Updated: Aug 2, 2019
As HDI approaches its 25 Year Anniversary it wondered what if girls could ‘see’ the outcome of their choices. This musing lead to the innovation of an interactive digital game and to the successful funding by USAID.
In response to the Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Approaches to Fertility Awareness and Adolescent Reproductive Health Addendum to the USAID Development Innovation Accelerator Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), USAID funded Howard Delafield International LLP. (HDI), a women-owned small business, and partners Girl Effect, NAM ER at the Virginia Serious Game Institute, and Cycle Technologies, to pilot a program in India that combines an interactive story-based video game, a reproductive health education e-learning tool, a data analytics tool, and a web portal that links to family planning/ reproductive health (FP/RH) products and services. The game will challenge players to make realistic FP/RH decisions and choices within a safe and private virtual space, enabling them to experience the simulated outcomes of their choices.
‘Serious’ video games, designed for purposes other than pure entertainment, can provide a virtual reality for a young girl to navigate the course of her avatar’s life. With research showing strong correlation between identification of players with the characters used to represent them, and real-world decisions, the goal of the game is to generate impact on fertility awareness knowledge and key FP/RH behaviors, including improved knowledge about menstrual hygiene, fertile period, and use of FP/RH products. In addition, it is expected to result in improved attitudes, self-efficacy, and decision support for refusing sex, negotiation of contraceptive use, and information on accessing services and products through linkages to products and services within the game.
Intended to be co-designed and created with urban and peri-urban girls 15-19, the game is planned to eventually scale throughout the Hindi-belt, and potentially beyond, through social media, government, educational and foundation partners, with leverage from private sector collaborations. The initial study areas have been identified as semi-urban and urban areas of Bihar, Rajasthan and Delhi (NCR).