The project will be managed by a joint Sesame Workshop / World Heart Federation team as well as by on the ground program management and partner organizations in Colombia.
Expanding the reach and impact of the initiative will be achieved by:
1. Producing and distributing high quality multi-media materials including a special children's health DVD and print-based outreach kit:
The DVD, with a special focus on children's health using new and existing Plaza Sésamo material to provide messages on the project's three health pillars - nutrition, exercise, and the body - will build on the material produced in Colombia during the initiative's first three years which includes eleven live-action segments, nine Muppet segments, and eleven animations. The outreach kit will include a storybook, an interactive game, a poster, a teachers' guide, and other materials designed to promote Colombian children's health and health education. These existing materials will be supplemented with newly designed materials such as games and activities that can be used in classrooms or clinic settings. An educational content seminar and pilot testing of the existing materials will allow Sesame Workshop to design and produce materials that fill content gaps and enrich the impact of the pre-designed materials.
2. Expanding nascent community projects by widening distribution and enhancing training
Community-based outreach projects target hard-to-reach and socio-economically disadvantaged populations with customized materials and training. With funding for this extension Sesame Workshop will expand the original initiative to reach communities beyond the Bogata area and throughout the country, bringing them the above described DVD and kit and providing critical training and support for the use of these materials. The initiative already benefits from strong Colombian partnerships with a network of preschools, daycares, schools, health centers, and doctors offices. The materials will also be made available for free download.
3. Improving impact by engaging in rigorous formative and impact evaluation
The scaled-up Healthy Habits for Life project will begin with a content seminar. Colombian experts representing a wide range of disciplines will participate in an updated needs assessment and identify and develop critical components of the initiative, including materials, partners, training, and distribution. Furthermore, an independent research team from Johns Hopkins University, or another university, specializing in the impact of media on health behavior, will research the impact of the project on children's and their caregivers' knowledge and attitudes. Local partners, Sesame Workshop, the World Heart Federation and its members will provide training and technical assistance regarding various aspects of the program as well as help develop its outreach.
This scale up of the Colombia pilot will be announced in January 2008, funding permitting.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
Research to be commissioned on behalf of the project will employ the following indicators to assess the impact of the 'Healthy Habits for Life' partnership program:
- Knowledge gain of children and caregivers exposed to materials compared with those not exposed in the areas of healthy diets, physical activity, and knowledge of the body
- Attitude change of children and caregivers exposed to materials compared with those not exposed in the areas of healthy diets, physical activity, and the body
In addition, the team will collect data on a number of output indicators including: the number of materials distributed (by location and network), number of caregivers and teachers who receive training, the number of segments or DVDs produced, and the number of events held and people attending.
This commitment is a plan to scale up a pre-existing initiative which began in 2006 as a partnership between the World Heart Federation and Sesame Workshop, made possible thanks to the generous support of Mr. Julio Mario and Mrs. Beatrice Santo Domingo. By scaling-up, the reach of the initiative can be extended beyond the Bogota area by targeting impoverished communities throughout Colombia and the educational impact can be deepened by producing additional multi-media materials and enhancing the initiative's training component.
In addition to Sesame Workshop's three health outcome goals: improved knowledge of nutrition, exercise and the body, the initiative is committed to a holistic view of health, valuing cultural and socio-economic diversity and their implications on nutrition and activities, respect and tolerance for others, the importance of family, and gender equity. While focusing on the health messages that are outlined in the program objectives, materials and programming will also promote these transversal values.
For almost two decades, Sesame Workshop has addressed health concerns throughout the world with impressive results. Projects have focused on HIV/AIDS in South Africa, hygiene in Egypt, nutrition in Mexico, and earthquake safety in Ecuador. The World Heart Federation and its 195 member organizations on all continents have a solid record of effective awareness and advocacy work aimed at preventing and controlling cardiovascular disease worldwide.
In Colombia, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and claims more Colombian lives than violence, hunger, and communicable diseases combined. In Columbia (as elsewhere in Latin America), television is a powerful force shaping attitudes and preferences of children. By both promoting unhealthy foods and contributing to inactivity, television viewing by children is considered part of the problem in the alarming rise of overweight, obesity, and chronic disease in low-resource settings. The Sesame Workshop / World Heart Federation partnership works to balance that influence and make media part of the solution.
This commitment is based on the understanding that Colombia struggles with both under-nutrition and over-nutrition coexisting, often in the same communities and families. Through fun and engaging audio-broadcast and print content, this initiative can influence Colombians' diets and physical activity patterns throughout their lifetimes by intervening early when attitudes and habits are formed. The program also targets parents, caregivers and teachers who shape children's attitudes and habits and who are often at high risk for health problems associated with unhealthy diet and limited physical activity themselves.
Furthermore, the three-year extension will enable local partners in the health, education, media and government sectors to build up the capacities to ensure sustainability. This will be achieved by: 1) Producing and distributing high quality multi-media materials including a special children's health DVD and print-based outreach kit, 2) Expanding on nascent community projects by widening distribution and enhancing training, and 3) Improving impact by engaging in rigorous formative and impact evaluation. Ultimately, the intention is that this program serves as an effective and sustainable model that can be applied in other countries with similar health profiles.