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Grants:Project/MSIG/Indic Oral Culture Project

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Amrit Sufi/Indic Oral Culture Project
This project will train volunteers to create audio-visuals of oral culture in their language community, transcribe them, and upload them on Wikimedia projects.
targetWikimedia Commons and Wikisource
start date21 September
start year2023
end date21 March
end year2024
budget (local currency)667000 INR
budget (USD)8135 USD
grant typeindividual
granteeAmrit Sufi
contact(s)• amritsufi2(_AT_)gmail.com
Review your report

Applications are not required to be in English. Please complete the application in your preferred language.

Project Goal[edit]

What will be the outputs of your project and how will those outputs contribute to advancing a specific Movement Strategy Initiative

Based on the Needs Assessment for the documentation and revitalization of Indic languages using Wikimedia projects’ results, we have come to understand the need to visibilize languages and cultures of underrepresented communities on Wikimedia projects. There is a need to work on underrepresented forms of knowledge: oral culture; especially folk songs and folk tales. There is an urgent need to work on these since they are not documented and will disappear with time, as per linguists and the interviewers during the research.

This project will focus on utilizing Wikimedia projects- Commons and Wikisource for audiovisual content and their transcribed data. We found that there is a tendency to focus on textual encyclopedic content on Wikimedia, thus Wikipedia over other Wikimedia projects. Content other than encyclopedic articles need to be encouraged on Wikimedia projects. Encyclopedic content is not a primary concern for languages, knowledge systems and cultures that are not represented well on online platforms, and specifically Wikimedia projects. This is specifically relevant for languages and cultures that lack a lot of written literature and are not used as a medium of education/within educational institutions. Therefore, cultural content like folk tales, folk songs, and oral history should also be given priority, since they are at the core of the culture and are not documented well and/or digitalized on publicly available/free platforms.

Angika folksong titled 'Maiyya runu jhunu bichi'

The project will produce the pathway for documentation of oral knowledge and culture within the Indic context. Individuals will be trained to create oral culture content in their languages, which will then be uploaded on Commons, they will be transcribed and uploaded on Wikisource. Sharing examples of the same on Wikisource and Wikipedia. Basics of Wikidata will also be explored to elicit vocabulary from the oral culture content and uploaded as lexemes.

Oral Culture and Language Documentation on-ground workshop conducted as part of the Needs Assesment research project in September 2022

The audio-visual content will be created after the training sessions, the sessions will be based on the Oral Culture transcription toolkit. During the Oral Culture and Language Documentation workshops conducted as part of the last project, several oral culture videos consisting of folk songs and stories were created by the participants and uploaded on Commons. In the current proposed project, videos will document the oral culture of a given community. As the project moves, the category (of oral culture to be recorded) will be made specific for the sake of preventing ambiguity. The report will describe the assumptions prior to the project, the process of selecting citizen archivists, how it worked out, and changes that might be made in the process of the project.

During the course of the project, there will be a focus on creating a user group focused on oral culture. The focus will be on creating a Community of Practice. It will identify gaps in oral knowledge in the Indic region, identify what work has already been done within oral culture, and a group of experienced oral culture enthusiasts will work together for this user group. This will help in long-term sustainability of this project.

What specific Movement Strategy Initiative does your project focus on and why? Please select one of the initiatives described here
Global Approach for Local Skill Development: this initiative has been applied in the previous project which assessed the needs of Indic languages. It has been concluded on its basis that underrepresented languages need to be focused on. In order to bring their oral culture online it is important that their speakers are trained in using Wikimedia projects, specifically Wikimedia Commons and Wikisource, as per the strategy (simultaneous upload of data on these projects) described above.

The selected digitization trainees will be mentored as well as provided resources to potentially connect with and mentor more people from their language community. More about this in the Project Background’s challenges and opportunities question.

Movement Strategy/Initiatives/Content Initiatives in Underrepresented Communities: as mentioned before, this project is going to focus on oral culture, a form of knowledge that is not only underrepresented but also under risk of disappearance over time.

Project Background[edit]

When do you intend to begin this project and when will it be completed?
Tentative timeline:

September- Preliminary research for identifying participants and choosing languages

October to mid-November- Participant trainings

mid-November to January- creation of audio-visual content by trainees and upload of content on Commons and Wikisource

