Exploring the Potential of Games to Improve Lives

Relief International has been at the forefront of innovators who are looking at using games to enhance programs in the developing world.  Games offer an opportunity to reach large numbers of people, educate them on important topics, and engage them in ways that can lead to a better life for them and their children.

Relief International’s Senior Vice President of Programs John Maris and Senior Program Development Officer Virginia Zaunbrecher—who together chair the USAID-supported NetHope Gaming Working Group—recently attended the Games for Change fesitval in New York City.  Relief International staff led a working session exploring how games can be used in international development.  You can hear more about the Games for Change festival, including an interview with Relief International staffer Virginia Zaunbrecher, here.

Games offer an interesting platform to enhance traditional development activities.  What if in addition to providing feeding and nutrition services to a population, organizations offered a free mobile phone game that incorporated lessons on nutrition and proper feeding practices?  That game could spread virally from person to person, serving a much larger group of people.  Games are engaging, which makes them a natural medium to provide information.  Games allow people to test out options, so a mother may be able to better understand the impact on her child’s health of one set of foods compared to another, but without actually risking the child’s health.

Relief International will continue to be a leader in looking for new and innovative ways to improve people’s lives.

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