Grants:PEG/Aislinn Dewey/Distribute WikiReaders to Schools

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This submission to the Project and Event Grants Program was funded in the fiscal year 2012-13. This is a grant to an individual.

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This grantee has requested a change to the budget submitted here and this change has been approved by WMF. Please see the discussion page for details.

Basic information[edit]

Project details[edit]

Official project name
Distribute WikiReaders to Schools
Project start date
July 15 2013
Project completion date
November 30 2013 30 December 2013
Please describe the project in 1–2 sentences
We plan to purchase 500 WikiReaders (portable offline devices that run on 2 AAA batteries and have a text-only version of Wikipedia) below their manufacturing costs ($15 vs $31) and distribute them to selected schools that have limited or no internet access. We have a unique partnership with the manufacturer, OpenMoko, to custom install a language we specify - making the version of Wikipedia relevant to the schools and communities they will be distributed to. WikiReaders, due to financial difficulty and lack of consumer success on modernized markets, are simply sitting in a warehouse as overstock (approx. 20,000 units) while they could be in the hands of kids and teachers that could greatly benefit from using them. We feel this project has merit as a pilot to make better use of these devices that were truly designed for the underdeveloped internet-restricted world versus the developed world it was marketed to.

Financial details[edit]

Currency requested
US Dollars
Amount requested in currency requested
Equivalent amount in US$ on the date of this submission

Project lead details[edit]

See the eligibility requirements for more information.

Are you an organization, an individual, or an individual submitting on behalf of a group?
Project lead name
Aislinn Dewey
Project lead username or email
Project lead title (position), if any
Project Organizer
  • Full Disclosure: WMF staffer Victor Grigas (user:Vgrigas) is in a personal relationship with Aislinn Dewey. His role is exclusively within the fundraising department and has nothing to do with grantmaking.

Goals and measures of success[edit]

Project goal[edit]

Please briefly describe what will be accomplished if the project is successful.

Project goal
The goal of the project is to run a 3 month pilot of the distribution of 500 WikiReaders that provide offline Wikipedia for kids to learn and do homework with and for their teachers to create lesson plans with. We have raised $3,000 on Indiegogo to start and have selected three project sites - one in a small rural town outside of Mexico City a second in Capetown, South Africa and a third in Uttar Pradesh India. The price of $15 we have negotiated with the manufacturer includes batteries, an 8GB memory card and a custom language install of the latest version Wikipedia (text-only). We have identified three schools that have a huge need to access knowledge without internet in Mexico and India and Capetown, South Africa. The India site, in Uttar Pradesh, has already used WikiReaders that they had purchased full price ($99) a year ago and have had great success using them. We would like to include 3 pilot sites and with more devices, and a second grant upon success, to expand to more schools. Several schools that would like to use WikiReaders in their classrooms by both teachers planning their lessons and students to do their homework have contacted us requesting devices so we know there is a clear need. We are planning to partner with Wikipedia chapters to help coordinate distribution and provide simple training to the schools as is possible.
The WikiReaders sent will be supported by reporting materials and disposable cameras for the teachers and students document their experience and every month to measure the impact of the devices on learning throughout the school year. We will also employ the help of Wikipedia chapters and volunteers, as willing, to help with distribution and occasional project feedback. We will publish and share all reporting to the Foundation and donors on request.
If this pilot proves successful at distributing WikiReaders to remote schools in an impactful way, we aim to subsequently buy all remaining WikiReader stock (approx ~20,000 additional devices) to expand distribution to other project sites that are equally in need.

Measures of success[edit]

Please provide a list of measurable criteria that will be used determine how successful the project is. You will need to report on the success of the project according to these measures after the project is completed.

Measures of success
  • Teachers and school administrators at project sites positively assess of the quality of learning after using WikiReaders for a single school year
  • Teachers assess their teaching abilities and lesson plans positively with the use of WikiReaders as an educational tool compared to previous methods
  • Kids in schools where devices are distributed assess positive improvement in their learning experience and homework completion

Project scope and activities[edit]

This section describes what will happen if this project is funded. Who will do what, and when?

