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Grants:PEG/WM CH/TAO project – WP collaboration with Senior communities

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This submission to the Wikimedia Foundation Grants Program was funded in the fiscal year 2010-11. This is a grant to an organization.

IMPORTANT: Please do not make changes to this page now. They will be reverted.

  • This project has been funded, completed, and a project report has been reviewed and accepted by WMF Staff.
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Legal name of chapter

Wikimedia Switzerland (WM CH)

Grant contact name

Mourad Ben Abdallah

Grant contact user-name or e-mail


Grant contact title (position)

President WM CH

Project lead name
Project lead user-name or e-mail
Project lead title (position), if any

TAO-community coordinator

Full project name

TAO Community & Collaboration (TAO stands for Third Age Online)

Amount requested (in USD)

US-$ 25'000.--

Provisional target start date

October 2010

Provisional completion date

October 2011 (first phase)

Budget breakdown[edit]

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.
  • Meetings / Get-togethers Wikipedians and Seniors
3 – 5 per language area Switzerland
(travel reimbursements, event costs, organisation and coordination)
US-$ 500.--/each x 15
= US-$ 7’500.—
  • Cooperation and Coordination meetings and WS with German and Dutch partner WM DE and WM NL
2-3/year in Switzerland, Germany and Netherlands
(travel and accommodation costs, location/event costs, organisation and coordination)
US-$ 3’500.--/each x 3
= US-$ 10’500.—
  • Communication costs
(handouts and documentations)
= US-$ 2’500.—
  • Translations (Switzerland and European Partners)
= US-$ 2’500.—
  • TAO-project organisation and coordination
(WM CH-TAO core group and partner groups)
= US-$ 2’000.—

TOTAL : US-$ 25’000.—

Project scope[edit]

In spring 2009, the Swiss and the German Wikimedia chapters, along with eight other partner organizations under the lead of the Bern University of Applied Science (BFH), developed the TAO project and submitted it to the European Union (EU) within the European “Ambient Assisted Living (AAL)”-Programme in order to promote the participation of seniors in their online communities. The share and participation of elderly people in Online communities and on Wikipedia is still rather limited. The “typical” WP is normally younger (25 to 35 years) and older people like the generation 50 plus are rather reluctant to participate actively on Online platforms. The TAO project intends to create an enabling environment through collaboration with established senior communities in Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. Among the TAO partner organizations are WM CH, WM DE, Seniorweb CH and NL who are working with the Bern University of Applied Science (BFH) since several months to pave the way for a successful project start in October 2010.

The main challenges and requirements for the starting period are sensitisation, mobilisation and bringing together interested people from the respective communities for get-togethers, get-to-know-each-other and various forms of collaboration. The TAO project leaders are convinced that nowadays Online communities – in particular Wikipedia – can benefit a lot from the life and professional experience and knowledge of third age Onliners. But such ideas and aspirations are not self-fulfilling. There are still prevailing prejudices, reservations, cultural and social differences between the generations and communities that need to be bridged. And well-established WP circles with their language, codes, habits or attitudes might not be easily approachable and accessible for older newcomers with different life and cultural backgrounds (threshold and entry problem). The TAO projects wants to bridge those gaps, develop incentives, creating an enabling environment for community actions and common events. Terms like eInclusion and bridging the digital divide in the so called information society are almost common places, the TAO project aims on the development of suitable strategies, concepts and action models for a sustainable inter-action and collaboration among the partner communities.

For more background infos see:

The overall project duration is three years (2010 – 13). This grant application for the first year and start-up phase (October 2010 – October 11) is concentrating on prerequisites like community mobilisation and initial collaboration. The Swiss WM chapter provides a coordinating role among all the community partners involved. WM CH is furthermore in charge of the TAO project communication (work package 7) and can assure contacts and coordination with the WMF Outreach Program.

A particular challenge of the project and the start-up phase is the multicultural and multilingual set-up of the Swiss WM chapter (with implants and groups in all parts of the country) and the cross-border cooperation with other WM chapters (DE and NL). In such a multi language context translation of key documents (at least) is necessary and cost relevant. In a cross-generation community approach communication is crucial and cannot be limited to mere Online communication (like among Wikipedians) but needs diversification to traditional means what better meets communication habits and needs of elderly people (senior communities). This has to be considered as another cost-relevant factor (see budget outline).

Project goal[edit]

The project’s foremost objective is to bring about a win-win-win-situation: Elderly people are expected to profit in terms of social capital and human capital (health and well-being, but also skills and knowledge), improved possibilities for Online activities, and a larger array of online content which is targeted at their needs. Existing Online communities are expected to profit in terms of increased participation (leading to economies of scale allowing for the satisfaction of “niche” interests) as well as in terms of a qualitative improvement of their “products” and/or their social interactions. And finally, society as a whole is to profit from improved social and human capital among seniors, from improved inter-generational relations as well as from the expected boost in “open” production and the creation of new opportunities for elderly people to put their knowledge and rich life experience to use. The TAO project as such creates and offers a unique outreach opportunity for the WM chapters involved (CH – DE – NL) to enlarge its potential and support among seniors.

Non-financial requirements[edit]

The main requirements of the TAO project are non-financial. The crucial factor is mobilisation and collaboration in and among the communities involved. Most of the community activities are based on volunteers, their creativity and inputs. Without a strong involvement, cooperation and multiplication on the community level (bottom-up approach) and considerable contributions from community actors, the project cannot develop any relevant impact and may not reach its goals. The action and impact research is an important complement based on community action. Community building is a dynamic process what needs assistance and support (to cover organisational and coordination costs etc.) but must be self-supporting as well to proof durability and sustainability. A key factor of success of the TAO project is non-financial: It’s the time allocation and its limits among the voluntary community actors. Therefore we want to reimburse costs for travelling, meetings etc. (action enablers).

Fit to strategy[edit]

As mentioned before, this project supports the key organizational objectives of the chapters involved by increasing outreach opportunities and potential, enhance participation of age groups not yet involved, quality by contributions from knowledgable people. TAO promotes credibility through eInclusion and bridging divides in the society. It further supports the outreach goals and initiatives of the WMF.

Other benefits[edit]

As described before, the project’s foremost objective is to bring about a win-win- situation for the communities envolved: Offering new Online perspectives for seniors, bridging (digital) divides among generations, empowerment (eInclusion), improve satisfaction and self-confidence among elderly people what may affect their well-being. The WM chapters and WP communities can improve outreach, enlarge their potential for identifying and encouraging new authors among senior age groups and thus strengthen their entrenchment in the society.

For more aspects see the links mentioned before:

Measures of success[edit]

The TAO project was developed in close cooperation between community and research partners – in particular the Bern University of Applied Science (BFH) – with precise project planning and implementation tools. It is broadly based among eight other partner organizations providing plenty of interdisciplinary knowledge and experiences. The target groups and community action is permanently observed and accompanied by our research partners from BFH and the University of Ulm. At a later stage (multiplication and internationalisation phase), the impact research will be provided by UM-Merit (NL), a research institution with a broad expertise in this field. The community actions and different project phases will be permanently evaluated, measured and reported by the project leaders and the steering group.

The reporting on the project to the WMF will be provided at the stage of completion (of the first project year) by the WM CH project coordinator according to the grants key guidelines and criteria.

Geneva / Neuchâtel, 15 May 2010

Mourad Ben Abdallah - WM CH President
Wolf Ludwig - Community coordinator

For grantees

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