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

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This Project Grant midpoint report has been submitted by the grantee, and is currently being reviewed by WMF staff. You may add comments, responses, or questions to this report's discussion page.

Welcome to this project's midpoint report! This report shares progress and learnings from the Individual Engagement Grantee's first 3 months.


In a few short sentences or bullet points, give the main highlights of what happened with your project so far.

In the first half of the project, we:

  • Organized an open call for Lead Researcher
  • Hired a lead researcher, Rodrigo Pérez
  • Designed a research methodology and data collection instruments
  • Conducted outreach to Latin American Wikimedia affiliates and other groups/individuals
  • Identified the first 11 case studies (active or incubator Wikipedia projects in indigenous languages)
  • Began interviews with representatives from the identified Wikimedia affiliates
  • Began interviews with editors and other participants of the Wikipedia projects
  • In the process of building project pages on Meta Wiki and Research Wiki, as well as on the Rising Voices website

Methods and activities[edit]

How have you setup your project, and what work has been completed so far?

Describe how you've setup your experiment or pilot, sharing your key focuses so far and including links to any background research or past learning that has guided your decisions. List and describe the activities you've undertaken as part of your project to this point.

* Hired Lead Researcher Following approval of the grant by the Wikimedia Foundation, Rising Voices began working by creating a job announcement for a Lead Researcher. The announcement was shared on social media, email lists such as Iberocoop, Languages, and Research, but also direct outreach to individuals and contacts with whom Rising Voices has already worked. Some of these individuals were also invited to help review the job applications and make recommendations for the short list, as well as take part in the interview process. These individuals included members of Wikimedia affiliates that have expressed an interest, as well as active native-speaking editors of two projects. As a result of this process, Rising Voices hired Rodrigo Pérez as the Lead Researcher.


Project Lead Researcher is Rodrigo Pérez [Zapoteco_diiste], who was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and is a speaker of the Zapotec language. Since 2007, he started to create linguistic resources for his language, as well as positioning the language online. He has worked with free software localization, which includes educational software, the Firefox browser, and Firefox operating system for mobile phones. Since 2014, he has belonged to the group Mozilla Nativo and has provided indigenous language localization support to other communities in the Mozilla Community. Currently he actively participates in the indigenous language digital activism movement in Mexico.

The project is being implemented by two individuals, Eddie Avila as the Project Coordinator and Pérez as the Lead Researcher. The team coordinates activities through the project management tool Trello and maintains ongoing communication via Slack and weekly calls.

* Designed a research methodology and data collection instruments During the first month of the project, a series of calls between the team took place to share a history of this project, share established contacts, discuss potential leads, and some of the feedback received during the proposal process. From those discussions, Pérez provided the first drafts of the design methodology for further discussion.

The project is currently being implemented through a descriptive and exploratory methodology, which is divided into two parts. The first part consists of a qualitative and critical review to identify the current capacity and difficulties in creating and sustaining participation by native-speakers in Wikipedia projects in indigenous languages. The second part will be empirical, applying ethnographic methodologies to document lessons learned and best practices in the 25 projects of Wikipedia in indigenous languages.

* Identified and started the interviews with the first 11 case studies (active or incubator Wikipedia projects in indigenous languages)

  • Guaraní
  • Quechua
  • Aymara
  • Kichwa
  • Mapudungun
  • Kaqchikel
  • Wayuunaiki
  • Náhuatl
  • Maya
  • Nawat Pipil
  • Mixe

Ongoing review will determine the rest of the case studies to be analyzed, but currently these are the sites that are in the process of being reviewed.

* Interviewed Latin American Wikimedia affiliates and other groups/individuals

Name Affiliation/Project
Juan Sebastian Quintero Santacruz Wikimedians of Colombia
Erlan Vega Wikimedia Bolivia Working Groups
Carlos Mora & Oscar Costero Wikimedia Venezuela
Victoriano de la Cruz Cruz Editor, Wikipedia in Náhuatl
Ruben Hilare Editor, Wikipedia in Aymara
Leonardy Fernández Editor, Wikipedia in Wayuunaiki
Vahid Masrour Community Capacity Manager, Wikipedia Education Program & Wikimedians of Ecuador
Anna Torres Wikimedia Argentina
Marco Correa Pérez Wikimedia Chile
Lorenzo Itzá Editor, Wikipedia in Maya
Asaf Bartov & Marti Johnson Senior Program Officer, Emerging Wikimedia Communities & Project Coordinator for the Grantmaking Team, Wikimedia Foundation
Jorge López Bachiller Advisor for Wikipedia in Kaqchikel
Tulio Cañumil Editor, Wikipedia in Mapudungun

Please note: This is not a complete list of individuals and groups with whom we would like to speak. There are many more interviews scheduled for the coming weeks, as well as another group of stakeholders with whom we have been in touch over email and messaging apps. The list will be updated as the project progresses.

