Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organisation behind popular children’s TV show Sesame Street, has teamed up with World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organisation promoting human transformation in nearly 100 countries, to reach children with lifesaving lessons about water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) through their WASH UP! initiative. By providing children with access to engaging educational material, WASH UP! aims to reduce the number of kids who suffer from preventable and treatable diseases. Sesame Workshop has infused its content into World Vision’s existing relationships with communities and WASH infrastructural support to schools in rural communities. Together, the two organisations are helping to combat the greatest global health threat to children today – disease related to water, sanitation and hygiene.
The initiative provides in-school, after-school and community-based programs with learning materials including video content, games, storybooks and educator guides, all localised for participating communities. The WASH UP! initiative is currently active in 14 countries across South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Sesame Workshop and World Vision plan to expand to additional countries in 2020 and beyond.
In order to localise their materials for Africa, Sesame Workshop approached us to translate and proofread educational storybooks, comic books, songs and film scripts in 11 languages, many of them rare, such as Dagbani, Kinyarwanda, Nigerian Hausa and more.
The work was sent to us in batches, with accompanying schedules of language requirements and delivery dates. As always, our team displayed agility while delivering within timeframes as tight as one and a half days. In addition to translation and proofreading, we provided additional quality checks and made sure all the materials consisted of simple language and basic vocabulary, suitable for young children, ages 6-10.
Here is an English excerpt from one of the storybooks, “Raya and Elmo in Team Healthy”. The tale follows the WASH UP! global health ambassador, 6-year-old Sesame Muppet Raya and her friend, Elmo, who have started a group called Team Healthy. They want to teach their friends and family to stay away from germs by drinking safe, clean water, always using the latrine and washing their hands with soap.
“Raya, how can our little team make a big difference?” asked Elmo.
“It doesn’t matter how small your team is,” Raya answered. “It matters how big your mind is, and your heart, and your voice! We have big voices. We will remind everyone how to stay healthy!”
“Yeah!” giggled Elmo. “Remind EVERYONE!”
Together, Raya and Elmo encourage children to share the lessons they learn with their families and communities—after all, healthy habits are contagious. This particular story ended with a song that children can sing while washing their hands and a list of questions intended for young listeners.
We are proud to have worked on a project of such significant scope and value. As the WASH UP! initiative continues to grow, we look forward to carrying on our support of its work.