12,495 The Drum Beat 691, Early Childhood C4D around the World

The Drum BeatEarly Childhood C4D around the World – The Drum Beat 691
This issue features early learning endeavours in:
AFRICA: HIV-Positive Muppet, Early e-Reading, Classroom ICT
ASIA: Mobiles 4 Road Safety, Advocacy via Radiophone
THE AMERICAS: Media Participation Rights, Audiovisual School, Sesamo Web
MULTIPLE COUNTRIES: Sanitation Edutainment, Financial Empowerment
From The Communication Initiative Network – where communication and media are central to social and economic development
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A WINDOW INTO ECD PROJECTS IN AFRICA
1. Radio Instruction to Strengthen Education (RISE) and Zanzibar Teacher Upgrading by Radio (ZTUR) Post-Project Evaluation in Zanzibar: Final Report
“…[I]nteractive audio programming (IAI) remains a viable and useful intervention format for increasing access to high-quality early education, particularly in the most challenged districts…” This document explores the activities, impacts, and next steps for two ECD projects involving radio, video, preschool teacher certification, and other components in Zanzibar. One finding from the 2014 assessment: RISE formal school students “performed significantly better on standardized grade-level assessments in Kiswahili, English and math, compared to their counterparts. Six years after the intervention, RISE formal school students demonstrated a better mastery of grade-level concepts.” [Jan 2015]
2. Takalani Sesame
This multimedia initiative is designed to provide engaging, educational messages to South African children and those who care for them through television, radio, and outreach initiatives. Takalani Sesame aims to support the Department of Education’s HIV/AIDS curriculum through the HIV-positive Muppet Kami. Takalani Sesame’s ECD Hub is an interactive website designed to present up-to-date scholarship and educational materials and fun activities to support the development of 4 areas: literacy, numeracy, life skills, and social and emotional development. Instituted in 2012, the Takalani Sesame Eastern Cape Outreach Project (TSECOP) produced and distributed kits of educational materials that, in March 2015, were augmented by incorporating LEGO blocks for an estimated total reach of 100,000 children and adults. [South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), the South African Department of Education (! DOE), and Sesame Workshop, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Sanlam, and Mai Family Foundation.]
3. Sesame Square
With the goal of supporting Nigeria’s basic education needs, Sesame Workshop developed the children’s television series Sesame Square for broadcast on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). In 2013, Sesame Workshop expanded the project by adapting and dubbing 3 seasons of the series into Hausa, called Dandalin Sesame. The series, which will expand its reach to broadcast in northern Nigeria beginning in the autumn of 2015, features a new Hausa alphabet song. Also adapted into Hausa: a set of basic literacy print materials that were distributed to 48,000 children and 1,600 caregivers in 6 northern states. To facilitate these activities, a series of trainings was held for education and production experts in Nigeria on translating and dubbing children’s television content.
4. Can Radio Drama Improve Child Health and Nutrition in Somalia?
by Shiri Landman and Angela Githitho Muriithi
This brief discusses the evaluation findings of Tiraarka Qoyska (Pillars of the Family), a 75-episode weekly radio health programme produced by BBC Media Action, with support from the United Nations Fund (UNICEF), which ran on BBC Somalia from 2011 to 2013. Through an interactive health magazine segment and a drama called Dareemo, Tiraarka Qoyska encouraged such behaviour as early and exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, increasing complementary feeding for children after 6 months, and increasing intake of food and fluids when children have diarrhoea. A large majority of listeners (84%) reported learning new things about health from the programmes and changing some of their daily habits. As stated in the research briefing, the combination of drama and discussion formats was successful, as different formats appealed to different audiences. [Apr 2015]
5. Mobile Videos for Early Childhood Care and Development Project
As part of the Community Led Action for Children (CLAC) approach, Plan International uses mobile video tools to support its early childhood care and development (ECCD) work by capturing examples of good practices, which are then used to communicate, support training, and monitor changes. The videos are designed to improve education by bringing training materials to life, showing visual examples of good practices and building the confidence of parents and caregivers to try new practices learned. For example, “trainers can show footage of positive discipline methods – which work better than physical punishment – to set boundaries for children. They can share a demonstration on how to make toys from easily sourced items around the house, or show examples of games that improve learning for small children.” The videos also stimulate discussion and enable people to share experiences without having to travel to other areas. Nokia Education Delivery technology is being used to capture, manage, and screen the videos.
