Nigerian ‘Sesame Street’ to feature health, nutrition and gender equality

Please welcome Todd Summers to the blog. He’s ONE’s new senior adviser for global health and we’re excited to have him!
Nigeria Sesame Street
© The Associated Press 2010

The people that put together “Sesame Street” and Jim Henson’s “The Muppets Show” have been working to create a version in Nigeria called “Sesame Square.” They announced that the show will include an HIV-positive girl named Kami –- news reports describe her as ‘furry and yellow.’
Given that more than 40 percent of Nigeria’s 150 million people are under the age of 14, this Muppet is a great way to reduce stigma around living with HIV and inform kids (and their parents) about the disease.
Kami’s not new – she was introduced in 2002 to South African viewers, and has appeared across the world, including with former President Clinton.
And you may remember that there was quite a buzz in the U.S. about this, with several politicians threatening to cut funding for PBS if they brought Kami in (I wonder if this was because of the sad immigration ban that Congress imposed on HIV-positive people that was only recently lifted. Let’s hope that we’ve become more enlightened since then.