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Grants:Project/Puku/Wikimedia Language Cohort

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Wikimedia Language Cohort
summaryPuku Children’s Literature Foundation (Puku) is seeking to recruit a cohort of individuals who will be trained to become Wikimedia editors that produce content and/or articles in the South African languages or mother-tongue.
targetIsiZulu, (zu.wikipedia.org) Sesotho sa Leboa/Sepedi, Xitsonga, (ts.wikipedia.org) SiSwati, (ss.wikipedia.org) Tshivenda. (ve.wikipedia.org)
type of grantoffline programs and events
type of applicantorganization
contact• strategy@puku.co.za
created on20:13, 29 November 2018 (UTC)

Project idea


What is the problem you're trying to solve?


What problem are you trying to solve by doing this project? This problem should be small enough that you expect it to be completely or mostly resolved by the end of this project. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.
On Saturday 27 October 2018, Wikimedia ZA hosted their Annual General Meeting (AGM) along with the Wikidata Meet-up Session. Having a strong interest in the working efforts of Wikimedia ZA, Puku sent three representatives to both sessions to gain deeper insight of its activities, engage with chapter members, and explore opportunities for collaboration. Puku’s attendance at the AGM follows its presence at the recent Wikimania Conference held in Cape Town in July. Puku’s purpose at Wikimania was similar to that of the AGM in that it set out to connect with members of the South Africa Wikimedia chapter to explore possibilities of a relationship with Puku - especially on African language editing and content development - and establish contact with the Wikimedia Foundation to explore possibilities of support for the development of Pukupedia. What we learned The statistic that struck Puku most was that only 3% of Wikipedia’s content comes from Africa - making it currently the geographical region of the world with the lowest Wikipedia coverage. At Wikimania, a fascinating slideshow on South Africa’s Wikipedia showed that the Afrikaans Wikipedia is by far the largest with 50 000 articles followed by Sepedi with only 8050 articles. All other languages reflect under 1000 entries. This glaring gap in content is of great priority hence the formation of the Wikimedia ZA chapter in 2012 which has been working to activate Wikipedians all over South Africa. One of the chapter’s aims is to have more Wikipedia content that represents the diverse cultures and languages of South Africa. Having participated in both Wikimedia events, Puku understands the problem to be the vast difference in articles published in Afrikaans compared to those in African language.

What we’ve gathered is that one of the main hurdles in the low number of African language editors is an economic one. Wikipedia editors are voluntary and mother tongue speakers of African languages who are digitally savvy are most likely to be working in English. To put in the time and effort to write articles in indigenous languages is time-consuming and demanding and generally we do not have a large affluent community that is digitally connected with that amount of time at their disposal.

What is your solution?


For the problem you identified in the previous section, briefly describe your how you would like to address this problem. We recognize that there are many ways to solve a problem. We’d like to understand why you chose this particular solution, and why you think it is worth pursuing. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.
Puku believes that the most effective way to get more African language editors is to consciously invest in and develop linguistic networks in those languages. We identified a clear intersection between Puku’s project to recruit and invest in African language editors for Pukupedia and Wikipedia’s need for such editors.

Puku’s strategy to address the problem is to establish a cohort - or defined group of individuals - specifically trained and convened to develop content in South African languages, and for them to register as Wikimedia editors tasked with increasing the number of African language articles available on Wikipedia. This group would be Puku’s inaugural group of editors who initially focus on five (5) of the eleven (11) official languages - IsiZulu, Sesotho sa Leboa/Sepedi, Xitsonga, SiSwati, and Tshivenda. Puku decided on a cohort strategy because it will build repeatability and consistency of action, maximize training value for new members and trainers and reduce administrative overhead while leveraging current resources/capacity.

