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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 games that trained on-the-ground program planners in behavior integration techniques. These interactive tools drew on principles of game-based learning and design thinking to put the program planner in the shoes of the target audience. The goal of these games is to support the USAID 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 program planners played as a mother in a village seeking care for her sick child.

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

  • A “chutes and ladders” type game to walk program planners 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 health officers and program planners and support country development plans 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. The ACCELERATE tool is accessible for use in over 24 countries. 

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