The Antura Initiative is an applied research program investigating the use of games for children’s education and psychosocial well-being. The approach utilised by the initiative deploys free, open-source, solutions based on mobile gaming technology. The Antura Initiative targets children between the ages of five and twelve, with a particular focus on ones having limited access to education such as in areas without schools, or displaced families and refugees.
Currently, the intervention by the Antura Initiative comes in two forms:
- The development and distribution of literacy games to help children acquire the basics of reading in their mother tongue. A pilot project in Arabic for Syrian refugees was developed between 2016 to 2018. Since then, several others are developed by Video Game Without Borders
- The development and distribution of a game to teach the basics of a foreign language. Possible applications include aiding the integration of refugees in a host country or to promote a foreign language in countries. A new project to promote German serves these two objectives.The development and distribution of a game to teach the basics of a foreign language. Possible applications include aiding the integration of refugees in a host country or to promote a foreign language in countries. New projects related to current migrants crisis are developed.
From 2016 to 2018, the Antura Initiative experimented and developed their design methodologies and framework. This led to a large, independent impact evaluation in Jordan, involving more than 600 children. The published results demonstrated the positive impact of the developed approach of both the literacy aspect in addition to the psychosocial well-being of the children.
Since 2018 the Antura team worked on two notable improvements:
- The addition of Afghan languages to help children with difficulties to obtain proper education in their home countries
- In 2022, as a response to the Ukrainian crisis, the game was set up to help Ukrainian refugee children to learn the basics of the languages of their host countries, including Polish, Romanian, Hungarian, Italian, German, French and Spanish.
The Antura Initiative is a joint venture between the Cologne Game Lab and Video Games Without Borders, a non-profit organisation. The initiative collaborated with various organisations for funding, development, logistics, field tests, research and promotion. Some notable partners include Norad (Norwegian ministry of foreign affairs), All Children Reading, UNICEF, Wixel Studios, Red Cross, Orange, Bahçeşehir University and New York University.