Project Scalability

This project intends to be a feeder program or “content bank” that will grow annually and expand to include the remaining four (4) African languages (IsiXhosa, Isindebele, Sesotho, and Setswana). Additionally, Puku’s mission includes a focus on prioritizing endangered languages or languages on the verge of extinction through its My Language, My Heritage project. This project aims to create children’s books in endangered languages of the Northern Cape. Primary activities under this project include the production of manuscripts authored by writing workshop attendees in children’s books in Setswana, isiZulu, Sesotho, Sepedi, Afrikaans, Nama and Nxu!; a partnership with Gecko Publishing - an independent publishing house - to help design, publish and print the books that are created from these workshops; and the securing of additional partners in early literacy to distribute these books in schools, libraries and community projects in the Northern Cape and beyond.

Building on Current Efforts

Driven by an experienced, passionate and committed team of freelancers, interns and volunteers, and supported by a network of language professionals, literacy activists, NGOs and academic partners, Puku has established itself as an influential voice in the field of language, literacy and literature in South Africa. Puku is a collaborative initiative that facilitates and fosters cooperation amongst and between producers, promoters, disseminators and consumers of children’s literature – with a specific focus on indigenous languages. Puku’s research and experience has taught us that the educational needs of South African children will never be addressed by the current publishing paradigm and that there is a need for innovative thinking. There are several initiatives that share this view and have sought to harness the digital space to produce multilingual children’s literature. Though these projects produce quality open source content for young people, none of them aggregates and reviews content. Puku is the only initiative that aggregates and reviews content, not only from publishers but also non-commercial content produced by non-profits such as Early Learning Resource Unit (ELRU), Bookdash, Nali’ibali and African Storybook Project. Currently, there is no central, easily accessible source of data on South African children’s books, especially in South African languages. Pukupedia provides that central digital space - a hub that serves the literary ecosystem, creating dynamic and interactive links between creators of content, the mediators and the child as the end user.

Project goals


What are your goals for this project? Your goals should describe the top two or three benefits that will come out of your project. These should be benefits to the Wikimedia projects or Wikimedia communities. They should not be benefits to you individually. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.
2019 has been declared the International Year of Indigenous Languages by the United Nations to raise awareness of the consequences of the endangerment of indigenous languages across the world, with an aim to establish a link between language, development, peace and reconciliation. They have identified three focus areas that will drive the year’s activities. Supporting the revitalisation and maintenance of indigenous languages through: creation of more materials and content and a wider range of services, using language, information and communications technologies (Support) Preserving indigenous languages, creating access to education, information and knowledge in and about indigenous languages for indigenous children, young people and adults, improving the data collection and sharing of information (Access) Mainstreaming the knowledge areas and values of indigenous peoples and cultures within broader sociocultural, economic and political domains, as well as cultural practices such as traditional sports and games (Promotion). Puku has used this as a backdrop to shape its own goals for the upcoming fiscal year. Of these, emphasis has been placed on the Wikimedia Language Cohort goals. These include: Diversify Wikimedia ZA chapter exponentially by supporting recruitment of black South Africans, women and other groups proficient in South African languages Increase content across South African languages Stimulate dialogue and engagement that promote the use of mother tongue Develop a comprehensive review process that ensures quality children’s book reviews in all South African languages.

Project impact


How will you know if you have met your goals?


For each of your goals, we’d like you to answer the following questions:

  1. During your project, what will you do to achieve this goal? (These are your outputs.)
  2. Once your project is over, how will it continue to positively impact the Wikimedia community or projects? (These are your outcomes.)

For each of your answers, think about how you will capture this information. Will you capture it with a survey? With a story? Will you measure it with a number? Remember, if you plan to measure a number, you will need to set a numeric target in your proposal (e.g. 45 people, 10 articles, 100 scanned documents). Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

Diversify Wikimedia ZA chapter exponentially by supporting recruitment of black South Africans, women and other groups proficient in South African languages

Goal Outputs Outcomes Diversify Wikimedia ZA chapter exponentially by supporting recruitment of black South Africans, women and other groups proficient in South African languages Recruit 10 black South African women members and 10 black South African male members

