How game change women’s lives? : Using games and critical reflection to diffuse accurate fertility and family planning

Indonesia is the fourth-largest nation on earth in terms of population size. Despite Indonesia’s relatively high contraceptive prevalence rate, 14.4% of married women ages 15-29 have an unmet need for family planning. 16.7% teenage have had a children or are currently pregnant.

Nepal also has the same problem; women and men have limited knowledge about fertility, gender and social norms directly impact birth timing and family size, etc. A community called Pragati from Nepal then engaged local communities through games, such as fertility, family planning side-effects, myths, and misconceptions, and social norms.

The nine games which form the Pragati package were vetted, refined, and integrated into existing community-level service delivery and community group structures in five districts in Nepal. Pragati has some powerful teaching resources to help children understand the issues in class or at home. The followings are the components of the games:

  1. Menstrual cycle game. This game provides concrete information around fertility and the menstrual cycle. It challenges existing social norms that make it taboo to talk about menstruation and fertility, or to involve men in discussions. The game visualizes the menstrual cycle: ‘bleeding days’, ‘fertile days’ and ‘safe days’.
  2. Son or Daughter Determination Game. Using different colored beads to represent male and female genes, this game demonstrates how the sex of a baby is randomly determined by the composition of men’s sperm.
  3. Hot potato game. While social norms in Nepal dictate that women and men are not to discuss fertility, reproduction, or family planning, this game promotes open conversations about the benefits of family planning. Topics include fertility, delaying first birth and couple communication.
  4. Side effect puzzle. Participants assemble a picture of a Nepal family using 20 cards that include common side effects or myths related to family planning methods. Participants then distinguish between actual side effects and myths.
  5. Agree/Disagree Game. Using two cards with the words “Agree” and “Disagree,” this game challenges participants to reflect on statements related to family planning, fertility, decision making, and what contributes to a happy family.

Throughout the development process of Pragati, research and monitoring data were utilized to modify and adapt the intervention to the local context. Furthermore, data sharing sessions actively linked community, health and government officials to share- goals.

Ready to play the Pragati game? Read more about the games here: link


This blog is written as result of Kanya’s journey at Social and Behaviour Change Communication Summit 2018 in Bali. She attended the “Game on! Gaming and Digital Approaches; Let’s play! Using games and critical reflection to diffuse accurate fertility and family planning messages to hard-to-reach populations in Nepal Maramaya Limbu

Published by

Ratnakanya Hadyani

Kanya is Communication Officer for Tulodo. She hopes to tell stories that hopeful and thought provoking within complex situation created by behavior change and innovation.

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