Global South Meeting/Notes

From Wikimania 2011 • Haifa, Israel
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1 August, 2011 Wikimania Global South Meeting



  • Asaf Bartov (WMF)
  • Marjolein Gelauff (Netherlands)
  • Jessie Wild (WMF; Contact: m:User:Jwild)
  • Rodrigo Tetsuo Argenton (,, Mutirões , Brazil)
  • Juandev (Wikimedia Czech Republic, editing Czech Wikiversity)
    • Contact:, user:Juandev
  • Alex Wafula (Kenya, Swahili Wikipedia, offline wikipedia) contact:
  • Beatriz Busaniche (Wikimedia Argentina) contact:
  • Srikeit Tadepalli (Fellow, Campus Program Pune, India) Contact :
  • (Switzerland)
  • Juan Carlos Gentile (Italy-Uruguay-Argentina)
  • Richard Farmbrough (UK, Oxford Internet Institute
  • Josh Lim (Wikimedia Philippines, Tagalog Wikipedia; Contact:, User:Sky Harbor)
  • Ruben Hilare-Quispe (Bolivia, Aymara language (Wikipedia))
  • Gerard Meijssen (Netherlands, Localization Team "indigenous" languages tech support)
  • Marta Ramos (Spain, OpenZIM group)
  • Ting Chen (WMF, Chinese Wikipedia)
  • Jonas Xavier (Brazil) - Contact:
  • Rajesh Pandey (Nepali Wikipedia, FOSS, Nepali and other indigenous languages)
  • Pierros Papadeas (Community Manager EMEA, Mozilla, Greece)
  • Taweetham (Thai Wikipedia)
  • Ziko van Dijk (Wikimedia Netherlands),
  • Benny Lin (Wikipedia, wikisource, wiktionary Indonesia)
  • Catherina (Russia, now Israel), linguistic and legal background
  • Dovi (Hebrew wikisource)

On-line attendees

  • Limojoe (Chairman - Wikimedia Czech Republic)

Peoples notes online


  • group members present themselves

Ideas for GS Meeting Agenda

  • How information can best be shared across Global South and Global North)
  • grants and use of it (e.g., Offline, University, local conferences)
  • University outreach
  • Information sharing between different Wikipedias
  • Benefits of local "mini" conferences in native languages (e.g., WikiConference India, IberoAmericano)
  • Importance of physical/offline meet-ups (i.e., social component to Wikipedia experieneces)
  • set financial targets, like "15% of the budget goes to global south"
  • How to educate communities on purpose of Wikipiedia and what it is
  • community building with "fun factor" - competing with facebook, ... or not?
  • How to encourage the editing in local languages; what types of content are people wanting to read in their local languages?
  • (User) Interfaces

Question for discussion

  • Can the Mutirões model work elsewhere? Can Mutiroes prepare a "recipe book"?
  • Can relatively-stronger Wikimedia presence in region A be used to bootstrap/inspire regions B,C,D around it? If so, how can this be done effectively?


  • Weak participation is not due to lack of resources/infrastructure *only* -- it is also because of lack of awareness. I.e. there is a lot of *untapped potential*.
  • people dont like the term Global South: implied monolithic nature of the GS very misleading -- "there is some Global South in the global north, including the United States"
  • Much of the Global South would have difficulty participating in the English discourse
  • The scale of people involved with opportunities in the Global South is often very large (e.g. a single Pune university with 100,000 students). --> Great "bang for the buck" value, for every hour and every dollar spent.
  • main languages like English are promoted in many countries, native languages have a hard time to get editors
  • In Bolivia, the Jaqi-Aru group actually needs to buy Internet time in Internet cafes just to be able to do their Aymara content creation activities.
  • New Localization dev. team at WMF -- GerardM is a good first contact for reporting any bugs or difficulties with using _any_ language in contributing to Wikimedia projects
  • Kiwix should be localized at
  • Access for non-literate, for extreme minority languages, for those with limited or no access.

Increasing Reach (more readers)

