A mobile leap by Galli Galli Sim Sim and MetLife Foundation

New outreach programme on mobile phones is all set to take Healthy Habits for Life to Anganwadis in Gujarat Aims to improve teacher quality and enhance classroom experience

Sesame Workshop India, the nonprofit organization behind Galli Galli Sim Sim, the beloved children’s television program on the leading Indian kids’ channels, Cartoon Network and POGO, and MetLife Foundation have teamed up to expand the nutrition and healthy habits educational outreach program via mobile phones to Anganwadis (government run preschool centers) in Gujarat. This is part of the Healthy Habits for Life campaign supported by MetLife Foundation that also includes activities in Mexico and Brazil.

It is well documented that there is a critical need to foster healthy habits in young children, especially in India.  During early childhood, children form habits and tastes that last a lifetime providing a window of opportunity to promote positive behaviors that could last well into adulthood, such as eating healthy foods, washing hands with soap, and choosing healthy snacks.

“MetLife Foundation is pleased to continue its partnership with Sesame Workshop in India to empower families to develop important health habits at an early age,” said Dennis White, president and CEO, MetLife Foundation.  “Our program this year will make use of innovative new technologies in classrooms while continuing its on-air presence to promote good health, particularly in underserved communities.”

The new outreach program will enable 150 government run preschool centers or Anganwadis in Dhrangadra and Halvad blocks in Surendranagar, Gujarat to improve teacher quality, enhance the classroom experience and ensure positive outcomes on children’s leanings’. Supervisors at these Anganwadis will be trained by Sesame Workshop to use mobile phones both for self-training and to integrate multimedia content in the classroom. They will also be enabled with Pico projectors, which will be utilized to project multimedia content to children in the classroom. The mobile phone will also be used to track usage, viewings and monitoring. The Anganwadi Supervisors will in turn train the Anganwadi workers. Training will comprise both in-person and through video modules. Ongoing training will be through pre-loaded mobile phones and each of them will go through a refresher course every three months.

Each Anganwadi will be equipped with a mobile phone – for viewing video content, using audio content, monitoring and training as well as a Galli Galli Sim Sim Kit, focusing on health, hygiene and nutrition. The kit will have instruction cards for the Anganwadi staff, manipulative/workbooks for children and worksheets for parents (for interaction at home) and a curriculum integration document.  There will be a distribution of one Pico projector per five Anganwadis, to enable monthly screening of Galli Galli Sim Sim episodes.

On the occasion Rajesh Relan, Managing Director & Country Manager MetLife India Insurance Co. Ltd. said, “I am particularly proud to announce the continuation of MetLife Foundation’s partnership with Sesame Workshop India to promote health education among children and parents. MetLife has a longstanding commitment to empowering individuals and building healthy communities.  The need for health information and promoting healthy habits among children in India is tremendous. Nurturing good nutrition and healthy habits among Indian children is essential in the early years to help ensure they grow up healthy.”

Sashwati Banerjee, Managing Trustee, Sesame Workshop India Trust says, “Given the immense need to promote good health and nutrition in India, this is a very important venture to us, which supplements the work we’re already doing via television and outreach. Today, the use of technology enables us to include many more into the Healthy Habits for Life campaign.  This for us is a fabulous opportunity to make Galli Galli Sim Sim and its world of muppets part of a healthy and happy community.”

Now in its third year, the Healthy Habits for Life campaign supported by the MetLife Foundation and also includes a TV sponsorship. As part of the MetLife Foundation grant, Sesame Workshop India, in 2010, made available special broadcast airings of Healthy Habits for Life episodes covering topics such as hygiene, disease prevention, and nutrition; the development of one public service announcement; dedicated healthy habits content (including activities for children and tips for adults) on the Galli Galli Sim Sim website; and a Mobile Community Viewing pilot, accompanied by educational materials, in Jaipur reaching 100,000 children and 33,000 caregivers.  Subsequently, in 2011, the Galli Galli Sim Sim radio program was launched to reach out to children across 11 cities in India. This was a brand new series and was broadcast on All India Radio in several cities including Alwar (Rajasthan), Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh), Hazaribagh (Jharkhand), Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) Jalandhar (Punjab), Jammu (Jammu & Kashmir), Jamshedpur (Jharkhand), Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Raigarh (Chhattisgarh), Srinagar (Jammu & Kashmir) and Udaipur (Rajasthan).The radio episodes promoted messages such as hand washing with soap, eating healthy foods and a balanced diet, getting physical activity, the importance of immunization, and more. The Galli Galli Sim Sim radio program was produced by adapting material from over 1500 existing Galli Galli Sim Sim television segments and was aired thrice a week over a period of 52 weeks.

About Galli Galli Sim Sim
Galli Galli Sim Sim is a multi-platform initiative that combines the power of multimedia and educational outreach to help children prepare better for school and life. Galli Galli Sim Sim facilitates young Indian children’s basic academic and life skills, while celebrating India’s rich cultural diversity, in order to promote their overall cognitive, socio-emotional and physical development.

Galli Galli Sim Sim integrates a 360 degree strategy to reach children between the ages of 0-8, especially those that are disenfranchised and under resourced. Broadcast on two of India’s leading channels- Pogo and Cartoon Network, Galli Galli Sim Sim is further supplemented by a radio program aired on All India Radio and community radio stations, extensive community outreach, and new and emerging media such as cell phones and internet. In addition to this, we provide training and create awareness about early childhood care and education to parents, teachers and caregivers using a combination of print, audio visual and social media to ensure a continuum of learning.

The Galli Galli Sim Sim initiative is supported by Turner Broadcasting, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, the MetLife Foundation, Qualcomm, HSBC, and the SCHWAB Charitable Trust. Galli Galli Sim Sim is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sesame Workshop, the creators of widely acclaimed children’s show Sesame Street. For more information please see www.galligallisimsim.com or www.sesameworkshop.org/aroundtheworld/india

About MetLife Foundation
MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 to continue MetLife’s longstanding tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. The Foundation’s commitment to building a secure future for individuals and communities worldwide is reflected in its dedication to empowering older adults, preparing young people and building livable communities.  Since it was established, MetLife Foundation has provided more than $530 million in grants to non-profit organizations addressing issues that have a positive impact in their communities. For more information visit www.metlife.org

For further information please contact:
Ms Shobha Kapoor: Shobha.kapoor@sesame.org