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Grants:Project/ISUR/Empowerment of Colombian indigenous peoples with the tools of the Wiki ecosystem

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statusnot selected
Empowerment of Colombian indigenous peoples with the tools of the Wiki ecosystem
summaryEmpowement of Colombian Indigenous with the tools of the Wiki ecosystem within the framework of the right of access to information It is a social project in which there is an intersection of technology, the open ecosystem, local practices of access and dissemination of information within Colombian indigenous peoples. The objective is to empower communities through the use, knowledge and dissemination of Wiki ecosystem projects. Through a series of workshops and activities together with the communities, a methodology and a roadmap will be built to bring and adapt Wikimedia content to different indigenous contexts in Latin America.
targetWikipedia in Spanish, Wikimedia Commons, Wiki sources, Wiki books, Wiki Data.
amount59.320 USD (see revised budget on talkpage)
nonprofitNon-profit organization
contact• julio.gaitan@urosario.edu.co or juliogaitanb@gmail.com• isur@urosario.edu.co or
organization• ISUR - Center of Internet and Society of the Rosario University
this project needs...
created on21:14, 15 March 2021 (UTC)

Project idea[edit]

The information society has reached the lives of people and communities as a constant in the entire planet. The great challenge of humanity, to which governments, the private sector, academy, civil society and society in general are committed, is to connect another billion people to the Internet. This primarily economic and technological objective seems to ignore vital questions about to whom, for what purpose, in what language and how connectivity will should be provided. Technological determinism is the dominant approach in the field of ICTs. For example, the Colombian State is working to ensure that its interaction with the citizenry takes place increasingly through the Internet and in the majority language -Spanish-, while connection conditions for most of the population are still precarious or non-existent. Despite this, the State claims the economy is already digital. As a result, the exercise of citizenship rights is mediated increasingly by ICTs. Education is enabled through platforms and devices. In fact, the definitions, discussions and descriptions that occur on the Internet are shaping social realities. Given this scenario, there is an imminent need to provide people with the necessary skills to navigate the digital environment as a platform for their human rights exercise.

Now, what happens with emerging rights in the face of technological advances, particularly with the rights of indigenous peoples and communities, in a country that is constitutionally recognized as multi-ethnic, pluricultural and multilingual? How to ensure that these rights contribute to the dynamics of indigenous peoples, to the strengthening of their cultures and processes, and that technology does not become an instrument that destroys community dynamics?

The complex and varied reality of the 115 indigenous peoples of Colombia makes it necessary to think of localized strategies to allow the ICTs appropriation with a rights-based approach, responding to the existing social gaps problems by generating alternatives to community needs, such as the management of social, economic, cultural, environmental and, of course, educational issues and access to information, among others. These solutions, in turn, should make it possible to narrow the linguistic digital divide and promote media and information literacy processes. These processes will allow communities to play an active role in the network and information construction and not just be passive recipients of content in the construction of the network and the information that circulates on it, and not just be passive recipients of content.

On the other hand, the Colombian Constitution of 1991 established a framework of recognition and autonomy for indigenous peoples and communities This framework grants them governance competencies in their collective territories, based on their cultural logics and contexts, in the areas of health, education, environmental sanitation and justice. At present, only 15 of the more than 770 indigenous territories in the country have managed to obtain state certification that allows them to assume autonomous management in the four areas mentioned above. The rest of the indigenous peoples' territories continue to live under external impositions that ignore their cosmogonies, knowledge, logic and practices.

Although the role of indigenous people in decision-making within communities and their relation to the State has been growing stronger in recent decades, their presence and their own voices continue to be threatened by Eurocentric and ethnocentric logics, external impositions, factors of exclusion and racism. These elements limit their active participation and contribution in decision-making processes and spaces. We have found in Wikipedia many undetected examples of these logics and practices.

The pandemic brought with it many more challenges for indigenous communities. In addition to being forced to use and appropriate new information technologies in the territories, we also find the deployment of infrastructure and development of educational action plans mediated by platforms. All these external solutions are found in majority languages (Spanish and English), under institutional and ethnocentric logics, in some cases with racist overtones in which the mestizo culture is valued and the uniqueness of each indigenous community is relegated.

Regarding the educational situation in indigenous communities in the face of the current technological boom, many teachers have had to develop activities and proposals with the scarce materials and tools available to them. Students and teachers resort to the Internet to solve many of their tasks and activities.

