November 19 is World Toilet Day, a day to raise awareness about all people who do not have access to a toilet – despite the human right to water and sanitation – and a new Sesame Street Muppet is inviting children to help.

Raya and Elmo
Raya and Elmo
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“As the world’s largest informal educator of children (reaching over 150 million children every month in 150 countries) and a pioneer in using media as a tool for education, nonprofit Sesame Workshop made a commitment in 2012 to the United Nations Secretary-General’s Every Woman Every Child effort to do more in global health,” blogged Sesame Workshop VP Stephen Sobhani for the United Nations Foundation. "Since then, we have enthusiastically entered the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) space with Raya, Sesame’s newest and first Muppet friend specifically developed to address a pressing health issue in multiple countries across multiple platforms. Raya has the potential to significantly impact the global WASH crisis in an effort to end childhood illness from preventable disease.

“Raya, a neat 6-year-old, aqua-green girl Muppet, was originally created to teach children how to pee and poop in a sanitary manner. We know that if Raya can instill these fundamental messages to children in their formative years, they will be equipped with the knowledge to make smarter decisions for a stronger, healthier future. A multi-country curriculum fueled with generous support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is already reaching children in Bangladesh, India, and Nigeria through schools and community partnerships.

“At the global level, Raya has been busy delivering her sanitation messages through major platforms and events. She appeared in a video for the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General’s “End Open Defecation” campaign and joined Elmo in talking about sanitation with world leaders at September’s Global Citizen Festival. These advocacy messages help raise critical awareness and build political will towards WASH, serving as a valuable complement to Raya’s child education efforts.

“To access and educate the hardest-to-reach children, we need new and innovative collaborations. Sesame Workshop is in active conversations with international organizations that can bring Raya’s lessons to scale helping kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder. We provide the critical “software” (e.g. hygiene education) that, combined with “hardware” such as toilets and other infrastructure, can lead to lasting and sustainable change. Stay tuned for key partnership announcements coming out in the next couple of months."

Read the full blog here.

Source: United Nations Foundation

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