6. African Storybook Project (ASP)
ASP “aims to address the shortage of books in local African languages for early reading. The main reason why there are so few stories in local African languages is that it is not cost effective to publish and print stories for reading in languages that have a small readership. But if the stories are on the internet, and also can be translated by people themselves into local languages, the challenge can be overcome.” The website, designed for parents and people working with children (such as teachers, librarians, community workers) in African contexts, is linked to the African Storybook Project Research Network (ASReN), a network of researchers, students, and others who are interested in research on areas related to the ASP. Their blogsite, aimed to engage the community in current debates as well as share information on new research, funding opportunities, and other news, contains links and posts on topics relevant to the ASP, such as mother tongue literacy.
7. Early Steps Program
This project is promoting increased investments and greater understanding of the importance of ECD as a means to strengthen the business sector and economy of Uganda. The approach is based on evidence suggesting that many intellectual and social skills, as well as personality traits, required for the job market and national competitiveness are developed during the formative years of life. The main focus of the ESP is to promote the business case for ECD to increase private sector involvement and government investment in ECD through outreach, engagement of business champions, and research-based policy advocacy. [Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU)].
8. Early Learning Radio Initiative in Zambia
A pilot project in the Eastern Province of Zambia is working to improve early childhood education (ECE) by using radio to reach out to children who are unable to attend preschool because of poverty, disability, or distance. The Educational Broadcasting Service (EBS), through the Zambian Ministry of Education and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), is piloting the delivery of the ECE radio programmes in 4 districts – Chadiza, Chipata, Katete and Petauke. The 30-minute programmes are designed to help young children ages 3 to 6 learn about mathematics, science, creative activities, literacy, and life skills.
9. ICT in the Classroom for Quality Education: Strengthening Learning and Teaching Methods in Under-resourced Schools in Developing Countries
This paper shares perspectives from the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) about using information and communication technologies (ICTs) within the education system to improve quality teaching and learning. For instance, in order to ease classroom work related to overcrowded classrooms, the report offers an example from Malawi, where IICD piloted the use of android tablets that allow teachers to reach all students while they work individually or in small groups. “The larger TeachTab acts partially as a server, able to share information with and monitor the smaller student LearnTabs and giving the teacher control over the whole classroom.” Both teachers and students are trained in the use and maintenance of the devices, and teachers are trained on how to use the tablets to design and present content.
