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Exploring Virtual Africa

July 10, 2008

I was out exploring again last night and decided to go and visit Virtual Africa which is an initiative of Uthango Social Investments, a registered NGO based in Cape Town, South Africa.

Their projects address poverty, including information poverty. Their work is described on their website as

“We work in remote communities and in under-resourced urban areas to alleviate poverty in lasting ways and improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable in society.”

Virtual Africa promotes pro-Africa communities, and showcases African goods, services and events.

Raising a steady income stream for charity is not easy but I thought that Virtual Africa’s tactic extremely innovative and I hope it succeeds. For $250 L you can adopt a Meerkat. You cannot take the Meerkat away with you as it lives “in a den” on Virtual Africa. To keep your Meerkat healthy and happy you must interact with your virtual pet. You need to feed it, play with it, let it follow you around, or it will become wild, and not listen to you.

This Tamagotchi method by this I mean setting up a situation where users become first involved with a virtual pet then attached to a virtual pet is very clever. Your attachment is constatnly re-enforced too as in order to maintain the Meerkat you have to return to the sim and pay attention to it “so it will bond with you. If you leave your meerkat alone for 20 days, it will die, and you will have to adopt a new one.”

These photos indicate that real Meerkats are cute little animals but in Virtual Africa they look a bit odd. That aside as a fundraiser that might provide a constant income from the sim I thought the idea brilliant.

That said the rest of the build is fun …

Do obey the safety advice

Leopards roam …

Watch out for lions too …

Virtual Africa SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Virtual%20Africa/146/85/24

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One comment

  1. Thank you so much for visiting Uthango’s Virtual Africa project on the Second Life platform. We appreciate your time and effort to also write about it.

    Please feel free to return any time. We have also developed an African bicycle that can be worn by an avatar and these are well supported.

    Thanks Again!

    ~Ally~
    Director, Uthango

    http://twitter.com/meerkatje



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