Race to Nairobi is a card game that teaches children in developing countries lifestyle choices that prevent illness. Lessons are taught through the mechanics of the game.
More about Race to Nairobi
Games can have a positive impact on children’s education all over the world, especially in areas that are lacking strong or well-funded schools. Games can give young students the power to teach themselves. They do not need a teacher or a parent. Games are more immersive and interactive than memorization, and the children will have fun as they learn.
The goal of Race to Nairobi was to create a traditional card game that could be sent to teachers in developing countries. The game teaches children about diseases and infections such as malaria, water-borne illness, and worms. Using game mechanics, it introduces preventative lifestyle choices, such as bed nets, water filtration, and wearing scandals.
Because the game will be played by children of different ages and cultural backgrounds, I carefully considered the visual cues and style for the game. I wanted the images to be accessible and interesting to children under five, up through age twelve. Similarly, the game-play had to be accessible to the same age range. It is designed with adjustable difficulty by simply adding or removing cards.
The cards are broken into three categories: preventions, cures and illnesses. Preventions are the solutions listed above, and cures are other options once the illness has already been transmitted, such as oral re-hydration solution, de-worming pills, and antimalarial pills.
The player's goal is to win a race. They place illnesses on their opponents, which have the effect of slowing them down in a way that is analogous to the real world. For example, catching malaria has a much harsher effect then catching worms. Players can block illnesses using preventions and remove the illnesses placed on them with cure cards.
The game has been piloted around the world at urban and rural schools in Southern India, Bolivia. Future plans include Nigeria and Tanzania.
Professor David Levine from University of California is sending students internationally to conduct educational lessons, and he is in contact with many teachers around the world. Travelling students and teachers will use this game and other resources in the kit to conduct their lessons.