Grants:Project/Global Voices/Strengthening Indigenous-Language Wikipedias in Latin America/Final

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proposal people timeline & progress finances midpoint report final report



Welcome to this project's final report! This report shares the outcomes, impact and learnings from the grantee's project.

Part 1: The Project[edit]

Summary[edit]

We completed a research mapping project to document the current state of 26 Wikipedia active and incubator projects in Latin American indigenous languages, as a way to better understand the opportunities and challenges for each individual site. Through interviews and surveys with current and inactive editors, members of Wikimedia affiliates, as well as potential editors and readers of Wikipedia indigenous languages, we identified trends, lessons learned, and recommendations for sustaining and increasing the participation of native-speaking editors editing and collecting knowledge in indigenous languages.

We found:

  • Participation by native-speaking editors was relatively low, despite the incomplete picture due to a lack of information on User pages, anonymous editing, and instances of unresponsiveness.
  • There is a potential to attract new editors in indigenous languages, but there is a need for greater outreach to share that there is the option to create a Wikipedia in their languages, as well as training in understanding how Wikipedia operates (5 pillars).
  • Conditions are present to work collaboratively to support existing projects or assist with the creation of new projects based on the interest and support from departments within the Wikimedia Foundation, Latin American regional affiliates, and external institutions.

Methods and activities[edit]

Link to the midpoint [review]

  1. The study mapped official and incubator Wikipedia projects in order to identify and classify the different initiatives according to its characteristics. This stage allowed us to identify and select the primary sources for interview through a semi-structured questionnaire. A total of 26 interviews (13 active or inactive editors and 13 Wikimedians with some degree of involvement with these projects) we carried out. Six interviews were scheduled, but failed to materialize due t unavailability of the interviewee
  2. An exhaustive documentary review of a considerable amount of online documentation was carried out. For the analysis, a mixed method of work was utilized, making use of different quantitative and qualitative information collection techniques. Along with this method, an adequate triangulation of the data was carried out in the analysis in order to contribute to verify, correct, and correlate the information obtained from the different sources and to obtain a more complete view of the objectives of the study.
  3. Third, in order to analyze the potential of these projects, an online survey was conducted during the month of May to examine the current and potential use of Wikipedia in indigenous languages. We received the opinions from 163 internet users interested in the topic of Wikipedia in indigenous languages, who responded to the survey, comprising of 49% who were a speaker of a Latin American indigenous language.

Outcomes and impact[edit]

Outcomes[edit]

We believe that the information documented in this mapping research project will provide valuable insight into the historical background and the context in which each active or incubator project was created. Individual case studies can provide regional affiliates, institutions working with indigenous communities, and native-speakers a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities for creating knowledge in native languages. The final report’s lessons learned and recommendations can serve as a building block for creating a collaborative support structure to maintaining existing and creating new Wikipedia projects in native languages with a focus on the participation and leadership of native speakers.

Published Case Studies

Case Study Language Category Current State ISO Code URL
Wikipidiyaman Quechua Official Active ISO2-qu Qhapaq_p'anqa
Huiquipedia Nahuátl Official Active ISO2-nah Calīxatl
Wikipidiya Aymara Official Active ISO1-ay Nayriri uñstawi
Vikipetã Guaraní Official Active ISO2-gn Ape
Wikipediao' Maya yucateco Incubator Active ISO3-yua Táanil Ju'un
Wikipeetia Wayuunaiki Incubator Active ISO2-guc Ee'iyalaaya a'laülaasü
Mapudungun mapudungun Incubator Inactive ISO3-arn Ñizol Wvbgiñ
Wikipediaj nawat pipil Incubator Inactive ISO3-ppl AchtuIswat
Wikipetya' kaqchikel Incubator Inactive ISO3-cak Nab'ey wuj
Bribri Bribri Incubator Inactive ISO3-bzd Bribri
Namtrik Namtrik Incubator Inactive ISO3-gum Main Page

Additional Outcomes

However, one additional outcome that was not intended or proposed from the outset was a direct result of the months of outreach and conversations held with the various stakeholders. The project team served as a resource for connecting, advising, and encouraging different communities demonstrating interest in reactivating their project or exploring additional ways to increase the number of editors and articles. Some of these examples include:

