Watoto World: Press Release

New Perspective Technologies
512 West 35th Street
Norfolk, VA 23508

Watoto World
Internet Website For African Heritage Children, Parents, And Educators Opens!

MELANET Ensures African-American Children's Creativity Thrives In CyberSpace

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, January 16, 1996

[Norfolk, Virginia] -- New Perspective Technologies, the creators of the MELANET Communication and Information Network, today announced the establishment of the Watoto World Website on the Internet. Watoto World [watoto is Kiswahili for children] was created to bring the creativity of African heritage children to the Internet; provide information and instruction for African American parents to meet the challenges of parenting now and in the 21st century; encourage educators and school systems to provide and utilize Internet access and computer technology in the classroom; and to highlight African Centered education and independent Black schools.

The Watoto World website was developed in concert with GrabEwE, Inc. and ECA Associates. GrabEwE, Inc. has a distinguished track record in providing effective visual communication products and services. ECA Associates has over 30 years of experience in education consulting and is a trend setter in developing methodology and curricula designed to meet the educational needs of African American children. Computer users may access Watoto World via the World Wide Web at: http://www.melanet.com/watoto.

In announcing the creation of Watoto World, New Perspective Technologies highlighted its ongoing efforts to expose the world to the tremendous values and examples found in the African American experience. "It remains our contention that African Americans must provide leadership to America and to the world," says Vice President, Rodney Jordan. "Where else in recorded secular history can you find a people who have achieved on the levels of African Americans just 130 years from legalized slavery -- where reading and writing were forbidden. That experience should be studied and the accomplishments lauded with the specific purpose of reclaiming the principles and values which made it possible."

Watoto World also addresses the lack of exposure to the Internet and computer technology often found in urban schools and neighborhoods. The Watoto Village section of Watoto World teams businesses, non-profit organizations, communities, and schools together working toward acquiring computers and Internet access for use by the students and teachers alike. Likewise the Watoto World On-line Mentor Program matches African American students with African Americans conversed with the Internet to provide on-line mentorship and assistance in utilizing the technology for homework, research, and classroom projects via e-mail. Jordan states, "The National Telecommunications and Information Administration found 'that many of the groups that are most disadvantaged in terms of absolute computer and modem penetration are the most enthusiastic users of on-line services that facilitate economic uplift and empowerment' -- we have created a program to strengthen the enthusiasm while simultaneously providing the opportunity for our children to access the information superhighway."

Of significant importance to Watoto World is the ability to deliver information and tools to prepare parents and educators in educating and motivating African American children. Dr. E. Curtis Alexander, President of ECA Associates, cites the lack of knowledge many educators and parents have in addressing the needs of today's African American child. "I conduct workshops all over the country attended by Ph. D.'s, administrators, and teachers responsible for developing curricula and educating our children" examines Alexander. "I often ask participants to name for me ten Black authors who write children's books and ten books written for or about Black children. Needless to say it is rare the question is answered to satisfaction. Via Watoto World we intend to share that type of information. ECA Associates has developed a Pre-assessment for Evaluating the Socio-emotional Skills of African American Children in Head Start and Day Care Pre-School Programs and A Self-Study Evaluation Guide for Teachers On the Learning Environment In Head Start and Day Care Pre-School Programs. We are utilizing the technology of the Internet to assist educators and parents in developing learning environments which strengthen and accelerate the skills of our children in pre-school ages. ECA Associates shares the Watoto World belief that our African heritage children can learn and excel in anything given the exposure and proper nurturing environment."

As mentioned earlier, Watoto is Kiswahili for children and Watoto World has enlisted the creativity of children in its development. Dara Jordan, 8 years old and the daughter of MELANET Co-Founder William Jordan, is editor and creator of Watoto World Magazine. The magazine contains short stories, essays, feature articles, and other writings created by Miss Jordan. Children from all over the world may submit their own creations to Watoto World Magazine for publication. Miss Jordan, an avid reader and writer, has compiled over 40 compositions already. Says her father, "Dara does all the work herself. She creates the stories, types them into the computer using the word processor, and prepares them for on-line publishing. There's no reason our children around the world can't be doing the same thing and sharing their talents. Our children must be prepared to compete in the Information Age. Watoto World Magazine is one way for them to gain preparation while sharing their own creativity."

Substantial graphic and product development for Watoto World was created by GrabEwE, Inc. (GrabEwE@aol.com). In addition to providing graphical services to Watoto World, GrabEwE markets school kits, air fresheners, puzzles, and other Watoto World promotional items to assist the schools' fundraising efforts to obtain Internet access, computers, and other equipment necessary to facilitate ongoing Watoto World projects. "We embraced the concept of Watoto World," exclaims James DiPina, President and Trina Brown, CEO of GrabEwE Inc.. "It allows for our children to be excited about technology while concurrently exposing them to facets of the business world and all the time increasing self-esteem and self-knowledge. We look forward to involving businesses in sponsoring our entrepreneurial efforts to increase the success of Watoto World from many different angles."

The website announced today contains information on recommended reading material for African American parents and educators, writings by children, tips on parenting, information on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, links to other Internet education resources, and more resource materials.

New Perspective Technologies is a Norfolk, Virginia based Internet consulting firm specializing in Black business concerns and providing information available for the spiritual, economical, social, and physical strengthening of Blacks throughout the world. The company's MELANET website has been cited for its MELANET Marketplace, Kwanzaa Information Center, On-line African Wedding Guide, and other trend setting ventures for African Americans on the Internet.

GrabEwE, Inc. is a Washington, D.C. based firm specializing in delivering Web visual communication products and services with many clients in the entertainment industry.

ECA Associates, based in Chesapeake, Virginia, is a leading firm in educational consulting. The company provides assistance to educators throughout the nation. ECA Associates' publishing division provides African Heritage publications and publishes "Who's Who in African Heritage Book Publishing."