In Peru, Venezuelan children who migrated to the country lack access to educational content that supports their learning and education during these adverse experiences. Exposure to displacement threatens their development and jeopardizes the future prosperity, equity and stability of the societies in which they live. These factors are compounded by the stress experienced by caregivers, which tests their ability to provide the constant and protective care that is essential for the healthy development of children.
As the country with the second largest influx of Venezuelan migrants in Latin America, Peru has tested its ability to meet the needs of the smallest—aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is in this context that we decided to test digital strategies that facilitate access to early learning opportunities and contribute to making early childhood a priority in crisis contexts.
Our goal is to increase access to playful, evidence-based educational content in key locations in Peru. Sesame Workshop uses WhatsApp as an alternative means to facilitate access to learning opportunities, as well as to improve and facilitate access to quality educational content for young children who already benefit from some type of humanitarian assistance. Additionally, improving the service offerings of organizations that are actively responding to the immigration crisis is part of the goal.
Finally, increasing caregivers' access to meaningful tools to support their children's development and encourage positive behavior change on specific topics empowers parents and caregivers to guide children in learning through play initiatives with resources based on the core themes of Sesame.
As part of the Juntos Es Mejor Challenge, Sesame Workshop delivered engaging, age-appropriate, and fun educational content via new and innovative digital platforms. Through a chatbot, we distributed resources across a whole-child curriculum to caregivers via WhatsApp.
Through our local brand, Sésamo, we have integrated our content into an interactive chat response system (chatbot) that can reach families with trusted, impactful educational content tailored to meet their current needs. WhatsApp has been broadly adopted in Latin America and the ongoing pandemic has shown that educational content can be distributed cost-efficiently through this medium, thus creating unique advantages to reaching underserved populations—such as migrants—at scale.
To complement Sesame’s innovative educational delivery solutions and knowledge of young children, we partnered with leading humanitarian organizations working with refugee and migrant children and families in Peru.
Content curation: With the support of local educational advisors, Sesame selected from its library of linear and interactive resources that are compatible with the context and learning needs of children and families in the target audiences.
Integration of Sesame content and partner services: Joint planning initially focused on defining educational priorities, frequency, dosage, and mechanisms to engage families with Sesame content at emergency-relief services.
Capacity development and ongoing support for facilitators and other frontline service-providers: Sesame designed a capacity development program with multiple touchpoints, geared towards its team of facilitators operating in the selected sites and services.
Implementation and refinement of user-acquisition strategy for WhatsApp users: A dedicated menu for this project’s beneficiaries was built into our interactive chatbot which promoted content that addresses critical issues for migrant and vulnerable families, such as socioemotional learning, hygiene and sanitation, healthy habits, and school reinforcement. Caregivers were invited to use the chatbot through a community-based communications campaign as well as onboarding at World Vision’s services. Surveys with users were carried out on site to assess content relevance and the likelihood of continued use, as well as how they learned about it.
Direct users stated in the perception surveys that they had little time and did not remember using the chatbot. In response, we include a message 23 hours after its use, which motivates them to return and have more interaction.
Request for content related to learning that is functional for school. We disaggregated content in the "Aprendamos" category into the subcategories: Mathematics, Language, Science, and Art so it could be easier to find and practice.
A part of the beneficiaries had basic literacy skills. We added descriptive audio that accompanies the text and simplified the instructions.
Users requested new content so we update the menu twice a month with resources from the general database.
The Sésamo chatbot was monitored permanently during the project using data analytics provided by Turn.io and direct surveys pushed periodically to users on relevance, usage and shareability of content.
On the platform, contents for humanitarian response are cataloged with the humanitarian project code (HMP). Some of the results are:
Sesamo chatbot interactions in Perú: 26,593
Total users: 2456 – Total HMP Content Users 1965
Average new users by week 265.72 – Average HMP new users by week 170.45
87.63% of caregiver-survey respondents indicating increased access to educational content
96.63% of caregiver survey-respondents reporting weekly use of Sesame content at home
59% of caregiver-survey respondents perceiving value in sharing Sesame content and digital solutions to friends or family.