  • Gerard's comments
    • use data! Statistics -- see what people are looking for; see what people write about; take pride in areas of strong coverage; publicize
      • statistics can be further specified by region / locality
    • still missing statistics: articles sought for (also source Google for that datum); Zeitgeist; ultimately a real-time statistics server; potential monthly recognition -- who wrote the article that was most-read last month.
    • Asaf: this is an example of an *implicit* partnership -- Wikipedians unilaterally deciding to support education through the creation of resources for the education system -- even turning ultimately into an *explicit* partnership, with the University of La Plata
    • GerardM: why was this not published on the Wikimedia Blog? We need to *celebrate* our successes!
  • Mobile
    • Benny: mobile gateway needs improvement; Facebook and Twitter get free advertising by the mobile providers. Maybe we can get the same.
    • Richard: look into bundling openZIM-based offline Wikipedia on mobile devices. Even defunct devices (i.e. not connected to a mobile provider, older generation smartphones) can be used as cheap mobile offline browsers of Wikipedia
  • Social Media / Communication
    • @DYKIndia: Srikeit will produce a blog post on the "DYKIndia" twitter account and reaction/traction it got
    • Asaf: it helps to have at least one person in the community/chapter monitoring the global movement's communication channels: the Wikimedia Blog, chapter reports, foundation-l, etc.
    • GerardM: technical know-how helps automate updating Twitter/FB/G+ etc. whenever a blog post is made
    • An "open day" of Q&A (using a hashtag on Twitter) offered through a 3rd-party network (e.g. Telefonica's network of educators) -- "Ask Wikipedians everything you always wanted to know about Wikipedia!"
  • Partnerships
    • For example, governments, Academic institutions, NGOs local and int'l, GLAM
    • partnership example CH: take a group which is not represented on wiki*, and do something to attract them. in CH case, seniorweb, wiki loves monuments photo competition, combined membership + seniorweb. result: new wikimedia commons uploaders. cost: negligable.
    • Asaf is creating a Program Catalog to centralize movement knowledge and experience on programs and partnerships
    • Asaf: partnerships are "low-hanging fruit" -- the potential is so vast, the number of potential partners is so large, we can just go for easy/obvious partners first -- educators, academics, free culture organizations, governments, publishers, public-minded businesses, etc.
      • do your homework: study your potential partner's mission, their strengths and weaknesses
      • tailor your pitch/proposal to your partner's mission (and public strategy/plan if available) -- spell out what may be obvious to us -- how Wikipedia's free knowledge benefits your partner
      • don't expect your partner to magically realize what partnership makes sense with your group
    • Asaf: agenda-driven organizations can often be talked into contributing on articles on the subjects they care about, once NPOV is properly explained and defended.
  • GerardM asks: how do we kickstart tiny Wikipedias? How do we get the Hausa language Wikipedia (25M native speakers as first language, 43M total speakers) going?
    • Asaf: we find a group of dedicated volunteers who would be interested in attempting this in an "against all odds" kind of effort, until the first 1000-2000 articles are ready. Then the potential for outreach exists.
      • Where do we find such a group? Universities are the best recruiting grounds -- students have time and opportunity (free Internet access)
    • Asaf: and if we can't find enough educated speakers who are also *literate* in the language, maybe there's no hope for a Wikipedia in that language *as* a Wikipedia -- i.e. a collaboratively-edited encyclopedia based on reading and writing.
    • GerardM: we should still deliver free knowledge to Hausa speakers in their language
      • Asaf: I agree, but maybe a living Wikipedia is not the way to do it. Maybe we would need to do it by e.g. finding funding for paid translation of ~1000 articles into Hausa, subsequently read out loud and recorded for distribution as free knowledge in audio.
  • Driving participation in the projects:
    • Wikipedia Campus program, e.g. w:en:Wikipedia:India_Education_Program
    • Gender Gap -- in the Global South -- particular opportunities, challenges, etc. Question: did facebook address the "gender gap" especially, or it just did never have it?

Offline Wikipedia

More information


  • Alex: Issues with offline distribution:
    • CONTENT: not perfectly relevant to Kenyan schools (lacked Kenyan content)
    • INDEXING: takes a long time (solution: download an already indexed version onto the computers)
    • Challenges:
      • old computers which was really difficult to upload
      • must have approval from ministries of education
  • Method for updating articles
    • Ship only "changed articles"
    • Merge zim files
  • Gerard: Is it possible to make a package out of it?
  • Editing offline
    • Gerard: University in Amsterdam has done work on it before
  • Partnerships
    • Python community in Argentina: working on Wikipedia on DVD
  • Print copy
    • Available through PediaPress
    • A good solution for lack of electricity


  • want ZIM dumps of all mediawiki
  • ensure articles are most updated
  • incorporate video into offline distribution
  • update cycle 1x year
  • Add content "time stamp" showing when the download was created
  • Documentation! Not available
  • Automate the selection process
  • Combine lists of "essential" articles for the different Wikipedias to help improve other articles
  • add certain meta data to articles for ease of selection
  • prepare good presentations/talks about the collection extentions - how teachers/others can develop (Asaf)


  • Translation issues
    • Technical aspects,, input methods, Unicode
    • Effectiveness and best practices in the practice of translation of Wikimedia content
  • Outreach events: How to educate communities on purpose of Wikipiedia and what it is

other related information


wikimedia grants program

       support non-chapter, organizations, even individuals, on meta, grants:index

Mailing list


  • Create page to index "lists of basic topics" as promulgated by various groups such as national governmental educational organsiations.