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Sesame Workshop Commits to the United Nations Secretary-General’s Every Woman Every Child movement as it launches an unprecedented global health initiative

(New York, NY, September 26, 2012)  Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind Sesame Streetaround the world, reaffirms and deepens its commitment to the United Nations Secretary-General’s Every Woman Every Child movement to mobilize and intensify global action to improve the health of women and children around the world.  Recognizing that health risks from diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia, malnutrition and obesity extend across borders and impact millions, Sesame Workshop is seeking to collaborate with organizations to launch and support an unprecedented global health initiative, “Healthy Children, Healthy Lives Around the World.”

Through this program, Sesame Workshop aims to improve the lives of millions of women and children by uniquely harnessing the power of educational media and the Sesame Street Muppets to promote health awareness, knowledge and positive behavior change. Sesame Workshop will continue to engage and extend the diverse strengths of its global network of collaborators, funders and current partners, including the United Nations Foundation and the MDG Health Alliance.

For the Every Woman Every Child movement, Sesame Workshop has produced a public service announcement (PSA) featuring Kami from Takalani Sesame (South Africa’s Sesame Street) with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon talking about what they do to stay healthy including washing their hands before they eat and exercising.  The PSA will debut around the world today.

“For 43 years, Sesame Workshop has been making a meaningful difference in the lives of children by addressing their critical developmental needs through innovative and engaging educational content delivered in a variety of ways, including television, radio, books, magazines, interactive media, mobile phones, and community outreach efforts,” said H. Melvin Ming, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop.  “We’ve reached hundreds of millions children and families in over 150 countries worldwide, including many who would otherwise have no access to early childhood education.  We are pleased to announce our global health initiative and to be a part of Every Woman Every Child—extending our work to maximize the educational power of media to help all children reach their highest potential.”

“I am deeply grateful to Sesame Workshop for lending its creativity, passion and global popularity to Every Woman Every Child, which is working to save millions of lives,” said Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.  “I am proud to partner with Kami and her friends, who can advance the global health agenda around the world in ways I never could.  I hope others will join our global movement for the health of every woman and every child.”

Sesame Workshop’s commitment to Every Woman Every Child is an expansion of its health-related work in South America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.  This work addresses critical health needs in several countries within each region including:

  • Multimedia early childhood initiatives aimed at promoting general health and hygiene as well as early prevention of non-communicable diseases in young children ages 3-6 years, parents, and educators in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.
  • Multimedia early childhood initiatives promoting HIV and AIDS education for young children, parents and educators in areas such as basic knowledge, blood safety, discrimination, and coping with the illness in South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho.
  • Multimedia early childhood initiatives promoting general health, safety, and well-being (including good nutrition, hygiene, emergency education and water safety) in India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and China.

Sesame Workshop’s approach brings together local educators, child development specialists, researchers, producers, writers, and artists to develop programs that meet the developmental needs of children in a particular country or region.

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 150 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

Launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit in September 2010Every Woman Every Child aims to save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015.  It is an unprecedented global movement that mobilizes and intensifies international and national action by governments, multilaterals, the private sector and civil society to address the major health challenges facing women and children around the world.  The effort puts into action the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, which presents a roadmap on how to enhance financing, strengthen policy and improve service on the ground for the most vulnerable women and children.

Beatrice Chow

(212) 875-6586

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