  • Connecting a group of Aymara students in El Alto, Bolivia with Vahid Mansour of WMF’s Education Department who helped advise the group for the creation a project working with professors at the Public University of El Alto to incorporate Wikipedia in Aymara into the classroom. The group received a WMF Rapid Grant to launch the project with the additional larger goal of improving the quality of articles and increasing the project’s reach.
  • Advising and encouraging the initial organizers of Wikipedia Kaqchikel incubator projects through a series of follow-up conversations which included local institutions interested in supporting and with Wikimedia Mexico to build upon previous activities in 2012 as a way to reactivate the project. The group which includes approximately 10-12 native speakers is planning a number of activities during the remaining months of 2017 to translate the Mediawiki interface into Kaqchikel, training sessions for new editors, the creation of a Kaqchikel Wiktionary and an edit-a-thon in collaboration with the Spanish Cultural Center in Guatemala City, to whom the group was introduced by the project team.
  • During the outreach phase, the project team interviewed a number of regional affiliates from Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, and Ecuador to get a better sense of previous efforts to support Wikipedia projects in indigenous languages. It was apparent that there are a lot of possibilities for continued collaboration to build upon previous work with regional affiliates. A member of the project team took part in the Iberocoop conference that took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina in June 2017 to further solidify these relationships and explore other possibilities.
  • Rising Voices collaborated with the Jorge Vargas of WMF’s Global Reach Department to organize a local event in conjunction with the Wikimedia Bolivia Working Group as part of the 2030 Strategy’s New Voices initiative. This activity held in July 2017 was an opportunity to consult with 28 members of indigenous communities of Bolivia regarding the theme “WMF as a truly global movement.” Rising Voices’ ability to convene such a group coupled with Wikimedia Bolivia’s participation in the strategy process demonstrated the possibilities of collaboration towards the goal of increased diversity and participation of indigenous groups in the Wikimedia movement.
  • During the project period, the project team was invited to present at the WMF’s April Metrics and Activities Meeting working with WMF's Maria Cruz for the presentation, the Celtic Knot conference organized by Wikimedia UK, and its talk presenting the results of the project was accepted at Wikimania 2017.

The nature of this research mapping project, in addition to providing documentation about the current state of Wikipedia projects in indigenous languages, as well as the lessons learned and recommendations for future activities, allowed for widening of our network to include regional affiliates and other stakeholders.

Progress towards stated goals[edit]

Planned measure of success
(include numeric target, if applicable)
Actual result Explanation
At least 25 blog posts published on Global Voices and the Wikimedia Blog featuring a different active or incubator Wikipedia. 11 case studies completed When the original project was initially developed, there were more than 25 active and incubator projects identified. However, a closer examination of the background of some of the projects revealed much less activity than earlier anticipated. Some of these projects were created by non native-speakers without any recent activity or other projects where previous editors were no longer or not able to be contacted in order to provide any meaningful contextual documentation. For example, it was discovered that there were 15 incubator projects created by the same person and these were combined into one single case study.
At least 25 editors interviewed during the mapping project. 13 editors interviewed As mentioned above, we originally identified 25 different projects to study. For each of them, we hoped to interview at least one editor per site. Since one individual created or was the most active in 15 different sites, he was interviewed to representing 15 sites.
The creation of a page on meta with all of the documentation of the mapping project. Completed This page is available here. Currently the pages are available in Spanish, but we hope to attract volunteers to help make the information available in other languages. We also hope to encourage the pages to remain dynamic encouraging others to update the information as needed.
The creation of a final report summarizing the different case studies, conclusions, and recommendations contributed by the participants of the feedback workshop. Completed The final report is available here.
The defining of the internal communication platform for the network n/a This was an outcome from the first version of the proposed project. The project was changed to include only the first part of the mapping research project.


Think back to your overall project goals. Do you feel you achieved your goals? Why or why not?

Global Metrics[edit]

For more information and a sample, see Global Metrics.

Metric Achieved outcome Explanation
1. Number of active editors involved 13 The number of active editors that were interviewed.
2. Number of new editors 0 This phase of the project was not designed to increase the number of new editors.
3. Number of individuals involved 172 This number includes 144 individuals that responded to the online survey + 28 individuals interviewed.
4. Number of new images/media added to Wikimedia articles/pages 4 Final report and accompanying materials uploaded to Wikimedia Commons
5. Number of articles added or improved on Wikimedia projects 44 Added pages on Wikimedia Meta to describe the case studies, facilitate discussion, templates, and research.
6. Absolute value of bytes added to or deleted from Wikimedia projects 7.3 MB Content created and shared on Meta through the the shared case studies, pages, and information on the Research section.


