Arabic Wikimedians User Group (AWUG) is a Wikimedia user group (in the process) initiated by wikimedians interested in coordinating efforts between the different Arabic speaking wikimedians, both online and offline.
The Arabic Wikimedians User Group is a collaborative initiative initiated by a number of Arabic-speaking contributors and affiliates of the Wikimedia movement . The main aim of this group is to simplify resource sharing and skill development among Arabic speaking community in order to strengthen and empower Arabic speaking Wikimedians, and to promote Wikimedia projects around the world, particularly in the MENA region. The group intends to work on different initiatives and areas including:
- Arabic Content Enriching - Enrich content in Arabic Wikimedia projects (including history and science) through Edit-thons and other initiatives at the regional level.
- Communication - Improve internal communication between Arabic Wikimedians and affiliates, as well as with all interested parts across the movement, and also outside of it.
- Collaboration - Create a strategic and international collaboration with Arab and Non- Arab partner organizations, and promote partnerships spirit within the community.
- Diversity - Bridge different gaps in the Arabic speaking community, such as gender gap, and underrepresented knowledge of minorities in the MENA region.
- Expansion - Help establishing affiliates and user groups in countries missing them currently.
- Project Management - Support Arabic speaking Wikimedians and affiliates in developing local and regional projects (Education, GLAM, Contests, Workshops, Webinars, Tools, etc.).
This user group does not intend to replace nor take over the place of any existing local or national user group of the region, but rather to support these groups, as well as to perform and coordinate regional tasks that cannot be done by local groups alone. It is also important to mention that this initiative is made by Wikimedians who are leaders of their local groups, which joins then the mentioned point of coordination, and explains that there is no contradiction nor threat for the local user groups and the current suggested group, as many participants are part of both.
Background and Goals
Arabic content in the web
Arabic is an official language in 22 countries in the world, and is spoken by a part of the population in 61 countries, not counting the diaspora around the world. It is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
Arabic is one of the biggest languages in our world. With its different dialects, it is spoken by around 427 million speakers (native and non-native) in the Arab world as well as in the Arab diaspora around the globe, making it one of the five most spoken languages in the world (near 5.5% of the 7.7 billion people on earth speak Arabic). However, estimates suggest that Arabic content makes only 1 % of the world wide web.
The first discussion related to the need of having a coordinating entity for the Arabic speaking Wikimedians was mentioned during the Arabic Wikimedians Meeting at Wikimedia Summit on March 29th, 2019 in Berlin. Following that meeting and others (Wikimania, WikiArabia), the idea started to concretize, and discussions emerged both between affiliates and online community.
The plan to have an entity gathering Arabic Speaking Wikimedians was then shared publicly on January 4th, 2020, with different interested stakeholders. The idea behind that group would be to provide a platform for collaboration and joint work between Arabic Wikimedians and affiliates, and most specifically for tasks that cannot be done by local user groups alone, or in Arabic speaking areas where there are no affiliates.
The membership process is open for every individual or group promoting the Arabic language on Wikimedia platforms, as well as anyone supporting free knowledge projects for Arabic speaking communities around the world.
Importance of Having a Coordinating Arabic User Group
Different Arabic speaking people, groups, affiliates and employees operate within the Wikimedia movement, with different roles and capacities. In Wikipedia, the biggest and most central of wikimedia project, there are over a million articles in the Arabic language.
It is clear that a language as big and spread, with all its users (both online and offline) and affiliates, requires a particular coordination and organization effort, to go in-line with the Wikimedia 2030 recommendations, that are advocating the concepts of knowledge, capacity and experience sharing, as well as encouraging groups to gather in regional and thematic hubs. The founders of this proposed group, and after a careful and long-time discussions with Arabic-speaking stakeholders within the movement, decided to take the initiative to apply for this coordinating entity, for the following reasons:
- Coordination - Between the different Arabic speaking Wikimedians and affiliates, on the regional and global levels, by providing the platform needed for that end.
- Documentation - of regional/Arabic language organizational work, both for offline and online work.
- Help in establishing affiliates - and user groups in countries missing affiliates in the region, by developing and outreach plan. (This work was already started in Mauritania).
- Organization - of joint events and conferences at the regional level (such as the Strategy prioritization event (Arabic Language- October 17th) - that was done in partnership with the group)
- Partnerships - Help create strategical collaborations with the Arabic and Non- Arabic international organizations on a regional and global scales.
- Preparation of tutorials and guides - For elements of interest to the community, such as video tutorials in Arabic related to Wikimedia projects, and guides for event organization, or partnership set-up.
- Project Management and Coordination - On the regional level, on different initiatives (Education, Wiki Loves Monuments, Wiki Loves Earth, etc.), in coordination with the local affiliates wishing to collaborate.
- Transfer of Knowledge and experience - of WikiArabia conference organization from an affiliate/country/organization team to another, as well as the standardization and simplification of the way of work and methods.
In order to achieve its goals, the Arabic Wikimedians user group aims to adopt a strategy based on different axes, converging into empowering and coordinating the Arabic speaking community with it various stakeholders. These axes include:
The expansion axis regards how to support individuals in areas where no Wikimedia affiliates are present. Currently, many Arabic speaking country do not have affiliates, and individual users wishing to take the step are overwhelmed by the amount of effort and information needed. With the expertise built over time and event management, the Arabic Wikimedians user group intends to support individuals in these regions to achieve their goals, and to accompany them in other projects including: Seeking local partnerships, organizing projects, and providing guidance and mentorship in general for the new affiliates asking for it.
