Project Representative
Ms Sashwati Banerjee
Creation Date: 2011
Headquarters: India
Geographical Reach: India
Nature and number of beneficiaries: Over 1.4 million
Expertise: Unspecified


About the Project

Radiophone uses a combination of community radio and telephone-based systems to deliver literacy, numeracy and healthy habits content through Galli Galli Sim Sim (GGSS, the Indian Sesame Street), which is culturally, linguistically and contextually relevant to migrant populations, to help children prepare for school and life. 

Radiophone leverages the equity of Community Radio and combines it with telephone-based systems to make educational inputs accessible to a highly mobile population on a sustained basis.

Context and Issue

Millions of families in India are cut off from information that can help children grow up healthy, happy, and ready to learn.

The Radiophone Project was based on the reality that phones are ubiquitous and radios more common than televisions. According to recent FICCI Frames-KPMG data, the number of listeners in India has increased from approximately 230 million in 2003 to 250 million in 2013. While new technology develops at a dizzying speed, people living in remote or marginalized communities remain heavily dependent on older technologies.

Some populations have traditionally been hard to reach and consequently under served. Migrant families top this list. Children in migrant families do not have access to continuous schooling, as they are seldom in the same place for long enough to establish a routine. But they remain part of a community, albeit a mobile one.

Sesame Workshop India has successfully combined various technologies in the Radiophone Project, which brings educational content to children and communities who might otherwise have none.
The Radiophone Project offers families the option to access GGSS programming wherever they are, at any time of night or day, providing ongoing access to content that is both engaging and educational.

Solution and Impact

The project model is based on the idea that low-cost technology solutions combined with entertaining, relevant content are effective in educating children, families and communities.

The learning objectives of the project focus on improving literacy: vocabulary, storytelling, wordplay, sound discrimination; numeracy: problem-solving, numbers and counting, cause and effect; healthy habits: physical, social and emotional health. 

Additionally, the content addresses parents, teachers and the community on the importance of girls’ education and health, and encourages discourse on the social development needs of marginalized families.

GGSS has been an outstandingly effective learning medium for the Radiophone Project’s close to a million-and-a half listeners. Ideosync Media Combine (IMC), conducted research at each stage of the project which showed a solid and heartening impact. Researchers found myriad stories of immediate impact like people stopped using tobacco; took their children to get inoculated; spent more time with their children; developed better waste-management systems; started using soap; saving money and going to school.

As per the research findings, 34% children showed changes in learning levels and 30% stories showed changes in quality of life in listeners. We also found that children exposed to GGSS content had 3 times improvement in vocabulary and storytelling ability than those who were not.

The response has been phenomenal. More community and commercial radio stations have approached Sesame Workshop India and have expressed interest. Creative use of technology, excellent content creation & planning and sustained community engagement & involvement have given exciting results lasting results. One parent has started listening more to his children, a child was able to convince her father to allow her to continue studying, children started brushing their teeth and some others have started using dustbins to throw garbage.

Future Developments

We have recently received a grant from  Innovation Working Group (IWG), which leverages success of the Radiophone Project. Under this project, we continue our partnership with the community radio stations and mobile based broadcast systems to deepen impact, specifically focusing on diarrhea prevention and management.

We are also in conversation with commercial radio channels, public broadcaster (All India Radio) and mobile network providers to carry GGSS audio content to reach children in yet un-served communities.

In addition, we continue our dialogue with government stakeholders and other community media agencies to improve availability and access to children's content across platforms.

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