What is the problem you're trying to solve?
Hospital patients or other people with challenging health disorders and difficulties often have a sense of despair and futility that prevents them from feeling the slightest satisfaction of making a difference in the world. Often these people live on the margin of "normal society", in settings that do not normally allow space for developing social skills and enjoying interaction with others.
What is your solution?
By introducing these people to the concept that ANYONE can contribute to the Wikimedia projects and share his/her knowledge, they can acquire a sense of purpose and self-esteem that they so desperately need to overcome their difficulties. Moreover, their participation in the Wikimedia community means that their handicaps are not an impediment to a movement that applauds the diversity and social/gender/etc. equality that they cannot easily find in other settings.
I have been introducing second-chance learners to Wikimedia editing for eight years; their efforts have consistently been rewarded with the pride and satisfaction that they gain from their contributions. Whether an intriguing photo (sheep swimming in the sea by a shepherd), amateur artwork (pyrography article and icons created by a priest) or a word in the local dialect (contribution to Wiktionary by an assistant nurse), these students have gained AND added value to the Wikimedia Projects. It is this same feeling of achievement that I want to convey to an even more heavily disadvantaged group of people, who are even more desperate to gain value and self-confidence.
The Daycare Center coordinator is an open-minded psychiatrist leading a team of dedicated and compassionate professionals who are on the lookout for new experiences and creative challenges for their patients. I have gone through the fundamentals of my proposal with the coordinator and he is eager to hear more and provide support and guidance towards a successful outcome.
If the program is successful, I intend to team up with Wikipedians in other towns so that we could introduce the project to other settings: my ultimate goal is to establish a "wikitherapy" program in major Athens hospital(s). I strongly believe that there is plenty of scope to make it happen, and I have contact with devoted healthcare professionals who would be very enthusiastic in supporting the endeavor.
Develop and implement weekly training module at a treatment Daycare Center for Adults in Argostoli, Greece to teach them to edit Wiktionary, WikiSource and Commons
Prior to launch of teaching sessions
- Consultation with Daycare Center coordinator and staff to lay down principles and establish a schedule.
- Check available equipment
- Preparation of initial print material in user-friendly format (e.g. the wizard I developed for a Wikipedia workshop in Prague could be adapted to serve as a quick starting point).
- Collection of multimedia material (ppt, video) to aid teaching.
- Wikipedia workshop for the public (check availability of venues). “Teaser” to the Wikitherapy concept.
- Weeks 1-2: Meet with participants (acquaintance, in the presence of staff). Discussion with participants to explore their interests, skills and preferences.
- Weeks 3-4: Present the Wikimedia projects, with emphasis on Commons, Wiktionary and Wikisource (being easier to work on than Wikipedia)
- Weeks 5-8: Training begins: explanations given that a user account may not be necessary in order to edit, it does however help in order to keep a log of contributions and interact with the WM community (discuss about community: a friendly space that encourages diversity and contributions by ANYONE). Explain that for Commons an account is mandatory. Encourage them to make their first edit and troubleshoot any difficulties they encounter.
- Weeks 9-12: Training tailored to meet the preferences of separate participants and/or groups thereof. Edits counted, discussed and evaluated. Now is a good time to order T-shirts and/or other merchandise: help them feel they are already a part of the global Wikimedia community. Consultation with coordinator to discuss progress made in the first trimester of the program.
- Weeks 13-16: Participants continue to edit, with encouragement to share their accomplishments on social media. According to the success of their efforts to this point, we may write up reports to share with the Wikimedia Community (WMF blog, Facebook pages etc.)
- Weeks 17-20: Now is a good time to introduce the team to the local community, as the participants will have already gained a sense of accomplishment. A venue is selected for a mini-event (or it could be held in the center itself), with publicity to local press and online media. Meanwhile, editing continues.
- Weeks 21-24: Last month of the program: while editing continues, preliminary metrics are processed and communicated to the WM community for feedback. What better way to close the first Wikitherapy program than with a celebration of our work! Weather permitting, organize an outdoor event such as this one with the support of the local community. Final consultation with coordinator to assess whether goals were achieved and to evaluate the impact of the program on the participants’ well-being.
