By Chinedu Nwosu, Special Correspondent
The fun, gamified COVID-19 international information campaign ‘Contest Against Corona’ is now back this April 21st-May 21st, after reaching 100.000 participants in 54 countries with the first contest in December. The contest is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and organized by atingi, a digital learning project by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The quiz content was developed and verified by Health Focus and GOPA Worldwide Consultants, who offer specialised expertise on healthcare topics.
As misinformation, information overload and ‘pandemic fatigue’ are starting to threaten the rollout of crucial COVID-19 containment and vaccination measures, ‘Contst Against Corona’ provides an engaging, gamified quiz format to re-capture citizens’ attention. A global study conducted in March 2020 by Statista found that 74 per cent of consumers were concerned about the amount of fake news being spread about COVID-19, which hindered their efforts to stay updated with trustworthy and reliable information. Yet access to reliable information is crucial for empowering all citizens to help fight the pandemic. The contest aims to help fight this current ‘infodemic’ – an ‘epidemic of information, including false and misleading information’.
The Contest’s purpose is to incentivise citizens to acquire accurate information on frequently asked questions on COVID-19 from trustworthy sources by making the process fun. The currently salient topics of vaccination, popular myths and the implications of COVID-19 variants are at the center of the initiative, however also basics like symptoms, treatment and community mitigation practices. Beyond the simple right-wrong feedback in each question, the game’s educational nature is reinforced by in-game explanations provided when incorrect answers are given.
Starting on April 21st, the gamified multiple-choice quiz can be accessed from any smartphone or desktop browser by simply clicking on the “start game” button on the Contest Against Corona website https://contest.atingi.org/ . Players can pick an avatar of their choice and play against participants from around the world, scoring points in the process. The game is available in English, Arabic and French. Contestants can play the topics in the order of their choice and at the pace and intensity that suits their lifestyle – whether that be daily or once every few days etc. While the high score prize is open until the 21st of May, weekly and daily prizes have clear deadlines every week, which participants can view on the Contest Against Corona website (https://contest.atingi.org) to decide on which date(s) they are aiming for.
Prizes and Eligibility
Anyone aged 16+ located in MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia is eligible to win the daily, weekly and high score prizes, including: mobile phone credit of 60 Euro (4x), a 12-month Babbel language course subscription (4x), Samsung S10s (4x), Career Coaching sessions (4x) and one 1,500 Euro voucher to select one accredited EdX nanodegree from prestigious universities as well as multiple HarvardX certified courses, certified by none other than Harvard University. All participants who earn a certain threshold points score will automatically earn a formal atingi e-learning digital badge for their acquired knowledge on COVID-19. Prizes can be won by scoring sufficient points in the quiz that then allow entry into a daily or weekly lottery and the high score prize. Winners will be announced every Wednesday on https://online.atingi.org/.
‘’As a facilitator in digital learning and transformation within the education space, our vision was to create a fun platform that would not only teach people about prevention measures and how to protect themselves from being infected with Covid-19, but to do so by capitalising on the trends for serious gaming, as well as online connections and remote working during the pandemic. The quiz was intended to act as a catalyst in reducing the rate of infections and calling-out fake news, through learned knowledge,’’ says Project Leader, atingi, Jan-Gerrit Groeneveld. ‘’With COVID-19 still a reality globally, and with more than 4 million cases reported in the African continent by the end of April 2021, we remain optimistic about the global research that is being conducted daily, and the vaccines that are being rolled out. At the same time, as GIZ, we have to play our part in ensuring that we curb the spread of the virus through our digital influence and its ability to shine a light on how each citizen can contribute,’’ added Jan-Gerrit Groeneveld