Since the beginning of the global pandemic, we have been working on a programme of activities based on the work of Jane McGonigal. This blog post is about our vision for this work. Our close friend and ally Sarah Newton has co-created this vision and it has been approved and her ideas approved and strongly encouraged by Keith Wakeman, CEO of SuperBettter.
Imagine a world where even children and adolescents in the most remote and underprivileged areas could have access to tools to help them identify, understand and begin to solve problems affecting their own and their families health. Imagine a world where children, adolescents and the adults around them felt empowered to take action quickly and effectively. Imagine a world where children and adolescents have the skills and confidence to support each other even through challenging times, and communities band together to take-on common goals.
Perhaps we don’t have to imagine, perhaps we can build this?
Children for Health has allied with SuperBetter to start to make this vision a reality.
SuperBetter is a social enterprise based in the USA. Its mission is to unlock the heroic potential of 50 million youth and young adults by 2025. SuperBetter is a global leader in the science & psychology of games to improve real lives. It’s known for its book and its popular app designed to build resilience. One MILLION people have so far played SuperBetter®. Children for Health is an organisation set up to empower children and adolescents to become agents of change.
Here is what we know:
- Children and adolescents are far more capable than we think.
- Communities even in the most underprivileged areas want to help themselves, and are the ones best equipped to do so.
- SuperBetter provides an easy to understand methodology and content that helps users play real life games to build resilience, overcome tough situations and achieve goals.
- Super Better works and is backed up by science and published data.
An adaptable framework for educators, children and adolescents
SuperBetter can be adapted to address a variety of different health and wellbeing needs facing communities in remote and underserved areas.
Gameplay empowers self-efficacy, mental flexibility, optimism, social connectedness, a challenge mindset, emotional control, and a sense of purpose. Playing as a group strengthens social resilience and cohesion. Published studies show benefits for improving mood, lowering anxiety and depression, and reducing hopelessness.
Here is what we intend to do
We intend to tailor the SuperBetter methodology and content alongside educators in the Global South. Children for Health has close ties with programmes countries all over the world and in recent years has been involved in developing programmes in low resource settings in Cambodia, Mozambique, Nigeria and India. We work to embed major health and well-being needs such as nutrition, immunisation, the prevention of diarrhoea and malaria, sanitation and hygiene.
Between June and September 2020, educators in India, Tanzania and Zambia have been directly involved in helping to design, try out and provide feedback on the SuperBetter Children programme that focuses primarily on the wellbeing and resilience needs post pandemic. Here is a picture of Kelvin Nsekwila and a group of his students in Sansamwenje Community Isoka, Zambia. Kelvin has been one of the educators actively involved in developing the SuperBetter Children for Health Programme.
Together we will create a programme of support including easily accessible, understandable print and digital material (poster, storybook, curriculum and training material) for those who wouldn’t normally have access. The materials will help teachers in low resource settings to not only work, develop and empower themselves but also to work with children and adolescents on pressing health and well-being challenges.