Sesame Workshop, one of our CI Partners, works worldwide. For more, see:
LESSONS FROM ECD PROJECTS IN ASIA
10. Road Safety Mobile Outreach Project for China: Evaluation Report
by Jan Kidder, Chaoyun Yan, Guimin Su, Hui Zhang, Beijia Tan, and Yeh Hsueh
“In the past, both children and adults did not realize the importance of wearing helmets, but my child now understands by learning from a mobile device. My child says, ‘Elmo needs to wear a helmet and I do too’.” This report provides an analysis of the Mobile Road Safety First! Program, which drew upon interactive mobile content and mobile broadband connectivity to teach children ages 3 to 5 years how to travel safely by car, bicycle, bus, train, and foot throughout mainland China – particularly in urban areas. Sesame Workshop, working with international mobile technology company QualComm, sought to: (i) capitalise on the potential of wireless technology in the form of mobile phone-based road safety instruction for young children; and (ii) deliver road safety content in an interactive e-book format that features familiar Sesame Street characters, particularly Elmo. [Dec 2014]
11. Galli Galli Sim Sim Radiophone Project
Sesame Workshop India, the organisation behind Galli Galli Sim Sim (GGSS), launched this project to address the educational needs of disenfranchised children through a convergence of the latest 3G technology. It provides entertaining educational content and a platform for underserved communities to voice issues of concern through community media. The radio episodes include messaging on teaching children to love, understand, and celebrate India’s diverse culture, as well as on fostering health, hygiene, good nutrition, socio-emotional wellbeing and math and literacy. The episodes are made available live on community radio (CR) stations, are streamed on webservers, and are available on the phone through a dial-in number which requires a toll-free phone call. Through the project, Sesame Workshop India also promotes community-level advocacy, stimulating policy changes to improve access to services. It reaches approximately 1.4 million people, including 200,000 children. Over 70,000 calls were received on Radiophone in a single year.See also: Galli Galli Sim Sim
12. Sisimpur
Sisimpur, the Bangladhesi adaptation of Sesame Street, debuted in April 2005 on Bangladesh Television (BTV). Co-produced with Nayantara Communications, Sisimpur is designed to engage 3- to 6-year olds through Bangla-speaking Muppets, animation, and live-action segments. The Sisimpur Enhancing Essential Life Skills (EELS) project (2013-2016) focuses on reading, democracy and governance, global health, climate change and earthquake preparedness, and girls’ education and gender equity. It involves 60 TV episodes and 6 TV public service announcements (PSAs), as well as a classroom programme in 52 schools in Raipura that includes training and support for para-teachers and teachers (in part using using Sisimpur materials and activities in addition to an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system on mobile phones).
RESEARCH AND RESOURCES FROM THE AMERICAS
13. Children’s Media: An Unfinished Theme
by Joaquín Sotelo González, Miguel Ángel Ruiz Díaz, Gregorio Aranda Bricio, and Francisco Cabezuelo Lorenzo
Researchers sought to fill a gap in the literature on initiatives of child and youth participation in the production of media content at the municipal level in Spain. The Child Friendly Cities (CAI Programme – El Programa Ciudades Amigas de la Infancia), an international initiative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), advocates fostering and promoting the implementation of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), including its recommendations on children’s media participation. Researchers concluded that participation of Spanish municipalities in the CRC recommendations on children’s participation in media has not been sufficiently developed (68.52% of respondents from the CAIs did not have child participation). One conclusion: TV, the favoured media of the public, includes children and adolescent participation. However, the qualitative study included observations of excessive direction by adults, when children should be able to propose and develop themes of their own interests. [Oct 2014]
14. Escuela Audiovisual Infantil – EAI (Child Audiovisual School), Belén de los Andaquíes
EAI is dedicated to the exploration of visual language and use of communication technologies for the production of audiovisual and multimedia collective pieces in collaboration with children and young people to contribute to self-recognition of cultural values and capacities for building a life plan. Under the slogan “No story no camera”, the school leadership intends that young people become interested in registering their experiences and everything that “characterises their territory.” One product is the children’s television series “Telegordo”, winner of the call for incentives for the promotion of child audiovisual production, organised by the Ministry of Culture and the National Television Commission. Other productions, such as The Portrait of Bethlehem, Stories of the Andaquí Road, and Films on Rights, have been built through narrative and visual education and, in turn, according to the school, have improved the living conditions of many local children. The school has developed a blogsite and a Facebook page.
15. Plaza Sesamo
Throughout 2015 and 2016, Sesame Workshop and its partners will collaborate in the development of the following, which will be informed by formative research studies: (i) A healthy habits TV series made of 26 twelve-minute episodes that will be initially broadcasted in Ecuador and Mexico. In 2016, new broadcasting partners will be engaged for extended distribution. (ii) Thirteen PSAs produced in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Mexico using local celebrities and Plaza Sésamo’s Muppets. These spots will be developed with messaging focused on country-specific priorities. (iii) A microsite within Plaza Sésamo’s website, designed to serve as a repository for the audiovisual content as well as existing digital assets fitting within the educational framework of the strategy (initially, 3 eBooks and 1 HTML 5 game). (iv) A Healthy Habits App designed to promote fun health related activities in a family setting.
