New Virtual Village Explores Global Drinking Water Crisis

    WaterPartners Village launches, celebrates World Water Day with virtual

    KANSAS CITY, Mo., March 20 /CNW/ -- You may not be able to travel to a
developing country and see the global water crisis first hand, but now you can
visit WaterPartners Village ( ) -- a
virtual exploration of the water crisis -- launching across social networking
sites, like Second Life, on World Water Day, March 22.
    "The purpose of WaterPartners Village is to use a virtual world to break
down barriers of space, time, language and culture," said Steve Byers,
director of development and communication for WaterPartners. "Through
characters and places that represent a composite of real-world experiences,
visitors can better understand the daily reality faced by more than a billion
of their fellow world citizens who do not have access to safe water."
    Second Life, a 3-D virtual world, allows people to see what life is like
for Araja, Dahnay and Miguel, the fictional characters profiled in the
village.  The WaterPartners Village characters hail from India, Ethiopia and
Honduras to portray life experiences that differ dramatically from that of
most Americans.  These virtual villagers are not real people, but their
stories are compiled from and reflect the experiences of people facing the
daily struggle for clean drinking water and sanitation in the developing
    Every 15 seconds, a child dies from a water-borne disease. 
WaterPartners, a U.S.-based non-profit organization, works with communities
around the world to bring safe water to those in need. The WaterPartners
Village is part of its mission to educate the public about the more than one
billion people who lack access to safe water.
    The WaterPartners Village launch on World Water Day includes presences in
Second Life, MySpace, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube. Outside of the virtual
realm, WaterPartners is making a real-world difference in people's lives and
shares that information through project profiles and success stories on their
website at .
    To celebrate World Water Day, WaterPartners Village is hosting a live
virtual music festival featuring the most popular performers in Second Life,
as well as free hot-air balloon rides to tour the scenic landscape of the
virtual village. The WaterPartners villagers will blog about their journey to
obtain safe drinking water and sanitation for themselves and their families,
beginning on World Water Day and continuing through summer 2008.
    About WaterPartners
    WaterPartners is a U.S.-based non-profit organization that provides safe
drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries. Since its
inception in 1990, WaterPartners has transformed more than 200 communities in
Bangladesh, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Guatemala, India, Kenya, and the
Philippines with access to safe water and sanitation. By forging partnerships
with carefully-screened partner organizations and offering innovative
financing methods through its WaterCredit Initiative, WaterPartners empowers
local communities to develop and sustain solutions to their own water needs.
Learn more and make a difference at .

For further information:

For further information: Evan Howell, +1-919-277-1183,, for WaterPartners Web Site:        

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