07.06.2010 -

H2Ooooh! Water Project

©Gruppo Alcuni/UNESCOH2Ooooh! Water Project Logo

Young people and their education are primary themes in UNESCO's programes


H2Ooooh! Water is an animated television series, developed by Gruppo Alcuni in collaboration with the UNESCO Venice Office and RAI Fiction, which involved young students from all over Italy to create stories related to water: its use, its exploitation, its limited availability, and the sharing of conservation tips. The aim was to create a storyboard (or in other words a series of drawings representing the main scenes of a cartoon) on the theme of water and the issues related to its use, to its exploitation and to its limited supply.

The project carried over two scholastic years (2008-2009 and 2009-2010) was aimed at all teachers open to participating in a creative activity on the theme of water with their Primary or early Secondary school classes. The participating schools received, free of charge, all the materials necessary (videos, books, etc) in order to embark upon an educational course on the language of cartoon animation. From the received storyboards, 26 were selected, each becoming a one-minute short animated film. The cartoons were created by professional animators using the children's original drawings and will then be broadcast on Rai Due.  The winning cartoon is part of the closing credits for the feature-length film “MARCO POLO'S CODE” screened in cinemas.

This project allows children to learn about the language of animated cartoons and encourages a greater understanding of an extremely important issue which is the water resources situation in our world today : "Water should be freely accessible. Water is an essential element necessary for survival. But a large portion of our Earth’s water is unsuitable for human consumption. Therefore, water becomes a privileged commodity."  says Engelbert Ruoss, Director of the UNESCO Venice Office. UNESCO can play an important role in establishing a new worldwide concept of water civilization. Based upon mutual respect for cultural diversity, dialogue, sharing expertise and knowledge as well as encouraging new technologies and water management, it can inform and educate the public, especially youth.

The children involved in the project, along with their teachers, were given the opportunity, through specially-created educational materials, to go through the whole production process of an animated cartoon. They learnt how to write a story, to script it, to draw the characters, choosing frames and camera movements and also how to create a storyboard. The kids were able to develop, from a cognitive point of view, the problems related to the water resources of our planet. H2Ooooh! Water Project is based on the concept of a “culture for childhood”, this is the culture of “doing”, of doing things today and doing them together. This must be demonstrated through concrete facts, starting from the assumption that we, as adults, are the ones directly responsible for the Present and the Future of the young generations.

The animated storyboards have started to be broadcasted by RAI2 on 24 May 2010 as an important creative contribution to science education where children around the world can share in new and fun way their experiences and proposals towards the protection of the environment. Science is transformed into fun and can be taught by children. The 3D animated series “H2Ooooh!”  deals with some very topical themes connected to water, encouraging youngsters to actively give their creative contribution to such issues and enabling them to share their own experience and their proposals for the protection of the environment.

Water Project H2Ooooh! is now spreading out into the South Eeast Europe region. The UNESCO Venice Office together with its partners, Gruppo Alcuni and the Macedonian National Commission for UNESCO, promoted this initiative in The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In fall, the project is expected to welcome the enthusiastic adhesion by schoolchildren from other countries of the South East European region. National Commissions interested in implementing the project in their country may view and download the storyboard here and contact the UNESCO Venice Office: Olivera Jovanovska at o.jovanovska(at)unesco.org.

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