From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

Event name
BlogFest.Asia 2012, 1-5 November, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Notice of Wikimedia workshop session
Description of your participation

It was a rare for such an event to take place in Cambodia, but a great opportunity to meet such a big number of some 200 bloggers and technologists, both local Cambodians and international participants across Asia region. During the course of the event, I happened to talk with many enthusiastic Cambodian youths on various topics, from blogging and social media in general to sharing and collaboration, and specifically about creation and/or sharing of knowledge. Moreover, I also happened to extend my networking with fellow international friends, exchanging our experiences in managing our respective volunteer communities when it comes to building awareness, promotion of active participation/contribution...etc for a good cause.

Wikimedia workshop PPT slide in break-out session, Nov 3, 2012 (Day 3)
File:BlogFestAsia2012 Wikimedia Workshop Speakers.jpg
Anirudh and me speaking during the session
Local and international participants attending Wikipedia workshop at BlogFest.Asia 2012, Build Bright University, Siem Reap.

During break-out session on Day 3 (Nov 3), our Wikimedia 2-hour session was attended by some 50 people in total (about one third were foreigners), among which some 20 attended in first session, and another 30 in second session. The session was co-hosted by Anirudh, my fellow Indian Wikipedian and myself - mainly in English with some emphasizes in Khmer language from time to time as the local participants were comfortable with English.

Our Wikimedia workshop session started out with (you can go through the PPT on the left hand side):

  • PART 1: General introduction of Wikipedia, then the Wikimedia Foundation and followed by other sister projects. We strongly made emphasis on our belief in WMF’s vision ‘Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge’ and our shared mission in promoting free knowledge movement, available to all online, for free of charge, and in our own mother tongue.
  • PART 2: We gave an overview and history of Khmer Wikipedia and its other 3 sister projects including Wiktionary, Wikibooks and experimental Wikisource (still in multilingual platform). We also presented some stats of our main hero Khmer Wikipedia to reflect its development over the years and recent trends of broader awareness and more improvement in active participations from the community. We also summed up both the opportunities and challenges we have encountered in the past and next steps we need to take in the future to come closer to, if not achieve, our common goal in building a free knowledge in our Khmer language. We also encouraged them to be part of us by firstly being the beneficiary of the free knowledge/article content of Khmer Wikipedia, with a hope they will eventually be happy to contribute to extend the knowledge base by writing new articles and/or improving on existing ones. We could see that social media play crucial roles in bringing awareness, encouraging active participation, and providing floor for better interactions between users, contributors and the community as a whole...etc.
  • PART 3: we focused on Wikimedia Commons, the free (multi) media repository, equivalent of Wikipedia for free articles. We explained the essences of the project and how they can contribute their works with free license, and at the same time, being able to show off their works to millions of readers and getting themselves promoted for a good cause. We also compared various options in licensing their works including copyrights, copyleft, Creative Commons and Public Domain. Later, we took them through the process of uploading their work, as well as on how to create new account and start off with their User Page.

And lastly, we also did a demo on how to navigate in Wiki projects and followed by Q&A session.

What impact did your participation have on the Wikimedia Mission goals of Increased Reach, Increased Quality, Increased Credibility, Increased and Diversified Participation?

Attending this event and speaking about Wikimedia projects in the break-out sessions gave me a valuable experience and opportunity to learn quite many new things:

  • Youths are change agents/ changemakers, who are enthusiastic about new technologies/ ICT4D, energetic in volunteering and/or promoting good causes.
  • Bloggers share many commons with Wikipedians - we both love to write, either for good cause, social justice, or free knowledge for everyone to benefit.
  • Social media makes old traditional ways in interacting with one another. It also provide a more free flow of information sharing, active interaction and a more engaging environment to promote a cause and mobilize the community, including facilitating offline meetups.
  • Moreover, the event helped me to identify potential like-minded people whom I will reach out to for their help and cooperation in offline outreach in Cambodia after I graduate in Korea and return back home.

In addition, during the course of the event, we had been approached by many interested participants on how they can get started with Khmer Wikipedia. Some are completely new, while others either have heard of or have involved very little. Among these, on their teacher’s request, I also happened to give a separate session in Khmer language to a group of 7-8 young middle and high school students from Ponheary Ly Foundation whom only 2 of them actually ever heard of Wikipedia. This provided them with a new resource in their mother tongue when it comes to doing research on the Internet.

In term of impacts, Khmer Wikipedia, among other Khmer language wiki projects, has made significant achievements over the last 2 years after the launch of our social media in early 2011.

  • Reach: Increasing new account signups (from 5,800 in 2011 Q2 to some 9,400 as of Nov 2012), doubling page views per country/Cambodia (0.01% share of global total in mid 2011 to 0.02% ) with Khmer wiki moved from 5th rank to become the 2nd rank after English wiki (breakdown of 2.5% to 5.7%), plus increasing in number of visitors from Cambodia who read Khmer wiki (from 55.8% to 77.5% and the share of the global total reaches 0.001% for Khmer wiki - Page views Per Wikipedia Language/ Khmer).
  • Quality: Still limited as we don't have many admin/sysop, esp. the active one. But improving as there are more people signing up new accounts and contributing new articles/ improving existing ones.
  • Credibility: Improving as the stats reveals on the increase of visits/page views to Khmer wiki
  • Diversified Participation: Reaching out to various target groups of potential volunteers, not limiting to Wikipedia, but also photographers and designers who can contribute to Wikimedia Commons. We also focus on participation of women and young editors.
  • Future plans: To implement more and regular offline Wikimeetup in the Phnom Penh Capital, then extend our reach to other key provincial towns and/or cities - first with workshops & lectures/demo then recruit key volunteers to lead their local communities. To do some Edit-a-ton session on specific topic/categories, visit local universities and give lecture about Khmer Wikipedia and our free knowledge movement. Moreover, we will send a proposal to WMF for merchandises for use in our Award/Recognition Program to reward active volunteers with freebies like T-shirt, buttons, label pins...etc so that we will feel proud showing off their achievements.
Detail of expenditures
  • Int’l return flight from Korea to Cambodia (Oct 31: ICN-PNH; Nov 5: REP-ICN) - KRW 654,510 (~USD 601.50)
  • Domestic one-way flight on Nov 2: PNH-REP - USD 91.00
  • Other transportation: USD 50.00
  • Accommodation: USD 60.00
  • Food: USD 80.00

TOTAL = USD 882.50

Amount underspent/left-over (please specify currency)

USD 517.50 (underspent as cheap air flight was secured - USD 1,400 requested)