This is a list of VR projects helping people to develop a deeper understanding of the world. I've sorted them roughly by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
If you'd like to contribute to this list or suggest ways I can make it more useful, please contact me. I will try to keep this list up to date but if any of the links below do not work please let me know.
1. No Poverty
Nepal Quake Project (RYOT VR) - uses Virtual Reality technology to immerse users in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake. The film not only marks the first in natural disaster VR, but it represents the future of news and action.
2. Zero Hunger
3. Good Health & Well-being
360 journey to end polio (UNICEF) - join Ewan McGregor on a journey. Find out what it must it be like as a child living with polio.
Under the Net (Nothing But Nets) - Struggling to survive each day, and with no protection from mosquitoes that carry malaria at night, you will experience Amisa’s life through her eyes.
VRinOR - focused in medical and healthcare education/training. It offers unlimited content channels each presenting a different series of surgeries, captured in 360-degree video.
A Walk Through Dementia (Alzheimer's Research UK) - designed to put you in the shoes of someone living with dementia.
Virtual Reality for Dementia Care (Tribemix and Quantum Care) - developed a series of virtual reality experiences that take people living with dementia in care out of the residential homes and away to a range of relaxing places.
Cancer Research - a virtual reality tribute garden that can hold over 100,000 flowers – one for each person who left a gift in their Will to Cancer Research UK.
#Welisten (Samaritans) - seeks to raise awareness and increase understanding of Samaritans so that people see the act of contacting us as a positive, empowering first step in seeking help and taking control of their lives.
Too Much Information (National Autistic Society) - based on real experiences of autistic people, a virtual reality film to give a flavour of how overwhelming an everyday setting like a shopping centre can be.
Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness - an immersive virtual reality (VR) project based on John’s sensory and psychological experience of blindness.
6x9: a virtual reality experience of solitary confinement. (The Guardian) - places you inside a US solitary confinement prison cell and tells the story of the psychological damage that can ensue from isolation.
Waves of Grace (UNVR) – captures a young woman’s struggle for life amid an Ebola epidemic. After surviving a bout with the deadly disease that stole the lives of her family, Decontee, a Liberian native, uses her immunity to help children orphaned by Ebola.
4. Quality Education
Tanzania 360° (Pestalozzi Children's Foundation) - Experience the Pestalozzi Children's Village first-hand. At the visitor centre in Trogen, Switzerland, they are using it to share the story of life in a village in Tanzania for a young boy.
Google Expeditions - students can take field trips right from their classroom. Expeditions allows a teacher acting as a “guide” to lead classroom-sized groups of “explorers” through collections of 360° and 3D images while pointing out interesting sights along the way.
5. Gender Equality
Weaving a better future (Canadian Museum for Human Rights) - accompany the exhibition Empowering Women: be transported to Guatemala with a virtual reality (VR) experience that’s part of the Empowering Women exhibition.
Pretty Curious (EDF Energy) - Spend a day walking in the shoes of Roma Agrawal, Claire Canning and Claire Mitchell in their STEM jobs.
Mamie's Dream (Plan International) - You will be transported to Mamie's life in Sierra Leone and experience what it’s like to be a girl in the country, from avoiding FGM, to teenage pregnancy, and getting an education.
Born into Exile (FilmFreeway) - tells the harrowing yet hopeful story of two pregnant Syrian refugee women in the week leading up to the births of their babies.
6. Clean Water & Sanitation
Aftershock (WaterAid) - you’ll find yourself in post-earthquake Nepal, as plumber Krishna embarks on the challenge of a lifetime: restoring his community’s damaged water supply.
The Source (CharityWater) - Experience the transformation of her Ethiopian community as a well bearing fresh water is dug for the first time. Also see article on how they have used it to inspire donors.
7. Affordable & Clean Energy
Virtual Reality and Wind Energy (Bosch & Van Rijn) - letting people experience wind energy in a positive way, which makes them feel more enthusiastic about having a turbine in their area.
8. Decent Work & Economic Growth
Inside Impact (Clinton Global Initiative) - goal is to increase empathy and drive action to better the condition of our ever-changing interconnected world.
9. Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure
The Ganges River Project (UNVR) – India Travel from the mouth to the delta, witnessing the troubling effects of human and industrial waste on the mighty and sacred Ganges River.
10. Reduced Inequalities
Toms Virtual Giving Trip (TOMS shoes) - Journey to Peru to meet some of the children who receive TOMS shoes and the Giving Partners who make it possible.
Home: Aamir ( National Theatre and Surround Vision) - a series of 360° films exploring the meaning of home through the stories of refugees who have been in the Calais Jungle.
