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Sesame Street’s Grover on mission to make world’s roads safe for children & their families

Producers Behind Sesame Street, FIA Foundation & Global Road Safety Partnership Team Up to Launch Global Road Safety Campaign

(New York, NY, and London, UK, April 12, 2011)—Buckle up, put on your helmet, and look both ways. Here comes Grover, Sesame Street’s boisterous and valiant blue monster, on a mission to help make the world’s roads safe for children and families.  In support of the UN’s Decade of Action for Road Safety, Grover will put his considerable diplomatic skills to use as a Road Safety Ambassador to help raise awareness and promote safe road practices.  At a Make Roads Safe event taking place in London today, Grover will introduce a series of Sesame Street public service announcements (PSAs), developed in partnership with the FIA Foundation.  The spots will be broadcast on stations throughout the world on May 11th 2011 to kick off the global launch of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety.

The nonverbal PSAs feature an animated Grover in different scenarios shown buckling up or putting on a helmet, and then giving a thumbs up—the universally used symbol by pilots, astronauts, race-car drivers and other highly-skilled professionals to denote readiness, preparedness, and “all-systems go.”  Grover will be wearing the official international road safety symbol—a yellow Road Safety tag to show his support to the road safety cause.  The three PSAs, animated by LA-based Rubicon Studios, will be distributed to broadcasters in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

In addition to the PSAs, Sesame Workshop and the Global Road Safety Partnership are jointly developing a Road Safety Education Framework intended as a practical guide for Road Safety educators, parents and practitioners who are developing content, educational materials and communication strategies to help children better understand the risks associated with travel on or near the roads, and to internalize and implement safer behaviors around roads and vehicles.

The objectives of the Sesame Street Road Safety Campaign are:

  • To help children understand that vehicles are complex and technical things that need skill, caution and preparation to ride in them and be around them;
  • To build in children an “I can” attitude toward this positive mind-set and behavior;
  • To develop a sense of respect for the car and the road and help children engage in their use with deliberate responsibility (rather than casual acceptance);
  • To empower children to take action in communicating this positive and proactive attitude to their family and friends; and
  • To make the safe use of cars and roads a priority and a shared family experience.

The Framework is being developed using the unique lens of Sesame Workshop’s 40-plus years of research-based experience and the Global Road Safety Partnership’s deep knowledge and expertise of global best practices in road safety education, and is intended to be customized to reflect cultural circumstances and local realities of infrastructures and local road users’ challenges and experiences. The Framework strives to be practical, developmentally appropriate, and relevant to parents and caregivers as well as children.

“The Decade of Action is a critical opportunity for coordinated action among our global partners to mobilize our media reach to promote road safety awareness among road users, especially families with young children,” said Gary E. Knell, Sesame Workshop President and CEO. “The PSA messages, generously funded by the FIA Foundation, and Framework, developed with the Global Road Safety Partnership, promote an early understanding of critical road safety knowledge for increased use of seatbelts, child restraints and helmets, and encourage safe pedestrian behavior.”

David Ward, Director General of the FIA Foundation, said, “Sesame Street is much loved by children across the world, and trusted by their parents, so these PSA messages are an ideal way to raise awareness of road safety and promote the vital life skills that can help to protect children on the road.  The FIA Foundation is delighted to support Sesame Workshop in its new activities in support of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety.”

Andrew Pearce, Chief Executive of the Global Road Safety Partnership, said, “The decision of Sesame Workshop to support the Decade of Action on Road Safety is one that I am convinced will result in fewer lives being lost around the world. As well as its high quality, research-based educational materials, Sesame Workshop brings fun, excitement and the sheer star quality that will help many new people to get involved and contribute to the growing road safety movement.  We are delighted to have been able to help Sesame Workshop with this important contribution to the launch of the Decade.”

Sesame Workshop became a member of Global Road Safety Partnership in 2010 and has further committed to participating in the Decade by mobilizing media to make road safety awareness a “top-of-mind issue among road users,” and incorporating road safety content into all local Sesame programs.  In addition to the PSAs and Framework, Sesame Workshop is developing plans of action with local partners in road safety in Jordan, Mexico, and Germany launching May 11th.

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization that revolutionized children’s television programming with the landmark Sesame Street. The Workshop produces local Sesame Street programs, seen in over 140 countries, and other acclaimed shows to help bridge the literacy gap including The Electric Company.  Beyond television, the Workshop produces content for multiple media platforms on a wide range of issues including literacy, health and military deployment. Initiatives meet specific needs to help young children and families develop critical skills, acquire healthy habits and build emotional strength to prepare them for lifelong learning. Learn more atwww.sesameworkshop.org.

The FIA Foundation is a UK registered charity working internationally to promote road safety and a major donor to innovative injury prevention programmes. The Foundation is also a leading advocate for road safety, coordinating the Commission for Global Road Safety, which today publishes its 3rd Report, and the Make Roads Safe campaign which together proposed and led the call for a UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. For more seewww.fiafoundation.org.

Currently working in 25 countries, the Global Road Safety Partnership is a voluntary initiative that began its activities in 1999, with the support of leading multi- and bi-lateral development agencies, governments, businesses and civil society organisations.  The Global Road Safety Partnership Secretariat is hosted by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), an international humanitarian organisation headquartered in Geneva. The Global Road Safety Partnership is dedicated to the sustainable reduction of road-crash death and injury in low- and middle-income countries, which suffer 90 per cent of the 1.3 million annual deaths from road crashes. More information is available at www.GRSProadsafety.org.

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Contacts

Beatrice Chow
Sesame Workshop
(212) 875 6586
beatrice.chow@sesame.org

Avi Silverman
FIA Foundation
+44 7967 229374
a.silverman@fiafoundation.org

Margarita Plotnikova
Global Road Safety Partnership
+41 22 730 4222
Margarita.plotnikoa@ifrc.org

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