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Gaming for Social Change

HIVSA has created a “serious” game that is designed specifically to increase the player’s awareness and understanding of the risk factors surrounding contracting HIV. The game is targeted at South African youth, and women in particular.

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HIVSA has created a “serious” game that is designed specifically to increase the player’s awareness and understanding of the risk factors surrounding contracting HIV. The game is targeted at South African youth, and women in particular.

Research has shown that there are already high levels of awareness amongst this demographic, but it seems to be a general consensus that it is “someone else’s problem”. This is largely due to previous efforts not being effective enough at informing the youth and initiating change in their behaviour.

With little to no support from parents and guardians, the youth do not go to much lengths to educate themselves. HIVSA wants to break the barriers that help create the destructive mind set and empower the youth through mobile phones — since 85% of 15 to 24 year olds have access, which creates the perfect platform to do this.    The game-based campaign is linked to Choma, which is a mobile magazine launched by the Bokang Batcha project (seSotho for ‘rejoice in young people’). The main objective of Choma is to engage the South African female youth, in order to help them to remain free from HIV.

South Africa is believed to have more people with HIV/AIDS than any country in the world. According to the statistics provided by Choma, the female youth aged 15 – 25 account for 40% of all new HIV infections in South Africa today. The immense lack of awareness about protective laws —  particularly the Domestic Violence Act, the sexual Offences Act, and current VAW (violence against woman) prevention campaigns — adds to the already alarming figures of gender-based violence against woman.

The mobi site describes how “Choma is ‘your best friend’, ‘your big sister’ – the person that you can trust, confide in, relate to your peers, and receive information on HIV Prevention, Health, Love & Relationships, Lifestyle, Fashion & Beauty, and Entertainment. Choma connects with youth on real topics that are important to them – both fun and serious, but with the overall vision of reducing HIV incidence and contributing towards the next HIV free generation in South Africa.”

Choma is funded by the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project and Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and can be found on the following social networking platforms: Facebook; Mxit; Twitter; and hi4life (a mobile portal operated by HIVSA).

Click here to watch Charlize Theron present Choma.

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