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Learning with Laadli

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Creating social awareness The fun way
Creating social awareness The fun way

An online game that creatively addresses the issue of gender equality

What is the legal age for marriage? Is it legally permitted to know the sex of an unborn child? What is the rate of sex selective abortions in the country? Laadli, an online game has all the answers. It is a simple, interactive Q&A game to create awareness on issues such as female foeticide, male to female ratio, sex selection and gender equality.

Social service

Created by Zapak.com, the gaming portal on a tie-up with Population First, a Mumbai-based NGO, the game is part of Zapak’s corporate social endeavour. “It is a coming together of gaming and social messaging,” says Rohit Sharma, COO of Zapak.com.

“It is put together in an interesting format, so the more you play, the more you become aware of the issue,” he explains. Laadli has recorded 1.7 million game plays after its launch and the top five cities for the game are New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Chandigarh, Pune and Lucknow.

Did you know the rate of female foeticide is highest among the urban, educated, rich people, asks S.V. Sista, executive trustee of Population First ( www.populationfirst.org).

“It’s a century old mindset and it fails to go away easily. Sex ratio in the population census is highly skewed, especially in the last 10 years when technology made it possible to determine the sex of the child,” Sista adds.

Changing the mindset about sons and daughters is vital. And, that is how Laadli was born as a campaign to initiate community mobilisation on gender equality through a network of the civil society, NGOs, college students, volunteers and doctors. “Earlier this year, we conducted a survey in 47 sonographic clinics in Chembur, Mumbai, and found that 39 were flouting the law on abortion. After the report, the police sealed a number of clinics in Mumbai,” he reveals.

As part of the campaign, every conceivable communication vehicle was put to use, especially the channels that reach out to youth and college students, who will play advocate on the issue among family members. “With Zapak, we wanted to use the online platform to sensitise the youth. So, we devised a questionnaire based on statistics on sex selective abortion, on domestic violence and on sexual discrimination,” Sista says.

Gender benders

The game goes like this — a couple sets out towards a sex determination clinic. On the way, they are bombarded with facts and myths surrounding the girl child. The couple moves with the roll of the dice and they have 100 blocks to overcome in order to reach the clinic. On landing on a square, the player will face questions based on gender truths, sex determination pointers and population trivia. There are three options — answer a question, collect a highlighter or pin and highlight or burst a fact or myth balloon. A ‘conscience meter’ within the game screen lets the player know of the conscience level. On a successful attempt the meter fills up; an unsuccessful event leads to drop in conscience.

Laadli has also won the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) - Laadli National awards for Creative Excellence for promoting the social cause of awareness against sex selection and female foeticide. Rohit Sharma says gaming, being an important and accessible point of contact for youth, forms an ideal platform to educate them on social issues. The game can be played at www.zapak.com

K.JESHI

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