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Sesame Square Returns to Nigeria for Second Season on NTA

Nigerian Adaptation of Sesame Street Launches New Season at the 2012 Children’s Day Celebration

(Abuja, NIGERIA and New York, NEW YORK; 29 May 2012) –Sesame Square, the Nigerian co-production of the world renowned Sesame Street,  returns to NTA with a brand new season, chock-full of the beloved Sesame Muppet friends like Kami and Zobi, designed to engage children and families with educational lessons. Funded byUSAIDSesame Square is co-produced by Nigerian production house Ileke Media and the non-profit educational organization Sesame Workshop. Season two of Sesame Square premiered May 27th at 9:30PM and will air everySaturday at 9:30AM and Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 5:30PM on NTA.

Sesame Square season two kicks off with a special presentation at the 2012 Children’s Day Celebration, Old Parade Ground, Central Abuja – FCT, and will be recognized by the Honorable Minister of Education, Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i. The series, developed in collaboration with education advisors which include Nigeria’s Ministries of Health and Education, consists of 26 half-hour television episodes designed to promote fundamental literacy, numeracy, the importance of recycling, health and good hygiene habits in settings that foster children’s self-esteem, cultural pride, and respect for differences and diversity. Sesame Square will also emphasize Malaria prevention and HIV/AIDS and immunization education.

Sesame Square features Kami, a female Muppet with golden fur who is HIV-positive and has an adventurous and inquisitive nature, and Zobi, a furry blue male Muppet who is energetic, has a sincere obsession with yams, and constantly tinkers with his taxi—which never seems to move. New to Sesame Square, Uncle Ado (a human resident), has just moved to the neighborhood and runs a local kiosk where Kami and Zobi visit.  Each episode features Zobi and Kami as they welcome viewers and introduce a “Word of the Day” segment which showcases the diversity of Nigerian children in cities and villages across the country. Special celebrity guests visiting Sesame Square include: Onyeka Onwenu, MC Abbey, and Dolapo Oni.

In addition to Sesame Square airing on NTA, local NGOs will distribute 2,700 new outreach kits with engaging health, mathematics, and science learning materials later this year. These kits will support the educational messages of the television show and promote interactive learning through games and other activities, and they will reach over 80,000 children and 2,700 caregivers in 16 states. NGOs will continue to distribute literacy outreach kits launched in May 2011,which aims to develop early reading skills in some of Nigeria’s youngest learners. The literacy kits include a set of alphabet flashcards, an alphabet storybook, a story tree mat, a puppet kit, and a caregiver guide.

“Sesame Workshop is thrilled to be working with USAID and NTA to bring back Sesame Square to Nigerian children and families for a new season,” said H. Melvin Ming, President and CEO, Sesame Workshop. “It is our mission to help every child reach their highest potential and we are excited to deliver valuable content promoting lessons of literacy, numeracy, health and diversity to prepare Nigerian children for a brighter, healthier future.”

“Through our collaboration with Sesame Workshop to produce Sesame Square and the related outreach materials we hope to make a significant difference in improving the health, education and everyday lives of Nigerian children and their families,” said United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Terrance McCulley.  “This dynamic collaboration with the support of the American people has begun to show positive changes in the lives of over 60,000 Nigerian children. Looking forward, we hope to explore creative ways to deliver educational and health messages through multiple high- and low-tech platforms, which may include mobile phones and the Internet.”

The Honorable Minster for Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i also observed that “Sesame Square is already positively reinforcing efforts to improve standards and quality in modern learning processes at the basic level in line with international standards”.

“We are excited to bring back the friends of Sesame Square to the children and families of Nigeria on NTA,” said Umar Mohammed, Director of Programmes, Nigerian Television Authority. “We know that children will enjoy learning and laughing alongside Kami and Zobi as they engage in lessons that will help them lead brighter, more positive lives.”

Generous support of Sesame Square is made possible by the American people and government through theUnited States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief(PEPFAR).

Visit Sesame Square on Facebook.

Philip Toscano
Sesame Workshop in New York
212.875.6687
philip.toscano@sesame.org

Barbara Dickerson
USAID/Nigeria
234. 9. 461.9415
bdickerson@usaid.gov

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