Gaming the education system in Bolivia

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Peke company adapted popular legends and stories to allow children to feel protagonists, while interacting with characters and exploring their world. Photo: UNDP Bolivia

When their first child was born in 2000, Rafael Rodriguez and Ada Soliz decided their children will grow up playing and learning.

So in 2006, they founded Peke, a video game company aimed at developing educational games. Using video games in schools is an extra motivation for students, a tool with great potential to enhance their learning since "the best way to learn is by playing".

Since its inception, Peke has produced more than 200 games for children in primary school. The games include subjects for four to six year-olds, such as languages, natural and social sciences, and mathematics. While children play, they develop their memory, logic and creativity.

Highlights

  • 400 businesses, entrepreneurs and enterprises have been supported by the Dynamic Businesses Programme.
  • Bolivia’s ART Initiative facilitated the creation of the Council for the Sectorial Coordination of Productive Development (COSDEPRO).
  • COSDEPRO facilitated 42 strategic projects, benefiting 21, 012 families.
  • Since 2005, ART collaborated with more than 600 partners and international and regional networks and associations.

To design the games, Rafael and Ada carried out educational research advised by psychologists and teachers on aspects such as the use of colors and shapes to make the learning process more effective. They adapted popular legends and stories to allow children to feel like the protagonists, while interacting with characters and exploring their world. The games will be translated and dubbed in English and the indigenous language Aymara, which will help children absorb the words in several languages as they play.

Peke is one of the successful examples of the Dynamic Businesses Programme, which helped Rafael and Ada further develop their business and increase their profit. "The programme guided us, made us known and helped us to increase our profit by 200%," said Ada Soliz.

Since 2012, the Autonomous Municipal Government of La Paz in Bolivia has run the Dynamic Businesses Programme, which supports micro, small, and medium enterprises (SMEs) to launch businesses and create innovative products and services.

The programme, funded by the European Union and supported by UNDP’s ART Initiative in Bolivia and local partners, trained more than 400 companies and entrepreneurs to develop budgets, make good presentations, and brand their products. The growth potential of 72 enterprises was assessed, with recommendations made to improve their efficiency. A community of 117 businessmen and entrepreneurs has been created to identify the enterprises’ potential and facilitate collaboration among the entrepreneurs. Another 18 companies are now being helped to further develop and expand, while 40 new and start-up companies are in the incubation process.

The programme’s support helped Peke win the 2014 “La Paz Leader” award in the human resources management category, and be selected for a competition amongst 40 other companies that were assessed based on their sales volume, retail presentation, and customer service. For these companies, participation in this event forged new alliances and facilitated the development of joint marketing plans.

"The programme promotes innovative approaches to doing business by bringing together various development actors to share the new technologies and best practices which can help develop a vibrant private sector in the city,” said Olivia Caetano, Head of the Unit for Entrepreneurship in the Department for Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship of the Autonomous Municipal Government of La Paz.

Such initiatives as the Dynamic Businesses Programme are essential to accelerate the development of Bolivia’s private sector. Each week, the programme monitors the progress of the enterprises including their income, sales and employment indicators, in order to better assist them in their development.

The ART Initiative promotes sustainable human development at the local level by strengthening the capacities of local stakeholders and facilitating the sharing of knowledge and expertise. It also contributes to local economic development while tackling inequality and exclusion and ensuring that development benefits all.

In Bolivia, the ART Initiative is focused on facilitating multi-level governance and coordination across regions and groups, as well as identifying the economic potential of territories and supporting public policies for development. It facilitated the creation of a Council for the Sectorial Coordination of Productive Development (COSDEPRO), which has facilitated 42 strategic projects, benefiting 21,012 families and increasing investment in development by US$ 13 million.

Started in 2005, the global ART Initiative is currently active in 22 countries, tailored according to the local needs and priorities of each country.

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