Games for Development

ZMQ is a pioneer in using ‘Game for Development’ and uses it as a sustainable model to create behavior change. The key focus areas are like Health, WASH, Nutrition, ARSH, Agriculture, Environment and Energy. In partnership with the local partner, ZMQ develops and implements innovative digital tools like mobile games, role-play games, digital story-telling, decision-tree stories, edutainment based trainings and other interactive tools for awareness, advocacy, social mobilization and capacity building. ZMQ effectively integrates these tools in social and behavior change campaigns. It delivers these solutions on variety of platforms like standalone computers, internet, mobiles and wearable technologies (IoTs). ZMQ effectively uses role-play based games as a successful way to create behavior change. Using this approach, various real-life situations are embedded with challenges that reflect the user’s true environment. Users are put in testing relationships and face challenges to solve the problems. Studies have shown that humans adopt many of their values and behaviors from their role models.

ZMQ’s model for sustained behavior change using Games for Development is based on ‘Real-World Risk Reduction Method using Game Mechanics’ where the users can play games virtually and take risk, and learn about the consequences of the risk; unlike in the real life where there is no return from the vulnerable situation. ZMQ’s social business strategy is based on ‘High Impact – Low Cost’ model where the cost of reaching the target audiences is as low as 2 cents per subscriber. One of the more successful examples has been the ‘Freedom HIV/AIDS’ initiative, mobile games for HIV/AIDS awareness, where a mere cost of 0.30 Indian Rupee per subscriber was incurred to reach to over 10 million beneficiaries.

Through ‘Games for Development’, ZMQ specializes in integrating scientific methods to measure effectiveness and impact of the overall SBCC campaigns. ZMQ captures Knowledge, Attitude & Practices (KAP) of users through these tools, which tells what people know about certain things, how they feel about them and how they behave. Understanding KAP level enables us to design a more efficient process of awareness creation and capacity building through customized performance tools appropriate for community needs. Every ‘in-game’ activity provides a scope of embedding measurable footprints (tracker points) to track behaviors. A sophisticated database records data such as user profiles, interaction with different scenarios, decisions taken, influencing factors, consequences of actions, feedback received and points scored. These data points help to assess knowledge gaps, risks taken, behavioral patterns, beliefs and practices that need to be changed to inculcate positive behaviors. Based on the user data, there is also an opportunity to provide customized pathways to different users to adopt healthy behaviors. Another efficient method adopted by ZMQ to measure change in knowledge, attitude and practice is by conducting pre-tests and post-tests, embedded within the digital tools, often referred as Virtual behavior change.