bangladesh | sisimpur
Opening up preschool education — and possibilities — to Bangladeshi boys and girls.
Now in its sixth season, our locally produced Sisimpur program reaches nearly 7 million children throughout Bangladesh.1
In a country where fewer than 25 percent of children attend preschool by age 5, Sisimpur delivers vital lessons on literacy, health, and cultural awareness through the adventures of homegrown Muppets, like Tuktuki and Ikri. These two vivacious little girls give their fans hope in the face of difficult odds: Of the 67 million adults in Bangladesh who are illiterate, 42 million are women.2 Despite her low-income background, 5-year-old Tuktuki dreams of going to school, learning to read and write, and aspiring to the same education opportunities as her male friends on the show.
Studies suggest that Bangladeshi children who tune in to Sisimpur are faster to pick up academic skills such as literacy and math, critical aspects of girls’ education. Literacy scores of 4-year-olds who watch are 67 percent higher than those who don’t. Some viewers are gaining as much as a year’s advance in learning.3
Mobile community viewings and other educational outreach extends the learning, reaching more than 200,000 Bangladeshi children since 2009.4 The first season of Sisimpur premiered on Bangladesh Television in 2005 and is currently broadcast four days a week. Sisimpur is a joint production of Sesame Workshop and Nayantara Communications in Dhaka.
Major support for Sisimpur is provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
2 UK Parliament. House of Commons, International Development Committee. (2010, March 4). Third Report: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmintdev/95/9506.htm
3 Overall literacy score of 4-yr.-olds with high exposure to the show is 54.8 vs. 32.9 for those with no exposure. Associates for Community and Population Research (ACPR). (2008). Sisimpur's Reach and Educational Impact Evidence from a National Longitudinal Syudy. Dhaka, Bangladesh.
4 Project records, 2009-2011.