to end poverty and violence. Other recent partnerships include UN Women, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), University of Sonsonate, University at Buffalo-the State University of New York, Unidad De La Mujer Sonsonate, Municipality of Sonsonate, Municipality of Hebron in the Palestinian Territories, the LKW Foundation, and HOPEWorks


Ann DeMarle with youth in Khayelitsha, South Africa - where BREAKAWAY began and where the Champlain team will return to work with Grassroot Soccer.

Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit