There are more than 100 million forcibly displaced people around the world. Nearly half of them are children. These young children are forced to grapple with the trauma of displacement at a pivotal time in their lives and far too often do not receive the support they need for their physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development.
As part of its response to this global crisis the IRC partnered with Sesame Workshop to form Ahlan Simsim, which means “Welcome Sesame” in Arabic. Ahlan Simsim brings programming, resources, and other supports to children and caregivers across the Middle East and North Africa. Funded with support from the MacArthur Foundation and the LEGO Foundation, it has now reached more than one million children and caregivers through its direct services and more than 23 million children across the region with its locally produced, Arabic-language version of Sesame Street. To date, Ahlan Simsim is the largest early childhood development initiative in the history of humanitarian response.
From its inception, the team behind Ahlan Simsim was committed to rigorous assessment of where this initiative was having a meaningful impact and where it might improve. That commitment has now resulted in a body of research with the power to inform educators everywhere about how to design and implement effective remote learning and educational broadcast programming. This research also yields compelling insights about how to effectively support parents and caregivers with young children living in crisis contexts, including promising findings on our remote preschool program in Lebanon with significant implications for supporting early learning for children living in humanitarian or other contexts where traditional in-person preschool is not possible. Those settings include a wide variety of contexts where IRC supports families.
To learn more about what this research found and how the humanitarian community can benefit from these insights, download this brief.