February- Quality assessment & Report

Where will your project activities be happening?
  • Emails
  • Online video calls
  • Phone calls
  • In-person meetings
Are you collaborating with other communities or affiliates on this project? Please provide details of how partners intend to work together to achieve the project goal.
What specific challenge will your project be aiming to solve? And what opportunities do you plan to take advantage of to solve the problem?
The aim is to expand the idea of what comes under knowledge and to include cultural knowledge as a form of knowledge on Wikimedia projects. The aim is to use Wikimedia projects that focus on audio-visual content to bring the knowledge system that has been created and transferred over generations, and remain in the danger of disappearing lest documented. It will bring underrepresented communities online and create awareness about Wikipedia sister projects as tools for digitalization of oral culture.
These aims will be achieved by providing training on utilizing wikimedia projects for oral culture digitalization. There will be an open call for interested individuals to partake into training for documenting their language and culture. They will be encouraged to share these learnings and skills with other members of their language community. From these individuals, at least five people- they might be language activists, native language speakers, and Wikimedians- will be trained and mentored to create oral culture content and upload them on Wikimedia projects. 5 individuals have already been identified as participants (mentioned in the table below), and more people will be engaged. Additionally, the capacity to form a community will also be preferred. Elements of training the trainer will be included, so that communities are built in the selected languages. It will also lead to development of leadership skills among the digitization trainees.
We will prioritize those who participated in the last project, so that they can get sustained training to digitize their language and culture. We will also provide them per diem and travel support so that they are able to travel and create content comfortably. Those languages will be prioritized which are endangered or higher upon the chart in under-risk languages in the UNESCO map of endangered languages.
Does this project aim to apply one of the examples shared in the call for grants and if so which one?

Project Activities[edit]

What specific activities will be carried out during this project? Please describe the specific activities that will be carried out during this project.

Individuals will be trained on creating oral culture videos of their language. Clearcut instructions on creating quality videos will be provided, along with examples of cultural documentation videos, and follow ups to ensure production of good-quality videos. They will then be trained on uploading the videos on Wikimedia Commons, since it can be an elaborate and confusing process. These audio-visual documents will be transcribed for the ease of understanding and wider application. The trainees will be taught to transcribe them using open software, and updating them on Commons and Wikisource. Thus, a media library will be created on these two projects, both the audio-visual and textual form will simultaneously be generated. Additionally, Wikidata will be explored, the vocabulary from the transcriptions will be elicited and updated on it. In order to carry these activities, the following will happen:

In-person meetup: there will be a meetup of the project manager, coordinator, and the lead from each of the chosen languages.

Training for documentation of oral culture on Commons and Wikisource: 4-5 individuals will be selected on the basis of criteria mentioned before. At least 5 online training sessions will be held to train individuals on the Wikimedia workflow. They will remain in contact via emails or group chats on telegram.

Follow up meetings: They will be further trained to work on their language, the kind of content to be created, and involve and train more participants from their language. They will be given counsel as per their requirement during group meetings.

In-person workshops: these individuals will be part of further workshops where they can showcase their work and train individuals from their language. These will be carried by the lead in their respective language.


  • Number of total participants- minimum 15
  • Number of meetings in phase 1 - minimum 5
  • Number of meetings in phase 2 (group and one-on-one meetings)- at least 7
  • Number of in-person meetups- 1
  • Number of Workshops - at least 5
How do you intend to keep communities updated on the progress and outcomes of the project? Please add the names or usernames of these individuals responsible for updating the community

These are places where we will update communities: emails on India mailing list. Relevant Telegram groups consisting of contributors to Commons, Wikisource, and language enthusiasts will also be updated. On other social media platforms, we will inform Wikimedians as well as inform non-Wikimedians about the project and efforts with those Wikimedia is making. Angika Wikipedia community will be informed and other Indic Wikimedia communities will also be informed.

A Diff article on utilising Wikimedia projects to document oral culture has been published. Invitation to join the project has been shared on India mailing list, Telegram groups and in the Diff article as well.

Who will be responsible for delivering on this project and what are their roles and responsibilities?
Name Role Details
User: Amrit Sufi Project Manager Overall project management and documentation mentor. She is a Wikimedian who has persistently volunteered to her Angika culture via various Wikimedia projects. She has masters degrees in English Literature and Linguistics and background as a researcher.
User:511KeV 1 part-time communications and community coordinator

(to be selected) || They will be selected on the basis of an interview within a week of the commencement of the project. Experience with Wikimedia, communication, and language documentation will be given preference for selection.

User: Bogreudell advisor Wikitongues founder
User: Nitesh Gill advisor Long-term Punjabi Wikimedian who has been engaging with various Indic communities in both professional and volunteer capacities. She has been engaged as community coordinator in the Oral Culture Transcription Toolkit project and Needs Assessement for the documentation and revitalization of Indic languages using Wikimedia projects.
Francesc Fort advisor Wikimedian in residence for a project on collected traditional music and literature by Fermín Pardo Pardo and contextualization of some of the songs on Wikipedia articles.
User: Mesha456 advisor Diversity Equity and Inclusivity (DEI) consultant with Wiki Loves Monuments 2021. Curated neighbourhood (pop-up) museums with the Centre for Community knowledge, documentation for these museums primarily employed oral history methodologies.
NDEC Wikipedia Editorial and Research Team Regional support, Bangladesh User:Mrb Rafi from NDEC plans to help recruit volunteer project participants from Bangladesh.

