Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Our Special Island

Improving nutrition in the South Pacific.

our special island

Insight

Health issues caused by poor eating choices are rising in the Pacific Islands.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade challenged innovators to explore ways to leverage technology to promote positive attitudes to healthy foods and inspire nutritious eating habits in Tongan children.

Idea

Selected from a pool of impressive proposals, Our Special Island (Motu Ta’e’iloa in Tongan) is an educational pilot program. By learning through digital play, children grow and collect healthy food to make traditional meals.

The immersive storytelling is guided by two children called Kelela and Pulotu, with some cooking help from Maui-Kisikisi, the youngest son of the great Polynesian hero Maui.

Aimed at 6-7 year-olds, Our Special Island acknowledges the importance of play for learning and the power of popular culture in children’s lives. The app harnesses the value of collaboration with multi-touch functionality, allowing simultaneous interaction on devices.

OSI thumb

Impact

Traditions around food are revitalised, by tapping into the past in order to make an impact in the future.

Results show a significant positive shift in children’s attitudes with a 79% increase in healthy foods being identified correctly and a 56% rise in healthy options being listed as favourites. A strategy for sustaining the program long-term for a Tonga-wide rollout is in development.

Our Special Island has been showcased as best practice ‘games for good’ on the world stage. Winning multiple awards, including Gold in Apps for Social Change at the Indigo Awards.