Howard Delafield International (HDI) recently hosted Gamechangers’ 24 at The Claridges, New Delhi on January 18. The event highlighted the impact of the USAID-funded game, Go Nisha Go, aimed at shaping knowledge and behaviors among 15–19-year-old girls.
As reported by The Indian Express, the role-play game, with over 300,000 downloads, allows players to navigate various scenarios, reinforcing the power of decision-making in shaping their lives.
Go Nisha Go comprises five levels covering negotiation with parents, menstruation, consent, contraception, and delaying early marriage. The game integrates in-game information from 26 partners, providing resources to players and allowing them to witness the outcomes of their choices. The results of a first randomized control trial conducted by Population Council Consulting on approximately 2000 girls in Patna, Jaipur, and Delhi demonstrated a significant positive impact on knowledge, self-efficacy, and intent.
Girls who played the game showed at least twice the comprehensive knowledge of modern contraceptives compared to non-players. Fertility awareness increased by 119%, and the intention to seek help for contraceptive and menstrual-related issues was higher among players by 132% and 115%, respectively. The study also revealed improved abilities to seek health advice and purchase menstrual products online.
Dr. Susan Howard, Co-founder of HDI and the visionary behind Go Nisha Go, said, “The overall takeaway is that fun and interactive games can activate the motivation and desire to learn through a challenge or quest, simulate ‘push-pull’ conflicts, and allow players to experience choices in a safe place. Moreover, games can nudge players to explore in-game resources and try products and services for use in real life. Finally, games can stimulate confidence in real life through successes and failures within the game with the option to ‘replay’.”
Go Nisha Go, available for free on the Google Play Store, incorporates a user-friendly chatbot (AskParo) and connects users with 26 products and services. These resources have been clicked over 754,000 times, and the chatbot has received over 200,000 messages. The game, in Hinglish, has been downloaded across the country, with major downloads from Delhi, Rajasthan, and Bihar.
Dr. Zoya Ali Rizvi, Deputy Commissioner, National Health Mission, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, commended Go Nisha Go for empowering adolescents with knowledge beyond the virtual world.
In 2023, Go Nisha Go received recognition as the best serious game by Games and Learning Alliance in Dublin, Ireland, and ‘Best Learning Game’ at the Games for Change Festival in New York City.