A global initiative from Sesame Workshop and the Merrill Lynch Foundation that Kidscreen Daily told the world about in February, launched late last week. Aimed at fostering global citizenship and community participation in the four to seven set, and working in five languages, Panwapa is powered by an interactive website (www.panwapa.com) where kids can enter the community to meet new Muppet characters Athena the Owl and Azibo the Monster, travel the world and make friends from other countries.
Free downloads of Panwapa the series are now available on iTunes, and it is also slated to bow on PBS Kids Sprout VOD service in January. To further bolster awareness for the property, 200,000 introductory kits, including a DVD and printed materials, are being distributed to caregivers in the US, the UK, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Jordan and Mexico.
A team of international cultural experts, early childhood researchers, educators and media specialists from nine countries and organizations such as Oxfam, UNICEF and the World Bank hatched the idea for Panwapa in 2005, and multi-national teams from the Merrill Lynch Foundation and Sesame Workshop further developed and produced the initiative.