Grants:Project/Rapid/DrMel/wikiBlind outreach at NFB

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wikiBlind outreach
Send 2 representatives of wikiBlind to recruit at National Federation of the Blind convention
targetbuilding international wikiBlind user group, targetting all languages
start date26 June
end date26 August
budget (local currency)$1980
budget (USD)$1980
grant typeindividual
contact(s)• dr.mel.ganus(_AT_)

Review your report

Please see the sample Travel application before drafting your application.

Project Goal[edit]

Choose one or more of the following goals. You can add details to each goal.

  1. Expand network of potential partners
  2. Increase awareness of Wikimedia projects
  3. Recruit new blind and sighted volunteers

Project Plan[edit]


Tell us how you'll carry out your project. Be sure to answer the following questions:
1.What is the purpose of the event you're attending and why is it important that you attend?

Courtney Mazzola & I are founding members of the new international wikiBlind volunteer group. The largest convention in the world for organizations and members of the blind communities is hosted annually by the National Federation of the Blind. This year it is being held from July 7 to 12 in Las Vegas, Nevada. We want to go there to introduce wikiBlind to as many participants as possible, with a heavy focus on invitations to potential partner organizations and volunteers.

2. Will you be presenting at the event?

Informally yes, by talking with everyone we can about wikiBlind and possibilities for better including the blind community in the open knowledge movement. We might also be able to partner with one or more organizations in the exhibit hall to help spread the word.

3. What kind of outreach activity do you plan to do?

The first step toward inclusivity starts with invitations, which for us would include tactile printed handouts that can be read by both blind and sighted attendees. Handouts would include specific instructions for joining wikiBlind and getting through the inaccessible wikipedia account signup process. We would bring as many copies as we can afford so that those interested can take multiple copies back to their communities at home.

4. How will you let other participants know about your outreach activity?

We are conversationalists and plan to circulate and recruit throughout the convention, especially in the exhibit hall and events. We are also communicating with leadership in NFB and related organizations before, during and after the convention to plan for next steps and the growth of international wikiBlind groups.

5. Do you have a specific networking plan? (e.g. specific people, organizations, groups you would like to develop partnerships with)

Yes! Networking is what we do best! By focusing especially on connections we can make with other organizations and their leadership, we will be able to grow wikiBlind membership and capacities rapidly.

Throughout the blind and disabled communities around the world, unemployment is extremely high, with even the most educated and qualified routinely rejected based on misconceptions of what they are and are not capable of. In the United States, the unemployment rate for the blind and visually impaired is over 70%.[1] With so many people unemployed and available, the human resources available to join the open knowledge movement are massive. The keys to success lie in inviting and supporting new members well enough that they can feel included and want to continue participating.

Before, during and after the convention we will be collecting contact information and notes for the people we talk with.

6. What is your plan to follow-up with new contacts?

Our first goal is to engage as many people as we can, blind and sighted, and get them through the first steps of joining wikiBlind and getting setup with a wikipedia account. Graham Pearce (User:Graham87) has been a wikipedian for more than 14 years and has already setup a process so that any new members can get accounts created by answering only a few questions. From there we help new members learn the first few steps for editing on wikis, and we give them step-by-step instructions and mentoring on the profile setup and initial learning activities. We also focus on supporting our members' own interests, guiding them to the various open knowledge activities they can try that help them connect with meaningful experiences and other members of the open knowledge movement.


How will you know if the project is successful and you've met your goals? Please include the following targets:

  1. Number of new direct contacts: 300
  2. Number of new potential organizational partners: 20
  3. Number of outreach activity participants: 20
  4. Number of new wikiBlind volunteers: 100
  5. Number of articles created or improved: 10+ (to be determined dependent on barriers we face)


What resources do you have? Include in-kind donations or additional funding.

I have been a wikipedian since 2004 and have designed and taught several hundred students and educators how to get started on wikipedia by leading multiple editathons, conference presentations, workshops and online instruction. I have also developed partnerships and inkind donations worth more than $100,000 on past projects.

As a new Wikimedia Strategy Liaison, representing the San Diego Wikimedians User Group and potential partners, we have unprecedented access to leadership both in blindness-focused organizations and across our communities. With each conversation I’ve had about the future of wikipedia and human knowledge, we gain more support for the projects we could be doing here locally, regionally, online and around the world. It is truly mind blowing how much potential we have here. I’ve also just joined the faculty of University of San Diego’s School of Education and Leadership Sciences, and the leadership I’ve spoken with at the university so far are also very interested in how we can work together.

While we have not yet requested specific inkind or financial donations for this trip, we are primed and ready to do so, especially with the enthusiasm all our potential partners have already expressed for the potential of wikiBlind to make a difference around the world and within the open knowledge movement. One key to requesting commitments from others is seeing some level of support for wikiBlind from the Wikimedia Foundation. This grant application is our first to WMF with hopes that, if funded, we can much more easily develop ever increasing inkind and financial resources to support the growth of the international wikiBlind activities.

What resources do you need? For your funding request, list bullet points for each expense and include a total amount.

  1. Travel costs to and from Las Vegas (fuel, parking) = $250
  2. Accommodation (2 of us in shared room): 7 nights × $110 per night = $770
  3. Registration: 2 × $95 = $190
  4. Printed, brailled tactile outreach materials: $400
  5. SurveyMonkey software for wikiBlind guided tutorials and data collection: $260
  6. Contingency funds = $100 (Printing worksheets, Wikimedia pins and stickers)

Total = $1980 USD


Community members are encouraged to endorse your project request here!

  1. Sounds like a reasonable idea to me. Graham87 (talk) 04:43, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
  2. MatTheMusician (talk) 11:55, 15 May 2019 (UTC)A fantastic idea!)
  3. I think this project has high value and is worthy of merit. Captain Ron TX (talk) 15:49, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
  4. To coincide with the proposed user group, expanding the presence of Wikipedia among this under-represented community (when it comes to the various wikimedia projects), is a worthy venture to attempt.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 07:12, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
  5. I can’t wait to see all the doors this project can openWittiePenguin (talk) 07:37, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
  6. This project seems to be of high value. The blind and visually impaired contributions in the Wikimedia mouvement will be very beneficial to all the projects and hopefully help the projects become more and more accessible for those with different visual impairments. Thank you, DrMel, for your work in this area. Michael David MILLER (talk)
  7. I believe WikiBlind will help our diversity as a Foundation in ways we cannot imagine. So I support and endorse this grant so we can build WikiBlind not just for us but for every blind person out there. Kayusyussuf (talk) 07:18, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
  8. Support The Wikimedia Movement is overdue for outreach to the blind community. Past outreach has not been continuous or tried to organize centrally, which I think would be useful for this global need. The Wikimedia community in San Diego has been organizing outreach to blind communities since 2016 and so far as I know, has as an organization had the most regular outreach and inclusion in this direction among all Wikimedia organizations. An investment to build the precedent for more outreach is timely and engagement at a conference in this way has been a publicly discussed ambition by San Diego group and and other blind advocates in the wiki community for some years, so I am happy to see this be planned more thoroughly. I requested some more detail on the talk page. Besides that, this seems like a conventional next step toward our commitment to do more for universal accessibility. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:52, 18 May 2019 (UTC)