WMF India Programs Update
An important initiative that emerged from Wikimedia Foundations' Strategic Plan was the need for a catalyst team that supports increasing reach and participation in India. The first step towards this was the selection of Hisham Mundol who will establish this team. Here is an update from him.
The Story So Far
It's been a wonderful and eventful 3½ months since I joined in mid-Feb. There've been a diverse set of work that's been undertaken since then:-
Developing the India Programs Plan
This was developed in true wiki-style – collaboratively, transparently and iteratively- at http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_-_India_Programs. This plan identified 3 key priorities for India Programs:- Improving Outreach, India Education Program and Digital Outreach.
An important element of the work that's been done is to foster a close relationship with the community. To this end, we have personally attended community meet-ups in Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore & Hyderabad. Also, we have ensure regular updates to the community on the various mailing lists as well a monthly IRC (on the first Thursday of every month.)
Wikipedia India Education Program
This has been the single largest initiative we have initiated so far. In summary, it seeks to realise the opportunity of replacing conventional written submissions in universities and colleges with editing Wikipedia articles. We propose to do a pilot of this in Pune – building on the experiences in the US.
To this end, we plan to have Campus Ambassadors to support professor and teachers in designing training plans to incorporate Wikipedia, train students on how to edit Wikipedia and provide support to students and teachers. We launched a selection drive for Campus Ambassadors and we got more than 700 responses from all over the country. We have selected 22 to be our initial set in Pune and we are starting training for them on June 4-5. We've also selected 2 grantees to support this program in India – User:Pjthepiano who is from the US Campus Ambassador Program & User:Srikeit who is an existing Wikipedian in India and a student at Pune.
In parallel we have also started outreach with authorities and faculty at various institutions in Pune.
Building Team India
We have started a recruitment drive to build the India team – and have posted 2 openings (for Participation and for Indic Initiatives.) The response has been overwhelming and we have started the processing these applications. We will shortly start the process of interviewing and selecting.
Formal Entity in India
We are in the process of establishing a formal entity in India for India Programs. We are evaluating a number of options and will shortly recommend the selected option.
Determining Office Location
We opened up a dialogue for the community to prioritise, shortlist and recommend locations for the office.
The Way Forward
The top agenda items over the next few months are to build and stablise the Pune pilot, start the groundwork for rolling it out beyond Pune, building the India team, commencing digital outreach as well as taking care of the formal entity and opening the office.
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