Water Currents: Games & Virtual Resources in the WASH Sector


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Water Currents: Games & Virtual Resources in the WASH Sector

Dear Colleagues:

Below is an excerpt from the latest Water Currents and the complete issue is on the Globalwaters.org website. 

Innovative approaches to teaching methods, such as games, have the potential to catalyze local solutions to water and sanitation issues. By enabling players to adapt different strategies in a safe environment, games can be an important learning tool for all ages, and can lead to a better understanding of complex realities and longer-term effects.

In contrast to conventional teaching methods, the action-based nature of games makes it easier for players to transfer acquired knowledge into reality. In addition, games can be more engaging and invite regular and continuous play compared to ordinary training methods.This issue features games, mobile apps, virtual reality, as well as recent studies on the use of games to address handwashing, menstrual hygiene management, sanitation, and water resources.

Examples of USAID activities that have developed games and innovative learning approaches on topics including market-based sanitation, menstrual hygiene management, and water utility staff training are included. Thanks to staff from the University of Washington for reviewing and contributing to this issue.

Designing Viable Sanitation Enterprises: A Market Based Sanitation GameUSAID WASHPaLS, 2019. WASHPaLS developed its Designing Viable Sanitation Enterprises game to serve as a tool for market-based sanitation practitioners to understand and appreciate the interactions among the elements of a sanitation enterprise, the entrepreneur, and the broader context and how strategic choices and trade-offs impact the profit of an enterprise. An article that describes the game was published in a November 2019 issue of  Climatelinks .

LoosePoopsUniversity of Washington, 2019. Students and a professor from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington developed LoosePoops, a phone and tablet app, that combines poop jokes and engineering knowledge. It teaches toilet design and wastewater treatment via various challenges.  Android version .

Collective Action Approach. USAID Sustainable WASH Systems (SWS), January 2020. SWS developed a role-playing game for practitioners to simulate how a range of actors in Ethiopia might reach a consensus on how to use a $100,000 grant for small town sanitation improvements. Players must present role profiles they draw from a deck, reach a common vision for sanitation services, and agree on one of six investment options before time expires. For more information and game materials, contact  Patrick Nease .

Discover Our Brand New GamesWaterAid, n.d. WaterAid has developed three games to educate children and adults about water and sanitation issues. The games are Water Quest, Angry Turds, and Germ Zapper. Additional games can be found at WaterAid’s  Hygiene Activities for Kids .

Handwashing with AnanseGhana Education ServiceUNICEF Ghana. This is a three-chapter story and game experience centered on the popular Ghanaian folklore character Ananse. In this game, Ananse has stolen all the knowledge about handwashing and hid it in his pockets.

Germs & Ladders GameLive & Learn Environmental Education. This game is a variation on Snakes (or Chutes) & Ladders and teaches children about the dangers of germs and how handwashing with soap, cleaning up trash, and keeping water supplies clean can prevent diseases from spreading.

The complete issue is on the  Globalwaters.org website. 
Dan Campbell,
Communications/KM Specialist
Banjo Player/Busker
Haiku poet

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