Indigenous students who access the Internet also search for information and consult Wikipedia. However, Wikipedia contains biases. For example, at least 80% of Colombian indigenous peoples' articles have an ethnocentric logic and were wrote outside their territories. For this reason, articles about indigenous ancestral territories frequently fail to describe or integrate their view and conception of these territories. We can exemplify all the above through Wikipedia's Spanish article for the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the Iku people's ancestral territory. This article refers to the Iku people as inhabitants of the Sierra. However, it lacks information about very relevant aspects for them as their relationship with the territory, their cosmovision, and the value for its inhabitants and connoisseurs.

On Wikipedia, for example, most of the work is devoted to creating and tracking submitted articles, reviewing them, and tracking the scores/number of edits by participants. Usually, any editions or contributions of people who have little or no experience with Wikipedia are left out. Therefore, discussions about representation on Wikipedia, the ways to enable more voices to participate in Wikipedia, and, of course, the use and creation of methodologies that allow the sum of all knowledge to be freely shared, end up excluded in the process.

How to promote the exercise of the right of access to information by Colombian native peoples on the Internet? How to facilitate access to information within the Wiki ecosystem for the Iku and Kamsá indigenous communities? In Wikipedia, what is said, who says it, from where is it said, and from where is it said? Also, what have been the experiences of reading and writing Wikipedia by the Iku and Kamsá peoples?

What is your solution to this problem?[edit]

Wikipedia is a platform built collectively under the principle of openness of universal knowledge, so we will build a methodology to encourage the participation of indigenous peoples in Wikipedia. We have found that there is a lot of documentation and guides to get into the ecosystem of Wikimedia projects, however, we found a challenge to build bridges between those contents and the practices and dynamics in indigenous contexts. Thus, the objective is that, from the dynamics of the territories and communities, we can build, communally and collectively, contents and methodologies for the use and implementation of Wiki projects in indigenous contexts, so that they can be taken to other territories by other native peoples. In the current situation, the pandemic highlighted the need for the appropriation of ICTs in the Community Education Projects of the Iku and Kamsá peoples. This project is aimed at bringing the platforms and developments of the Wiki ecosystem to overlap with the projects of their own education and to promote the strengthening, transmission and learning of the native peoples' own knowledge.

We will develop the methodology during a series of meetings that will have editing and content creation workshops. These workshops will not only include text creation formats. We will take advantage of multimedia tools and formats to use and create content. This way, we will promote interactive digital narrative creation to strengthen the knowledge and language usages in young people and children; the narratives that rely on the elders' knowledge recognition; the documentation processes; and other forms of sharing one's knowledge. Following the standards of the Wikipedian community, these contents will be included in the different platforms: Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, WikiBooks, Wikisources, and WikiData. We will develop the methodology during a series of meetings that will have editing and content creation workshops.


The Arhuaco people

The Wintukwa peopleWintukwa is the way the Arhuaco people are recognized, from the name of the four sister indigenous peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. IkɄ is a person belonging to the Wintukwa people and Ikᵾn is the language spoken by the Wintukwa people., commonly known as Arhuaco, are one of the four indigenous peoples that inhabit the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, specifically the southern and western part of the Sierra. Most of the population is concentrated in the departments of Cesar and Magdalena, in northern Colombia. In the Arhuaco Resguardo of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the Bunsinchama Resguardo (Tayrona, 2011), about 50,000 Ikᵾ live in 52 different traditional settlements. The basis of life is channeled by the law of origin, framed in the safeguard and protection of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta as the heart of the planet. From the principles of life as an indigenous nation, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is conceived as the heart of the world, where the spiritual fathers and mothers of all beings that exist are found. "As a people, our mission is to care for the welfare of this space and thus contribute from spirituality to the balance of the world".

On the occasion of the creation of the Iku Indigenous Memory Center and Library, located in the region of Simunurwa, Arhuaco Resguardo of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the Wintukwa People are facing the appropriation of digital tools such as books, tablets and computers that from the orientation of the authorities should provide ways to achieve social inclusion around a digital citizenship and, with it, the ability to interact in spaces such as those of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The Centro de Memoria y Biblioteca Indígena Iku seeks to:

  1. Strengthen educational and socio-economic processes that provide tools in the struggle of indigenous peoples against digital exclusion;
  2. Strengthen education policies for digital citizenship that allow the autonomous use of these tools and traditions and collective dynamics preservation in a globalized individualistic world.

