Saludame - Interactive learning about healthy habits in rural Uruguayan schools


In Uruguay 1100 elementary schools are situated in isolated, rural areas, counting 24.000 children. Health promotion on healthy habits largely depends on the efforts of the local health providers and teachers. Although due to the distances and lacking resources health promotion is considered to be too poor. Why not bridging the gap by means of the XOs?


Salúdame is a project that aims on developing an educational game to promote healthy habits among children and their parents in rural areas. We integrate the concept of a game with learning materials for class learning. The focus of the health programme is to deploy it into the school, the social core of the rural communities. But having the opportunity for the children to play the game everywhere they like, and providing materials into their houses, it goes beyond the school.

Game play

The idea of the game is to take care for a virtual kid by performing daily actions, such as playing football, eating and washing its hands. Whereas an action has its effects on the kid's well-being, the gaming goal is to fill the bars and proceed to more challenging next levels. And forgetting to wash your hands before eating something might cause an event to resolve: perhaps a bad diarrhea?

Screenshot of the game prototype, showing the menu of actions, well-being bars to the left and below the events to resolve. It looks like he is a bit sick, right?

The game play is linked to an integrated library, which explains for instance the importance of washing hands. Also it provides gaming hints: perhaps the diarrhea was caused by eating with dirty hands? Drinking water could be a remedying action!

Lastly, pop-ups occur during the game with challenges that test their knowledge on healthy habits. True or false questions, multiple choice questions or one should cook a decent, local recipe by dragging and dropping ingredients into a pan. When performing the challenge with success, one can gain points.

Didactical guides

As we do not expect that children will read all materials themselves on the XO, didactical lessons are developed for the teachers. The materials should enable them to work with the game and its materials, since it will involve a new way of learning. And this is where the challenge lies.

During the pilot teachers will be trained to perform the lessons using the game and its learning materials.

Project team

Salúdame logo

The project is an initiative of the Dutch foundation Movimiento, in collaboration with ceibalJAM. Above all it involves a multidisciplinary team of, among others, software developers, a graphic designer, nutritionists, communication scientists, (rural) physicians and teachers throughout Uruguay. The project is supported by the Ministerio de Salud Publica (Programma Salud Rural) and local educational authorities. We adopt a participative approach, meaning that we involve the local children, teachers and health providers in the development phase.

The project started in July 2010 and is currently being developed. In March/April of 2011 the programme is piloted on 12 rural schools in the province of Salto and Artigas. One can follow the project via the website of Movimiento foundation.

This guest article was written by Mark Brul from Moviemento.

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