Learning question: Did your work increase the motivation of contributors, and how do you know? During our outreach to current, but inactive incubator projects, we noticed increased interest in reactivating some of the projects. For example, our contact with the Wikipedia Kaqchikel project started a relationship where we have been helping build upon their previous work. While the research project is not directly related to this direct increase, our ongoing communication and support with this communication has led to plans for future editing and site development work in 2017. During the time period of this direct contact with project leaders of Wikipedia Kaqchikel the number of edits has increased from 14 to 32 current articles.

Indicators of impact[edit]

Do you see any indication that your project has had impact towards Wikimedia's strategic priorities? We've provided 3 options below for the strategic priorities that Project Grants are mostly likely to impact. Select one or more that you think are relevant and share any measures of success you have that point to this impact. You might also consider any other kinds of impact you had not anticipated when you planned this project.

Option A: How did you increase participation in one or more Wikimedia projects?

Option B: How did you improve quality on one or more Wikimedia projects?

Option C: How did you increase the reach (readership) of one or more Wikimedia projects?

The results of the research mapping project aim to address all three strategic priorities by formulating recommendations that will help increase the participation of native-speaking editors in Wikipedia in indigenous languages. This includes providing the necessary training and knowledge about how Wikipedia operates under the 5 pillars so that the quality of the articles in these sites can improve. In addition, we hope that by raising visibility about the existence and possibilities for Wikipedia in indigenous languages, it can attract more readers that wouldn’t have otherwise known about the existence of the 26 different sites.

Project resources[edit]

Name of resource Description Link
Meta Page These are the Pages in Spanish where we collected the case studies, link to the final report, and other related materials [[1]]
Rising Voices section This is a link to the pages on the Rising Voices Lenguas website with similar materials to the Meta page Link here.
Template of the Semi-Structured Interview These are the questions used in the interviews of editors, affiliate members, and WMF staff currently working on or interested in the subject matter. Example
Online Survey This is the online survey we used with existing and potential editors and readers of Wikipedia in indigenous languages. In total, we received 144 responses. Link
Final Report This is the final report of the research mapping that includes lessons learned, recommendations and conclusions. The report is available on Wikimedia Commons. Link

Learning[edit]

The best thing about trying something new is that you learn from it. We want to follow in your footsteps and learn along with you, and we want to know that you took enough risks in your project to have learned something really interesting! Think about what recommendations you have for others who may follow in your footsteps, and use the below sections to describe what worked and what didn’t.

What worked well[edit]

What did you try that was successful and you'd recommend others do? To help spread successful strategies so that they can be of use to others in the movement, rather than writing lots of text here, we'd like you to share your finding in the form of a link to a learning pattern.

Lessons learned from the research mapping:

  • Thinking about Wikipedia projects in indigenous languages as mid-to-long-term projects, instead of projects that need immediate results can help manage expectations and allow the projects to develop by addressing identified challenges.
  • Active participation and presence by native-speakers at Wikimedia Foundation workshops, conferences, and other public events can help reinforce leadership opportunities.
  • The incorporation of experts in issues related to traditional knowledge and indigenous languages can play an important role in building upon previous documentation and analysis of activities, projects and policies related to digital inclusion of indigenous communities.
  • There is a desire to continue to explore the incorporation of oral sources, as well as other models of the collection of knowledge in native languages.

Lessons learned from conducting a research mapping:

  • Your learning pattern link goes here

What didn’t work[edit]

What did you try that you learned didn't work? What would you think about doing differently in the future? Please list these as short bullet points.

  • We thought it would have been easier to contact current or past editors to ask for information. Many of them did not have updated information on their User Page or did not respond to requests for contact.
  • To make the outreach more effective and more personal, it would have been interesting to add an element of in-person consultation especially with potential readers and editors in Wikipedia in indigenous languages. This would allow for more dynamic back and forth conversations to build rapport.
  • Due to the time constraints, it would have also been interesting to explore indigenous communities’ participation in other Wikimedia projects such as Wikisource, Wikicommons, and Wiktionary, since some of the individuals we interviewed mentioned these possibilities as a lower barrier to access for participation for these groups.

Other recommendations[edit]

If you have additional recommendations or reflections that don’t fit into the above sections, please list them here.

Next steps and opportunities[edit]

We would like to be a part of a group that works on some of the recommendations outlined in the final report.

