Grants:Project/Rapid/Rossella Vignola (OBC)/Wikipedia 4 Refugees

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Rossella Vignola (OBC)/Wikipedia 4 Refugees
The project Wikipedia 4 Refugees aims at involving a group of asylum seekers/refugees in translating relevant entries from the Italian linguistic edition of Wikipedia into the languages of the participants, mainly African and Asian languages.
targetWikipedia in Italian language and in Bambarà, Fula, Pashto e Urdu.
start dateSeptember 20
end dateDecember 31
budget (local currency)1.668 EUR
budget (USD)1.975 USD
grant typeindividual
contact(s)• rossella.vignola(_AT_)

Project Goal[edit]

Briefly explain what are you trying to accomplish with this project, or what do you expect will change as a result of this grant. Example goals include, "recruit new editors", "add high quality content", or "train existing editors on a specific skill".

  1. Recruiting new editors from Global South countries, i.e. African and Asian asylum seekers and/or refugees currently living in Italy;
  2. Adding, improving and translating content in underrepresented African and Asian language editions: our target languages are Bambarà, Fula, Pashto and Urdu;
  3. Encouraging interaction and intercultural exchange between asylum seekers/refugees and the Wikipedia community (first local, then global);
  4. Using Wikipedia editing as a way to teach digital and media literacy skills, such as: participating on the open Web; critically evaluating information found online; being active contributors and not only passive consumers of information.

Project Plan[edit]


Tell us how you'll carry out your project. What will you and other organizers spend your time doing?

Wikipedia 4 Refugees will include a course composed of 10 lessons, 2 hours each, once a week. The participants will first be introduced to Wikipedia and how to work on it (lesson 1-3); the rest of the course will be dedicated to translating selected articles and uploading content (lesson 4-10.) Similarly to what we do in our DigitalSkills courses, for each lessons the participants will be assisted by a main teacher/coordinator, a shadow teacher (an asylum seeker/refugee with advanced Italian language and digital skills), 4 experienced wikipedians, and 4 teaching assistants. The Content Translator may be used, when necessary, to support the translation work.

The project will include a preparatory phase, composed of:

  • a train-the-trainers session lead by the experienced Wikipedia editors, in which the main teacher, the shadow teacher and the teaching assistants will be introduced to Wikipedia and its editing techniques;
  • a focus group with the asylum seekers/refugees participants aimed at selecting the articles that will be translated;
  • the preparation of handouts summarizing the Wikipedia mark-up and a graphical explanation of the Wikipedia interface in Italian, the target languages, and/or other languages of communication (English/French). We will make use of the existing materials prepared by the community and available in Wikimedia Commons as much as possible;
  • when necessary, the editing of Italian articles to be translated into the target languages, in order to make them complete, updated and accurate.

From a technical point of view, following the suggestions we received in the Talk page on META, we are in the process of testing the keyboards in the target languages. Also, we are contacting Wikipedia Ambassadors in the target languages to present the project to them and liaise with the linguistic communities that will be involved. So far, the Pashtu Embassy has been contacted. No reply yet [1]. The project's META page will be regularly updated with the information on the project advancements, including the list of the articles that will be translated.


The project will involve a small group (8 people) of asylum seekers and/or refugees living in Trentino Alto-Adige region. The participants will be selected with the help of Cinformi, the local immigration office. The target will be people who are already computer literate, but who may not be familiar with Wikipedia.

Languages & Content[edit]

The target languages will include 2-3 African languages (Bambarà, Fula, and possibly Wolof) and 2 Asian languages (Pashto and Urdu) and have been chosen in this way:

  • first, we looked at which are the most common languages spoken and written by the local asylum seekers/refugees communities;
  • second, we checked the existence and status (in terms of number of articles) of Wikipedia editions of these languages, favouring the most underrepresented languages.

