The Children Born of War (CBOW) Project is the result of an unusual, but successful collaboration between two digital game designers and a researcher that started with the mobile game project called “My Child Lebensborn”. As part of the development, creative producer Elin Festøy (Teknopilot AS) and Professor Dr. Ingvill Constanze Ødegaard (formerly Mochmann), the global leading researcher on Children Born of War and Founder of the “International Network for Interdisciplinary Research on Children Born of War,” met and started a collaboration for greater visibility and better rights for Children Born of War. Together with lead game designer Catharina Due Bøhler (Sarepta Studio AS) and the help of the Norwegian Lebensborn children, the result is a mobile game that is representative for the suffering of the CBOW-children in Norway from World War II.
Prejudice is the root cause of the suffering for CBOW and creating awareness and knowledge is necessary. With the research and network from Dr. Ødegaard, together with the game’s ability to communicate the topic, this determined trio felt they had a strong starting point to create a platform for international awareness for CBOW. They also concluded that there is a need for a new organization working solely for the rights of these children.
“My Child Lebensborn” has so far sold over 1 million copies and has won the prestigious BAFTA award for “Games Beyond Entertainment.” Teknopilot AS and Sarepta AS are donating part of the proceeds from the game to found The Children Born of War Project so that the engagement of millions of players worldwide can be transformed into actual help for the CBOW of today.
The Children Born of War Project is founded on the belief that awareness and empathy is the best antidote for prejudice and that we through insight and information can help these children to be seen and protected for what they are – innocent children.
The purpose of the foundation is to promote and safeguard the needs and rights of children born of war, defined as Children Born of War (CBOW), children where the mother is a local native and the father usually belongs to a foreign military, armed group, or e.g. a peacekeeping force. Aims of the foundation include:
- Work for increased awareness, knowledge and available information about CBOW
- Work to secure and promote the rights of CBOW worldwide
- Support teaching and training projects aimed at combating stigma and excluding CBOW
- Support research initiatives aimed at knowledge building and documentation of living conditions and treatment of CBOW worldwide
- Direct assistance to organizations and individuals working on projects related to the foundation’s purpose
The board includes members with professional competence in the field of CBOW. The board strives to include a broad competence background, from academia, interest organizations, communication and also practical work in the field, and other networks that can promote knowledge about CBOW in relevant national and international organizations. To make contact with one of the board members – firstname.lastname@example.org
Managing Director and Chairwoman:
Ingvill Constanze Ødegaard | Norway and Germany
Professor Ingvill Constanze Ødegaard is head of the Research Gateway EUROLAB at GESIS-Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences in Cologne, Germany and Professor II at Centre for Gender Research at the University of Oslo, Norway. She was appointed professor of International Politics at the CBS International Business School (formerly Cologne Business School) in 2010 where she also served as Vice-president for Research and Knowledge Transfer from 2013-2018. Since 2019 she is a honorary professor at the CBS.
She graduated in comparative politics, economics and German at the University of Bergen, Norway, and Friedrich-Wilhelm- Universität, Bonn, Germany, and holds a doctorate in political science from the University of Giessen, Germany and a habilitation in social sciences at the University of Cologne, Germany. In 2013-2014 she was a fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) and from 2014-2020 an affiliated expert of HHI. She is founder of the “International Network for Interdisciplinary Research on Children Born of War” (childrenbornofwar.org) and an active member of the Research Data Alliance (RDA).
The International Network for Interdisciplinary Research on Children Born of War was merged with the foundation “Children Born of War project” in September 2021. For a summary of the development of the research field on Children Born of War as well as organizational developments see: Ingvill C. Mochmann “Children Born Of War – A decade of International and Interdisciplinary Research”).
For full CV, see here.
Catharina Bøhler | Norway
Catharina Bøhler is the CEO and co-founder of Sarepta Studio. She has 10 years of industry experience, primarily within the fields of management and game design. She was the lead game designer and co-writer of “My Child Lebensborn” a BAFTA-award winning narrative-driven parent simulator telling the true stories about Children Born of War. The game was spearheaded by the production company Teknopilot.
Catharina was in 2019 added to the Women in Games Europe Hall of Fame, Tech Women Norway’s “Tech Role Model” and the Hedmark region “Young entrepreneur of the year.” Catharina is an active contributor to the Norwegian game development industry. In addition to her leadership role at Sarepta Studio, she is Chairman of the board of Norway’s first game developer collective: Hamar Game Collective.
Elin Festøy | Norway
Elin Festøy is a creative producer and the founder of Teknopilot AS. She is also currently an artistic researcher (PhD) at The Norwegian Film School, studying emotionally charged interactions in non-fiction.
Festøy has since 2013 worked on a transmedia project on the Norwegian Lebensborn children and Children Born of War. She has co-produced the documentary film “Wars don’t end” (director Deeraj Alkolkar, Upnorth AS), produced the mobile game “My Child Lebensborn” and developed a digital teaching tool called “My Child Lebensborn EDU” for discussion of the situation for CBOW in the classroom. Her current research is examining unconscious bias around the question “how can an adult look at a child and see an enemy?”. She is a popular lecturer within the fields of digital documentary, transmedia, community building, VR and new media formats, as well as the founder/head of the board of the organization Norwegian Interactive Storytellers.
Festøy has previously worked as a journalist and editor-in-chief, and as a senior consultant in PR- and communication. She holds a Master’s degree in English literature and a Master’s degree in digital communication.
