Possibility,
powered by play

OUR STORY

Young people’s choices matter

Game of Choice, Not Chance is a model for creating fun mobile games where young people discover, explore, learn and play their way toward becoming empowered choice-makers. Within relatable game worlds co-created with the youth, players navigate challenges by making choices, while gaining direct access to vital information and resources about their health and well-being.

As they play, young people discover how they can use their choices and voices to shape their future and open new worlds of possibility in their lives.

Why choice-making? Young people too often lack decision-making agency

The choices young people make—or are compelled to make—have a ripple effect on their lives now, and their futures as adults. For girls, a single choice to stay in school can protect them against early marriage, pregnancy, and gender-based violence. Yet too many are not able to make that choice. Instead, they are forced to marry before they are ready.

Boys want to experiment, innovate and improvise their way to financial independence, but are pushed towards ‘steady’ jobs that cement their role as providers. They want safe spaces to cry and express their emotions, but feel the pressure to be strong.

Young people want to explore different life paths as they transition to adulthood, but often don’t have access to mentors, reliable information and resources that can guide them and their choices.

We asked what if?

What if young people could enter alternate worlds as avatars, and gain access to myth-busting information, and explore their interests and preferences without pressure? What if they could try on unfamiliar choices for size; learn how and when to choose; experience the outcomes of their choices safely and realize that their decisions matter.

What if—these powerful possibilities could be placed in the palms of their hands?

Through mobile games, they can.

Our games invite youth to enter alternate worlds as avatars, and explore their interests and preferences without pressure. They gain the opportunity to try on unfamiliar choices for size and experience the outcomes of their choices safely. In-game links–made possible by strategic partnering–enable youth instant access to accurate information and vital resources with a tap on the screen.

Through our gaming innovations, young people experience the power of choice-making and how it can positively affect their lives so they may become more able to direct their futures with confidence.

ENTER NISHA

An avatar who is adventurous, fun and breaks the silence on taboo subjects

Go Nisha Go™ marks our first mobile game co-created with girls, ages 15-19, in Hindi-speaking regions in India and launched on the Google Play Store in Summer 2022. Go Nisha Go is designed to increase girls’ reproductive health knowledge and decision-making confidence, thus empowering them to make informed choices, develop strong voices, and to become better equipped to realize their full potential.

In the game, players role-play relatable scenarios inspired by girls’ lived experiences and learn about topics that are too often considered taboo. Girls travel through an exciting game world with Nisha gaining access to reliable information about health, self-care, relationships, and careers. Together with Nisha, players navigate challenging situations where they make decisions and experience the outcome of their choices.

Co-design approaches and formative research were used to not only develop the game, but at the same time, identify and broker partnerships with NGOs and private sector partners to connect access to products and services to position the game for scale up and sustainability.

While the game focuses on menstruation, fertility awareness, contraception, consent, prioritising education/careers and delaying marriage, themes identified through co-design research with girls highlighted key behavioural insights and thematic areas. These are identity, ambition, safety, self-image, relationships, and technology access. Based on these insights/episode themes, the game has forged 20 partnerships with organisations to reach girls where they are and deliver products and services that they value.

Gaining from gaming

Role play & replay

Try on choices, experience choice-outcomes, and ‘try again,’ all in a low-risk environment

Engage in a
private space

Explore accurate Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) information and self-care resources that is often considered taboo in a space that is confidential

Access resources directly

Have vital resources delivered directly into the palm of their hands and outside the health system

Receive guidance

Get supportive nudges toward positive choices and self-care from in-game mentor characters and links

What girls are saying

“Choices are the power that can lead us to the places we want to go.”

~ Dehradun

“The game talks about career, confidence-building, periods and products to use. It’s really helpful for girls.”

~ Ajmer

“Nisha is a brave girl because she had the courage to make her own choices. In fact, [in the game] it was not Nisha, but me who was making the choices!”

~ Dehradun

“I believe the Go Nisha Go game has helped me in becoming more focused on my education and career. Like Nisha, I am also very aspirational and driven to achieve what I have wanted to. The game gives me hope.”

“I will make my brother play this game so he treats girls well.”

~ Patna

“My newly-married friends talk about not knowing enough about contraceptives. This game is very useful in that sense.”