Nomads - Experience the way of life of Yak Herders in the Mongolian steppes or Maasai in Kenya, even as they struggle for their rights and adapt to contemporary realities.
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
A day on the streets (UploadVR) - Using virtual reality to generate empathy and end homelessness.
Nepal Earthquake – Nepal (estimated May 2016) on 25 April 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated the country of Nepal. See the effects days later through the eyes of a Nepali first responder.
12. Responsible Consumption and Production
iAnimal (Animal Equity) - Animal Equality carries out investigations to shine a light on the abuse suffered by animals raised and killed for food. The viewer is transported inside factory farms and slaughterhouses
13. Climate Action
Arctic VR Experience (Greenpeace) - In an attempt to tackle the difficulty of relating to climate change, Greenpeace has produced a VR-expedition to the high Arctic where the viewer get's the chance to explore the inside of a glacier and meet a baby seal and a polar bear. The video is primarily used by Greenpeace teams in streets and shopping malls and has been translated to 15 different languages.
14. Life Below Water
Reef Dive VR (Natural History Museum) - David Attenborough will guide you through this extraordinary community of life, which with over 3000 reef systems, forms one of the most important natural resources on Earth.
The Crystal Reef (Stanford Uni) - A rocky reef off the coast of Italy demonstrates the future of climate change and how human-produced carbon dioxide will turn all the world’s oceans into a moonscape.
Swim with Dolphins (Dolphin Project) - to stop dolphin killing and exploitation.
Valen's Reef (Conservation International) - join local fisherman-turned-coral-reef-scientist and CI staffer Ronald Mambrasar as he monitors the reefs with his young son, Valen. Ronald tells Valen the story of how the area was almost destroyed and how the community-led conservation initiative restored it.
15. Life on Land
Tiger Experience: Adopt a Tiger (WWF) - fundraising and awareness campaign toraise awareness of tiger poaching. WWF took a VR stall to a shopping centre and gave people the opportunity to “become a ranger” in a VR world. This is a little round up video.
Wildlife through the eyes of the animal (RSPB) - Virtual reality meets nature in the heart of Cardiff’s Bute Park with the aim of inspiring them to look after Cardiff’s fantastic wildlife and get closer to nature.
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
VR for Peace Museum - A Virtual Universe created from History's greatest Peacemakers lives. Exploring the courage and commitment to humanity, empathy, and compassion that define peacemaking greatness for all, now and forever.
Oxfam - using virtual reality headsets to show people where their money is going
Syria 360 (Amnesty International) - a 360° body of evidence showing the devastation caused by barrel bombs in Syria and the human lives that remain.
Four Walls (The International Rescue Committee) - Join Rashida Jones in this Virtual Reality film as she visits Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. Take a 360-degree tour with Rashida to meet and see where they're staying. Additional reading: UploadVR.
Honor Everywhere 360 - allows Veterans who aren’t able to physically travel the opportunity to see their memorials.
Clouds Over Sidra (UNVR) – Jordan (January 2015) is the story of a 12 year old Syrian refugee living in the Za’atri Refugee Camp in Jordan. She has been there since the summer of 2013. The experience follows her to school, to her makeshift tent and even to the football pitch.
My Mother’s Wing (UNVR) gives an unprecedented view of the Gaza Strip. It recounts the first-hand experience of a young mother coping with the loss of two of her children in the bombing of the UNRWA school in July 2014
17. Partnership for the Goals
The Global Goals (Global Citizen) - As the United Nations lays out its plan to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, it is critical to understand the scale of what we are trying to solve, and who it is we are trying to help.
United Nations Virtual Reality app (UNVR) - the SDG Action Campaign (formerly known as the United Nations Millennium Campaign) has coordinated the Virtual Reality Series Project to bring the world’s most pressing challenges home to decision makers and global citizens around the world, pushing the bounds of empathy.
PudseyVR (Children in Need) - Series of videos for viewers to engage with fundraising for Children in Need. Go behind the scenes of your favourite BBC shows like Poldark, ride a rollercoaster and fly in an airplane
It can wait, driving simulator (AT&T) - to make people think twice about texting, emailing or calling from behind the wheel of a car.
VR for Good (Oculus) - launched in 2016 by pairing 10 rising filmmakers with 10 nonprofits to champion a variety of social missions while telling their stories in VR.
VR for Impact (HTC) In support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, HTC are starting a $10 million program to support developers, creators and VR dreamers to build something new, something that speaks to our humanity and has the potential to change the world.
VR Together Supporting VR Together can be a simple as dedicating a few hours a week, a month, or year to developing VR & AR projects alongside existing commercial work.
VR for Good Facebook Group - This is a place to discuss the content, tech and production of VR and 360º video that makes the world a better place.