Pilot for offline Wikipedia in Panama [Offline] [Government]
We are working with SENACYT, a government agency in Panama part of the Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología, e Innovación. SENACYT has a program called "Infoplazas": kiosks and community centers built in rural areas where internet connectivity is not common in households. Infoplazas run after school programs with kids, workshops with adults and seniors, among others. 50 out of the 233 Infoplazas are connected via satellite internet, which is spotty and works on and off. SENACYT approached our team, asking for an offline solution that could work as a plan B to provide offline content in the Infoplazas with internet connectivity issues. We are exploring the implementation of Kiwix, via their Kiwix plugs, or a preinstalled desktop version.
On hold, while we confirm best offline offering. Discussing with them a more general partnership with SENACYT, beyond the Kiwix plug offering for offline distribution.
- July 2016: Was approached by Ing. Luis Cisneros during CLT Cancún 2016 to discuss the program and its needs.
- August 2016: Had the first call to discuss the possibilities with SENACYT. They liked the idea of trying the Kiwix plug in one of the "Infoplazas" to confirm if this was the best solution for their need of providing information when their connectivity failed. Stephane from Wikimedia CH/Kiwix and Jorge connected with SENACYT in several opportunities to explain to them what Kiwix was and how it could be deployed.
- September 2016: Stephane traveled to Colombia via Panamá for a conference, and was planning to deliver directly the Kiwix plug during his layover. Unfortunately, the representative from SENACYT didn't contact him and the delivery was not made. Stephane left the plug with the Colombia User Group. In the meantime, we did several attempts to contact SENACYT, who remained radio silent. We talked with Mónica Mora, organizer of WLM in Panamá, and shared information about the project with her. She thought it was relevant and agreed to help as she could.
- October 2016: Comms helped us create a one-pager with basic instructions on how to use Wikipedia for the Infoplazas. After several approaches with SENACYT, I was able to confirm that they are hesitant of moving forward, as the cost of the device would be an issue to be able to deploy on a larger scale.
- November 2016: The project is now on hold. However, we are attempting to continue the conversation with SENACYT, to find a different solution besides the Kiwix plug (such as pre-installing it on the desktops at the Infoplazas). As the project is on hold, we're also defining with a larger cross-functional team (under the New Readers umbrella, what is the best way to deploy an offline solution for this and similar projects. This is explained more in detail in the section for "Offline Solution: Research and Program Design".