Why is the Brazil Catalyst Program moving into grants program?
Brazil is one of the key countries in the Wikimedia Foundation strategy for the developing world. With about 200 million people, an increasing use of the internet (reaching now almost 50% , improved rates re education and economic growth, Brazil has the potential to increase participation, content and diversity in the Portuguese Wikimedia projects.
In 2012, WMF decided that its core competencies and focus areas for supporting the growth and development of Wikimedia communities globally, were technology and grants.
The highest priorities areas now consist of
- Visual editor — creating a first-rate editing experience for users that no longer much of wiki syntax
- Editor engagement — finding and developing ways to engage new users
- Mobile (Wikipedia Zero + mobile engineering) — enhancing the user experience on mobile devices
- Grantmaking — improving the dissemination of funds throughout the movement, making it more transparent, democratic, and accountable
Also, through the experience of the Catalyst Programs, WMF found out it was not effective to establish its own local institutional structures. Setting up a program in partnership with local Wikimedia communities and organizations seems to be more impactful and sustainable.
Why is Ação Educativa applying with this proposal?
Ação Educativa (www.acaoeducativa.org.br) is a not for profit organization that has been working over the past 18 years in the ‘right to education’ field. In order to achieve this, they build capacity among social movement groups, schools and communities for the production and dissemination of knowledge and the mobilization and impact on public policies. Therefore, its mission is to promote the rights for education, culture and youth, aiming at social justice, participatory democracy and sustainable development. Ação Educativa has a large experience in building and strengthening fields and communities in the education and human rights fields.
Ação Educativa has also had experience incubating social and multi stakeholder projects, such as the World Social Forum.
Ação Educativa has also got involved in the creation of and advocacy for Open Educational Resources (OER), that is, digital materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and independent students so they can use them for teaching, learning and research. The creation of a repository of such features in Voices of Education’s website reinforces the issue of authorship in teaching, key asset for professor's importance recognition. It includes contents and teaching materials, lesson guides, teaching methods, experiences and other tools that can be shared freely, giving visibility to the production of educators. To achieve this, AE is mapping collectives of educators on the Internet (communities, forums and websites) that can link up to the network, in Brazil and in the countries joining the initiative.
Ação Educativa is interested in learning more from the Wikimedia movement on how to work with online communities, and as part of the OER movement in Brazil, shares common values with the Wikimedia movement and offers the necessary institutional structure that a project like the Brazil Catalyst Program requires.
What are the objectives of this proposal?
This proposal aims at both short and long term results. Supporting the enhancement of collaboration and of knowledge sharing in Brazil, supporting growth of readership, editorship and content of quality . To do this, we will support the efforts of community members looking forward to producing positive changes on the Brazilian and Portuguese Wikimedia movement and projects environment.
- To increase and strengthen access to knowledge in Brazil by catalysing Wikimedia projects and increasing the reach of the Wikimedia projects and community in Brazil;
- To build and enhance a network of educators, education organizations and students that will learn and multiply how to collaborate in the Wikimedia projects, also building the vision of authorship, empowering them to be content producers.
- To bridge the gap between educational institutions at all levels and technology as well as the Wikimedia projects and community.
- To create and disseminate high quality content with large participation of educators and citizens in general.
- To share cultural and educational content in Wikimedia projects
- To increase readership and raise awareness more widely on Wikimedia Projects
- To increase participation and collaboration in Wikimedia projects
- To develop and share a methodology so that the use of Wikimedia projects and others technological resources help the educational processes become more significant and valuable for its various actors (students, teachers etc.)
- Learn how to work with organizations on the ground in the context of Global South strategy
How will Ação Educativa and the team involved in this project work with the community in Brazil?
The first very action of the program will be the organization of a national meetup with Ação Educativa, community members, the staff and WMF board members, streamed online, to discuss more deeply the proposal, discuss methodologies, participation processes, changes needed, format of some programs and new ideas.
This proposal has been based on previous discussions with the community and on Ação Educativa’s experience with the education field.
All plans will be published on Ação Educativa’s website and on Meta:Brazil Program and shared on as many communication channels as possible. Wikimedia community is invited to get involved in every activity and to suggest the use of the program in order to accomplish their proposals and ideas.
For how long is this project supposed to take place?
This project is intended to be a 2 years project. This current proposal, though, is focused on the first 10 months: from October 2013 to July 2014.
It’s hard to predict in our movement what exactly will happen later - it’s a movement that changes rapidly and we need to be in line with global strategy and local needs at the same time. However, we expect the movement in Brazil will gradually take over a lot of projects and leadership, making use of the learnings from our experience (both positive and negative, from success and mistakes) to create new initiatives and lead them.
How can this project benefit the Wikimedia movement?
This project will create the basis for continued actions over the Wikimedia projects in Brazil, bringing more organizations to support Wikimedia Movement, creating specific projects to enlarge the community, bringing in new editors, new stakeholders, supporting the creation of sustainable and independent groups of contributors and fostering changes that will help broaden the Wikimedia movement horizon in Brazil.
What are the greatest challenges?
We believe the challenges here are many: the first one is to attribute growth rates to our work in a cause-effect relation. Also, there are a lot of activities, such as the education program or even workshops, that don’t create a great impact in the short term, compared to average volume of activities in a project like the Portuguese Wikipedia. They may have impact in the long term, through the creation of a different and more active culture in the academic community towards Wikimedia projects.
The second big challenge is to build consensus over the objectives of our work. Since the very beginning of our project, we decided to work closely with the community to build consensus over what we should do to improve and contribute for the growth of the Portuguese Wikimedia projects. However, this has proved to be not an easy task. Consensus is not difficult between the community and the Brazil team. Consensus on what should change, and how it should change, is a challenge for the community as a whole. And it’s simply not there, waiting for us. So there’s no easy or single answer to what is most effective. Our role is to try out different hypothesis on what we believe could benefit the community and document our learnings.
We believe this project is an opportunity to build a clear agenda and set of objectives to contribute to the strengthening the overall Wikimedia community in Brazil. We strongly believe in mid and long term results out of this project, but we are also very focused on short term milestones to make sure we are accomplishing every step in path we are building. All actions will be evaluated and learnings will come out of them. If changes need to be made throughout the process, based on learnings, we won't hesitate in making them, but we have in high account the need to be bold in the very wikimedia style in order to accomplish things from which we can learn and share.