Impact Update: Reflecting On Ahlan Simsim

The Ahlan Simsim initiative has transformed the lives of children and families through early childhood development services in its fifth year.

Elmo visits an Ahlan Simsim center in Lebanon.
Caption: Elmo visits an Ahlan Simsim center in Lebanon.
Credit: Sesame Workshop

In 2022, Ahlan Simsim entered its fifth year and achieved demonstrable impact, firmly establishing that integrating educational media resources with early childhood development (ECD) services can have transformative benefits for children whose lives have been upended by conflict and crisis. Sesame Workshop built upon year four’s expansion by further extending its initiative’s reach across broadcast, digital, and direct services; it introduced a delightful new character who brings visibility to children with disabilities and girls in STEM; and its research partner, New York University’s Global TIES for Children Research Center, completed three impact studies that confirm our program’s positive impact on children and caregivers throughout the region. Year five also saw the expansion of our Ahlan Simsim initiative in Iraq and an increased advocacy role in our continued efforts to inform policy.

With the Syrian conflict reaching its 12th year and political and economic crises in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) showing no signs of abating, families across the region continued to feel the impact of conflict, displacement, natural disasters, and climate insecurity—and the need for Ahlan Simsim only deepened. Despite many context-based challenges faced by children and caregivers in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, Ahlan Simsim’s reach and impact grew in multiple ways. Ahlan Simsim and Sesame Workshop, reflected on the fifth year of our program in the Ahlan Simsim 2022 Annual Report Executive Summary in English and Arabic.

Join Lever for Change in exploring how Ahlan Simsim, with the support of the MacArthur Foundation, is not only extending into a sixth year but also developing new programmatic concepts to address the evolving needs of children affected by crisis and conflict. The journey of Ahlan Simsim goes beyond immediate interventions, aiming to foster a brighter future by empowering generations to build a better world.

Read the full blog to uncover the inspiring stories, research findings, and impactful initiatives that define Ahlan Simsim's commitment to creating a lasting impact in the lives of children and families facing adversity.

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