Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee
Bringing hope and opportunity to a generation of refugee children through mass media, and home and center based interventions.
Location: Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Syria
In 2017, the MacArthur Foundation hosted a competition called 100&Change that offered $100 million to fund a critical problem facing the world today. A joint proposal from the International Rescue Committee and Sesame Workshop – the non-profit organization behind Sesame Street – won the prize.
The IRC and Sesame Workshop will use the prize money to fund the largest ever early childhood intervention delivered in an emergency context. Over five years, their programme will provide Syrian children in four countries – Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and inside Syria – with quality, interactive, engaging content. They will reach 1.5 million children through home visits and centre-based programmes, and 9.4 million through mass media.
The programme aims to ensure that children have access to nurturing care and quality learning opportunities that will bolster their cognitive and social-emotional development and wellbeing. In committing this funding, the MacArthur Foundation recognised the challenge that less than 2% of the global humanitarian aid budget is dedicated to education, with only a sliver of all education assistance benefiting the youngest children. The early years are a crucial time to ensure children can thrive at school and in life, so returns on this investment will be substantial.
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