Ethiopian ‘Sesame Street’ teaches life-saving lessons

“Knowledge is key and the media is a tool to communicate those interesting messages”. This is the message promoted by Bruktawit Tigabu, the creator of the Ethiopian version of ‘Sesame Street’ which is bringing innovation on Ethiopian tv. What she wanted to achieve through early childhood education, was educating young children about issues affecting Ethiopia today.

The show is organizing in a way through which children do not even realizing they are learning something useful for their life, and education. As Tigabu says, “They’re just having fun, they’re just watching their favorite show but at the same time they’re learning about germs, they are learning about being truthful, they are learning about numbers and knowing their letters and getting ready for school.”(CNN)

They want to create a generation of children who are able to take care of themselves, and are aware of the issues of their country.”The key for development in our country is education and focus on our children, so if we have those two going together, we will have a better Ethiopia, better Africa and a better world,” she says. Just like the American version, the show uses puppets and animation to teach situation about sanitation, hygiene, the importance of culture, and honesty.

“Her work not only makes vital information about health dangers easy to grasp, but also empowers young Ethiopians, helping them rediscover themselves and their world”.(CNN)

The innovation of this program, is that its creators also try to reach those children who do not own a tv, by  either bringing the characters of the show around the country, or by creating books ,traveling road shows and community. Another major characteristic of the show is the fact that it is all in Amharic, their national language. By doing so, the show reaches over 5 million viewers every week.

The show has been noticed by the international community as well, and has recieved several awards in the last few years including the “Next Generation Prize” at the Prix Jeunesse International, which honors innovative children’s TV programs.

“That’s why we want to invest in a young mind, in children with quality education as much as possible and motivate young people to serve humanity with the best knowledge they have and equip them with that knowledge so that they can be empowered to take action in everyday struggles.”

http://cnn.com/video/?/video/international/2011/04/25/av.bruktawit.tigabu.bk.a.cnn

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/04/26/ethiopia.bruktawit.tigabu/index.html?hpt=C2

Valeria Ciancia

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