All of the above takes place in the processes that they have been practicing for millennia, as people, to keep the reins of education processes, territorial and conceptual autonomy from the uses and customs framed in the law of origin.

The Kamsá people

The Kamsá people are settled in the Sibundoy Valley, Putumayo (Colombia). The Sibundoy Valley is located in the southwestern part of Colombia, in the Nudo de los Pastos, in the northwestern part of the Putumayo Department. The Kamsá people have an estimated population of 4,773 people. As the culture is millenary, the Camëntsá language is taught mainly in the family. However, due to the relationship with foreigners, the Camëntsá language is being lost while co-existing with long-ago discrimination, especially towards young people studying in schools in the urban sector, subjected to physical and verbal abuse by teachers from other communities and the mestizo population. Also, there have been epistemological violence through religious impositions. The above generates fear among the Kamsá people and denies them the freedom to express themselves in Camëntsá language, which is overshadowed by the imposed teaching of Spanish.

Profile of people to participate in the workshops

The processes carried out in indigenous territories involve the participation of the community in general, that is, spiritual leaders, politicians, leaders, young people and children. This recognizes the principle of community fabric as the main aspect for the consolidation of processes. However, for this proposal the participants will be mainly women and young people, with the accompaniment of spiritual and political authorities of the participating indigenous territories. These women and youth will be speakers of native languages (ikun, kamsá), weavers and connoisseurs of the symbolic language of their peoples and the relationship between the symbolic language, the territory, spirituality and the law of origin of the Wintukwa and Kamëntsá people. In addition, they will be young people and women leaders who have a recognized track record in accompanying the organizational dynamics of their peoples and community processes, such as strengthening their own economies, empowerment and use of ICTs.

Project goals[edit]

  • Communally build of contents and methodologies for the use and implementation of Wiki projects in indigenous contexts.
  • Integrate the Wiki ecosystem projects within the education projects and promote the strengthening, transmission and learning of native peoples' own knowledge.
  • Promote the discussion and agenda of actions in relation to the representation of Colombian native peoples in Wikipedia.

Project impact[edit]

How will you know if you have met your goals?[edit]

  • We will follow-up on metrics and activities, and for each activity, we will build an educational material. Likewise, the experience will be documented and then digitized. We will consolidate 40 multimedia contents and upload them to the Wiki platforms.
  • We will integrate a roadmap built during the activities with the activities of the own educational project. In the end, we will have five proposals for the use of Wiki projects in current education projects in the communities.
  • We will ask the different Colombian native peoples, through a survey, their perception of Wikipedia and if they feel represented or not in it. Based on these results, we will have four regional working groups with indigenous leaders (North, South, East, and West).

Do you have any goals around participation or content?[edit]

Caption text
Number Total participants Description Tools and documentation
1 120 people Number of people who will participate in the activities as well as in face-to-face and online meetings Manual compilation and also through registration forms.
2 60 New registered users We will use Wikimetrics to get this information.
3 150 Articles, pages and content created. Using Magic Button

Project plan[edit]


The main activities to be carried out are as follows.

Phase I. Planning

  • Documentation of existing capacities, external and internal barriers in the communities participating in the project in relation to their processes for obtaining territorial autonomy.
  • Identification of the type of baseline information required for the process of obtaining autonomy and joint definition of the guidelines for the capacity building plan.

Phase II. Capacity building

  • Development of four workshops with 10-15 participants from the indigenous communities. These workshops will address the following topics, among others, according to what we define with the communities: Wiki ecosystem projects, content creation, digital formats, writing workshop, local audiovisual production laboratory (with the tools that we find in the territory). The workshops will:
  1. facilitate the exchange of experiences between the two participating communities; and
  2. allow obtaining information to develop a diagnosis on the public infrastructure of technologies, their use, and challenges. During the workshops, we will formulate plans and strategies to promote the hand-in-hand usage of Wiki projects with existing community projects.

Phase III. Documentation, analysis and closure

  • Systematization and evaluation of the process to identify lessons learned and replicable in other communities. The document will include recommendations for the different actors.
  • Analysis of the social, cultural, community and economic impact of access to Wiki ecosystem content in the two indigenous communities. This analysis will be evaluated/validated by the participating communities.
  • Elaboration of documentation and digital content to share the experience.

