Freedom HIV/AIDS - Mobile Phone Games to create HIV/AIDS awareness in Asia and Africa

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Freedom HIV/AIDS - Mobile Phone Games to create HIV/AIDS awareness in Asia and Africa

Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Freedom HIV/AIDS is the largest social initiative to fight HIV/AIDS using mobile phone games and reaching to over 42 million users across the globe.

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Plot your innovation within the mosaic of solutions
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Product Design Orientation

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Community Health

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic:

Technology Reach and Social Constraints &Taboos

What is your signature innovation in one sentence?

Freedom HIV/AIDS is the largest social initiative to fight HIV/AIDS using mobile phone games and reaching to over 42 million users across the globe.

Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?

Freedom HIV/AIDS is a pioneering initiative to create awareness about HIV/AIDS to under-privileged communities of the world through the mobile games.
The project is innovative in 2 ways; firstly for the methodology of presentation of highly serious information by using Games, and secondly the mode of dissemination by exploiting the reach of mobile networks.
1. Spread of HIV/AIDS and the reach of Mobile devices have taken place simultaneously. Such a wide spread disease can only be controlled a technology with a great reach to the masses. Mobile phones are the most prevalent technology tools in the hands of common people.
2. HIV/AIDS is a global problem and Freedom HIV/AIDS proposes a global solution to create awareness and disease management.
3. Freedom HIV/AIDS can not only help in controlling the epidemic but also support to manage the people living with HIV/AIDS in prolonging their lives and ensuring better health.
4. The solution is highly cost-effective.

What barriers exist that are creating the problem your innovation is hoping to address/change?

The major barriers are:
1. Developing for vast variety of Mobile Devices and platforms to maximize reach.
2. Making arrangements with Mobile operators to make economical downloads.
3. Understanding local content, context and sensitivities.
4. Developing content in local languages.
5. Constatly designing new games as the shelf life of a game is not very long.
6. Finding like-minded partners in the new regions.

Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing.

High HIV/AIDS prevalence, and low information penetration & literacy rates are the two major criteria for selection of a region for development and deployment of HIV/AIDS awareness games. Freedom HIV/AIDS teams works closely with local NGOs and knowledge organizations to develop new games and understand the social sensitivities of a region. The games and applications are designed and developed by a voluntary team of developers of ZMQ Software Systems working on the project.
The mode of disseminations is mobile networks and the games are deployed in the regions through local mobile operators and mobile content aggregators. Freedom HIV/AIDS management ensures that the games are pushed by the operators through regular viral SMSes and marketing. The management also ensures that the users are either not charged or are charged nominally for games downloads. The Operators and providers provide the management with regular updates of downloads sheets, completed games session history.

How do you plan to scale your innovation?

Freedom HIV/AIDS is being scaled both horizontally and vertically as well. Constantly new games and applications are being designed and more regions are added. The project has reached Africa under the Star Program covering Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia. Starting from 4 games, namely, Safety Cricket, AIDS Messenger, Babu Quiz and Red Ribbon Chase, the initiative has developed over 12 more games. Some of our most hit games have been Safety Cricket, AIDS Messenger, Babu Quiz, AIDS Safety Shoot-out and Game of Life. The initiative is in the process of rolling out new games for Latin America, South-East Asia and East Europe. The games will be developed in local languages.
The initiative is also launching a mobile-based Care Support and Treatment System (m-CST) for people living with HIV/AIDS in India and Kenya.
Seeing the success of the project, the company is also developing similar social initiatives for TB, Malaria, Anti-Smoking, Drugs, Pre-natal Care, etc

Provide one sentence describing your impact.

Freedom HIV/AIDS has an immense global impact, and the games have reached to over 42 million users with over 10.3 million completed game sessions.

What impact has your innovation had to date? Exactly who are the beneficiaries of your innovation?

Due to lack of information in the media dark areas of Asia and Africa, there has bee huge downloads of games in these regions. There has been over 10.3 million completed games session in the span of 18 months. Over 63% of the hits have been reported from these regions. There is an increase in learning index about HIV/AIDS by 30%. We are still in the process of evaluating and monitoring the behavior change. So far in India the games are being provided for free. It is reaching directly to mobile phone users.
Mobile is the most common tool in the hands of a common man across the globe today. You can find mobiles phones with youth, mobile workers, truckers, farmers, laborers and people living in medium and small towns and villages even in the developing world.

How many people have you served directly?

The direct beneficiaries of these games are mobile phone users in different parts of the world. The games were first launched on Reliance Infocomm Ltd. in India with a reach of 9.1 million users. Later the games were designed for newer devices and reach was scaled to 22 million users. The games had a download of over 8 million. In India the games were also distributed through mobile aggregator and had a further reach of 10 million, with over 456,300 downloads and game plays.
In Africa the project has tied up with Safari Com and which has a reach of over 9 million in Kenya. The games are being launched in other countries of Africa, namely Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Namibia and Mozambique, with an expected reach of 15 million and over 1.5 million game downloads.
Freedom HIV/AIDS is tying up with Qualcomm Inc. to provide free games for CDMA devices. This will help to scale a reach to over 40 million users in Latin America, China, South Korea and Russia.

