CHATBOTS FOR A CAUSE: A Peek into the design and success stories of Reap Benefit’s Chatbot for Water Saving Driven by Young Change-Makers


JUNE 15, 2023


Rewind to 2020-2021,  second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit India. The surge in COVID-19 cases led to widespread school closures and disrupted the learning process for millions of students across the country.

The transition to remote learning became the primary mode of education delivery during this time. However, the shift to online classes brought its own set of challenges. Many students, especially those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, faced difficulties accessing digital devices and stable internet connectivity. This digital divide exacerbated educational disparities, as a significant portion of the student population lacked the necessary resources to participate effectively in remote learning.

The disruption caused by the pandemic necessitated a shift in educational approaches, focusing not only on academic learning but also on fostering essential life skills and competencies.

Enter Reap Benefit, with its DNA of using technology as an enabler combined with the deep understanding of gamification for creating highly engaging experiences, coupled with digital playbooks and easy to replicate DIY solutions for everyday problems. This positioned Reap Benefit perfectly to initiate programs to get young people moving and taking actions in their homes and communities and start to tackle covid as well as associated environmental challenges.

This was the context that led to the team to come up with first of its kind interactive chatbot (powered by Glific) based program called PLAY4GOOD, INNOVATE4GOOD and SOLVE4GOOD. Aimed at young people from 6-10th grades, this chatbot enabled young people to take on water saving challenges in their homes and communities, get DIY solutions, connect with expert mentors, share the hands on problem solving by them to earn rewards. The larger idea behind this was to enable the youth who were confined within their homes to explore their skills as well as the environment in their surrounding along the way. 

5.9k students’ lives were touched who took 1877 water saving actions. These actions of local change-making that potentially save 7.5 million liters of water annually

Stories of Change-makers

Deep Dive into the design of the chatbot experience

The design elements mindfully crafted into this experience: 

  1. Gamification: which is more than just awarding points and anything that creates a game-like atmosphere
  2. User-control: allowing choices for users to decide on the level of difficulty, and the types of challenges they wanted to undertake 
  3. Language for the younger audience: Short sentences plus heavy use of emoticons. 
  4. Limiting the on-screen time and nudges to go off screen and share the work: Interaction time was designed to be less than 10-15 mins at max and nudges to get young people moving outside of the screen to get things done. 

The experience for a young person started with an online orientation call during the school hours for the young people. This would orient them about what’s at stake for the Earth, their localities, themselves and finally onto how and why they should seize the opportunity to become the champions for saving water in their localities. 

Post this 45 mins session, they could onboard onto the chatbot and start contributing with their efforts to save water and build their 21st century climate action skills.

Following are screenshots of the how the experience started in WhatsApp chatbot

Post a quick registration of the students to know the school and age, the young people are then given the menu to explore the game as per their interests.

The explainer included incentives

Then onto the main experience, this introduces the young person to the first layer of gamification: the level of difficulty to choose from

For the sake of this demo, let us see what the advanced tasks included 

Now let us suppose you were inclined to build something, this is what you’d get

Suppose you chose to save water through your flush tanks. You would then get the “What to do” and “How to proceed” in simple steps to implement this solution. 

Once finished, the young person would have to click on Submit to share a picture / file of themselves in action and voila the experience

And the last layer of gamification was the leaderboard of action takers. 

Which looked something like this. 

This added an element of  social proofing plus a healthy competitive spirit as well as getting feedback from mentors to level up in the journey of change-making and creating a positive impact in immediate surroundings. 

Find this exciting? 

Testimonials from leaders in education space

This is what the leaders from educational institutions had to say, whose students got to be part of the experience. 

“Reap benefit uses creative ways to make students understand the problem better and

mentor them to find specific solutions for the problem”

Ms.Riyanka Negi, Happy English School, New Delhi

Cheers to those who made this possible

Shout out to Unilever India Limited for funding this initiative  under the Dirt4Good Global Campaign as well as team involved members Vimalprabhu, Naaz Ghani, Sarah Misra, Nirmala Naik, Thresy James, Gautam Prakash for making key contributions towards seeing this project through. And more importantly the leaders from educational institutions who endorsed this initiative and took it up within the young people of their schools. 

And finally, dear reader for learning more, deeper dive into the behavioral insights or for collaborating to create engaging programs for young people to spark a love of climate climate action, and build skills like collaboration, communication, hands on solving, data orientation, entrepreneurship  and much more, reach out to,,

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: