Play Safe with Sisimpur concludes after 30 months of educating children in Bangladesh on safety and prevention

Play Safe with Sisimpur, the educational program designed to prevent traumatic childhood injuries in Bangladesh by shaping behaviors and imparting knowledge on accident prevention, has concluded after 30 successful months.

While many in high-income countries take safety for granted and have the resources to teach injury prevention to their children, Dr Claude Martin jr, AO Alliance’s Managing Director, says that’s often not the case in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where children face a vast range of situations that can threaten their safety.

“These include everything from not knowing how to safely cross roads or swim, to open fires, live wires, and falls from trees,” he said. “Bangladesh is a land of water, a country of monsoons, where families are large. Many of the educational opportunities we take for granted in developed countries to keep our children safe and secure are not available in Bangladesh.”

The thought of this led Dr Martin to conceive a project that would reduce childhood injuries by combining entertainment, education and training for children and adults. “I grew up with Sesame Street, and I knew that Sesame Workshop was involved in health-related projects in LMICs. So why not do something in terms of preventing musculoskeletal injuries in poor countries?” he recalled.

In 2016, Sesame Workshop, the AO Foundation, and AO Alliance officially joined forces, launching this ambitious project. Sesame Workshop is one of the world’s foremost leaders in children’s education and the non-profit behind the renowned Sesame Street television (TV) show. Sisimpur, the Bangladeshi version of Sesame Street, was already in its 10th season when Play Safe with Sisimpur was integrated into the show.
The results of this AO Foundation-funded project exceeded expectations and delivered a plethora of outcomes, including:
Ӣ 4,500 volunteers trained to be child and adult mentors
Ӣ 219 first responders trained on injury prevention
Ӣ 336 teachers trained on use the of print and digital materials in their classrooms
Ӣ co-curricular classes taught in 56 schools in the Raipura region of Bangladesh

And finally, Play Safe content was distributed to 1,800 Anchal centers of the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research (CIPRB), Bangladesh, allowing the content to reach a new audience, mostly mothers and children who attend the centers. CIPRB estimates that the materials are reaching 45,000 children.
“We would not have been able to carry out this project without support from the AO Strategy Fund. We have created a template that can be exported to other LMICs where Sesame Workshop has an interest and a foothold, and there are proposals on the table to build on this project in Bangladesh, Ghana, and Ethiopia,” Martin said.