Partner: Sesame Workshop
Project Length: March 2012 – December 2016
EA is producing and broadcasting an original radio series Baghch-e-Simsim (Sesame Garden) in Pashto and Dari to engage and educate pre-school and early grade children in Afghanistan. Sesame Garden features the Muppets from Sesame Street as well as original Afghan children’s songs, games and stories. Each season of Sesame Garden addresses cognitive outcomes, including literacy and numeracy; learning about the world, including health and safety knowledge; and social reasoning and attitudes toward out-groups (groups that a person does not psychologically identify as being a member). Through entertaining and educational segments, Sesame Garden improves listener capacity in the aforementioned areas for both children as well as adults (e.g., teachers, parents, caregivers).
Each episode features a letter and number of the day; a culturally resonant adventure story and game led by Muppets and children; a segment that follows an Afghan family modelling positive interactions between parents and children; and a caregiver tip delivered by childhood education experts and/or real parents. Listeners provide feedback on each radio episode through SMS (Short Messaging Service), phone and written letters. EA will begin production of Seasons 5 in early 2016, which will see the start of outreach activities under the Sesame program. Through the kindergarten pilot, teacher facilitators will be trained in the Sesame methodology and the incorporation of song, play and sesame techniques in the classroom.
“Sesame Workshop is proud to work with Equal Access to create a radio series that not only seeks to educate and prepare children for a lifetime of learning, but does so in a way that utilizes the most impactful and effective form of media in Afghanistan. With less than two-thirds of Afghanistan’s children enrolled in primary school, Baghch-e-Simsim provides content that is critical to children’s education countrywide.”
-H. Melvin Ming, CEO and President, Sesame Workshop