Participatory research and design across disciplines: Collaborative team processes and the development of a game-based commercial sexual exploitation of children prevention tool

Jessica Wendorf Muhamad, Lien Tran and Maria Elena Villar


Sexual exploitation of children represents a significant global problem, with an estimated 1.8 million children exploited each year (ECPAT, 2016), with children living in areas of armed conflict particularly vulnerable. Due to the multifarious nature of commercial sexual exploitation of children, this study benefited from moving away from traditional methodologies and employs a game-based approach. After 18-months of research and design in Colombia, a transdisciplinary team developed a role-playing game, Por Nuestras Calles, in which participants gain a deeper understanding of risk factors and reporting mechanisms. By creating a space where participants can think ‘as someone else,’ new avenues for collaboration can be explored. This paper details formative research involved in game development, team processes, and lessons learned.