On October 10, people from across the United States and Russia will clean green and coastal areas during the Clean Games Intercontinental Cup «Russia – USA». This one-hour event, orchestrated across time zones, is co-organized by Clean Games, based in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and the World Aral Region Charity, based in Glenmont, New York. The partnership project is supported by Eurasia Foundation’s U.S.-Russia Social Expertise Exchange program.

Participants will clean areas in and around 10 cities in the U.S. and 10 cities in Russia. Using Clean Games’ innovative mobile application, organizers will mark littered areas in their cities and participants will follow the map to find garbage to collect. Volunteers will then receive garbage from participants and grant game points. Gamer points are displayed in an online scoreboard accessible via mobile app and on the tournament website. Participants are scored within and across the cities, with the winning team earning the Clean Games Cup. All sorted waste will be recycled or appropriately processed.

World Aral Region Charity is a non-profit organization that provides ecological, economic, and cultural aid to the shrinking sea in Kazakhstan by supporting local initiatives and promoting awareness of the crisis in the United States. In recent months, the organization has begun to focus on ecological projects beyond the Aral Region.

Says Robert Willard, President of World Aral Region Charity: “We believe that our methodology for uniting young activists from around the world to act on innovative ideas for ecological advocacy can be applied to other areas of Eurasia. Although the Aral Sea Region remains the central focus of our non-profit, we are now inviting partnerships for youth ecological advocacy across Eurasia, [including] Eastern-Europe, the Caucasus, and the Balkans.”

Clean Games is an international non-governmental organization distributing the methodology of gamified volunteer cleanups for free. Since 2014, Clean Games has held 853 tournaments in more than 300 cities across 17 countries. Over 59,000 participants have collected more than 1,200 tons of garbage. The project is frequently lauded in Russia as a groundbreaking eco-volunteer initiative. It has also been selected to participate in the Paris Peace Forum in 2019, and it was presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2020.

Adds Dmitry Ioffe, chairman of the Clean Games organization: “We believe that if you do a clean-up once, you will litter less. Our goal is to attract as many people to the clean-ups as possible. In order to do that, we developed this format. Our games are a fun way to talk about serious problems. Many people don’t want to participate in community workdays. It usually sounds like a job, so we make it a vacation for them. We turn cleaning into a fun game to play with friends and family. It draws in the attention of local communities, city administration, and socially responsible businesses."

Register to participate here. Visit Eurasia Foundation U.S.-Russia Social Expertise Exchange website to learn more about current partnership projects and future funding opportunities.