Wikimedia ZA will have a balanced representation of South Africa’s demographic and population with specific and intentional emphasis on groups that represent mother-tongue speakers and/or professionals that work closely with these populations. Increase content across South African languages Recruit and train 15 new Wikimedia editors to include a minimum of 3 editors per targeted languages

Produce 2 (two) Edit-a-thon events. 30 participants per event. (60 participants)

  1. of Articles (750 in total)

IsiZulu - 150 Sepedi - 150 Xitsonga - 150 SiSwati - 150 Tshivenda - 150

An encouraged cache of individuals impassioned by the Wikipedia movement who are motivated to share, author, and edit content that resides in the heritage and culture across South Africa. Stimulate partnerships, dialogue and engagement that promote the use of mother tongue Establish formal partnerships with 10 organizations and/or businesses that will enable or contribute to language recruitment and content generation goals

Increased partnerships that support the Wikipedia movement that are active role-players using mother-tongue to effect positive change in issues affecting African children, particularly related to events in their communities, cultural lives, natural environment and educational access. Develop a comprehensive review and Wiki editing training process that ensures quality content is being produced in all South African languages. Produce Wiki articles that correlate with books being reviewed including author biographies, publisher profiles, partner profiles, etc.

Produce a translation guide that supports editors/reviewers in translating content from English to other South African languages. A book sector that supports the heightened demand for books and other culturally relevant reading materials amongst learners, with a strong library network backed by an equitable book distribution system that ensures that children from previously disadvantaged communities have access to a wide range of reading material in mother-tongue.

Evaluation and monitoring:

Analyze Digital Presence: Regular schedules to audit the origin of the highest engagement, the type of content that generates the best engagement and which platforms are performing best. Puku will identify areas that have been ignored and can be improved and update its project plan accordingly. Monitor Return on Investment: Track website analytics to determine the effectiveness of various marketing efforts analyzing where traffic is coming from and which campaigns result in the highest conversion to better understand where to allocate resources and how to transform our strategy. Events, Trainings, Workshops: Pre and post surveys will be administered to evaluate all workshop and trainings.

Do you have any goals around participation or content?


Are any of your goals related to increasing participation within the Wikimedia movement, or increasing/improving the content on Wikimedia projects? If so, we ask that you look through these three metrics, and include any that are relevant to your project. Please set a numeric target against the metrics, if applicable. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.
Yes. Goal 1 (one) and Goal (2) specifically relate to increasing participation within the movement including recruiting 20 new members for the Wikimedia ZA chapter, 15 new African language editors and 750 entries of new and/or improved articles.

Additionally, Puku will aim to produce two Edit-a-thon events that convene Puku’s Wikimedia language cohort, its network of reviewers and its staff editors. Outreach efforts will anticipate at least 30 workshops participants per event.

Project plan




Tell us how you'll carry out your project. What will you and other organizers spend your time doing? What will you have done at the end of your project? How will you follow-up with people that are involved with your project?
Activities would include translation of material; mining Puku’s current content stream for Wikipedia appropriate articles; workshops with communities and/or stakeholders; writing cohort reports for dissemination to communities and/or stakeholder groups; press releases; radio and television interviews etc. Project Methodology Initiating: Define existing project along with any new phases, establish project members and partners, clearly articulate the problem being addressed. Securing buy-in from recruitment targets which will initially be University departments including African Languages and Library and Information Science establishments. Puku will also dedicate 1 - 2 Puku staff members to serve as recruits. Planning: Where the scope of the project, objectives, and how the objectives will be achieved. The project team will convene to finalize the recruitment plan, develop anticipated workshop descriptions and programs, and discuss proposed Edit-a-thons. This will be followed by a series of trainings that have a dual purpose of being multilingual writing and review workshops with a skill transfer element to equip the cohort to become Wiki editors. Cohort will be encourages to engage with the Puku website and social media channels including FaceBook local languages groups, write reviews, and support project actions. Executing: Ensure work defined in the project implementation plan is in progress, is being documented and raises the profile of project partners. Establish and grow rigorous partnerships in related online communities for mutual reach and engagement benefits e.g. re-tweet posts, follow others, etc. Recruit the expertise and capacity of a wide network of Wikimedia experts, reviewers and peer reviewers. Use community engagement efforts (workshops, trainings, events, etc.) to create a pipeline for Wiki editors, content reviewers and project volunteers.

