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From Play to Impact: Samiti board game and Community Health Empowerment.

JAS Members
JAS commitee members - Assam


The use of simulation board games for educational and training purposes has proven to be highly effective in various fields, including public health and community empowerment. These games provide a structured yet interactive platform for learning, decision-making practice, and fostering collaboration among participants. Sponsored by the World Diabetes Foundation and facilitated by Piramal Swasthya, the initiative to develop a simulation board game for the "Jan Arogya Samiti" (JAS) aims to empower local health committees to enhance healthcare infrastructure and services within their villages.

Contextual Inquiries and Learning Objectives

Before diving into the specifics of game design, it's essential to conduct contextual inquiries to understand the unique challenges, dynamics, and learning needs of JAS committees. This process involves engaging with stakeholders, observing committee activities, and conducting interviews to gather insights into existing workflows, communication gaps, and areas for improvement.

The primary learning objectives for the Samiti board game design include:

  • Enhancing understanding of JAS roles, responsibilities, and processes among committee members.

  • Improving communication and collaboration within the committee and with external stakeholders.

  • Increasing awareness of healthcare challenges and effective strategies for addressing them within the community.

  • Developing strategic decision-making skills related to resource allocation and healthcare management.

  • Promoting teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving abilities among participants.

Designing the Board Game: Samiti

Game Concept and Mechanics

Objective: Samiti is designed as a cooperative simulation where players collectively strive to achieve specific goals and milestones over a series of sessions. The game spans 12 sessions, ideally played monthly over a year, mirroring the timeline and responsibilities of real-life JAS committees.

Game Sessions: Each session represents one month of committee activities. Players take on specific roles within the committee (e.g., healthcare provider, community organizer, finance manager) and work together to complete tasks, make decisions, and allocate resources effectively.

Collaborative Gameplay: The game emphasizes collaboration and mutual support among players. Through strategic planning and coordinated efforts, participants learn to leverage individual strengths for the collective benefit of the committee and the community.

Mission-Based Gameplay: Samiti is structured around thematic missions that reflect key areas of JAS responsibilities, including women and child health, non-communicable diseases, communicable diseases, and expanded healthcare services. Each mission presents challenges and opportunities for players to apply their knowledge and skills in realistic scenarios.

Scoring and Milestones: Players earn points based on their achievements and progress towards quarterly milestones and an overarching annual goal. The ultimate objective is to reach or approach the "Kayakalp" milestone, symbolizing significant improvements in local healthcare infrastructure and services.

Game Components and Visual Design

Visual design and components play a crucial role in enhancing the educational and immersive aspects of Samiti:

  • Board and Layout: The game board depicts a village setting, with designated spaces representing healthcare facilities, community outreach areas, and resource allocation zones. The layout is designed to facilitate strategic planning and decision-making.

  • Cards and Tokens: Game cards provide information, scenarios, and resources that players utilize throughout the game. Tokens represent tangible assets, achievements, and progress markers that players manipulate and track during gameplay.

  • Artwork and Visual Communication: Artistic elements are employed to illustrate community settings, healthcare challenges, and stakeholder interactions. Visual cues and symbols are utilized to convey information effectively, overcoming potential language barriers and enhancing accessibility for diverse participant groups.

Prototyping and Iterative Design Process

The development of Samiti follows an iterative design process, incorporating feedback from stakeholders, playtesting sessions, and continuous refinement:

  • Conceptualization: Initial brainstorming and conceptual sketches outline core mechanics, gameplay dynamics, and learning objectives aligned with JAS committee responsibilities.

  • Prototyping: Early prototypes of the game are developed to test mechanics, rules, and player engagement. These prototypes undergo multiple iterations based on feedback from pilot testing and simulations of committee scenarios.

  • Playtesting and Feedback: Stakeholders, including JAS committee members, healthcare professionals, educators, and community leaders, participate in playtesting sessions. Their feedback informs adjustments to game mechanics, clarity of instructions, and overall gameplay experience.

  • Iterative Refinement: The game undergoes continuous refinement based on playtesting data, with updates made to rules, components, and educational content to enhance learning outcomes and participant satisfaction.

