A Street for All: Connecting with the Community

By Nada Elattar, Director of Educational Programs, International Social Impact, Sesame Workshop
Katie Maeve Murphy, Senior Technical Advisor, Early Childhood Development, International Rescue Committee

It takes a village to raise a child; it takes many more to save a generation of displaced children. Parents, families, and community members serve as the most immediate and direct influence on the child. Yet in times of conflict, additional supports are required. International and local NGOs. United Nations agencies. Government ministries and policy makers. Experts in early childhood education, children’s media, and local issues. Those involved in the area’s supply chains for goods, services, and media access. All need a seat at the table.

That’s the community we’re building to help children displaced by conflict. Together, we’re designing a way to bring their families content that educates and provides social-emotional support.

We’re starting with the children and families themselves, exploring how the content resonates.
Then, together with global leaders in early childhood development and experts from the Middle East, we are developing the foundation of a curriculum and a plan of action to accomplish our goals. In March, we hosted members of this community in New York to kick start this process. In May, we gathered in Jordan to expand upon that work by outlining how multimedia content can be embedded into refugee communities. These efforts will continue through early summer when we expand our research to Iraq and Lebanon.

Along the way, we’re working to grow our community even further. We attended the United Nations Education, Science, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Mobile Learning Week in Paris where we shared our findings, connected with the broader community (e.g. the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, World Vision, World Reader, Handicap International), and heard recommendations for how our unique partnership can have a lasting impact.

Bringing education to millions of displaced children will take a confluence of organizations unlike we’ve seen before. There’s a lot more to be done, but we’re on our way.

This post was first published on the MacArthur Foundation website.

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