“Cleaner, Healthier, Happier” Campaign kicks off in Kolkata, India with Galli Galli Sim Sim

New Initiative in Kolkata Encourages Children to Use Toilets and Improve Sanitation

Kolkata, Nov 19, 2014: Galli Galli Sim Sim, the popular multi-media initiative created by Sesame Workshop India, is helping children in India prepare better for school and life kicked-off its “Raho Swach, Jiyo Mast” (Cleaner, Healthier Happier) campaign in Kolkata on November 14, 2014. Aimed at children ages 3 to 7, their caregivers and communities, “Raho Swach, Jiyo Mast” is aligned with the Indian Government’s Swachh Bharat program, and seeks to motivate children living in urban slums in Kolkata to use toilet use to improve sanitation and hygiene.

Generously supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Raho Swach, Jiyo Mast is a three country project, (India, Bangladesh and Nigeria), that features a new Muppet friend Raya and the beloved Elmo from Galli Galli Sim Sim to engage children with important messages surrounding proper latrine use and sanitation. Raya and Elmo demonstrate age-appropriate concepts that highlight important messages on using toilets for defecation, washing hands, wearing slippers and keeping toilets clean through an intensive 10 week campaign that uses a mix of audio visual, print, digital games and on ground activities. The campaign will roll out as a pilot in two areas of North Kolkata, Jorasankho and Narkeldanga in partnership with Children International.

In Kolkata an estimated three dozen civic groups and neighborhood committees offer public toilets — only enough so that there are about two per square mile in a teeming city of 15 million1. The 39, 826 households in the city are still without toilets, though a majority (74.67%) uses what is commonly known as water-closets. In Kolkata, 5.89% of the population still depends on service toilets, while 15.11% uses pit-toilets. More than 1.5 lakh people have no access to toilets2. Even when they do, they choose to not use them. This is what we are trying to change through the campaign- the behavior and attitude of the people towards the use of toilets.

This unique campaign has multiple interventions planned over a 10-week period which started with a Mobile Community Viewing, encouraging children and their caregivers to watch Galli Galli Sim Sim compilations that deliver the core message. Each screening is followed by a series of activities conducted with children that reinforce the messages and encourages increase in knowledge, attitude and practice. Further digital games provided via tablets by facilitators will encourage children to play and earn points – earning them a chance to meet with Raya.

This initiative is Sesame Workshop India’s first attempt at looking at exploring and evaluating whether personal motivation or group motivation are key to continued behavior change. Based on the research result, the initiative will scale up to reach over 50,000 children in urban slums in Kolkata, starting April 2015.

Sashwati Banerjee, Managing Director, Sesame Workshop India says, “It has been proven time and time again that children can be powerful change agents. It’s important to reach young children with messages that encourage them to adopt a behavior that could be lifelong. With 100,000 children in India dying every year from a preventable cause like 3Diarrhea, there is a critical need to improve sanitation and prevent child morbidity and mortality. We are experimenting with a fun filled program that we hope will be the harbinger of change”.

SWI boilerplate: Sesame Workshop India, the organization behind Galli Galli Sim Sim, uses the power of the media to help children reach their highest potential. We develop and distribute high quality and engaging content through television, radio, community radio, print, digital and outreach, to reach children aged 0-8. Our content aims to facilitate 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, the television series, has been watched by 80 million children since its debut in 2006 till 2011 and currently reaches approximately 18 million children per year in partnership with national cable channels – Pogo & Cartoon Network and national public broadcaster – Doordarshan. Galli Galli Sim Sim’s educational messages are extended through a radio program aired on community radio stations, extensive community outreach, and applications on new and emerging media such as cell phones and internet. Recently we have entered the school education space through the launch of Sesame Schoolhouse whose curriculum and methodology integrates hands-on project-based learning, with creative approaches to foster critical thinking and problem solving, laying a strong foundation to promote lifelong learning.
For more information on all please log on to www.sesameworkshopindia.org, www.galligallisimsim.com and www.sesameschoolhouse.in.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Meghna Dutta- Manager PR & Communications
Sesame Workshop India
Email- meghna.dutta@sesame.org
Phone- +91 9588774001

1. LA Times, http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/22/world/la-fg-india-toilets22-2010mar22
2. Times of India, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/Poor-sanitation-raises-a-stink-in-messy-Kolkata/articleshow/5248937.cms
3. Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS) 2013