- Project Manager/Trainer to lead development and implementation of curriculum
- Develop materials: 10 hours initial start-up, 2 hours per week through duration of project at 15 Euro per hour for 24 weeks = total 870 Euro for development
- Teach: 2 hours per week at 15 Euro per hour for 24 weeks = total 720 Euro for teaching
- Follow-up with students: 1 hour per week at 10 Euro per hour for 24 weeks = total 240 Euro for follow-up
Total 1830 Euro for development/implementation
- External costs
- printer consumables (for creating posters, flyers, teaching material): 100 Euro
- Wikimedia T-shirts for participants (to encourage team spirit and pride in contributing): 100 Euro
- IT equipment (mini projector for group classes, flash memory cards for Commons photography tasks): 170 Euro
Total 370 Euro for external costs
Grand Total = 2200 Euro (2464 USD according to OANDA and assuming a mean exchange rate of 1 EURO to 1.12USD on 30-09-2015)
Note: the breakdown assumes that there will be no costs incurred for venues, equipment, publicity etc. related to the events mentioned in Community Engagement (we will be using public spaces that are currently provided at no charge by the local authorities for such events)
Engaging the community is vital to the success of this project, as the crowd it is targeted at has little scope of its own for getting involved in such activities. Therefore, over the course of the project:
- at a local level, the priority is to raise awareness. Most of the locals are familiar with Wikipedia as a resource, few are aware that anyone can edit. An editing workshop in a public space (e.g. school, library) would be a good introduction. This has been "brewing" in group discussions for a long time prior to the Wikitherapy idea.
- Once an elementary nucleus of interest has been established, focus will shift to the volunteering aspect of Wikimedia projects and its benefits to establishing a mentality of working for the common good... this will serve as a stepping stone to raise awareness of the obstacles experienced by disadvantaged people in their social interactions. The goal would be to introduce the local community to the Daycare Center to identify ways in which the local community can help.
- the focus can then be shifted again to show what happens when roles are reversed: the "wikitherapy" participants will be introduced to the local community (perhaps in a special event). Now THEY will have the chance to talk about how THEIR volunteer editing on Wikimedia has helped the local community (e.g. by registering aspects of local heritage on the Wikimedia Projects).
The process of interaction between the local community and the wikitherapy participants can help build bridges of mutual understanding and acceptance, with the potential of spreading to other disadvantaged groups in the town (i.e. the former employees of the now closed-down Bell Tower Cafe: more details to follow soon).
Hopefully the project will serve as a life-enriching life experience for the participants and that several will remain on board as happy Wikimedia editors. The program can expand its reach to other institutions catering to similar needs (i.e. hospitals, public health schemes, occupational therapy centers etc.)
Measures of success
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- The wikitherapy concept will be initiated in a setting with a relatively small number of participants. If so much as 2 or 3 of the daycare center patients are motivated enough to actively engage in Wikimedia editing after the end of the program, it will be a considerable success, as the benefit to their outlook on life will be multi-fold when compared to an "ordinary" editor: these people need a sense of purpose and a source of self-confidence. The impact of having completed the program on an individual participant can be assessed by the collaborating Daycare Center staff. Hopefully this will shed some light on whether the wikitherapy program can be used to combat overmedication (which is common in Greece, owing in part to the fact that there are not enough public schemes offering occupational therapy and other non-medication options to alleviate the mental component of such patients' handicaps)
- The teaching materials to be developed over the course will be an asset that can be used "as is" or adapted to serve similar needs (e.g. in hospitals). A measure of success would be the completion of a Wikitherapy toolkit.
- The concept has already been discussed with other therapy settings: the first metrics and material will be communicated to two hospitals in Athens who are eager to learn more and experiment with the preliminary components of the toolkit.
- Press coverage in local media at launch, mid-term and closing of project, national media coverage would be a plus.
- Saintfevrier (Mina Theofilatou): CS Teacher in Adult Education, active Wikimedian for the past 8 years, Wikimania 2015 Scholarship Recipient (the "wikitherapy" idea was initially drafted in the Idealab workshop in Mexico City). Passionate about teaching and learning (being a teacher), compassionate with all those who suffer from diseases and disorders and are experiencing social exclusion and low self-esteem as a result (having sustained tragic situations in her own family).
- George Theologos: licensed psychiatrist, private practitioner & consultant to local public health initiatives (daycare center for adults, mental health organization for adolescents and young adults). Experienced in working with the disadvantaged, positive and assertive attitude with patients.
- Advisor As creator of an education project (Wikipedia School of Athens, Greece) I have already contacted people who organize hospital volunteers, talked to them on Mina's idea and I have feedback. ManosHacker (talk) 20:30, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
Please paste links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. Need notification tips?
Do you think this project should be selected for an Individual Engagement Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project in the list below. (Other constructive feedback is welcome on the talk page of this proposal).
- Community member: add your name and rationale here.
- Support Wow, this project proposal is actually very interesting. I would like this to get funded and see the results.--Satdeep Gill (talk) 01:30, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
- Support very interesting, it is worth a try. Plus, I like that a project with such a nice potential it is starting on a "minor" wiki.--Alexmar983 (talk) 22:39, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
- Support. The scope of the project is interesting, provides a plus value for the projects and people, and is really affordable. --Dereckson (talk) 11:04, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
- Amazing stuff. I am sure results of the pilot activity will prove that that it should be taken to a greater scale. - 188.8.131.52 10:25, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
- As a distance learning educator, I feel that students tend to study on their own and find it difficult to engage in more collaborative activities. But such collaboration is essential for them to develop group skills and enhance their prospects and make the most out of their studies. 184.108.40.206 10:53, 5 October 2015 (UTC)