Why we are developing the LOVE LAND App
At a crucial point in their development, young people in the majority of countries world-wide have difficulties accessing sound information on sexual and reproductive health and safety at a time when they are exposed to unregulated and often negative and inappropriate digital images and videos (pornography).
Many parents do not know how to address potentially embarrassing and taboo topics on sexual and reproductive health that they may not understand adequately on a theoretical level to confidently teach their children. Additionally, schools, especially in poor countries, often do not have a modern and comprehensive sex and relationships education curriculum. And very few countries have taken concrete steps to address the bombardment of digital pornography and sexuality misinformation to which children, adolescents and young people are exposed.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has published its International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education. These are designed to assist education policy makers globally, to design accurate and age-appropriate curricula for children and young people aged 5 – 18+.
The LOVE LAND App provides and attractive an accessible means, in the form of thematic games, that young people can access sound information and develop their skills in reducing their risks of early sexual initiation, unwanted pregnancies, risky and harmful practices and sexually transmitted infections (STIs - including life-changing HIV, hepatitis and herp
What does the App do?
The taboobreaker association has developed and tested a solution in the form of the
mobile LOVE LAND App, which provides an age-appropriate learning program both for individual use as well as through school systems and health ministries within the public sector. The evidence-based information and skills learning are based on the UNESCO Guidelines, but take them a step further, by making their guidance practical and accessible in the form of fun, engaging games that young people can play and learn alone or with their peers.
In addition, LOVE LAND -the app is linked with an external website that provides further information in an entertaining and innovative manner.
Why a mobile game-style App?
Digital health and education are increasingly enabling low income countries to accelerate their development and offer global access. Even in poor countries ownership of smartphones is increasing exponentially.
Karin was aware that that research shows that young people are highly motivated to inform themselves about responsible sexual health and to develop skills to protect themselves and their future when the learning content is presented in a gaming format.
Love Land-the APP provides a safe and risk-free environment for young people to learn facts, risk reduction and to develop their decision-making skills through play, without any of the life-changing consequences of learning only in the real world.
As the app is further developed, it will have an integrated award system, enabling free access to hygiene products or airtime, redeemable via a QR code, to encourage learning.
What we have developed so far:
The LOVE LAND App is currently available as a testing (Beta) version that was developed with our Game Design Team Loud Rabbits, based in Cape Town, South Africa, with support from two foundations. Regular feasibility testing is performed with Zimbabwean and South African teenage boys and girls.
What needs to be done next
In order for the LOVE LAND App to become self-sustaining, our model is based on developing a marketable app that will further enable us to address broader information gaps in the future. This will then be tested in a broad collaboration with hygiene brands, celebrities, social media influencers, radio and TV stations. The Market Version 1.0 is intended to inform us about user behavior that will guide us in refining content and concepts to best provide young people with the information they need to protect their health and future potential.