Rural Outreach India
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WikiConnect is a proposed large-scale project that will connect Wikipedia with rural and those people who don't have direct access to Wikipedia.
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India is a country of tremendous diversity; geophysical, societal and cultural. This has created huge barriers for communication across different communities resulting into isolation of some of them; particularly those in remote, rural and tribal areas. A healthy dialogue facilitating knowledge exchange needs to be established with these communities to form a cohesive society and thus realise “national integration”.
Gyan-Setu aims to address this problem by building communication bridges to these areas by organizing visits of volunteers - mostly from urban, educated and privileged background - using “science-based education” as a medium. Although school-level mass education has reached a huge scale (through Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan), science education needs quality improvement involving “hands-on activities”.
- Spreading the “joy” of education
- Providing “exposure” to the fascinating world of Wikipedia, science and technology
- Providing “inspiration” to develop proactive attitude towards challenges faced by the communities thus realising and inculcating a sense of national integration.
- Conducting science-based workshops involving hands-on activities for school students in remote areas of developmentally challenged states
- Organizing residential visits by teams of volunteers to conduct these workshops
- Building a network of individuals and organizations to support this program
II. Project description
“Gyan-Setu” is a year-long program which consists of short residential visits of volunteers in remote areas of developmentally challenged states of India, to conduct Wikipedia and science based workshops for middle school students.
II.A. Planned actions and activities
1. Gyan-Setu visits
Gyan-Setu visits by volunteer groups (consisting of 3-6 volunteers each) will be planned for the duration of 12-15 days, at available locations in the respective states. During these visits, each group will conduct 1-day workshops (of 3-4 hours) at 6-8 different schools. Each such workshop will be attended by around 50 students (class 5th – 8th). The logistics of these visits will be managed by Regional partner organizations at the respective states.
2. Repetitive inputs
2.1 Long term involvement of school students and teachers is planned to be established through the following activities involving repetitive inputs.
1. Science clubs: Science clubs of students will be established in selected schools, located in clusters (with each cluster having 5 nearby schools).
Continuous communication will be maintained with these clubs also providing them educational material, guidance and support to conduct
year-long activities, in the following ways.
- Total of 8 modules will be conducted in each such science club, in the entire academic year (1 module per month).
- Out of these, 4 modules will be conducted by Gyan-Setu volunteer teams during their visit to the respective state. These visits to conduct repetitive modules will be planned every alternate month in every school/cluster.
- The remaining 4 modules will be conducted by coordinator teachers at the respective schools.These teachers will be provided with material and guidance through postal or online communication. Regional partner organizations will monitor and support this.
The above mentioned number of repetitive modules will be planned at science clubs established in the states Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Jammu-Kashmir – where Phase I of Gyan-Setu was implemented in 2013-14.
In the states Nagaland, Orissa, Jharkhand and Sikkim – where Gyan-Setu will start its activities only in Phase II (i.e. from 2014-15) – these repetitive modules will be planned only in the 2nd semester of the academic year. Hence the number modules will be half i.e. total of 4 modules in each science club, 2 modules to be conducted by Gyan-Setu volunteer teams.
2.District/Cluster level science camps: Residential District/Cluster level science camps of 3-5 days duration are planned to be conducted for selected
students from science clubs. These will involve special inputs and follow up activities for these students (as well as teachers if possible).
- In the states
Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jammu-Kashmir, 2 such District/Cluster level science camps will be conducted in each state, during the entire academic year.
- In the new states i.e. Nagaland, Orissa, Jharkhand, Sikkim, 1 such science camp will be
conducted in each state, during the entire academic year.
3. Annual science camp – cum - exposure visit: Outstanding students from across all the 8 states, identified through Science clubs and District/Cluster level science camps, will be invited to participate in a 10-day annual science camp – cum exposure visit to Pune (or other place).
- 2.1 Long term participation of Gyan-Setu volunteers is planned to be developed through similar program involving shorter duration
visits to various places across Maharashtra.