4. Closing: Concluding all activities across all project team members to formally close the project phase. Indicators will be monitored and evaluated. Evaluation will be more than just monitoring performance. It will entail conducting analysis that allows for learning in such a way that it ties into improvement possibilities in the strategy formulation and the association of goals with organizational objectives. After building sufficient experience, Puku will explore the possibility of implementing the Wiki Language Cohort model annually.



How you will use the funds you are requesting? List bullet points for each expense. (You can create a table later if needed.) Don’t forget to include a total amount, and update this amount in the Probox at the top of your page too!
Puku’s 2019/20 projected expense budget is R4,673,800 - of which 69% is allocated to our two core programs - Pukupedia (45%) and Community Engagement (24%). Both programs are central to the achievement of our strategic objectives which not only promote children's literature in indigenous languages across multiple digital platforms but also enable us to leverage existing resources and capacity to achieve our Wikimedia goals. Puku has commitment of continued financial support from Thebe Investment Corporation and the Embassy of Switzerland as well as strong possibility of support from UNISA. We will continue to engage with other existing funders – AngloGold Ashanti, D G Murray Trust, National Arts Council and National Lotteries Commission – to gain their continued support and partnership for 2019 and beyond. Puku is currently actively seeking investment from new funders who share our passion and commitment to helping ensure that truthful information, correctly placed on a platform that is open and accessible to all, positively influences people outside South Africa view of the country, its continent and how they interact with it. Puku would be honoured to include the Wikimedia Foundation as a partner and supporter of its work. Through the submission of this proposal, we are requesting a grant of R1,000,000 from the Wikimedia Foundation towards Puku’s Wikimedia Language Cohort project. The funding would be used primarily to secure and retain the expert capacity that is needed to achieve our project objectives, provide reasonable incentives for participation, and manage the logistics associated with the production of workshop and training events.

Budget Item Amount Explanation Language Specialists (5)

R750,000 R150,000 per language

Brief description: Assessing and continuously monitoring cohort progress; planning, preparing and delivering workshop instructions; providing cohort with mother tongue and non-mother tongue instruction; working with Wikipedia Expert trainers to organize training. Program Manager R200,000 Brief description: Formulating, organizing and monitoring inter-connected projects; deciding on suitable strategies and objectives; coordinating cross-project activities; reporting on program performance to executive team and directors; identifying opportunities for continual improvement. Wikipedia Expert trainers R100,000 Brief description: Support project team with navigation of Wikipedia rules regarding content and references; provide training for writing and editing, page updating, creation, translation, and maintenance and monitoring at each edit-a-thons. Event Cost

Edit-a-thons R100,000 R50,000 per event; Printing materials Venue with internet connection Reimburse volunteers for local travel to attend events Catering costs

Cohort Workshop R240,000 R40,000 per workshop (6) Printing materials Venue with internet connection Reimburse volunteers for local travel to attend the events Catering costs Participation incentives (public transport, data/airtime, petrol/gas vouchers)

Wikimania 2019 R100,000 Cost for 2 top producing cohort participants 1 Language Specialist, and Program Manager to attend Wikimania Sweden Total R1,490,000

Community engagement


Community input and participation helps make projects successful. How will you let others in your community know about your project? Why are you targeting a specific audience? How will you engage the community you’re aiming to serve during your project?

