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International News

With Yams, Mosquito Nets: Nigeria Adapts "Sesame Street"

May 25, 2011

"Sesame Street," the legendary children's educational TV series, is making its debut in Nigeria. "Sesame Square" will air twice weekly on the country's national public broadcasting outlet, the Nigerian Television Authority.


While "Sesame Square" continues in the tradition of its American model by teaching pre-schoolers about letters and numbers, it has a decidedly African slant. HIV/AIDS and malaria education are prominent features in the series. "Statistics show that at the end of the day, malaria and HIV kill more people in this part of the world than anything else," said Yemisi Ilo, "Sesame Square's" executive producer.

One of the show's stars is Kami, a golden, furry five-year-old female. Kami is HIV-positive, lost her mother to AIDS, and always wears the symbolic red ribbon. Kami is resilient, jovial, and affectionate - traits that aim to upend stereotypes about people living with HIV/AIDS.

Zobi, a fuzzy blue male muppet, owns a yellow taxi and is obsessed with yams, a staple food in Nigeria. In one episode, Zobi becomes entangled in a mosquito net, insisting he is protecting himself against malaria. Kami instructs him that he is not supposed to "wear" the net, but rather sleep under it.

"Sesame Square" is funded by the US Agency for International Development and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief program. It is the latest of some 20 international "Sesame Street" versions broadcast in 140 countries. Since around 150 million Nigerians do not have access to television or lack electricity to power their sets, "Sesame Square" will distribute literacy kits to approximately 80,000 children.

Back to other news for May 2011

Adapted from:
Agence France Presse

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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