Play Safe with Sisimpur

An AO Foundation employee had an idea that they brought to the AO Strategy Fund for funding: why not develop educational content to prevent traumatic injuries in children in low- and middle-income countries? This could be achieved using the vehicle of one of the world’s foremost leaders in children’s education, Sesame Workshop””the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, providing educational learning resources through television, community engagement programs, digital platforms and more. After two years of development, Play Safe with Sisimpur””Sisimpur is the Bangladeshi version of the children’s television series Sesame Street””supported through a grant from the AO Strategy Fund, became a reality. A signing meeting was held at the headquarters of Sesame Workshop in New York (US) on 26 April 2016 with Rolf Jeker (AO Foundation CEO and AO Alliance Foundation Chair) and Suthorn Bavonratanavech (AO Foundation President) in attendance. A large team from Sesame was also on hand for the signing, including Sherrie Westin, EVP, Global Impact & Philanthropy, Ellen Buchwalter, VP, Philanthropic Development and Lilith Dollard, Senior Manager, Educational Programs.

Play Safe with Sisimpur is a 24-month project; the project aims to improve children’s knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to accident and injury prevention strategies and reduce the incidence of preventable traumatic childhood injuries in Bangladesh. Through engaging, age-appropriate and locally relevant messages featuring the Sisimpur Muppets, overarching categories of prevention will be addressed. The Childhood injury and accident prevention curriculum will be informed by research and local advisory recommendations, with age-appropriate and locally relevant key messages and strategies. Evaluation of the children’s learning at the end of the instructional unit will be conducted.

A content development workshop was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 5-7 May 2016. As a critical part of Sesame Workshop’s content development and program planning processes, the Content Workshop convened a group of experts who will help to shape the educational framework for the project and who are subject matter experts on best practices for engaging families and communities in work around childhood injury prevention. Attending advisors included experts from NGOs, advocacy, and academia. AO Alliance Foundation contributed three local trauma and orthopedic surgeons to help guide the scientific content.

Target audiences of the project are: children aged between three and eight years, caregivers and first responders. The project is estimated to reach over 28,000 caregivers and 42,000 children in Bangladesh. The major components are television and community engagement. The mass media component comprises Public Service Announcements, episodes and segments for community viewing. The community engagement comprises multimedia educational resources for children and training resources for caregivers, and will be implemented in communities for kids and caregivers.

AO Alliance Foundation will have oversight of the grant, as it involves one of the countries in Asia that is under its direct supervision and leadership.