16. Childhood and Media
This guide for journalists and media professionals in Valencia, Spain, is based upon a study, among communication professionals from TV, radio, periodicals, and daily newspapers, of their understanding of the CRC as it applies to the presentation and participation of children in the media. [Save the Children and UNICEF, 2010]
17. Keys for Talking about Early Childhood in the Media
by Leonore Yaffe García and Gaby Fujimoto
This manual seeks to inform social communicators and journalists of the appropriate norms of communication about early childhood, particularly in Latin America, within a rights-based approach to journalism. It was produced as part of the “Expansion and hemispheric commitment to early education through technology and communication networks” project, implemented by the Organization of American States (OAS). [Dec 2009]
18. Aprendiendo en Casa: Media as a Learning Tool among Hispanic-Latino Families
Part of the Families and Media Project (FAM) of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and following the results of a national (United States) survey of parents of 2- to 10-year-olds, this study seeks to extend knowledge of family media usage by enhancing understanding of how Hispanic-Latino families with young children use media for learning, including examining media use by platform and language group – families that speak only English, only Spanish, and those that speak both languages. The report contains information derived from quantitative data and several case studies from ethnographic research to help illustrate the role that digital media plays in family learning. “Particularly important for us to understand from a design perspective was the role that media might play as a catalyst for children’s questions, their imaginative play, and their interests in related projects and activities.” [Feb 2015]
AROUND THE WORLD: PROJECTS IN VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES
19. Cleaner, Healthier, Happier
This Sesame Workshop initiative consists of a multimedia intervention to promote positive health behaviours in children ages 3-7 years and their caregivers in Bangladesh, India, and Nigeria – with a focus on some of the economically poorest and most vulnerable communities. To cite one example: Noting that sanitation and water access disproportionately affect girls and women, as well as highlighting the importance of the unique voice of girls in these issues, Sesame Workshop created the Muppet Raya, who was unveiled as part of the “Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India”, a forum aimed to stimulate discussion and spur partnerships to bring affordable sanitation solutions to people who need it most. The fair was also intended to be “an opportunity to recognize India’s leadership and commitment to improving child health and fostering innovative solutions to persistent development challenges.”
20. Dream, Save, Do: Financial Empowerment for Families
Launched in October 2013, this 5-year multimedia, multi-country initiative, organised by Sesame Workshop with MetLife Foundation support, intends to cultivate financial empowerment knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours through digital media, television/radio broadcast content (including public service announcements), mobile community viewings, user-generated content, caregiver and educator guides, local events and seminars, and employee and volunteer engagement opportunities. Research and advice from global and local experts have been used to drive the creation of messages and to gauge reach, understanding, and educational and social impact; a summative evaluation of the initiative is also planned.
This issue of The Drum Beat was written by Kier Olsen DeVries.

from The Communication Initiative…where communication and media are central to social and economic development

Full list of The CI PartnersANDI, BBC Media ActionBernard van Leer Foundation, BreakthroughCiturna TV, Fundación ImaginarioFundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI)HeartlinesJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication ProgramsMaternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP)MISAOpen Society FoundationsOxfam NovibPAHOThe Panos InstitutePuntos de EncuentroSAfAIDSSesame WorkshopSoul CitySTEPS InternationalUNAIDSUNICEFUniversidad de los AndesUSAIDWorld Health Organization (WHO)W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The Drum Beat seeks to cover the full range of communication for development activities. Inclusion of an item does not imply endorsement or support by The Partners.

Chair of the Partners Group: Garth Japhet, Founder, Soul City garth@heartlines.org.za

Executive Director: Warren Feek wfeek@comminit.com

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The Editor of The Drum Beat is Kier Olsen DeVries.
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