List of activities
Upon funding, the project organizers will complete remaining coordination tasks for the purchase, distribution and reporting of the WikiReaders to the selected schools. Project sites will have a point person that will coordinate receiving and distribution of the devices to the schools.
The selected project sites we chose are ones that have very limited access to books, internet and technology. The three sites currently selected are St.Anthony's in Uttar Pradesh, India (290 devices and 10 backup devices) and Herminino Salas Gil (75 devices and 10 backup devices) in Tamazunchale, Mexico and Sinenjongo High School outside of Capetown South Africa (115 devices - no backups). For the Mexico school we have contact with a teacher in Mexico city, a teacher at the remote school Herminino Salas Gil and also have commitment from the Mexico Wikipedia chapter to help distribute and report on project success. The India site is backed by both a Belgian and Indian NGO 'Oeuvres Des Pains' which will help coordinate reporting on the ground. We have contact with the South Africa Wikipedia chapter and a teacher at Sinenjongo High School that has a few high school students using WikiReaders already to do homework with.
The devices will be accompanied with a series of surveys for the teachers and students to fill out upon receiving the devices and every month for reporting purposes. To help with distribution, reporting and documentation, where available we will partner with Wikimedia chapter volunteers in the project area. The sites will receive disposable cameras to document their school's use of the devices. At the end of the 3-month pilot, schools/project coordinators on the ground will be asked to send back using a postage-paid envelope, the reporting materials and cameras so that we can collect and share the project success. If possible using our own funds, our team may also travel to project sites see first hand how the projects have gone at the end of the pilot.

Budget and resources[edit]

Please provide a detailed breakdown of project expenses according to the instructions here. All project expenses will be for the purchase and distribution of WikiReaders below cost ($15 which includes a custom language install and an 8GB memory card) from the manufacturer. The project organizers and team are all working unpaid. Grantees are subject to line-item scrutiny of expenses. Changes to the approved budget beyond 10% in any category must be approved in advance.

Project budget
  • 500 WikiReaders at $15.00 USD a piece
  • $1,000 for shipping to 3 project sites
  • $1,608 for customs fees (increase requested from additional funds after grant was funded)
  • $1,000 for reporting materials:
    • Postage paid packets for the sent to the schools that include:
    • School worksheets to measure and report out
    • Disposable cameras to document project
Total cost of project
Total amount requested from the WMF Grants Program
Additional sources of revenue that may fund part of this project, and amounts funded
Indiegogo Campaign $3,000

Non-financial requirements[edit]

See a description of nonfinancial assistance available. Please inform Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) of any requirements for non-financial assistance now.

Requests for non-financial assistance
No explicit requirements however help connecting with Wikimedia Chapters in project areas and promoting project on country site banners would be useful if deemed appropriate


  • Team members: Ashstar01 (talk) 17:50, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Our project was discussed by the Village Pump, and the community was enthusiastic about its potential: LINK.:[[1]]
  • We have successfully raised $3,000 on an Indiegogo campaign
  • Special skills or qualifications the project lead brings to this project: Product design, user research and project management skills
  • For transparency, my partner, Victor Grigas works as a Storyteller at the Wikimedia Foundation. He is not involved with this grant submission however he did assist with the existing Indiegogo partner acting as a volunteer and not as a representative of the Wikimedia foundation


Fit to strategy[edit]

How will this project support the key organizational objectives of
  • increasing reach (more people will access or contribute to Wikipedia or our other projects),
  • participation (more people actually contributing),
  • quality (more content, more useful content, or higher-quality content),
  • credibility (more trust in our projects),
  • organizational maturity and effectiveness (how it will move you or the Wikimedia community forward),
  • or financial sustainability (how it will help you achieve more in the long run)?
This statement should address at least one of the strategic priorities listed here specifically. See WMF Grants Program criteria for decisionmaking.
This project will provide Wikipedia access to kids and teachers that are in areas where traditional internet-based access is not possible. By providing offline access in a language appropriate to the schools that are receiving them, we are essentially providing a library of knowledge - pocket-sized and energy efficient - to those most in need of it to learn about the world. Distribution of these devices will powerfully increase reach to areas often ignored by typical technology solutions. The project also has potential to move the community forward in continuing to develop offline solutions for internet restricted areas of the world.

Case Studies similar to this project[edit]

Key findings related to this project are:
    • Power on E-readers distributed was not a significant issue.
    • Language being culturally relevant is an important attribute for any content distributed
    • Increased enthusiasm towards reading
    • Increased resources for teachers
    • Increased technological skills
    • Increased performance on standardized scores at the primary level, especially among primary students receiving OCE interventions


Please provide a brief statement about how the project is related to other work in the Wikimedia movement. For example, does the project fit into a work area such as GLAM, education, organizational development, editor retention, or outreach?
Although not directly related, this project does align with the goals of Wikiversity in terms of providing tools and resources for learning with Wikipedia.
If successful, will the project have the potential to be replicated successfully by other individuals, groups, or organizations? Please explain how in 1–2 sentences.
Yes, if there are more WikiReaders to buy and distribute or other portable devices that can store offline Wikipedia (for ex. using Kiwix), this pilot's model can be replicated by others interested in measuring the impact of offline Wikipedia in schools with no or limited internet access.
Please list other benefits to the movement here.
The stories that can be shared based on providing Wikipedia to schools and measuring the impact over time will inspire more people to participate and contribute to the mission.
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