As teenage pregnancy has steadily increased in Thailand over the past fifteen years, five schoolgirls have spent two years developing a board game called Fortune Condom, that they say is designed to help teenagers from getting pregnant prematurely.
“We wanted to deter teen pregnancies by clarifying the difficulties that arise when you get pregnant before you’re really ready,” Pakawadee Panil, one of the game inventors told the Nation.
Pakawadee and her friends won the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Cup in the Thammasat-Banpu Innovative Learning Program, in which secondary students compete at conceiving board games aimed at helping society.
Pakawadee’s team won the Empathic Communication Award, which comes with a Bt20,000 cash prize.
A student at St Mary’s School in Udon Thani province, Pakawadee said getting pregnant before you’re prepared is unwise.
“It will have an impact on the young mother, her family and the community,” she said.
Designed for players ages 12 to 18, Fortune Condom presents situations that young people may encounter if the girl gets pregnant. Playing cards might offer contraception or counseling. Choosing the “right card” boosts life-experience points, but the “wrong card” leaves the player pregnant and facing various challenges.
“Talking about sex can be difficult, but this game makes it easier to discuss,” Pakawadee said. Many of her fellow students had found the game useful.
Jutti Jantana, a teacher at St Mary’s School and adviser to Pakawadee’s team, said the students started developing the game in August 2017.
“I must admit it was quite difficult to discuss sex openly with the girls,” he said.
“In fact there were some words I didn’t want to use at all at first, but I had to because the team needed information to create a game that would be useful.”
Jutti said he now uses Fortune Condom in his sex-ed classes and has noticed that other students are feeling inspired to develop their own games. “I really hope this game reaches a wider audience so that more people get educated about the risks and impacts of teen pregnancy,” he said.
Teenage pregnancy is a serious issue in Thailand.
Thailand’s teenage pregnancy rate is the highest in the South East Asia.
Although the overall birth rate in Thailand is falling, the adolescent pregnancy rate is still high. Based on the data from the Public Health Ministry, the delivery rate of mothers aged 15 to 19 years old was 49.3 deliveries per 1000 females in 2007. The rate increased to 53.6 deliveries per 1000 females in 2011. In 2018, the rate was 51 deliveries per 1000 female.
Adolescent pregnancy may be premature and unprepared. It may be followed by a lot of difficulties, such as abortion, broken families, abandoning children, premature labour and inadequate knowledge of children care. Young mothers may face depression. They may even drop out from school and thus live under poverty. When they are excluded from education, they may miss more job opportunities and not be able to contribute to the economy. For the babies, they may have low birth weight and other health issues. Both the young mothers and babies will face physical, mental and social problems.