Game-based training for intervention design




Intervention-led design approaches overlook the barriers, enablers, factors, and actors that influence the behaviors that are necessary for systemic change. Creating a paradigm shift away from intervention-led, or supply-driven public health interventions toward a behavior-led, target audience-focused approach involves identifying and analyzing key behaviors that impact achievement of the desired public health goal and delineates the pathways to change. Creating this behavior led shift among program planners necessitates novel and innovative tools.


Howard Delafield International is part of the ACCELERATE consortium led by the Manoff Group. HDI leveraged its systems thinking approach and game-based learning expertise to develop fun and interactive programs that trained on-the-ground professionals in behavior integration techniques. These interventions drew on principles of game-based learning and design thinking to put the trainee in the shoes of the target audience. These activities trained the UNICEF program officers in identifying internal, social, and structural barriers to health behaviors, enabling them to adopt realistic approaches in promoting behavior change. HDI developed:

  • A computer-based game in which trainees played as a mother in a village seeking care for her sick child.

  • A “scattergories” type game where trainees identified barriers to health behavior in order to develop solutions.

  • A “chutes and ladders” type game to walk trainees through the process of behavioral integration

  • HDI also compiled an “Ideas Library,” an extensive compendium of best practices for health and behavior change, accounting for both behavior type and country of implementation.


These new and innovative tools were used to train workers and support larger behavioral guidance across western, eastern, and central Africa. The Ideas Library continues to serve as a valuable resource, cataloging the factors, supporting actors, and strategies for behavior integration approaches at a country level.