User:Bnewstead/sandbox/MENA action plan

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Status of MENA program planning of WMF and Qatar Computing Research Institute pilot[edit]

  • 29/30 November 2011 discussions with QCRI in Doha

General update[edit]

  • Lots of positive momentum in the community with work on multiple fronts including help resources, front page design, etc.
  • October was a record month for active editors and new editor recruitment on Arabic Wikipedia

Cairo pilot of Education Program[edit]

  • WMF has begun exploration of a small pilot in Cairo focused on three disciplines - one in Engineering, one in Social Sciences, one with Schools of Languages/Translations. 4-6 classes will participate in the pilot.
  • Frank, Moushira and Annie Lin from WMF are going to be in Cairo in December to work on relationship building and program design
  • Need to do outreach work to generate a group of online ambassadors from the AR:WP community to support the program from within the community and help prepare students for the program
  • Will recruit a group of campus ambassadors on the campuses we select and train them
  • Critical that we design the program in a manner that ensures the quality of articles that are added to Arabic Wikipedia are good and do not violate copyrights. We cannot rely on the AR:WP community to
  • Need to hire a consultant team to manage the program on a day-to-day basis with QCRI's support (project manager, instructional designer) and then be in a position to refine and expand the program going forward
  • Need to develop training materials for students, professors and ambassadors
  • Target start date will be mid-February with significant preparatory work in January including program process design, online and campus ambassador training, etc.
  • Immediate actions: Moushira to meet with Cairo professors on 3/12 and Frank/Moushira/Annie to work on program development in Cairo from 5-15/12. WMF needs to seek out candidates for consultancy roles in Cairo to be hired by QCRI. Frank to lead this with Moushira's support starting immediately. Need to continue dialogue with the AR:WP community on the pilot.

Regional outreach tour[edit]

  • Aim to catalyze local communities of Wikipedians and friends of WP across the region
  • Conduct a listening tour, Wikipedia introduction meetups in Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan in December, January & February
  • Target attendees are existing Wikipedians, social media/Free & Open Source enthusiasts, university/library/museum partners
  • Goal is to create a core group of enthusiasts on the ground interested in coordinating local activities and outreach; build awareness of Wikipedia's activities among high potential communities in different countries; to start the formation of local meetup groups; to identify potential partners for work in education and within institutions; generate some supportive media coverage of Arabic Wikipedia and our initiative.
  • Moushira to take the lead; need to decide if we want a strong Arabic Wikipedian or two (Ciphers and Rami?) to join the tour
  • Will need funding for the tour from QCRI to cover travel costs, local organizing costs, preparation of collateral material, banners, etc.
  • Immediate actions: Continue planning/start scheduling with local contacts, start preparing presentation materials and collateral, develop a budget for the tour and coordinate with Abdellatif. Ready to launch by 15/12.


  • Need to move forward cautiously on translation work and it must be done in a manner that is consistent with Wikipedia core values regarding voluntary contribution and it must have community support
  • First step is to charter a task force to review the feasibility of translation work from the perspective of the potential value for the Arabic Wikipedia, the impact on the Arabic WP community, the ability to create articles that are consistently good quality, the financial cost of such an initiative (From discussions with QCRI researchers, there is also a question about whether translation is a better option than original article creation?)
  • Task force to be made up of a mix of Wikipedia admins, translation experts, QCRI rep, WMF rep
  • Charter of task force would be to a) decide if a translation pilot is worth pursuing; b) developing a detailed set of specifications for the pilot; c) designing and RFP for potential translation organizations, if required.
  • QCRI to hire a consultant to provide staff resource for the task force to conduct research, facilitate TF dialogue in an open Wiki forum, draft the TF's conclusions and outputs
  • Plan to have a task force workshop in January to advance the concept
  • Goal: complete the TF's work by mid-Feb 2012.
  • Immediate action step: WMF to identify a consultant to facilitate the process by 21/12

Organizational development[edit]

  • Need to launch the regional search for an Initiative Director immediately (aim to have this person in place by 1 March)
    • QCRI to include funding for the search in grant to WMF
    • Abdellatif to recommend two firms for Barry to consider by 1/12
    • Barry to decide on search firm and launch search by 15/12
  • Need to start work on organizational structure for the regional initiative; must get this structured before we engage a staff person (WMF to start preliminary legal work); Barry/WMF General Counsel to start work on this with regional counsel.
  • Need to structure a grant agreement between WMF and QCRI to cover our resources and some costs; Barry to draft a grant request and submit to Ahmed.

Other opportunities discussed[edit]

Editing challenges in early 2012[edit]

  • Start floating an idea of an editing challenge for the community focused on creating resources for a "Wikipedia for schools" offline version that could be made available in schools
  • Moushira to explore this with some community members

Partnerships with Libraries, Museums and Archives[edit]

  • Plan for mid-2012 to launch an initiative to introduce WP to these institutions and seek opportunities for partnerships where they open their content to Wikipedians and even encourage their researchers/curators to contribute to AR:WP articles in their specialty area
  • Moushira to initiate some contact in conjunction with the regional outreach tour.
  • Kareem to follow up on the idea of liberating Arabic content from Islam Online to make it usable in a more open way (might want to involve Creative Commons Qatar to help on licensing)
  • Abdellatif to initiate discussions with the Islamic Museum about possible programs to do a Wikipedia initiative in Doha to build local presence. Abdellatif/QCRI to identify a local project manager to develop an initiative with the Islamic Museum in conjunction with Wikipedia community members. To report back by 15/12.

Jimmy lecture in Doha on 12 March[edit]

  • QCRI has invited Jimmy to do a public talk in Doha
  • Should determine a communications plan for this including talking points regarding the AR:WP Initiative
  • WMF to initiate discussion with Jimmy about additional activities in the region around this trip (visit to Cairo?)

Tools for editing Wikipedia[edit]

  • Moushira is in touch with a technical linguist who is developing online support tools for Internet users in Arabic - online dictionaries, grammatical support packages, etc.
  • Preliminary discussions with Kareem about possible tool solutions require follow up

Outreach/training partnership opportunity in Cairo?[edit]

  • Kareem has spoken with a leadership development training NGO in Cairo about possibility of developing Wikipedia training programs focused on universities in Egypt.
  • Moushira to follow up to explore further.

Research activities[edit]

TBD from discussions with QCRI

Arabic Web Day[edit]

  • Limited progress on this from the Yamli team and they seem disorganized
  • We are going to put this on the backburner