To select the target articles to be edited/translated, we first consulted the Wikipedia community (see Talk page on META). At the beginning of the project, we will actively engage the asylum seekers/refugees participants in forming a detailed list of articles; individual entries on the list will then be assigned to individual participants so that every participant will have at least one article to work on. The articles will most likely include content which is relevant for the life of asylum seekers/refugees living in Italy, as well as for those planning to seek asylum in Europe. Therefore, the list will probably include articles about Italian culture, institutions and laws, and possibly articles about the functioning of the asylum system in Italy and in Europe (such as: Right to Asylum in the European Union (in Italian) and Dublin Convention (in English), and the like.)

How will you let others in your community know about your project (please provide links to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions)? Why are you targeting a specific audience?

Refugees are a vulnerable group in Italian society. In particular, their access to information (e.g. training opportunities, the local job market) is restricted due to 1) the language gap, 2) lack of technological means (e.g. limited Internet access), and 3) sometimes lack of awareness of what kind of information to look, for due to underprivileged educational backgrounds. We think that this group:

  • will benefit from a more complete access to information through Wikipedia;
  • could be, at the same time, efficaciously educated to become active contributors to the co-creation of knowledge.

We have already held an informal meeting with 5 asylum seekers (possible participants) in order to present them the project and also collect their ideas. The feedback was positive.

In order to inform the Wikimedia community about our project, we have:

Also, we have presented the project to Cinformi, the local immigration office, and to the delegate of the Prorector for Equality and Diversity policies of the University of Trento, that decided to become partner in the project.


What will you have done at the end of your project? How will you follow-up with people that are involved with your project?

In the months after the end of the project, we intend to:

  • produce the project’s documentation and create a page with the materials that were used in order to make it easily searchable & replicable from other communities;
  • send a project report to 1) the Wikimedia Italia community through the mailing list and 2) the larger international Wikimedia community;
  • reach out to other local Wikipedia communities (e.g. the Swedish ..) who have conducted similar projects in order to share good practices;
  • disseminate the results of the project through the following media:
    • local newspapers;
    • mailing lists of organizations involved in the local and national refugees’ support network (e.g. Brave New Alps; Cinformi, ATAS, Punto d'Approdo, OrtiCorti, Centro Astalli);
    • newsletter & website of the University of Trento;
    • Twitter.
  • reach out to the Mozilla community through the organization of a session at the annual MozFest (London, October 2017) on the advantages of the participation of refugees/asylum seekers to the Open Web, and how to increase it (we submitted a proposal which is currently under review; the session will not be specifically about the Wikipedia4Refugees project but will present it as one of the activities we carry out in the context of digitial literacy initiatives for refugees);
  • organize a presentation of the project in a couple of local refugee shelters.


How will you know if the project is successful and you've met your goals? Please include the following targets and feel free to add more specific to your project:

  1. Number of lessons: 10
  2. Number of participants: 32, including: 8 asylum seekers/refugees attendees; 8 trainers/tutors; 12 experienced Wikipedia editors (the members of the last 2 categories will alternate, so that, at every lesson, there will be at least 4 trainers/tutors and 4 experienced Wikipedia editors); 4 linguistic mediators;
  3. Number of articles created or improved: 8 (at least 1 article per refugee participant.) This number may increase depending on the learning speed of the participants.
  4. Number of languages: 4/5
  5. Number of photos uploaded to Wikimedia Commons (if applicable): n/a
  6. Number of photos used on Wikimedia projects (if applicable): n/a


What resources do you have? Include information on who is the organizing the project, what they will do, and if you will receive support from anywhere else (in-kind donations or additional funding).

The project organising team is composed of:

Rossella Vignola: Wikipedian since 2015, I contribute content on media freedom related issues. I organised the Wiki4MediaFreedom edit-a-thon held in Belgrade in November 2016 and I love to participate to wiki-events. I am involved in the local solidarity network with refugees and I'm volunteering in teaching digital skills.