Logistics of activities in the framework of the pandemic[edit]

  • In the daily activities involving 10 people or less: workshops; meetings; co-editing; photography activities; work meetings for planning and develop the activities.
  • Outdoors events and celebrations allowing social distancing (2 meters/6 feet) with no close personal contact or sharing food
  • Edit-a-thons, workshops, training that does not require sharing computers or other technical devices.
  • Regional events with no international flights (only ground transportation and without crossing any state borders)
  • Rotational activities are proposed, i.e., maximum groups of 10 people. In order for more people from the community to participate, two-day workshops should be planned. However, it is the workshop participants who would have to pay for their lodging.
  • All events and activities will comply with Colombia government restrictions and guidelines.
  • In addition to the national protocols, the communities also have other protocols, which will also be followed.
  • The activities will take place in open spaces, there will be permanent use of masks, hand-washing facilities and disinfectant. In addition, the distance between participants will be 2 meters.


  • 8 Workshops (site rental, refreshments, mobilization of participants, lodging)
  • Workshop development materials and publications
  • Project coordination and consultancy service
  • Social media campaign

Regarding budgets and items, we present them below.

# Name Amount
1 Consulting services and project coordination 130’686.000 37.880
2 Materials and inputs for workshops 5’968.500 1.730
3 Expenses for the development of workshops
*Travel (national tickets, meals and mobility)
*Events and refreshments
*Papers, utensils and office supplies
86’250.000 25.000
4 Computer equipment
*Two computers that will be used by the territorial leaders and also in the activities in each community.
8'000.000 2.320
5 Contingencies
* Last minute expenses that are not foreseen and may be needed.
11’547.150 3.350
6 Administrative and unexpected expenses 23’120.000 6.700
TOTAL 256'571.650 76.980

Community engagement[edit]

The participants of the activities will participate in a call that will be made in each community. The objective is to have a diverse group, with interest in the project and with skills and abilities for interaction with the Wiki ecosystem. The call will be led by the community liaisons, leaders who know and have communication with all the communities. Likewise, we will make a call and dissemination of the project through social networks and we will use a contact in the communication area of the ONIC (National Indigenous Organization of Colombia) to disseminate the project in other spaces.

The goal is to have a group of managers and leaders of Wiki projects, that once this project is completed, can bring training and training to more indigenous leaders nationwide. Thus, this will also be a training of leaders and digital activists to take to more contexts and territories the projects and opening of the Wiki in the media ecosystem. We know that the success of the project will be given to the extent that more leaders take ownership of the proposals, for this reason this project will be community-based and will be involved in the activities and projects already being developed by the communities, as a possibility to continue and add more value through the culture of open and digital platforms and content.

Get involved[edit]


  • Julio Gaitán. Professor in constitutional law at the Universidad del Rosario. During the last year he has been working to set up a Center for Internet and Society at this University. His approach is transdisciplinary and collaborative research on topics of juridical anthropology and juridical pluralism. He is interested in to address the challenges of internet and society under these lenses. He has a master degree on Public Law at the Autonoma University at Barcelona and did his PhD on juridical sociology at the University of Lecce, was Fellow at the Robbins Collection at California University at Berkeley.
  • Ati Gunnara Jamioy Izquierdo. Woman and indigenous leader member of the Arhuaco and Kamentsa people Linguist, political advisor and artist.
  • Dario Mejia Montalvo. Indigenous leader of the Zenú people. Former ONIC counselor, currently a member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Politician.
  • Diana Monsalve Morales. Bachelor of Arts in Basic Education with emphasis on Social Sciences with a Master's Degree in Social Sciences with orientation in Education and specialist in educational policies. For more than ten years she has accompanied the education processes of the indigenous peoples of Colombia. Technical Advisor, ONIC's Mojana Clima y Vida project.

Community notification[edit]

You are responsible for notifying relevant communities of your proposal, so that they can help you! Depending on your project, notification may be most appropriate on a Village Pump, talk page, mailing list, etc.--> Please paste links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. Need notification tips?

Communications with the Iku community and the Kansá community have been through personal communication, as well as telephone calls. For this reason, we certify that we have the permissions and approval of the communities to work in their territories.


Do you think this project should be selected for a Project Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project below! (Other constructive feedback is welcome on the discussion page).