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Game-Funding: The application of Gamification and Crowdfunding as tools for supporting child developmental activities in low-income rural areas.

The aspiration is to utilise the concepts of Gamification and Crowdfunding to achieve higher success rates in child developmental activities from ages 0-5. This idea aims to initiate increased transparency and accountability by providing task checklists to families. Parents can accomplish these tasks, enabling them to gain financial rewards by fulfilling development activities and also track the children's progress. The idea intends to attract people and organisations from all over the world to support and fund child development initiatives in low-income rural areas.

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How will Game-Funding work?

Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems and increase users' self-contributions. Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the internet. The crowdfunding model is fueled by three types of actors: the project initiator who proposes the idea and/or project to be funded; individuals or groups who support the idea; and a moderating organization (the "platform") that brings the parties together to launch the idea.

The idea is to merge the concepts of Gamification and Crowdfunding in order to develop a leading practice for rural child development.

To get the best out of the idea, an online platform is needed where people can view photos and background information (details about families, parents' annual income, living conditions, how many members in each family, etc.) of children up to 5 years old from different parts of the world.
 
When a new member signs up on the online platform, the respective member will be able to access information regarding the child or children they want to 'adopt' financially i.e. it won’t be a traditional adoption. Based on the available information, people will choose which child or children they want to 'adopt' to support financially.

Each member will pledge monthly financial support to help the family of the child/children they chose. Initially, a goodwill amount of 1 month's worth of support will be granted to families to motivate them to engage in the programme and nurture a feeling of inclusivness. For the support to be continuos, the parents will need to complete a number of weekly tasks, incorporating the concept of Gamification, to prove that they are taking care of the children in accordance with baseline development standards i.e. parents need to complete assigned tasks for previous month in order to get the financial support for the upcoming month.

In addition, the Coordinators will also be maintaining 'Leaderboards' on their groups of families and the top 6-10 families will receive non-financial support from Corporate Organizations and NGOs.

The tasks will include providing children with:
  • ​Essential food items; cereals, milk, fruits, vitamins
  • Clean water and clothes;
  • Hygeine requirements; proper way of washing hands, etc.
  • Vaccination and medications;
  • Entertainment and games, reading books to them, helping them make friends in the community
  • Support for parents to teach and educate.
  • Community based learning events involving parents and children.

The tasks will change every week of each month, depending on the needs and age of each child. The purpose of the tasks is to provide the right guidance and support for parents in caring of their children.

[Updated 28/11/2014]
The tasks will be overlapping and nature of the tasks will be as follows:
Year 0 to 5 - Immunisation and Nutrition
Year 1 to 5 - Provide Support to Parents
Year 2 to 5 - Induct in Education
Year 3 to 5 - Track and Improve Progress (education, health, nutrition)
Year 4 to 5 - Maintain Progress and Engage Parents to improve the family's quality of life


When someone adopts a child, their optimal pledge is to send £20 each month to the child's family. It could be more or less, and using crowdfunding, the surplus or the shortage will be matched to each family.

 

How will the parents be supervised?

In the assisted areas, there will be Coordinators and Specialists. One Coordinator will be responsible for 30+ families. Each family has to prove to the Coordinator that they used the money to complete the assigned weekly tasks on a timely basis by filling the checklists. [Updated 30/11/2014] In order to increase the implementability of the tasks, the parents will be given educational and promotional material to understand so that the Coordinators can ask questions regarding the material when they visit the families. This will be an additional condition to get the financial support for the next month in order to ensure developmental goals are being understood and met. 5 Coordinators will be managed by 1 Specialist. The Specialists will meet bi-monthly to report progress, discuss emerging problems and review supporting documents to ensure transparency.

 

How will the funds be used?

As an example for the implementation of the idea, each sponsor optimally contributes £20 each month. The amount of financial support given to parents will based on the average annual per capita income of a country. As an example, £15 will be granted to the family of the child and £5 will be used for administration, including the monthly salaries of Coordinators and Specialists. [Updated to 01/12/2014] A families' trust index (FTI) will be based on the first years' activities. Completion statuses of tasks assigned to families which are more susceptible to fraudulent actions will be analysed in-depth. This way, Sponsors can monitor how their donations are being spent as the tasks checklists will be available for review on the online platform. After the FTI has been built, cellular technology can be incorporated for long-term cooperation with the families. Once the families have established trust and are committed to the tasks, there will be lesser difficulty faced in engaging them on a mobile platform. In order to inspire and motivate the Specialists and Coordinators to achieve more in their communities, will be awarded 'Points' and 'Badges'. The group which secures the most points will win a bonus for their community in the form of a social event such as a community fair or dinner. Whereas they will receive badges for trainings attended and milestones achieved which will also contribute in comparing results in the FTI.

Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?

Children from low-income rural areas will benefit from this program as they will get more attention and care from their parents and a better quality of life, given the nature of the tasks. They will have a proper upbringing which will influence their character as adults. Parents will also benefit because their child will grow up in the right way, without an medical, physical or psychological infirmity. After 5 years, parents will realise the importance of providing their children with a better environment so that they grow up to be responsible adults without any developmental handicap

How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?

[Updated 30/11/2014] Organizational entity creation along with appropriate remuneration structures for the Coordinators and Specialists and an administration and policy framework to ensure smooth running of operations. This can be done with the help of support from sponsors such as UKAid, AusAid, USAID and corporate sponsors such as Coca-Cola and McDonalds. Community Mobilization and Involvement need to be achieved in order for the community to gain mass advantages out of the programme. This needs to be brought out by leveraging existing non-governmental networks as implementing partners and resources through the help of large donor funding agencies such as Save the Children, Amnesty International, WHO and United Nations Development Programme. Inclusion of all stakeholders at all levels so that the programme is highlighted in countries and communities implementing it. The governmental actors need to informed and taken into confidence. This can be done by the help of soft marketing activities and community involvement. These actors can include, community leaders and champions, parents, high and low ranking officials.

What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?

In order to make the idea a reality, the following needs to be put in place, in order of most significant first: The development of the online platform; Publicity, Advertising and Marketing Campaigns; Support from international donor organisations and charities; Support from the international web community; Programmatic Monitoring & Evaluation Specialists; Implementation Partners in the form of NGOs who will be providing the Coordinators; Support of Local Government, Support from Multinational Fast Moving Consumer Goods companies.

Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?

  • Yes. I am looking for partners that might be interested in taking this idea forward in their communities.

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Photo of Masheyat Chowdhury
Team

Good idea in terms of a game, its a great way for children ages 0-5 to play, however, in terms of payment, think about how this would work? Is it realistic?

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