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Barbara Hastings-Asatourian invented a prototype of Contraception the Board Game® in 1990 and in 2001 set up Contraception Education Limited.
She is the Managing Director of Contraception Education and also works part time as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing at the University of Salford. She has considerable experience in the field of sex and relationships education, having worked as a nurse, midwife, health visitor and teacher/lecturer. This has included working with teenage parents, developing parenting skills, sex and relationship education in school, delivering maternity care and parentcraft education to young parents. In her teaching role she has incorporated sex and relationship education into her programmes.
Barbara is committed to equality and diversity, and has been widely cited from her MSc Dissertation, Single White Female, which was published by the Race Relations Research Unit in 2000 as Gatekeeping Inequity.
Barbara is an enthusiastic and tenacious Social Entrepreneur who has combined her nursing, midwifery health visiting and nurse teaching background with business skills to innovate in sex education.
Having launched Contraception Education in 2001 she slowly and steadily built a reputation of award winning inventor and innovator, expert speaker, trainer and consultant on all manner of sexual health and contraceptive issues.
Every year since setting up her company she has had new ideas to make the lives of sex educators and students easier and more effective.
First came Contraception the Board Game, Barbara’s first invention, which gathered has gathered momentum and is well known for its acceptability and effectiveness as a fun learning resource. In 2002 she added colourful and economical demonstration kits to her menu, then in 2003 she developed a Computer Version of the Game, with the help of the North West Development Agency’s “Value Added Funding”, in collaboration with a voiceover company, Reactive Audio Limited, a software development company, Information Plus Limited and talented musicians who wrote and performed original soundtracks.
In 2004 after several months of writing and filming, Safer Sex: An Interactive Learning Resource was launched. All of these resources were aimed at English speaking students aged 13+. These practical resources have been taken up by schools suppliers in catalogues such as Health Edco, Uniview, Information Plus.
The company website evoked international interest and the Company was accepted onto the UKTI Passport to Export Programme, and undertook market research activities and attended exhibitions, conferences and trade missions in the USA, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Thailand and Kenya. As part of Passport to Export Barbara ensured that the Contraception Education Website began to be internationalised. The site was translated professionally into French, Spanish and Portuguese.
In 2005 Barbara adapted Contraception the Computer Game to become "Play-it-Safe" for South Africa, and this resource has been accepted by the Education Department of the Western Cape onto the Life Orientation Curriculum.
In 2006 the company took on Spanish and French assistants to complete translation and localisation of Contraception the Computer Games, and several visits to France have taken place in 2007 to ensure the game’s acceptability in Planning Familial and amongst gynaecologists who work with young people. Collaboration with one French Gynaecologist has resulted in an agreement being drawn up for him to write a French booklet to include with the kits.
The year 2007 has marked another innovation in Barbara’s work. She has clearly never been afraid of adopting new technologies, and knew from the activities of her own family that she needed to enter the world of Social Networking, where many teenagers (and adults!) spend many hours, exchanging photographs, videos, games, quizzes and much more. More and more specialised social networking sites are appearing every day, but most popular are You Tube, My Space, Facebook and Bebo in English and Skyrock in French. Barbara grasped this technology with open arms and now blogs and shares news, views videos and photos on all of these sites.
In December 2007 she presented a sexual health seminar in Second Life on a sexual health SIM funded by Education UK and Ireland at the University of Plymouth.. You can see photos from the seminar in Facebook!
Barbara’s involvement with women in business has shown her that (without overgeneralising) many women are driven less by personal financial gain and more by making a difference, whether large or small, by what they do.
Coming from a nursing background, this is certainly true in Barbara’s case, and she is often reminded of the negative reactions she first had when she said she felt driven to make a bigger contribution to society, and the effort she has had to make to demonstrate that there are many models of business success. She soon saw the benefits of reinvesting turnover into new innovations, in combination with giving her time to the worthy causes she met through the Business, for example becoming part of the management committee and later Chair of Glossop Women’s Aid, assisting a women’s enterprise, Thandeka Designs in Lwandle in South Africa to develop E-Commerce through her fundraising, funding the medication of HIV positive children in Mukdahan in Thailand, and raising funds and awareness of KISEP (an education programme in the very troubled slum Kibera in Nairobi).
Barbara believes that the balance of profit and social contribution is the ultimate in job satisfaction. She is now a mentor for the Princes Trust, and is committed to sharing her alternative business model and philosophy.
Barbara relaxes by teaching exercise in the evenings. She has trained in exercise to music, in Pilates and is currently completing a Hatha Yoga Teaching Diploma. To manage stress and her busy life she also studies and practises meditation.