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

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Report accepted
This report for a Project and Event grant approved in FY 2010-11 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
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Project goal[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 programme “Ambient Assisted Living (AAL)” 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” Wikipedian is normally younger (25 to 35 years). Older people (such as the generation 50 and above) 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. The TAO community partners are Wikimedia CH, Wikimedia Deutschland, Seniorweb CH and NL who have been working with the Bern University of Applied Science (BFH) for several months to pave the way for a successful project start in October 2010.

Description of actual activities:

Wikimedia CH got in contact with the online senior community Seniorweb CH in the preparation phase of the project TAO. In the course of the project, a collaborative relationship developed and several activities were carried out in common:

  • Wikimedia/Wikipedia-related information was posted on the Seniorweb platform
  • A part of the Seniorweb community started to get engaged with Wikipedia-related topics – most prominently so during the 2011 Wiki Loves Monuments photo contest
  • Wikipedians organized Wikipedia introduction workshops in the context of Seniorweb’s “Free Cruise on the Internet” campaign.
  • The two organizations shared a stand at a seniors’ fair for 4 days in the French speaking part of Switzerland in 2011 (about 10’000 visitors to the fair)
  • Four 2-hour workshops targeted at readers were organized, as well as one 2-hour workshop targeted at new contributors in a shopping mall (German speaking area)

Wikipedia/Wikimedia Introductory Workshops for Seniors

  • In co-operation with various senior associations in the French speaking part of Switzerland: a series of 4 workshops targeted at readers and new contributors; about 50 participants, among which one is now a Wikipedian editor.

Hosting of the website: WMCH, via one of his volunteers, hosts the TAO’s website and paid for the design.

Participation in the management of the project: Quarterly reports should have been made by the WMCH project manager to the TAO consortium. In reality, this part of WMCH’s implication failed, as well as a real implication of WMCH in the managerial tasks of the project.

What lessons were learned that could help others succeed in similar projects?

Positive points

  • This project put us in contact with several senior associations, in particular with the third age universities of Switzerland, and with medias that are particularly active in this field. Further collaborations are planned.
  • It improved our way to communicate and to teach the Wikimedia projects to outsiders
  • We more or less reached the goals we had set, namely to organize several workshops in different parts of Switzerland
  • Seniors are not homogenous. Through our various collaborations, we noticed that we have to identify more specifically some types of seniors who can be interested in the Wikimedian projects
  • We, as all the partners involved in the project, realized that there is not only a technological gap, but also a cultural one with elderly people: they are quite ready to use Wikipedia, but don’t feel allowed to become encylopedia editors because they tend to regard it as expert work. So we realized that if we want to integrate them, we really have to develop a special communication way, in order to be able to convince them to edit. Therefore we will continue to collaborate closer with the third age or so-called “popular” universities.


Negative points

  • We have the impression that we made a mistake to accept an involvement in a project that was too big, too academic and too theoretical. After one year of preparations and 18 months of project, our evaluation is that this project is in reality an academic research on the implication of seniors in the online communities, but that there are no really concrete realisations, or that all the concrete part lay on the shoulders of the Wikimedia chapters involved. This is far too heavy, with comparatively little benefits for the Wikimedia community.
  • As a consequence, when evaluating the costs required from WMCH to complete the project with the benefits expected, we decided, after 18 months, not to continue our involvement within this project.

What impact did the project have on WMF mission goals of Increased Reach, Increased Quality, Increased Credibility, Increased and Diversified Participation?

It increased our contact with people external to the Wikimedia movement, as well as our credibility towards the representatives of the third age universities who asked to continue a collaboration. We really hope that it will increase a diversified participation of elderly people.

Detail of expenditures:

WMF has requested receipts or documentation of expenditures, but the grantee has not yet provided this, or requested information is still missing.

Budgetized Expended
Meetings / Get-togethers Wikipedians and Seniors, 3–5 per language area Switzerland (travel reimbursements, event costs, organisation and coordination) $7'500.00 $16'589.10
Cooperation and Coordination meetings and WS with partners WMDE, Seniorweb CH and Seniorweb NL, 2-3 per year in Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands (travel and accommodation costs, location/event costs, organisation and coordination) $10'500.00 $16'623.90
Communication costs (handouts and documentations) $2'500.00 $600.00
Translation (Switzerland and European Partners) $2'500.00 $1'000.00
TAO Project organisation and coordination (WMCH TAO core group and partners groups) $2'000.00 $5'000.00
Total $25'000.00 $39'813.00
Difference: part paid by WMCH on its own funds $14'813.00
For information: volunteer's work if paid $20'352.00

Amount underspent in US Dollars: 0$.

Will you be requesting re-allocation of remaining grant funding?

Yes, we would like to reallocate some funds inside the proposed budget. This a an official request to reallocate 3400 $ : We ask to reallocate 1900$ for communication and 1500 $ for translations to the line for meetings (7500 budgetized, 16'589.10 expended) which is directly bounded with the project's scope.

When the budget was made, our participation to a fair dedicated to all the French speaking seniors wasn't planned. But in coordination with our partner SeniorwebCH, we decided to participate to this 4 days fair, even if the costs were not planned, having the impression that is was worthy to be in contact with a lot of seniors. We actually consider that the "fees" of the fair overlap the two lines of budget "get together" and "communication", as it included a lot of communication and advertisement associated with the participation to the fair. But we haven't split the costs of the fair between the two lines, and placed it in the main topic associated "get together wikipedians and seniors".

When the decision was taken to participate even if the fees were higher, we looked for lower some other cost. Actually 1500 US$ were not spent in translations, because we use the service of student from translation school, with a lower hour cost, but needing a lot more of reviewing that has been assured by Ilario Valdelli and I. Please not that this additional volunteers time has been done by volunteers that were not imply in the planning of the project, that have a lot of other duties and it should be consider as overtime after we finish our regular extra time.--Chandres (talk) 08:21, 21 September 2012 (UTC)