Ingeborg K. Haavardsson | Norway
Ingeborg K. Haavardsson is a management and communication specialist, with over 25 years of management and event experience on international development and research related questions. Since 2016, she is the Managing Director for the Centre for Global Health (CGH) at the University of Oslo (UiO). She is also the leader of Women in Global Health Norway, hosted by CGH. Her educational background includes a Master’s degree in International Conflict Analysis from the University of Canterbury, Kent, UK and undergraduate studies (French, History, Comparative Politics) from UiO and the University of Bergen. Previous experience: Information Director (1999-2005) then Special Advisor for External Relations (2005-2016) at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) where she was instrumental in building up the Peace Research Endowment, an independent unit in the USA. She has also worked for the Norwegian Church Aid and the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration.
Inger Skjelsbæk | Norway
Inger Skjelsbæk is professor and director of the Center for Gender Research (STK) at the University of Oslo. She is also a research leader at the Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX) at the University of Oslo. Finally, she is a research professor (affiliate) at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) where she has been employed since 1996 and where she was deputy director from 2009-2015. Skjelsbæk has also been a visiting fellow at University of California, Berkeley as well as at the London School of Economics.
Skjelsbæk holds a PhD in psychology from the Norwegian University of Technology and Science (NTNU) and her research focuses on gender, violence, norms, and policy. Her specific area of expertise includes conflict related sexual violence in the wars in the Balkans, gender equality norms and peace mediation, perpetrator identities and political violence as well as gender equality as Nordic branding. She has also taught courses in political and societal psychology, qualitative research methodologies, human rights, gender equality in the Nordic context, as well as gender, peace and conflict. In the period 2021- 2026 she will lead a project entitled Innocent Children or Security Threats? European Children Born of War (EuroWARCHILD), funded by the European Research Council (Consolidator Grant).
Lina Stotz | Germany
Lina Stotz is the Policy Advisor on sexual and gender-based violence with Germany’s largest women’s rights organisation, TERRE DES FEMMES. She specialises in human-rights-based political advocacy at the national and international/UN level. In her work, she aims to amplify the voices of disenfranchised women and children through research, awareness-raising-campaigns, law and policy recommendations. Lina has worked on the topics of conflict-related sexual violence, intersectional dimensions of gender-based discrimination, inclusion of women in peacebuilding processes and children born of war in relation to countries within the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Eastern and Central Europe. She has lived and worked in Myanmar, Laos, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany.
Lina holds an LL.M. in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights from Geneva Academy and the Graduate Institute (IHEID) (magna cum laude) and an LL.B. in International and European Law from The Hague University (with distinction). She won a research award for her thesis on a gender-sensitive interpretation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Norman Mukasa | Uganda
Norman has over eight years of experience in teaching, research and micro-project management. His work experience includes over 5 years of serving as a senior lecturer at Muteesa I Royal University (MRU) and Bugema University and 3 years of tutoring undergraduates and working in research and education development in Uganda. He has acquired strong management and team mobilization skills from his several assignments as a Dean of the faculty of the faculty of social sciences and humanities, and Director of Research and Postgraduate studies. Norman is the current chairperson of the secretariat for the East Africa Scientific Research Network (EASRN). He is a co-applicant on two projects: 1) the International Summer School on Survey Methodology (2019, 2021) hosted by Muteesa I Royal University; and (2) the Interuniversity Research and Innovation Community for Early Career Research (October 2020- June 2021) funded by the Uganda government’s Mak-Rif fund. Norman holds a PhD in International and Intercultural Studies from Deusto University and his research focuses on gender issues and children during and after conflicts, and socio-development dynamics of vulnerable groups like Indigenous people, sexual minorities.
Torunn L. Tryggestad | Norway
Torunn L. Tryggestad is Deputy Director at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and Director of the PRIO Centre on Gender, Peace and Security. She holds a PhD in Political Science (University of Oslo) on the topic “International Norms and Political Change: ‘Women, Peace and Security’ and the UN Security Agenda”. Her research focuses on the gendered dimensions of conflict resolution, conflict management, peace mediation and peacebuilding. She has extensive experience from teaching, training, and the provision of policy advice to various Norwegian stakeholders as well as international organisations such as the UN and NATO. In recent years she has been centrally involved in the planning and conduction of the High-Level Seminars on Gender and Inclusive Mediation Processes and in establishing the Nordic Women Mediators (NWM) network. Tryggestad was one of the principal authors of the Norwegian Government’s first National Action Plan on the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (2006). She was a member of the UN Secretary General’s fourth and fifth UN Peacebuilding Fund Advisory Group from 2015-2020. She is also a former member of the NATO Civil Society Advisory Panel (CSAP) on Women, Peace and Security. In 2019 she was appointed member of Kilden’s Advisory Board (www.genderresearch.no) for the period 2019-2021.
Gabriella Rodriguez | Norway and United States
Gabriella Rodriguez is a senior consultant for the Centre for Global Health (CGH), University of Oslo (UiO). Her responsibilities pertain mostly to communications related work and activities. In addition, she supports the Lancet One Health Commission and Women in Global Health (WGH) Norway Secretariats, both of which are hosted by CGH. She was the 2020 Planetary Health Alliance (PHA) campus ambassador and continues to works closely with the program to educate various communities about planetary health. Her education background includes a Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Masters degree in International Community Health from the Institute of Health and Society, UiO. Contact: email@example.com.