Suramula: How to Survive a Flood

Empowering Youth Through Virtual Games for Real World Climate Action

January 29, 2024
Salome Noniashvili, co-author of the Suramula online game
Photo: UNDP Georgia/Giorgi Shengelia
Gameplay Rooted in Reality

Roaring water floods the streets. A quest for safety begins! Is it reality or a game? For 15-year-old Salome Noniashvili from Georgia's Kaspi municipality, it's both. Co-author of the online game Suramula, Salome harnesses the power of play to teach people how to navigate climate disasters.

The Suramula game revolves around the frequent flooding of the Suramula River in Georgia's Kashuri and Surami municipalities, which frequently transforms into a destructive force affecting the surrounding areas. In their attempts to flee, players must navigate challenges that mirror the real-life struggles faced during such flooding events.

"To escape the flood, players need to climb high buildings. As they go up, they face new challenges, creating an immersive gaming experience."
Salome Noniashvili, Young Climate Ambassador and co-author of the Suramula online game

Together with Salome Noniashvili, a team of young game developers included Luka Lomidze from Bolnisi who built a game on Roblox to reach a broad audience. 

Their efforts garnered attention when the Suramula game extended beyond virtual boundaries, sparking a climate awareness campaign targeted at young people. In 2023, Salome, Luka, and their friends organized informational meetings and seminars across several municipalities, involving over 50 young participants. These events focused on disaster management, community resilience, and green entrepreneurship, fostering an understanding of environmental challenges and motivating youth to actively engage in sustainable solutions.

Suramula online game team
Photo: UNDP Georgia/Giorgi Shengelia
From Camp to Action: Young Climate Ambassadors

In the summer of 2023, visionary initiatives of young climate activists, like Salome and Luka, took root at the "Climate Ambassadors" educational youth camp. Alongside 50 bright and keen climate activists from all corners of Georgia, they thrived in a friendly environment, offering young minds a platform to learn, connect, and refine their leadership and entrepreneurial skills. 

The transformative experience left Young Climate Ambassadors brimming with newfound knowledge about environmental challenges and a passionate determination to shape a sustainable future. Many embarked on local projects addressing environmental issues in their home regions.

"The summer camp for Young Climate Ambassadors is the realization of my values, experiences, and the knowledge I eagerly sought."
Salome Noniashvili, Young Climate Ambassador and co-author of the Suramula online game
Nurturing Environmental Champions

The Climate Ambassadors camp is a joint initiative of UNDP and the Environmental Information and Education Centre of Georgia’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture. The camp aims to raise climate awareness across the country, engaging local communities and youth in national climate action.

In 2022 and 2023, the camp welcomed 110 young climate activists, nurturing a generation of environmental champions.

Through innovative initiatives like the Suramula game, young leaders like Salome Noniashvili and Luka Lomidze are actively contributing to a sustainable and resilient future.

This pivotal work is part of the UNDP’s broader climate programme, supported by the Green Climate Fund, and the governments of Georgia, Sweden, and Switzerland.