Martina Puppi: new Wikipedian, I am active in the local support network of refugees, with and for whom I organize digital skills courses.

Niccolò "Jaqen" Caranti Wikipedian since 2006, sysop on Italian Wikipedia since 2007 and on Wikimedia Commons since 2013. I have taught courses about Wikimedia projects in schools, universities and libraries. I love to organize wiki-events (such as edit-a-thons with museums).

Also, the project will benefit from the help of Wikimedian volunteers: there is an active local Wikimedian community in Trento and nearby areas who is willing to help. In addition to them, a group of 4 volunteers (the coordinator +asylum seeker shadow teacher + tutors) will help in running the workshops.

CINFORMI, the local immigration office, will help in selecting participants and will print the materials, cheatsheets and handouts to be distributed to participants; furthermore, CINFORMI will provide the assistance of a professional linguistic mediator per target language for at least two hours.

Finally, the University of Trento will host the workshops in its multimedia rooms, thus providing personal computers and a stable internet connection.

What resources do you need? For your funding request, list bullet points for each expense:

# Description Cost per unit Quantity Total cost
1 Travels * * 550 EUR
2 Lunches for Wikipedians volunteers 15 EUR 40 600 EUR
3 Final lunch/dinner 15 EUR 28 420 EUR
4 Keybord stickers 6 EUR 8 48 EUR
5 Stickers 100 50 EUR
TOTAL 1.668 EUR - 1.975 USD (, August 3, 2017)

Explanatory Note on budget:

  1. Travels item (lump sum) includes local travel costs for Wikipedians from Trentino-Alto Adige Region and neighboring regions (12 persons overall) and 1 long distance travel for one person of the organizing team that in the meanwhile moved to a new city. She will help in monitoring the progress of the course, collect metrics, plan the follow-up and prepare the final report;
  2. Item 2 comprises launch allowances for Wikipedians participating to the workshops (4 Wikipedians for each lesson * 10 lessons);
  3. Item 3 includes costs for the final launch/dinner for all participants (asylum seekers/refugees, Wikipedians, and other volunteers, 28 persons overall);
  4. Item 4 comprises costs for buying keyboard stickers, one for each participant, in their language.
  5. Item 5 is a lump sum for the “Wikipedia 4 Refugee” project’s stickers that will be distributed to all participants and used for communication & visibility purposes.

N.B. This proposal was submitted through the account User:Rossella Vignola (OBC) which was opened within a GLAM project, but this request is made in a personal capacity.


  • Marcok (talk) It is a nice initiative and a good opportunity of intercultural exchange. I'm really proud to support it.
  • An excellent idea! The project is well thought-out and very, very meaningful. I am certain it will add value to the Wikimedia Projects, and - even more importantly - to the lives of the refugees. Best of luck! --Saintfevrier (talk) 15:18, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Very nice project. --Ferdi2005 (Posta) 09:08, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Very inspiring project to get closer the different cultures that are meeting in Italy. --Paola Liliana Buttiglione 13:29, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
  • The issue of refugees is current, and I am very happy that there may be a project for them in Wikimedia projects. --CristianNX (talk)
  • Very nice initiative. Uomovariabile (talk to me) 17:40, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Great project! --EusebiaP (talk) 18:57, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Because it is an important project not only for wiki community but also it is an example of integration in this era of human migrations Nonoranonqui (talk) 07:26, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
  • An important project, well worth the funding. --Japs 88 (talk) 07:35, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
  • A very important project, with high social and cultural value. --Luigi Catalani (talk) 08:26, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support --CristianCantoro (talk) 13:09, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support, great integration opportunity and a way to talk about one of our movement's goal: diversity! Camelia (talk) 15:37, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
  • I am currently working on potential connection with GLAM projects; I work with several museums in Italy who might welcome the idea of positioning themselves as safe areas for refugees. I am particularly interested in the Rome area. -- Lmelk (talk) 11:53, 11 June 2018 (UTC)