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Sesame Workshop to Bring Hygiene and Sanitation Content to Bangladesh, India and Nigeria

Sesame Workshop to Bring Hygiene and Sanitation Content to Bangladesh, India and Nigeria

Sesame Street and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Work to Reach Millions of Children and Families with Critical Health Messages

(APRIL 10, 2013 – NEW YORK, NY) Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, announced today that it is receiving funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to promote hygiene and sanitation among children and families in high-needs areas in Bangladesh, India and Nigeria.  This multimedia, research-driven program will feature the beloved Muppet friends from Sesame Street and aims to highlight positive behaviors associated with these themes.

The project emerges against a backdrop of great need: More than 2.6 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation; children (and girls in particular) are especially affected by the lack of access to clean water and sanitation. Deaths from water-related diseases total more than HIV and AIDs, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Sesame Workshop is primed to deliver content to address this need through its history of international work focusing on education and health, in collaboration with in-country partners.

Made possible through generous funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Sesame Workshop will build upon its existing partnerships in Bangladesh, India and Nigeria to identify and shape culturally appropriate hygiene and sanitation messages as well as develop distribution strategies in each country. The project will be informed by intensive research conducted over a two-year period that will include studies to ensure effective messaging, reach, and impact. The full campaign is scheduled to begin rolling out in early 2015.

The program components include:

  • Three Public Service Announcements focusing on sanitation and hygiene, which will be distributed in each country’s official language;
  • A 12-15 minute DVD consisting of locally produced studio and live-action segments that reinforce the messaging in the PSA.
  • Print materials such as books, posters, and brochures that are tailored to fit the needs and distribution strategy in each county.

“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation sets the standard for identifying innovative thinkers and organizations who develop research driven programs to combat the world’s most challenging issues,” says H. Melvin Ming, President and CEO, Sesame Workshop. “Sesame Workshop has a proud history of bringing health messaging to children and families in Bangladesh, India and Nigeria, and we look forward to developing new approaches to delivering important messages to young children and their families.”

We are excited to bringing our research-based model to bear on this project,” says Dr. Charlotte F. Cole, Senior Vice President of Global Education, Sesame Workshop.  “A multi-country advisory will inform the project’s educational framework, and we will soon be conducting research in each country to understand the opportunities and challenges that young children and families face in the area of hygiene and sanitation, so that our content will help to forward relevant messages.”

Over the last decade, Sesame Workshop has worked to develop local Sesame Street co-productions in Bangladesh, India and Nigeria. In Bangladesh, Simsimpur reaches nearly 7 million children, while in India, Galli Galli Sim Sim engages millions of children with television and radiophone broadcasts as well as through unique community outreach initiatives. In 2011, Sesame Square premiered in Nigeria to the delight of children and adults alike and is preparing to launch its 3rd season this May.

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 including The Electric Company, to help bridge the literacy gap. 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

Philip Toscano
Sesame Workshop

1. World Health Organization (2012). “Health Through Safe Drinking Water and Basic Sanitation.”  Retrieved from
2. UNICEF (2012). “Progress for Children No. 5.” Retrieved from
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