This effort is already started in Mauritania, where the group is helping Mauritanian Wikimedians to create their local affiliate: Wikimedia Mauritania User Group (in the process).
- Project Coordination
Project coordination is a key axis for this group. In particular, cross-national coordination, as well as regional collaboration between various groups and actors, are missions where the Arabic Wikimedians user group intends to work. Projects to be coordinated range from supporting groups in their local tasks (with expertise, documentation and resources), to the coordination and organisation of bigger programs and events (such as regional and international conferences and contests).
The group has successfully (in a pilot experience) coordinated the Wiki Loves monuments 2020 contest between a number of Arabic affiliates. This experiment gave satisfactory results that are encouraging to continue in this path.
Many newly established affiliates find difficulties in terms of creating and fostering partnerships. This can be due to several reasons including: lack of experience, bureaucracy, lack of legal status for the group, limited time due to volunteering, and many other.
Through the experience and network its members have made through time and different projects, especially in the local context of MENA, the Arabic Wikimedians user group intends to support the creating of various partnerships on the local, regional and international levels. This work includes writing a partnerships guide in Arabic (already ongoing), for all individuals and affiliates wishing to read or apply it. The guide will contain several key-points to succeed in a partnership, starting from defining the right actors and scale, and finishing by how to keep the contact and the relationship sustainable even after finishing the project.
Besides the partnerships guide, the group is working in parallel with listing all the current partnerships happening on the regional level, in order to document this information in a database that can be open for all. This allows any person wishing to duplicate a project, to contact directly those who made it initially, and get their feedback. This idea is in-line with our core values in the Wikimedia movement, where knowledge and information sharing are at the center of our daily volunteering work.
Finally, the group aims to foster internal partnerships between local affiliates as well. To this end, the [[Wikimedia 2030/Transition/Reports/Arabic Wikimedians/October |Wikimedia 2030 Strategy prioritization meeting in Arabic language (held on October 17, 2020)]] was organized as an initiative of the group, with the involvement of Wikimedia Morocco and Wikimedia Levant, two user groups from the region. The goal of the group is to encourage and facilitate even more collaborations and partnerships between local groups of the region.
Similarly to partnerships, the ambition of the user group in the future is to coordinate different initiatives on the regional level, to help document and share knowledge and experience between all.
Among its founding principles, the Arabic Wikimedians User Group group aims to be a coordinating platform between the Arabic speaking affiliates and individuals, and the Wikimedia movement (both wikimedians and organizations, including unrepresented communities), as well as with external institutions.
The group will initiate its activities by facilitating projects already running and existing in other communities around the world, and duplicating them within the Arabic speaking community. A greenhouse will be created to bring new ideas to fructification, and implement them in the future within the community.
The heritage of the Arab region is very deep in the world. It has sheltered the civilizations of Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Assyriaa, Islamic, Ottoman, Sheba, Berber, Libyan, Moors, Nabataeans, Tassili n'Ajjer and Touareg. However, online content written in Arabic is still very little compared with all the historical richness and diversity mentioned. The current local and national user groups operating in the Arabic speaking countries have a clear scope highlighting their local context. It is necessary to have a cross-national group operating on the regional level, in order to coordinate the regional activities in relation with Arabic language, to address the issues of activities limited to one country or local group, by allowing all the region to have equal opportunities and experiences, and advocating and representing the Arabic speaking Wikimedia community in different contexts within the movement. The different activities that shall be coordinated by this group, and are planed to be conducted are:
Editing on the regional level
- Encyclopedic Editing Hackathons
- Platform Development Hackathons in Arabic
- Regional Editing contests
Media and GLAM
- Paper Document Digitalization and upload
- Simultaneous Photo Walks in different countries
- Multiple-country Media Upload
- Regional Photo competitions (Wiki Loves)
- Wiki In residence Programs
- Video and Written Tutorial/Guide creation (in Arabic)
- International online Education Program
- Wiki University experience sharing for the Arab world
- Educational courses material preparation (in Arabic)
- Wikipedia education program (University)
- Summer University of Wikipedia - on the Regional Level
- Wikipedia Camp in Arabic
- Wiki in Schools (Green House)
Meetings and Conferences
- Regional Wikimedia Conference organization and knowledge transfer (ex. WikiArabia - eventually Wikimania)
- International Wikimedia Workshops
- Support Affiliates with knowledge, documentation, capacity and experience in local events and gatherings
- Ahmed Hamdi (designated contact for Wikimedia Foundation)
- Sarmad Said Yaseen (designated contact for Wikimedia Foundation)
- Mohamed Bachounda
- Anass Sedrati
This User Group is open to everyone interested in any Arabic Wikimedia content. If you are interested in being part of this user group, or you support it, please sign up below!
- Soukaina Abelhad (talk) 22:26, 12 December 2020 (UTC)
- Chafei07 (talk)
- Ola (talk)
- Summer kamal
- Abdeaitali (talk) 15:05, 13 December 2020 (UTC)
- Mahmood (talk) 22:39, 13 December 2020 (UTC)
Collaboration and support
Affiliates interested in collaboration are invited to sign up below.
The user group will used the proposed logo to the right side of the page.
Do not hesitate to contact us, we commit to giving you a quick response.
- Send a message to one of the members of the UG see above (select the member you wish to contact by clicking on "talk").
- Send a message in the Arabic Wikimedians discussion page
- Send a message or open a discussion on a topic at Google group arabwcgooglegroups.com.
- Submit to the Facebook group TBD
Stay in touch , You are going to have a lot of fun, because it is the goal of everyone here to work and promote knowledge in good humor and joy.