* In the process of building project pages on Meta Wiki and Research Wiki, as well as on the Rising Voices website

Midpoint outcomes[edit]

What are the results of your project or any experiments you’ve worked on so far?

Please discuss anything you have created or changed (organized, built, grown, etc) as a result of your project to date.

The results of the research project will continue to develop based on additional interviews and quantitative and qualitative data analysis. Right now, we have a number of interviews and background research that are being systematized and will be shared on the Meta wiki. The first case study should be published within the next week, serving as a template for the other 25 case studies.

However, a network of stakeholders is materializing based on our interviews and background research. It is becoming evident that there is a variety of support systems in place that have been or would like to support Wikipedia projects in indigenous languages. We are hoping to continue to map these types of organizational, as well as informal structures working to provide mentoring and assistance to native-speaking and non-native-speaking editors. A description of each will be included in the results to be shared.


Please take some time to update the table in your project finances page. Check that you’ve listed all approved and actual expenditures as instructed. If there are differences between the planned and actual use of funds, please use the column provided there to explain them.

Then, answer the following question here: Have you spent your funds according to plan so far? Please briefly describe any major changes to budget or expenditures that you anticipate for the second half of your project.

Yes, we are spending the funds according to the approved budget. To date, we have only purchased SkypeOut credit that is being used for interviews with individuals without a reliable internet connection required for online calls. Originally, it was anticipated that we would need to purchase call recording software, but for the time being, we are able to utilize free software for this function. There are some limitations with using this free software, but we will monitor this in case we can request to allocate these funds elsewhere. No major changes to the budget are expected for the second half of the project.


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 are taking enough risks to learn something really interesting! Please use the below sections to describe what is working and what you plan to change for the second half of your project.

What are the challenges[edit]

What challenges or obstacles have you encountered? What will you do differently going forward? Please list these as short bullet points.

An important part of this research project is outreach through a wide variety of channels. In order to document the origins and current status of the active and incubator Wikipedia projects, we expected to rely on communication via the Talk pages of the editors’ user accounts. However, we did not expect that many pages would be incomplete, inactive or unresponsive. In addition, for some of the Wikipedia projects created before the Language Committee put forth a policy to accept new Wikipedia projects, it has been difficult to pinpoint individuals that created these projects because many users were anonymous. This is essential because it would have helped us better understand the background for these projects, the motivations by the individuals, and the profile of those starting Wikipedias in indigenous languages.

Going forward:

  • We will rely on our existing networks in these communities that can provide a personal introduction to individuals that we have identified as being a part of these projects.
  • We will also make contact outside of the Wikipedia Talk platform by reaching out to their social media accounts, in the case that they do not regularly check their user page.
  • We will begin to use our social media channels to request information or crowdsource leads that can help provide missing information on the past and present activities, as well as people or groups working on a specific Wikipedia project.

What is working well[edit]

What have you found works best so far? 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.

  • Your learning pattern link goes here

[In progress - developing]

Next steps and opportunities[edit]

What are the next steps and opportunities you’ll be focusing on for the second half of your project? Please list these as short bullet points. If you're considering applying for a 6-month renewal of this IEG at the end of your project, please also mention this here.

Our next steps include the continuation of interviews and documentation of the information collected. In addition, we will also be focusing on strategies to encourage participation and ongoing feedback to the initial findings. We are continuing to develop the project page on Meta Wiki, which will include opportunities for others to contribute information. For example, for each of the active and incubator projects, we are in contact with at least two editors or other coordinators who have help start or work directly with the project. However, with limitations to this project, we are unable to speak with everyone who has ever edited this project, but we hope that by publicizing the initial findings that others will reach out to us and help contribute with information.

We are also working towards the final report, which will include analysis, measures of impact, and opportunities. Based off of recommendations that we have received to date, we will also be creating a resource document that will include lessons learned, best practices, and concrete recommendations for different groups of stakeholders interested in supporting these types of projects.

While we do not yet know the specific recommendations that will result from this research project, judging from the feedback and reception by all those with whom we have spoken, it is evident that there is a need and desire to improve the ways that these communities are supported. We would like to apply for a 6-month renewal to build upon this work.

Grantee reflection[edit]

We’d love to hear any thoughts you have on how the experience of being an IEGrantee has been so far. What is one thing that surprised you, or that you particularly enjoyed from the past 3 months?

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of being an IEGrantee has been the support and interest demonstrated from members from a wide variety of communities, including editors from those Wikipedia projects in indigenous languages with whom we have been in touch, members of Wikimedia affiliates, and Wikimedia Foundation staff. On the whole, the instances when we have reached out for assistance, suggestions, or input on the project, we have received great interest and supporting indicating that this is a much needed project. A special recognition to the members of the Iberocoop, who have been very welcoming and supportive. We look forward to continue to establish new connections and strengthen existing relationships during the course of this project.