International charity WaterAid has launched its first-ever voice skill powered for Amazon Alexa, WaterAid Voices, an interactive storytelling experience for schools and families to help educate children about the state of the world’s water, toilets and hygiene.
The skill will take children to a different land entirely – taking their minds out of the everyday to learn about life in the Madagascan village of Tsarafangitra. Through a series of six interactive voice messages, they will learn some handy phrases in the local language, recipes in Malagasy cuisine and how to spot a zebu through quizzes and mini-games.
Designed with Key Stage 2 students in mind, it provides the perfect post-school activity for parents who want an interactive, educational and enjoyable past-time for all the family, while raising awareness of an important topic. A shocking one in three of the world’s schools lack adequate toilets, compromising children’s human rights to sanitation and leaving them to either use dirty, unsafe pits, go in the open, or stay at home, resulting in missed school days and loss of potential. WaterAid Voices is one way that the charity hopes to get more people talking about an issue that impacts the lives of many every day, including young people in some of the world’s poorest places.
Daniel Gray, Digital Content & Experience Lead at WaterAid UK says:
“We’re excited by the opportunity to engage people on Amazon’s rapidly emerging platform with our new WaterAid Voices skill.
“Showcasing the skill at the Big Bang Fair last month, we had an incredibly positive reception from children and adults who are looking for ways for technology to be used as an educational tool. The skill offers unique levels of immersion, interactivity and personalisation that help children develop a level of understanding while having fun. Our approach with emerging technology is always to bring audiences closer to the reality of life without clean water, and the impact their support can have. This skill is a significant leap forward in that respect – we’re using technology as a means to build empathy.”
In Madagascar, nearly half of the 24 million inhabitants do not have access to safe drinking water, and 88% do not have access to proper sanitation. These issues are so fundamental to our way of living, yet fail to evoke the same emotional response as other equally pressing issues such as war and natural disasters.
Since its launch at the Big Bang Fair 2019, the skill has earned over 1,200 enablements through the Amazon UK Skill Store with a rating of 4.7 stars. The skill has also recently been released in the US market.