Rome, Italy   |   For profit

Screen shot of Kukua game showing picture of street with houses and a girl on a swing

Project/Innovation Name


Prize Amount
$350,000 (innovative tender)

Organization Website

Prize Competition Summary
The development of a smartphone application that can build foundational literacy skills in Arabic and improve psychosocial well-being for Syrian children who are out of school or struggling in school.


Innovation Summary
Kukua relies on three key pillars for their mobile game mobile game SIMA. First, exciting game dynamics that will drive higher levels of retention, making learning really fun. Second, a strong pedagogy and Syrian curricula adapted into the game by Syrian literacy experts and cognitive psychologists will allow children to follow a structured educational path. Third, the game narrative is based on Syrian local culture and written by a Syrian storyteller, so that users can easily identify with and be enthused about the overall storyline and characters. The psychosocial well-being aspect of SIMA was designed by a psychologist with specific expertise working with refugees.

A user-centered design approach places Kukua’s target users at the center of each game. SIMA’s development relies on constant and rigorous testing in the field. Team Kukua spent several weeks in Beqaa Valley, Lebanon, testing in informal settlement camps and spending time with Syrian refugee children who played with SIMA and offered invaluable feedback on engagement levels and educational outcomes.

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