  • Work towards the creation of a Wikimedia user group dedicated to increasing the participation of indigenous communities in the Wikimedia movement, especially in their native languages. Following the outreach conducted, we now have a better idea of the key stakeholders currently involved in this activity, as well as other potential members that can help address some of the challenges we have identified. We would like to convene a conference or meeting to collectively decide on the goals and objectives of such a user group, as well as encourage native-speakers to take leadership roles within this group. We raised this idea with several members of the Iberocoop network, who were supportive of the idea. We also approached a member of the Affiliates Committee, who also provided direction and encouragement to help with this process.
  • We also would like to collaboratively design a plan of activities to coordinate more closely with Wikimedia affiliates and other relevant departments within the Foundation to provide training and mentorship to interested members of indigenous communities to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to participate more actively in the movement, especially in Wikipedia in Spanish. The idea is that once new editors have a better understanding of the pillars and the dynamics within the community that they can participate in other ways, such as in incubator projects. This would also include in-person community-building activities for active or incubator projects in indigenous languages that would help bring together individuals to work together for a common goal. We are committed to continue be a facilitator and connector between our existing networks and the Wikimedia movement interested in supporting knowledge in these languages.
  • Continue to develop the existing site in Meta so that it becomes a resource for new editors and groups (affiliates and other institutions) interested in participating in active or incubator projects. This would also include a directory of key individuals within each project willing to work with others interested in joining the project. This would include editors and members of affiliates that may be resources. We would also like to encourage editors on these sites to update their User page making it easier to contact those willing to bring aboard new members.

Part 2: The Grant[edit]

Finances[edit]

Actual spending[edit]

Expense Approved amount Actual funds spent Difference
Project Coordination US$5,500.00 US$5,500.00 US$0.00
Lead Researcher US$4,662.00 US$4,662.00 US$0.00
Transcription and Recording Software US$0.00 US$0.00 US$0.00
SkypeOut Credit US$50.00 US$50.00 US$0.00
Bank Fees US$200.00 US$200.00 US$0.00
Travel Costs for Iberocoop US$250.00 US$250.00 US$0.00

Reflecting adjustments.

Remaining funds[edit]

All funds have been spent.

Documentation[edit]

Yes, all documentation has been sent to WMF Grants Administrator

Confirmation of project status[edit]

Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?

Please answer yes or no.

Is your project completed?

Please answer yes or no.

Grantee reflection[edit]

When we first proposed the initial project titled “Strengthening Indigenous-Language Wikipedias in Latin America,” our overarching goal was to increase participation by native-speaking editors through the implementation several different activities. However, we agreed with the Grants Committee’s recommendation to first begin with the mapping research project as a way to better understand the opportunities and challenges for these projects, then to see how the findings might shape future activities to help reach our goal.

During the course of these past months, we were able to gain a better overview of how the various active and incubator projects started, as well as their current states in terms of participation and activity. After a closer look, we were surprised by the reduced numbers of native-speakers in these projects. We reached this conclusion following our outreach attempts, even though we recognize there are still some gaps in this information since many users choose to edit anonymous, may not include language proficiency information in their use profiles, and some key actors in some of the projects did not respond to our requests for interviews.

For some, this finding may be discouraging. However, based off our months of outreach and series of conversations, we feel that the conditions are present to sustain and encourage the participation by existing and new native-speakers in these projects. Without the support of Latin American Wikimedia affiliates, many of whom are already engaging local groups, this would not be possible. At the recent Iberoconf, it was mentioned that the topic of diversity within the Wikimedia movement in Latin America must include the participation of indigenous peoples both in the Wikimedia Spanish project, as well as in native languages. The response by different teams and departments within the Wikimedia Foundation, such as Education and Global Reach, as well as other committees such as the Affiliations Committee and Language Committee was also encouraging and validated our interest and commitment towards the larger goal of increasing the participation of native-speaking editors in the movement.

All of this cooperation really validated our desire to become a convener and connector, working side-by-side with the Wikimedia movement, to ensure that it can become an even more global movement.

This initial research mapping project helped us get closer to some answers, but also opened up other issues that may need to be discussed in the near future, such as the compatibility of traditional knowledge with open licenses, how to incorporate different kinds of sources into Wikipedia (such as knowledge passed on orally), as well as the possibility of adapting different models of collecting and sharing knowledge that fits better with the traditions of different indigenous communities. While some of this may require other types of consultation and discussion, we feel that are better positioned to assist with these conversations.