Panwapa is a worldwide video initiative produced by Sesame Workshop. The 12-episode video debuted on October 10, 2007, and released online via iTunes and Panwapa.com. The program began airing on PBS Kids Sprout in January 2008, and is available through them as a free video-on-demand.
The production stars "the Muppets of Panwapa," a new group of characters (built by Jim Henson's Muppet Workshop in New York, along with a few recycled Muppets from earlier productions) who live on a giant floating island known as Panwapa Island. The program aims to "foster the foundation for global citizenship and community activism in young children, ages 4 to 7."
This show's working title was Sesame World Wide Kids. The project is a collaboration between Sesame Workshop and the Merrill Lynch Foundation, which grew from a desire to create a global awareness curriculum for children ages 4-7. It has 5 educational goals:
- Increase children's awareness of the wider world around them
- Encourage children to appreciate similarities and value differences between themselves and others
- Instill a sense of responsibility for one's own actions
- Encourage active community participation
- Increase understanding of and response to economic disparity
- Producers: Sesame Workshop and The Merrill Lynch Foundation
- Executive Producers: Kevin Clash and Liz Nealon
- Producer: Frank Campagna
- Writer: Annie Evans
- Director: Lisa Simon
- Kevin Clash
- Fran Brill
- Leslie Carrara
- Martin P. Robinson
- Joey Mazzarino
- Carmen Osbahr
- Matt Vogel
- Pam Arciero
- Nigel Plaskitt
- Boitumelo Betty Maretele
In addition to the videos an interactive website, panwapa.com, was created. Children who visit the site can create a "Panwapa Kid" and build a home for the kid. He or she can interact with the Panwapa characters and can visit Panwapa Kids from other countries on the floating island, as well as exploring Panwapa itself.
The content was created simultaneously in 5 languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic. In response to feedback from educators, Sesame Workshop has also created a full set of curriculum for teachers to use Panwapa in the classroom.