How many people have you served indirectly?


Please list any other measures reflective of the impact of your innovation

In the initial phase of the launch of the games were designed without any evaluation system to study the impact. Leter the team has devised a new monitoring and evaluation system to study the impact of the games on communities (regions). During the game play the scores, variety of messages delivered, message weights, levels and replay history are recorded to study the impact. At present we are evaluating the first launch of Africa reach program in Kenya and have got some astonishing results.

What are the main barriers to creating your impact?

1. Problems faced with local bodies while designing sensitive messages
2. As the device standards are very different, for an effective launch, there is a need to design one game for over 20 different devices and 4 different platforms, namely Java enabled devices, Brew based CDMA devices and Flash-Lite enabled devices
3. Multiple games are designed for different gaming mind-sets and target audiences
4. Convincing the operators to provide the games at no or minimal cost for users.

How is your initiative financed?

The Freedom HIV/AIDS is a social initiative program of ZMQ Software Systems by under the companies CSR. It is funded by ZMQ. For the Africa Reach Program, ZMQ was supported by HIVOS- the Dutch development agency, for developing games for Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Namibia and Mozambique. Reliance Infocomm Ltd. Also supported the initiative by providing the games for free to all its subscribers across India. The games have been deployed at R-World for almost 18 months now.
ZMQ has also received support from Johns Hopkins University/HCP and Plan International, India to develop desktop games for local interventions on HIV/AIDS awareness.

Provide information on your finances and organization: annual budget, annual revenue, number of staff:

Annual budget contributed by ZMQ Software Systems for the initiative is US$300,000 in cash and kind service for the project. Project was also supported bb HIVOS for a sum of Euros 35,000 for developing new games for East Africa. The initiatives also raises projects from developing entertainment and games for organizations for their targeted interventions within the scope of Freedom HIV/AIDS program. Hilmi Quraishi is head of the initiative. . The other lead team member of the initiative is Ms. Sumbul Tariq Khan, Senior Manager Social Marketing and Ms. Sabina Hassan, Senior Manager Content, Social Development Programs. The development and marketing team of ZMQ Software Systems supports the initiative on a voluntary basis. Five software programmers, two graphic designers, one gaming animation expert and two administrative officers form the core team of project. Project also hires content experts from time to time.

What is the potential demand for your innovation?

The games have a huge demand today. Mobile Gaming is booming but there is a huge scarcity of quality content on public health, especially on AIDS. We have received game inquiries from as far as Togo to nations like USA. Being a pioneering project, has received huge media attention. ZMQ is a member of Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS for its works in combating the pandemic. ZMQ has won the Award for best CSR program in Public Health by GTZ (Germany) and TERI -

What are the main barriers to financial sustainability?

The production, replenishing of new games, and marketing is an expensive affair. The funds provide good support for research and development but are not enough for promotion and marketing. The greatest challenge is to reach to a common man in remote regions of Asia and Africa with limited funds for promotion. Nevertheless, the project gets supports from operators in promoting the games, which is not always easy. Inspite high feasibility, the initiative is not looking at ROI model for 3 years.

The Story
What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

ZMQ Software Systems is an innovative Gaming and Educational Technology Company based in New Delhi, India with a strong social development program. At the time of inception in 1998, ZMQ had dedicated 12% of its net profits for social development programs using its core competencies. Freedom HIV/AIDS initiative was the result of company’s understanding about the issue not only as a health calamity but also an economic crisis, which affects labor and productivity.
The concept of Freedom HIV/AIDS project was the brainchild of Hilmi Quraishi, the Chief Learning Technologist of the Company. Initially he designed 4 games were for various mindsets of people in India. The games were Safety Cricket, AIDS Messenger, Red Ribbon Chase and Babu Quiz. Right now there are over 16 games developed under the project.

For more information on the initiative you can download information from
In January 2006, the company has started a Mobile & Educational Technology Lab for Social Development at Manesar, Gurgaon in India. The lab is dedicated to develop pilot projects in mobile and Information Technology for social development in the areas of Education, Skill Development, Poverty alleviation, Global Health and fighting diseases like HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria and Disaster Management using Educational Technology.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material

Hilmi Quraishi, CLTO of ZMQ, is the brain behind the initiative. He is Master of Tech. in Computer Science with specialization in Educational Technology. He is an innovator in the field of educational technology having created many solutions to entertain and educate the minds. He is also the Director of House of Learning, a social initiative wing of ZMQ, which develops solutions for semi-literates, under-privileged, physically handicapped and school children for variety of technologies.

How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate? (this is confidential)

From the Changemakers website.