Community Engagement Strategy for Marketing, Audience Development & Market Access Strategies Who: Content producers, University students, Puku writers and reviewers network, Puku leadership, Thought Leaders who are friends of Puku, and social media participants, Wikimedia ZA members Create interesting, useful and enjoyable content worth sharing on both Puku and Wikimedia platforms in multiple languages Establish and grow rigorous partnerships in related online communities for mutual reach and engagement benefits, e.g., re-tweet posts, follow others, etc., actively promoting Wiki content generation efforts Use paid advertising online to grow audience, particularly at launch stages, and periodically throughout the year Offer free and exclusive services for specific items, e.g., online giveaways, polls, competitions, etc. Maximize traditional media – write articles for newspapers and Wikinews, especially community newspapers and those in African languages Use analytics to measure engagement and maximise the conversion funnel from website visitors to drive active engagement for the producers and consumers of content

When: Follow best practices of frequent, scheduled messaging on social media, and utilizing related events around children’s/education/literary activity to spread the word of Puku’s advocacy through the relevant digital platforms How: Use digital platforms and (offline) traditional platforms – ours and those of partners – to communicate our services and Wikimedia cohort focused events such as Editathons Where: Appropriate digital platforms and at child/education/literary events

Get involved




Please use this section to tell us more about who is working on this project. For each member of the team, please describe any project-related skills, experience, or other background you have that might help contribute to making this idea a success.
Lorato Trok (Language Specialist): Lorato has more than 10 years’ experience in publishing, writing and story development in children’s literature. Lorato started her career at a children’s library in her home town of Kuruman, Northern Cape. Since then, she has been a Project Coordinator at the Centre for the Book in Cape Town, a Publishing Programme Manager at Room to Read South Africa, an editor and Project Manager for Setswana, Schools Publishing at Oxford University Press, and a South Africa/Lesotho/Zambia Country Coordinator for the African Storybook Initiative. She is also a published multilingual author of children’s books, writing in both Setswana and English.

Elinor Sisulu (Executive Director): Elinor is an award-winning writer and human rights activist with extensive experience in literature and reading promotion activities. Her experience in organisations and institutions at community, government and international level in several countries, has given her insights into ways to overcome the limits and constraints of current practices in order to achieve social change and innovation.

Bongani Godide (Language Specialist): Bongani is a literacy activist, storyteller, writer and social entrepreneur. He has worked for Nal’ibali as a literacy Mentor and a Provincial Support manager, training community workers, educators and language supervisors within the Department of Basic Education. He is the winner of the Sibikwa Storytelling competition in both 2004 and 2005. He has been prolific in the use of mother tongue language has published two children’s books in IsiZulu through the online Round a fire project. He designed Little Rose Centre’s children’s Library based in Kliptown. He is a speaker at different events focusing on literacy development issues and integrating story books to work for educators and ECD practitioners.

Kerline Astre (Project Manager): Kerline is a seasoned senior executive with nearly two decades of experience in nonprofit leadership and project management. She has a unique ability to bridge gaps and achieve large scale goals that are measurable and actionable. She has been instrumental in helping agencies articulate their future direction, determine growth opportunities, and develop implementation plans for multi-year growth strategies. Her success is credited to her "commitment to cause" attitude shaped by a consistent pulse on global issues and their impacts on the communities they serve. She is a first generation Haitian-American which has made her prioritize global issues to inform a rich perspective on community development, human rights (with a specific passion for women and children’s health), and resource development. Areas of expertise include board recruitment and management, program development and management, marketing and communications, strategic planning, fundraising and grant writing, and volunteer recruitment and management.

Zanele Ngcongo (Project Admin and Cohort Participant): Zanele is a social entrepreneur within the children’s literature and literacy space, involved in community development based projects that focus on introducing and promoting the culture of reading and preservation of mother-tongue. Her professional experience and aptitude is within various industries including Human Resources, Recruitment, Mining and Secretary. Some of the responsibilities held consisted of corporate advisory and management services for employee ownership community Trusts, dealing with a Board of Trustees, designing annual budgets and strategic planning.

Community notification


Please paste links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. 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. Need notification tips?



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