The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is spending over $200,000 to create a mobile game that will teach young teens in Kenya to use condoms.
The game also seeks to "educate very young adolescents" about HIV and "harmful gender norms."
"The overall goal of the proposed project is to contribute to reductions in HIV incidence among youth in sub- Saharan Africa," according to the NIH grant. "The objective of our proposed study is to advance that goal by developing, building and pilot-testing an interactive electronic game for preadolescents that will be informed by socio-behavioral and pedagogical theories, evidence-based practice, and unique formative research on youth sexual culture in sub- Saharan Africa."
The primary goal of the project is to "design and develop a mobile phone game for young Kenyans ages 11-14 focused on increasing age at sexual debut and condom use at first sex."
The game will be tested on 60 young teens in western Kenya to see whether they are willing to play the game and to evaluate how much they like it.
Researchers believe the game could reduce unintended pregnancy, "challenge harmful gender norms and HIV stigma, and foster dialogue with parents and guardians."
The study has cost taxpayers $236,517 so far.