A new website called CLUB EN CONEXIÓN is catching on among youth in Central America. In October 2009, PASMO, PSI’s Latin American affi liate, with the support of the German Development Bank (KfW Entwicklungsbank) and in partnership with local organizations, launched the website to connect and communicate messages of healthy behaviors to young people in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. When teens log onto the site, they can create profiles, connect with friends, ask anonymous questions that are answered by trained staff, read blogs, and find information about radio programs and upcoming events in their community. PASMO also adapted all the club’s communications materials into interactive games featured on the site.
The main characters in this virtual world, Carlos and Carla, appear throughout the website and lead young people through the different sections and interactive features. Carlos and Carla were redesigned in Manga Japanese animation, popular among young people, and were adapted to the physical traits and features of Central American youth. They are also used in the new print material that covers topics such as drugs and alcohol, sexually transmitted infections, HIV and family planning, among others.
From the launch of Club en Conexión in January through September 2010, the website had about 25,000 visits. In one month, traffic jumped from 4,317 visits (July) to 7,557 visits (August). On average, from January to September, 79 percent of people who entered the site were there for 10-30 minutes. Twenty-one percent navigated the site from 45 minutes to an hour.
In other words, most people who visit the site take time to navigate, enter the different sections, play the interactive educational games and interact with others. It turns out teens in Latin America can’t get enough of this new virtual community. Now PASMO is finding the biggest challenge isn’t attracting teens to the site; it’s constantly updating the information to keep them coming back for more.
Check out Club en Conexión at www.clubenconexion.org.
— Mandy McAnally, Associate Manager, Communications