- 2.2 15th Aug, 26th Jan gatherings (Melava) of everyone involved in Gyan-Setu will be organized at various
locations, through video conferencing (if possible).
3. Appeal to volunteers
Open appeal will be made to all interested and motivated volunteers across India to participate in this program, through online registrations. This appeal will be made through presentations at colleges/ other places and publicity through print media, website, mailing lists and social networking sites.
4. Content Development & Training
- 4.1 Companion book:
Content of Gyan-Setu workshops is designed and documented in a companion book. This contains elaborate description of activities including science experiments/toys, field activities as well as some ice-breaker activities and songs. It will be revised periodically based on requirements.
- 4.2 Orientation-cum-training sessions:
All registered and finalized volunteers will participate in a two-day Orientation-cum-training session. This will involve training of volunteers about the content of the workshops as well as orientation towards social perspectives and problems prevalent in the respective states.
- 4.3 Practice sessions:
Every volunteer group will be required to conduct at least one Practice session before going on for Gyan-Setu visit. These sessions will be conducted at schools, mostly in municipal or rural schools, located nearby Pune or the place of residence of the volunteer group.
II.B Project Management
1. Central collaborating organizations
The Central collaborating organizations will collaborate and contribute towards the work divided into the following sub-teams of Gyan-Setu.
- 1.1 Content development: This sub-team will be responsible for developing content of Gyan-Setu workshops.
- 1.2 Activity calendar: This sub-team will coordinate Gyan-Setu visits (i.e. volunteer registration management, group formation and all logistics of the visit).
- 1.3 Publicity: Publicity team will try to reach out to people through print and online media (website, blog, social networking sites).
- 1.4 Volunteer management: Long term involvement of Gyan-Setu volunteers, after their visit, will be planned and looked after by this sub-team.
2. Regional partner organizations
One or more local organizations interested to support and be a part of Gyan-Setu network, will be identified as Regional partner organizations in each state where Gyan-Setu program will be implemented. The role of these organizations will be the following:
- 2.1 Identifying local schools and other places to conduct Gyan-Setu workshops
- 2.2 Facilitating year-long communication with concerned local persons regarding workshops and follow-up activities
- 2.3 Arrangement of accommodation and food as well as support regarding other logistical issues for the visiting Gyan-Setu volunteer teams
II.C Evaluation mechanism
- 1. Internal evaluation: Internal evaluation will be made through feedback forms from schools, volunteers as well as Regional partner organizations.
- 2. External evaluation: External agency is planned to be invited for annual evaluation of the entire program.
III. Expected Outputs-Outcomes-Impact
1. Total number of volunteers: 300 [in 100 volunteer teams]
- 60 volunteer teams will visit the states Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Jammu-Kashmir (15 per state). Out of these, 32 volunteer teams will visit to conduct repetitive modules at Science clubs (8 per state).
- 40 volunteer teams will visit the states Nagaland, Orissa, Jharkhand, Sikkim (10 per state). Out of these, 16 volunteer teams will visit these states to conduct repetitive modules at Science clubs (4 per state).
- Total 48 volunteer teams will be involved to conduct repetitive modules.
2. Total number of workshops: 500
- These workshops will be conducted in a total of 340 schools.
- Science clubs will be established in 80 schools (10 per state, in 2 clusters).
- One –time visits will be planned in 260 schools; 35 per state for Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jammu-Kashmir and 30 per state for Nagaland, Orissa, Jharkhand, Sikkim.
- Designing activity-based Gyan-Setu companion book supplementary to national curriculum framework
- Establishing a network of Regional partner organizations with other organizations working in science education
- Increased participation of volunteers in activities with social relevance, with the following pyramidal structure based on their commitment level
- Full-time dedicated volunteers offering long-term commitment (top of the pyramid)
- Members of Gyan-Setu Organizing team
- Occasional but frequent participants
- One-time participants (bottom of the pyramid)
- Wikipedia Outreach in remote/rural India
- Increased scientific and logical thinking among students from science clubs at schools in the respective states
- Increased sense of national integration among volunteers