OverviewDo’s and don’ts
Related Tools

Participatory games

Last edited: January 03, 2012

This content is available in


Games that can be played individually or in groups using electronic devices, picture cards, workbooks, boards printed on sturdy material and simple game accessories (e.g. dice) can be a simple, but effective community engagement tool. Games may be invented, or adapted from existing popular activities. Typically they are played in groups of 3-10 people and facilitated by a trained person to stimulate open discussions and debates in a relaxed atmosphere. Engaging with an issue in this way can help highlight nuances in attitudes and behaviours towards VAW and encourage greater understanding of key messages.  For greatest effectiveness, the game should follow a structure that enables facilitators to guide the discussion to a definite conclusion (sum-up).



The “Champa” Card game is part of an Adolescent Reproductive Health Kit designed for out of school rural adolescent girls in India. It includes picture story books, games and toys. The Card game is played by two teams: The objective is to win a full hand of “good cards” by throwing away the undesirable cards one at a time. The opposing team is allowed to challenge the rejection with arguments. The game draws on information the girls already know, with the cards showing desirable and undesirable situations in a woman’s life, from birth to adulthood. Many situations shown are associated with conflicting feelings; and the debate that ensues is usually one that is both vigorous and revealing. The game serves as an ice-breaking exercise about a subject that is considered taboo. It helps the educator to gently lead into discussions on social and health issues that are otherwise harder to talk about freely.

Similar examples from the Indian Thoughtshop Foundation are available here: Gender and VAW Participatory toolkit for Rural Communities (with a manual and picture cards) and It’s My Life HIV/AIDS Kit (“magic” demonstration with audio play in Hindi and Bengali.) 


As part of the Africa UNiTE Campaign to End Violence Against Women and Girls, UN Women Southern Africa (through developper Afroes) has developed a mobile phone game targeting young people that:
1. Identifies Gender Based Violence (GBV), including difficult concepts such as acceptable
boundaries, intimate partner rape, emotional and economic abuse;
2. Empowers users to take action to actively address GBV by encouraging reporting, testimony, individual interventions, the promotion of safe behavior and beneficiary services;
3. Changes mindsets surrounding gender stereotypes, harmful social norms, cultural practices and peer pressure.

The free mobile game is a quiz adaptation of the hugely popular Southern African board game Morabaraba – also know as Umlabalaba or Zulu Chess. The game adds a quiz element that forces uses to answer questions about GBV – and in doing so educates and empowers users about GBV. To download the game to your phone, visit


Games for Change is a non-profit organization that supports and makes digital games for social impact. They have created a toolkit specifically targeted towards organizations that want to use digital games to further their social-issue driven missions and outreach. The kit is a resource to help organizations develop a game strategy for outreach and to show them the steps and resources that are necessary to lead a successful project. See the website.


Breakway by Champlain College’s Emergent Media Center (EMC) and Population Media Center (PMC) with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), is a web-based football video game aimed at developing the intrapersonal skills of adolescents and young people to foster healthier relationships and gender equality. Available in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.


This resource, by Metrac, is an online game for youth aged 8 to 14 years. The game teaches youth how to challenge behaviours and attitudes about healthy relationships based on equality and respect. The video games are accompanied by resource booklets for youth, educators and parents. Available in English and French.


For additional games, see the tools database of the Virtual Knowledge Centre.