Colombo, Oct 7 (Tilli) – Globally, it is estimated that one out of two children aged 2–17 years experiences some form of violence each year. Emotional violence affects one in three children, and worldwide one in four children lives with a mother who is the victim of intimate partner violence. According to UNICEF, close to one-third of cases in the high court related to a child victim, and over half of all crimes reported against children are committed by known persons including parents and other relatives.
The National Child Protection Authority has received over 79,200 complaints on Child Abuse since 2012 and according to a report released in 2020, Sri Lanka was ranked at 60th place for protecting children among all countries in the world. Sri Lanka has placed a high priority on the protection of children with a focus on prevention and early intervention.
Reacting to abuse and violence to protect children has not been reliable or sustainable. One part of the solution lies in creating impactful learning experiences that start early, and have the ability to break cycles of violence.
What is Tilli?
Tilli is an inclusive, play-based, social-emotional learning tool that teaches 5-10-year-olds how to stay safe, healthy, and happy. Tilli was incubated at the Stanford School of Education and was built using research conducted by Kavindya Thenakoon and published by Stanford.
Tilli was co-created with children, parents, and teachers in Sri Lanka and user-tested with 270 early learners, 150+ teachers, and parents from 8 different countries.
Tilli uses evidence-based learning interventions, to build resilient mental models that help children stay safe, healthy, and happy. Tilli’s user testing demonstrated:
- Full completion and engagement from 95% of users;
- 96% of children felt confident to recognize an unsafe situation and say “no”;
- 85% of parents felt better positioned to have honest and meaningful conversations with their children after Tilli.
Tilli was selected as one of the top 3 global finalists of The Future Play Design Challenge 2021.
Tilli uses inclusive game mechanics, narrative storytelling, and curated conversations with a tried and tested behavioral change framework – ‘LEARN-APPLY-REFLECT’ – to help children build resilient mental models on every SEL topic.
How does Tilli work and where to access it?
Tilli comes in the form of mobile, web, and analog instructional kit applications, designed to deliver culturally relevant conversations of substance using the power of play, between parents/teachers and young learners.
Tilli uses advanced technologies to measure, track and improve cognitive growth and reduce achievement gaps and inequities in children.
Parents and Teachers: The mobile application can be accessed through the following ways:
- Through this link > http://bit.ly/tilli-play (No download required!)
- Downloading the Nenasa Application:
Schools: Tilli is currently recruiting schools and learning centers for their private beta testing! In order to participate as a school or centre, drop them a mail: [email protected]
Founders of Tilli
Kavindya’s background is in Anthropology and Learning Experience Design. She was a Dean’s Fellow at the Stanford School of Education and received her MSc from the Learning, Design, and Technology Program. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Wellesley College majoring in Anthropology and Cinema and Media Studies. She is a First Generation college graduate.
Vidya’s background is in organizational behavior and human rights. During her time as a Human Rights Policy Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, she led the Initiative on Violence Against Women and Girls, laying the groundwork for a global treaty. She has her MBA from Penn State University, BA summa cum laude in organizational behavior, Cabrini College; BA in business administration, Madras University.
Vidya and Kavindya have deep experience in human rights, child safety, and education technology. Kavindya is motivated by her passion for Learning Experience Design and EdTech, having studied and trained at the Stanford School of Education. Vidya is motivated by her commitment to addressing the structural inequities of gender, race, and class through responsible innovation and her training as a Harvard Human Rights Fellow. Listening to and learning from the voices of children is a major focus for Vidya and Kavindya.
Developing a learning platform, with play as the essence, that emphasizes social interaction and social skills such as empathy, collaboration and co-creation is at the heart of what inspires this founding team. Both Vidya and Kavindya have been able to break the cycle of intergenerational inequity in their own lives. They have overcome powerful disadvantages of sex, geography, race, and ethnicity. This combined set of experiences has led to two key insights; the clear need to start early (ages of 5-10) and the power of game-based learning and play. This is the motivation for Tilli; a social-emotional learning tool that integrates game mechanisms and play-based learning.
What plans in the future for Tilli?
In the next year, Tilli will be focusing on plans to develop their market in the United States where half of their team is based. Tilli has been designed to address some of the major gaps and needs in the SEL market including equitable and trauma-informed SEL and the effective measurement of SEL outcomes.
In the United States, educators are concerned with the gaps in education caused by the pandemic and the closure of schools. This has produced negative social and emotional learning outcomes in children that need to be addressed successfully.
Children have been forced to stay at home, not attend school, and not engage with their peers. Globally, this has affected more than 90 percent of the world’s student population, 1.5 billion children and young people overall. Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is a necessity for the healthy development of children. This absence of play creates a social-emotional learning gap that Tilli can help to fill.
How to support Tilli?
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is a rather new topic in Sri Lanka, so we invite the support of the community to help raise awareness on the importance of SEL. Three ways you can help:
- Follow Tilli on:
- Become a Tilli Champion! Tilli have created fun graphics and captions, that you can share on your social media channels, to show your support for Tilli and universal access to SEL. Click here to access download the advocacy pack
- Play + Share their Trust Game with 5-10-year-olds, teachers, or parents you know! Feedback will be highly appreciated.