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HOW MIGHT WE BUILD BRIDGES THROUGH CODING GAMES?

UNICEF KENYA

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THE CHALLENGE

UNICEF Kenya asked us to partner with them to address gaps in adolescent skill development in Nairobi and Kakuma refugee camp, both challenging environments for refugees of various ethnic backgrounds. Together we brainstormed - how might we create a play-based program that’s personal, project-based and teaches 21st century skills like intercultural competence and computing?

THE BIG IDEA

Let’s engage refugee youth in building empathy for each other through coding games together.

 

THE DESIGN PROCESS

Using a human-centered design approach, we worked with UNICEF Kenya and community-based organization Xavier Project to design a program aligned to the critical skills identified. We kicked off with a number of workshops on community-based issues with adolescents experimenting with different offline and tactile tools including Empathy Toys, Makey Makey, Scratch and paper-based games to gain a better understanding of their interests. We prototyped activities around a few intercultural concepts and integrated the use of these tools and games to support the learning experience. In a series of user testing sessions, we observed and collected adolescent and facilitator feedback which were significant in shaping the final activities, and helped create a successful program.

THE program

The humans who play team created a hands on program based on the youths’ interests that UNICEF could scale in other refugee settings. The program provides participants with multiple hands-on design activities that are both engaging and met the learning goals set by the UNICEF team.

You can find all the program details here.

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THE OUTCOME

The program has been presented as an exemplar of how to design creative computing initiatives in low resource settings in Africa, with students embracing it as a key contributor in improving community relationships. In their own words:

As long as I have interacted with people from different backgrounds in this class I have gained a lot of courage and am now experienced in working with people from different tribes or countries with positive attitude.

- Mercy, student at Nairobi Play

It changed my experience on how i see myself because no man is an island so we need one another in order to survive. -Fitsum, student at Nairobi Play

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