Educational Impact and Community Engagement

Samiti is designed not only as a training tool but also as a catalyst for community engagement and empowerment:

  • Educational Value: By simulating real-world challenges and decision-making scenarios, Samiti enhances participants' understanding of healthcare systems, community dynamics, and public health priorities. Participants develop practical skills applicable to their roles within JAS committees and beyond.

  • Skill Development: The game fosters critical thinking, teamwork, strategic planning, and communication skills among players. These competencies are transferable to real-life committee activities, contributing to more effective healthcare management and community leadership.

  • Community Empowerment: Through active participation in the game, committee members and community stakeholders gain a sense of ownership and empowerment in shaping local healthcare initiatives. Samiti encourages proactive engagement and collaborative problem-solving towards shared goals.

Impact Testimonials

Feedback from individuals who have experienced the impact of Samiti underscores its effectiveness in transforming attitudes and improving knowledge among participants:

  • Health Officer: "I had underestimated how ASHA workers think about a situation. This game helped me to change my mindset."

  • ASHA Worker: "There was no platform till now to express how a problem can be solved in our situations; it was always mandated. This game breaks this barrier."

  • Panchayat Head: "My awareness about health was low. Now I know a lot more important things, and I can help decide better."

These testimonials highlight the game's role in bridging communication gaps, fostering mutual understanding, and empowering participants to contribute actively to healthcare decisions and initiatives within their communities.

Implementation and Facilitation

Effective implementation of Samiti requires structured facilitation and support mechanisms to optimize learning and engagement:

  • Facilitator Role: A trained facilitator guides gameplay sessions, explains rules, facilitates discussions, and provides insights into healthcare management principles. The facilitator serves as a resource person, offering guidance based on best practices and local context.

  • Resource Materials: Comprehensive manuals, guides, and supplementary resources are provided to players and facilitators. These materials reinforce learning objectives, clarify game rules, and deepen understanding of healthcare issues addressed in Samiti.

  • Integration with Training Programs: Samiti is integrated into existing JAS training programs, workshops, and community events. It serves as a hands-on complement to theoretical learning, allowing participants to apply knowledge in a practical and interactive manner.

  • Monitoring and Evaluation: Continuous monitoring and evaluation processes assess the impact of Samiti on participant knowledge, skills, and attitudes towards healthcare management. Feedback from stakeholders guides further enhancements and adaptations of the game to meet evolving needs.

Scaling and Sustainability

To ensure the long-term impact and scalability of Samiti, strategies for sustainability and widespread adoption are essential:

  • Scaling Up: The game's design allows for adaptation to diverse community contexts and scaling up to reach a broader audience of JAS committees and healthcare stakeholders.

  • Capacity Building: Training programs and workshops build local capacity in game facilitation, ensuring sustainability beyond initial implementation phases.

  • Partnerships and Collaboration: Collaborative partnerships with healthcare organizations, educational institutions, and community-based organizations support the ongoing development, distribution, and adoption of Samiti.

  • Feedback and Iteration: Ongoing feedback loops and iterative design processes continue to refine Samiti based on emerging healthcare challenges, technological advancements, and participant feedback.


In conclusion, Samiti represents a groundbreaking approach to integrating gaming principles with public health education and community empowerment. By fostering collaboration, enhancing knowledge retention, and promoting proactive healthcare management, Samiti empowers participants to drive positive change within their communities. As healthcare landscapes evolve, innovative approaches like Samiti play a crucial role in preparing communities to address current and future health challenges effectively.

Through strategic partnerships, continuous refinement, and a commitment to participatory learning, Samiti aims not only to strengthen JAS committees but also to inspire a broader movement towards democratizing health and promoting active public participation in healthcare decision-making. By leveraging the power of gaming, Samiti exemplifies how creativity, education, and community engagement can intersect to create meaningful impact and sustainable change in healthcare delivery systems worldwide. The testimonials from participants underscore the transformative potential of Samiti in breaking down barriers, fostering understanding, and empowering individuals to contribute meaningfully to healthcare initiatives.

With ongoing support, collaboration, and dedication to innovation, Samiti has the potential to serve as a model for empowering communities and enhancing healthcare outcomes globally.


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