How Important Do You Feel “Play” Is For Children In Developing Countries?

We all know how important it is for children to play. But where do you feel it ranks in importance for children in developing countries?

Even though we know kids need to play, 95% of parents rank it near the bottom of the priority list of basic needs.

In a recent survey*, when Canadian parents were asked if they see access to play as the most important factor for children in developing countries, it fell last on the list behind access to:

  • Healthcare (36%)
  • Conflict-free environment (24 %)
  • Education (23%)
  • Gender equality (7%)

It’s tough to say that anything can be more important than healthcare, safety, education and treating girls equally… I get that. But now that I’ve learned more about the Right To Play organization, their methodology and the successes they’re having in helping educate and motivate children by adding play into their lives, my perspective is changing.

Yes, we must ensure all of a child’s basic needs are met, but we must also include play as one of those basic needs.

The great news is that play can be incorporated into all of those other four categories of needs.

Right To Play uses games to teach about healthcare issues, show children how to handle conflict resolution and get along peacefully. They incorporate games and play into education and always demonstrate gender equality.

In Rwanda, Right To Play uses games at the HIV clinics to motivate children to make the long walk to the clinic to get their HIV treatments. They also use games to teach prevention and an understanding of HIV.

The immense and desperate needs in Africa can be overwhelming, but what you can do right now is simply help spread the message that even children living in these brutal circumstances need the chance to play and that Right To Play has developed ways to help local communities integrate play into their healthcare and education programs.

You Can Help With A Click

Please click through to the Level The Field Facebook page and share this information.

You can sign up for the Right To Play newsletter to learn more or enter for a chance to accompany the team with the most amount of votes on a trip to West Africa to see a Right To Play program in action. And while you are on the Facebook page, you can show your support for the HIV Awareness project by voting for it.

Thank you for helping us use the power of social media to get kids playing!


Written by Susan Carraretto, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom

*Survey conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Right To Play during September 17 – 24, 2012.

This campaign was made possible through funding received from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)

The Level The Field campaign focuses on countries in the WAFA region (Liberia, Ghana, Benin, Rwanda and Mali) and raises awareness about the work Right To Play does in their communities.

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