Hygiene With Chhota Bheem
As a graduate assistant, I helped design game mechanics, ran playtests, and conducted research. I analyzed data on the root causes of the problem and our target audience. I also wrote and edited the screenplays for the trailers and animated videos that were part of the curriculum.
Hygiene with Chhota Bheem was an initiative developed at the Engagement Lab at Emerson College.
The project used the popular character Chhota Bheem to teach children how to prevent spreadable disease. With an innovative combination of mobile games, instructional videos, and physical games, Hygiene with Chotta Bheem was a profound success. It received an award from the International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases.
As of 2015, 20% of all diarrhea or pneumonia-related deaths for children under five occurred in India. Handwashing with soap and improved sanitation was identified as one of the cheapest and most effective measures for reducing illness and death from diarrheal diseases and acute respiratory infections.
Hygiene with Chhota Bheem was developed in collaboration with Green Gold Animation, the Indian Red Cross Society, the Mary Anne Charity Trust, Hygiene Heroes, a Working Group of NGOs, and civil society groups dedicated to improving sanitation and hygiene in Tamil Nadu, India. Together, we intended to increase the amount of sanitation knowledge among children to combat these diseases at the source.
The game followed characters from Chhota Bheem, a popular Indian children’s television show. Bheem and friends worked to defeat an evil Germ Wizard spreading germs through their village, Dholakpur.
In each lesson, children watched animated stories, played learning games, and participated in weekly challenges to defeat the Germ Wizard. Our learning goals were further reinforced through a mobile game.
This curriculum taught children how to prevent germ transfer with handwashing and toilet use. It was playtested with primary school children in Tamil Nadu over several months before it was released into schools.
The pilot evaluation of the curriculum reached 2,614 students in 30 schools. Our studies showed that children participating in the curriculum significantly increased their handwashing and toilet use, preventing the spread of disease.
Additionally, we saw an increase in children who advocated for handwashing and toilet use in their communities. Based on the program's success, the Engagement Lab earned the International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases Gaming Award in 2018.