List of volunteer project participants:

Name Role Details
User: Ssgapu22 volunteer project participant Participant in Oral Culture and Language Documentation workshops and Wikimedian
User: Priyanka yadav jhadodiya volunteer project participant Masters in Linguistics from JNU, participant in the Oral Culture and Language Documentation workshops, and Ahirwati language speaker.
Arosma Das volunteer project participant masters in Linguistics from JNU, Odia speaker.
User: Saqib ishfaq volunteer project participant masters in Linguistics from JNU, lecturer of Linguistics at The Cluster University of Jammu, Gojri speaker.
User: Pramod Singh98 volunteer project participant PhD candidate in Linguistics at IIT Indore, participant in the Oral Culture and Language Documentation workshops, Braj speaker.

Additional information[edit]

If your activities include community discussions, what is your plan for ensuring that the conversations are productive? Provide a link to a Friendly Space Policy or UCoC that will be implemented to support these discussions.


If your activities include the use of paid online tools, please describe what tools these are and how you intend to use them.


Do your activities include the translation of materials, and if so, in what languages will the translation be done? Please include details of those responsible for making the translations.


Are there any other details you would like to share? Consider providing rationale, research or community discussion outputs, and any other similar information, that will give more context on your proposed project.


After your activities are complete, we would like to understand the draft implementation plan for your community. You will be required to prepare a document detailing this plan around a movement strategy initiative. This report can be prepared through Meta-wiki using the Share your results button on this page. The report can be prepared in your language, and is not required to be written in English.

In this report, you will be asked to:

  • Provide a link to the draft implementation plan document or Wikimedia page
  • Describe what activities supported the development of the plan
  • Describe how and where you have communicated your plan to relevant communities.
  • Report on how your funding was spent

Your draft implementation plan document should address the following questions clearly:

  • What movement strategy initiative or goal are you addressing?
  • What activities will you be doing to address that initiative?
  • What do you expect will happen as a result of your activities? How do those outcomes address the movement strategy initiative?
  • How will you measure or evaluate your activities? What tools or methods will you use to evaluate your activities?

To create a draft implementation plan, we recommend the use of a logic model, which will help you and your team think about goals, activities, outcomes, and other factors in an organized way. Please refer the following resources to develop a logic model:

Please confirm below that you will be able to prepare a draft implementation plan document by the end of your grant:

  • ...

Optionally, you are welcome to include other information you'd like to share around participation and representation in your activities. Please include any additional outcomes you would like to report on below:


How you will use the funds you are requesting? List bullet points for each expense. Don’t forget to include a total amount, and update this amount in the Probox at the top of your page too!

1 full-time project manager - 50k INR * 6 = 300000 INR

1 part-time community coordinator- 25k INR *6 = 150000 INR

Per diem for field visits- 1000 INR per day*15 days*5 languages= 75000 INR

Travel support (10 field visits across 5 languages) = 60000 INR

Accommodation, when required =22,000 INR

Food= 14,000 INR

Internet support = 18,000 INR

Miscellaneous = 28,000 INR


Completing your application[edit]

Once you have completed the application, please do the following:

  • Change the application status from status=draft to status=proposed in the {{Probox}} template.
  • Contact strategy2030(_AT_)wikimedia.org to confirm your submission, as well as to request any support around your application.


An endorsement from community members (especially from outside your community) will be part of the considerations when reviewing your application. Community members are encouraged to endorse your project request here!

  • A very good idea to increase the representation of the Indian culture in Wikipedia. NikosLikomitros (talk) 10:31, 1 August 2023 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support I support this project because I already have done as a trainer and recorded content in dialects of Punjabi under previous project.Dugal harpreet (talk) 03:44, 3 August 2023 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support This project would definitely help to get more interested volunteers in this field and more content in the form of audio and video could be available in the public domain. Last year, I was a part of the Oral Culture and Language Documentation workshop, and this time I'm joining from the beginning as a volunteer so that I could use my previous skills. -Sangram Keshari Senapati (talk) 13:42, 11 August 2023 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support excellent research to support knowledge from oral communities. i look forward to reading how you did this, how the community responded and what the video outcomes look like. Doctor 17 (talk) 03:35, 24 August 2023 (UTC)
  • Support Support I feel this is a good proposal that should be invested on. However, some clarity is missing in terms of selecting communities, a team of experts, and overall what YPam (WMF) has mentioned on the talk page. ─ The Aafī (talk) 03:37, 4 September 2023 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support This is an excellent language preservation project. Kunokuno (talk) 06:21, 11 September 2023 (UTC)
  • Support Support - Dr. Santosh Mohanty (talk) 19:37, 14 September 2023 (UTC)
  • Support Support fr33kman 19:38, 14 September 2023 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support This project is an impactful project which gives opportunities to the Cultural diversity to be more represented than ever on wiki ecosystem through this project underrepresented communities will have saying and there voice will be heard globally in there original mother tongue through this project Royalesignature (talk) 16:22, 30 October 2023 (UTC)


  • Volunteer I will like to be part of this project to learn the basics of it and replicate it in my own community in Africa Royalesignature (talk) 16:24, 30 October 2023 (UTC)