Knowledge Equity Calendar/3
“It's not easy to engage vulnerable workers to get involved in unpaid volunteers work.”My name is Chia-Yi Meng and I am from Taiwan. Knowledge Equity in our context means a diverse, tolerant and friendly society for Wikimedia Taiwan's current project “South East Asia language Wikibooks”. First of all, I will briefly introduce the background. Taiwanese new immigrants mainly come from Mainland China 63%, Vietnam 19%, Indonesia 6%, Hong Kong & Macau 3%, Philippines 2%, Thailand 2% and others 5%. Of them, 90% are female except for immigrants from Thailand, so the number of Taiwanese immigrants of a second generation is growing constantly. Recently, the Taiwanese government changed the principles and rules around school textbooks. Before, texts had to be authorized by the government in order to create an official version. Now, after the change of law, they are inviting people to get involved in writing and editing textbooks for high school students (grade 7 to 9).
Imagine! For us this was a great opportunity to create language textbooks on the Wikibooks project. For our project we focused on the second generation of Taiwanese new immigrants, who will have one more option to learn their mother's language and then be able to communicate with their families on their mother’s side. But not only immigrants could use these new textbooks, but also Taiwanese citizens who are interested in learning Taiwan’s migrant languages and cultures.
For the project we work with the local NGO TransAsia Sisters Association. For our first event we invited people with a migrant background from different countries and explained to them what we were going to do. We started meeting once a month with Philippine volunteers. In the end, we had also invited a teacher to double check the textbook’s content. The project was started on 9th of March and then on 24th of August, we published the first Philippine textbook on Wikibooks.
But despite this first success, we are also confronted with challenges. In our case, the participants are all female and have lots of responsibilities regarding their family: they're working moms, and usually they are the only ones in their families that have an income. Because of this, it's not easy to engage vulnerable workers to get involved in unpaid volunteers work. For us, it could therefore be a big chance to create a possibility for them to have a reasonable editing fee. Also, on a more technical note, the Wikibooks website is not friendly for supporting options, such as attaching for example a “teacher notebook” or create links to other Wikimedia projects, for example, Wikiversity. Last but not least, a main challenge is to promote and find audiences to use this Philippine Wikibook, and keep improving it to make it better for more users.
By this initiative we proved how starting a small project can work. We are further developing more possibilities by seeking partnerships and trying to get support from the government, if possible. Our approach: Designing a structure and creating worksheets for the whole plan, then going with it!