Fundraising 2007/Why Give blog/Freely available information is giving people the means to help themselves

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While we're hoping everyone sees the value of helping keeping Wikipedia up and running, it isn't the only card in the Wikimedia Foundation's hand.

There's Wiktionary, an online dictionary that is great for a quick check on the meaning of a word, popular or obscure. A magnet for trolls and vandals who want to make up nonsense words and try and get them in, but a very useful resource.

However, this isn't just of use to people in the developed world - which is why giving to the Foundation is much more than just keeping these resources available for yourself. There are billions of people on this planet, and a comprehensive multilingual dictionary enables those who can just afford Internet access to improve their language skills either in their native language, or in English. Either of which improves their prospects and might, one day, turn them into a donor supporting Wikimedia. We need your help to give people who cannot afford to support the project access to it.

Moving on from Wiktionary there is the WikiBooks project. This is another one where it can help the developing world. Imagine providing detailed books on farming techniques. Tailored for countries where there is minimal rainfall. The developed world has carried out detailed research on that, Wikibooks seeks to share knowledge such as this freely. With the "$100 laptop" being rolled out in Uraguay other groups and charities are stepping up to the plate when it comes to delivering Internet access to developing countries. A 12-year old who gets one of these mean, green, little Linux machines will be able to browse all the textbooks on Wikibooks. These people can't afford to donate, but your donation keeps valuable knowledge available to them.

So what does it come down to? A donation of $25 supports 62,500 page views according to my rough calculations from the figures on the donations page. So, it really just takes you and 2 or 3 other people giving this amount to support one of the villages using OLPC with all the access they need to Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikibooks, and the other projects. That's $25 and you're supporting an entire village's access to what we ambitiously call "access to the sum of human knowledge". Help the developing world move into the 21st century, make sure Wikipedia and sister projects stay free.