~ Ajmer

GOC APPROACH

The methodology
behind the game

In the Go Nisha Go™ game and digital platform, four interrelated, non-linear pathways create an experience that engages, empowers, and educates game users.

In the Discover pathway, the Proteus Effect theorizes that experiencing outcomes of choices made for an avatar, resembling the players themselves, promotes emulation of avatar behavior, and consequently, real-life agency.

The decision-making pathway is rooted in social learning and motivation theory of role modelling, which ‘nudges’ the players to make informed choices about their health, relationships, and to demonstrate confidence.

In the play pathway, game-based learning theory is applied to engage, challenge, and entertain the player.

The act pathway integrates behavioral economics, psychology, and marketing to enable the players’ direct access to information, products, and services within the game, through strategic partnerships with the private sector.

This approach of using multiple, and multi-disciplinary, pathways to change, is of particular interest for impact measurement of innovations, especially digital products that do not easily conform with traditional behavior change models or standard co-design approaches.

There are benefits of using cumulative and iterative inputs to integrate user feedback while formulating the pathway to study impact - not just limiting it to the design and development process, but continuously collecting data to modify and improve outcomes.

Want to read about the Game of Choice,
Not Chance approach in more detail?


DOWNLOAD IT HERE

Youth-centered,
data-driven

Different research methodologies are being applied to establish the effectiveness and impact of the game. Predictive Analytics modeling is being applied to capture in-game data, identify associations, make predictions, as well as create precision messaging based on in-game behaviors.

This multi-angle research approach can translate the player’s gaming experience into making informed choices with intention in real life – not by chance. Pre-and post-game launch surveys will be conducted as part of an outcome evaluation that will measure knowledge gained outside the game - changes in attitudes, perceptions, and select behaviors.

Our games invite youth to enter alternate worlds as avatars, and explore their interests and preferences without pressure. They gain the opportunity to try on unfamiliar choices for size and experience the outcomes of their choices safely. In-game links–made possible by strategic partnering–enable youth instant access to accurate information and vital resources with a tap on the screen.

Through our gaming innovations, young people experience the power of choice-making and how it can positively affect their lives so they may become more able to direct their futures with confidence.

KEY PLAYERS

Game of Choice, Not Chance™ (GOC) is a USAID-funded initiative led by Howard Delafield International and implemented through partnerships with India-based partners: Metamersive, Vihara Innovation Network, Girl Effect, Restless Development, Population Council Consulting, Mullen Lowe Lintas Group, Infinity Internet and in the US: Cycle Technologies and NAM ER Technology. The GOC consortium experts include game developers and designers, social science researchers and public health technical experts, data scientists, behavioral change specialists, as well as marketing and communication professionals.

Howard Delafield International (HDI) is a behavioral insights consultancy driving innovation to positively impact lives. HDI partners with organizations in the public, private, and social sectors to creatively solve problems. Their work over 25 years focuses on social, health, and environmental challenges to serve vulnerable and underserved populations globally. HDI does this by combining theories from behavioral and social sciences with game-based learning, data science, social marketing, emerging mobile technologies, and market-based approaches.

Where we're heading

From India, Nepal and beyond, we’re opening up a world of possibilities through gameplay.

Expanding regionally

We are in the early stages of scaling and adapting Go Nisha Go in Nepal, under the USAID Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH) Activity, led by CARE.

Co-creating a game with boys

We’re using the Game of Choice, Not Chance™ model to craft a new game with and for boys and young men in India that is complementary to Go Nisha Go. The new gaming innovation led by Howard Delafield International will promote allyship, support aspirations and generate demand amongst boys for adolescent sexual and reproductive health products, information and services.

Making a suite of games and digital AI-based products

To support the scale up and sustainability of Go Nisha Go game, we are building on existing methodology, Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) infrastructure, and youth-friendly content and storylines.

Get in the Game

As navigators of their own lives and tomorrow’s leaders, young people need guidance on their journey toward empowered choice-making. HDI and the Game of Choice, Not Chance community are committed to creating gaming innovations that support adolescents and youth in building their decision-making muscle so they can make choices confidently and live more self-defined lives.

If putting youth at the center of gamified, tech-based solutions is your game, our growing community may be for you! Let's work together to support young people's power of choice!

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