Press Release: “Sesame Square”, Nigeria’s Adaptation of Sesame Street Launches a New Season, with a Hausa Translation of Previous Episodes
“Sesame Square”, Nigeria’s Adaptation of Sesame Street Launches a New Season, with a Hausa Translation of Previous Episodes
Abuja, September – Sesame Square, Nigeria’s co-production of the world renowned Sesame Street, returns to the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) for a new season with exciting episodes, featuring the beloved Sesame Muppet friends like Kami and Zobi. The program which debuted in May 2011, is designed to engage children and families with lessons on ABCs and 123s, girls’ empowerment, and health and hygiene – all crucial in a country where early childhood education is scarce and diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS are all too common. The new animated segment, Adventures of Kami and Big Bird, was launched at the Child-Friendly School Initiative, LEA Primary School in Ushafa, Bwari Local Council, Abuja. This season’s series, together with previous segments will be translated into Hausa, northern Nigeria’s predominant language. Funded by the United States Government through USAID, Sesame Square is co-produced by Nigerian production house Ileke Media and Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street. Season three of the program premiered on September 12, 2013 at 9:30 p.m. Subsequent series will air every Saturday at 9:30 a.m, and on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m on NTA.
“For more than a decade, the United States Government has partnered with the Government of Nigeria to help strengthen Nigeria’s education system. As partners, we work together to ensure that all of Nigeria’s children receive quality basic education. This work creates a long-lasting impact by setting the foundation needed to support Nigeria’s continued development”, says Maria Brewer, Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria.
In the new animated segment, “Adventures of Kami and Big Bird”, Kami and Big Bird will pose questions to their new bus-driver friend Didi, who will provide answers by taking Kami and Big Bird on a magical bus ride. During this adventure, viewers will see more of what they love best: the faces of children and voices and stories from around Nigeria. Special celebrity guests visiting Sesame Square include musicians Sasha and Nomoreloss.
Additionally, Sesame Square educational content is now accessible through Worldreader for the first time. The Worldreader book app, called Worldreader Mobile and functioning in tandem with biNu, enables mobile phone users in Nigeria to transform low-tech mobile phone displays into smart-phone displays, similar to those of iPhones, Androids and other smart-phone systems. Worldreader participated in the launch event of Sesame Square season three by engaging children with Sesame Square content on mobile devices for the very first time.
“Sesame Workshop is excited to continue our work with USAID and NTA to bring back Sesame Square to Nigerian children and families,” said H. Melvin Ming, President and CEO, Sesame Workshop. “It is our mission to help every child reach their highest potential and we are thrilled to deliver valuable content in innovative ways to promote lessons of literacy, numeracy, health and diversity to prepare Nigerian children for a brighter and healthier future.”
Sesame Square season three, like previous series, was developed in collaboration with education advisors which include Nigeria’s Ministries of Education and Health. It consists of 26 half-hour television episodes designed to promote fundamental literacy, numeracy, the importance of recycling, health and good hygiene habits in settings that foster children’s self-esteem, cultural pride, and respect for differences and diversity. The series will also emphasize malaria and HIV/AIDS prevention and immunization education against other child-hood diseases.
The Ministry of Education referred to the award-winning television series as “a key tool for enhancing the learning achievement of our children. It is complementing the Government of Nigeria’s effort in improving quality education delivery”.