Hyderabad: October 15: Today on Global Handwashing Day, Sesame Workshop India, the non-profit educational media organization behind Sesame Street, is launching a campaign with support from the Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition, a collaboration between Unilever and the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), to drive awareness of good hygiene & disease prevention practices. The multi-media campaign supports the Global Handwashing Day theme of “H is for Handwashing”.
As part of the campaign, Sesame Workshop India has developed simple yet engaging online resources like videos, posters, and e-books in Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, and Tamil. The materials will reach families via social media, YouTube, radio, and through direct services in communities. A new Hindi version of the Sesame Street “H for Handwashing” innovative digital games, originally supported by soap brand Lifebuoy will also be distributed in schools. At the heart of the campaign are the colorful, beloved Sesame Muppets, who model positive health and hygiene behaviors for young children and families.
The Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC) was formed in 2020 by Unilever and the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). It was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to limit the spread of the virus in low and middle-income countries and has reached over 1 billion people with lifesaving behavior-change messaging, hygiene products, and access to training and education. Sesame Workshop, the parent organization of Sesame Workshop India, joined the HBCC coalition to support the physical and mental health of children and families amid the pandemic.
Talking about the organization’s work with children in the space of health and hygiene, Sonali Khan, Managing Director, of Sesame Workshop India said “Our goal is to promote hygiene knowledge, attitudes, and practices among children and families and meet the developmental needs of children. Through the Hygiene Behaviour Change Coalition, we’re scaling our efforts to reach more children and families with critical health and hygiene knowledge.”
The huge scope and the deployment of the HBCC program would not have been possible without the close collaboration of the public and private sectors. Unilever’s partnership with the FCDO, supported by academic experts in behavior change and WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), represents the UK’s largest public-private partnership established to help slow the spread of the virus in vulnerable countries. The FCDO was well positioned to respond quickly through its network of embassies and high commissions, as well as existing partnerships. With resources and expertise in humanitarian program delivery, they could help to rapidly deploy a global program. Coupled with Unilever’s long history of promoting health hygiene practices and expertise in mass media and campaign delivery, this was an effective partnership to reach the lives of young children through Sesame Workshop India.
Over the last 16 years, Sesame Workshop India has been reaching children and families via community initiatives, the Doordarshan network on TV and YouTube, and other social media channels to have a measurable impact on the overall health and development of children.