Contribution into Knowledge Equity Calendar calendar project
Maybe not as linguistically rich as Indonesia and not nearly as populous as India, but my home country of Russian Federation still has a good diversity of active Wikimedia projects in the languages indigenous to its territory. Back in 2017, these accounted for about 10% of total Wikipedias and a comparable share of the total Wikimedia projects.
We are contributing our share into Wikimedia Language Diversity, strengthening multilingualism and multiculturalism of Wiki. Among others, at various Wikimedia events, in CEE, GLAM and Education Newsletters, on Facebook, mailing lists or just onwiki you might have heard about:
- Bashkir community's Wiki-Grandmas that now decided to take it global,
- Selet WikiSchool and Wiki-Smart Region projects we started in Tatarstan,
- Wikimedians of the North-West, as well as
- those of Northern Caucuses and their Wiki Loves Caucuses),
- Erzya, Don, Sakha and other Wikimedians,
- Russian Multilingual Wikinews,
- International article contests organized by Russia's Wikimedians in partnership with Russian Academy of Sciences, various GLAMs and other respected non & for profit institutions,
Wikimedia Russia as a composite entity of various registered or upcoming User Groups we have active around territorial, cultural and linguistic themes. We clearly want them reliably standing on their feet, learn from each other and other Global Wikimedians, and make sure their knowledge, experience and worldview enriches others around the world, becoming part of the global Knowledge Equity.
What could Knowledge Equity mean in your context? What doesn't?
I am convinced that people's ability to access and contribute towards depends on such resources as sustainable cultural infrastructure and purchasing power that allow for free time to invest into non-productive creative endeavors. The Wikidata heat map seems to support this as well - our collective Wikimedia Knowledge Equity is neither complete, nor sustainably diverse and multilingual enough.
This map doesn't cover the skies and non-material spheres, but it hints towards cultures whose Knowledge we lack most. We can't force people to become self-less, so the only other way of achieving diverse and sustainable Knowledge Equity is to support and empower the left out communities with knowledge that will help them better utilize own potential and strengthen their economic power to overcome diversity of barriers they face. Technical, social and political barriers are clearly not the predominant reasons preventing people from taking part in Wikimedia projects within my home country, and I think the same is true in other darker areas.
What/how are you working on?
My home region in Russia is called Republic of Tatarstan and here we enjoy regional government encouraging and supporting Wikimedia community to start engaging wider public into using Wikimedia projects to develop Tatar content online. We are also looking at introducing other dimensions to of engaging the public with Wikimedia projects.
All this and more happens thanks to Unknown heroes - the volunteer Wiki-contributors we might never meet or even think about, so we are trying our best to praize to at least some. Since 2011, Wikimedia Russia awards annual Wiki-Prizes, and we are now also looking at ways of how to make this recognition more frequent. This past year we teamed up with a like-minded NGO partner interested in growing domestic multilingualism and ended up awarding leading Wikimedians not just with prizes, but also diplomas signed by regional ministers for Education & Culture. At the same time, this helps growing domestic networks of Wikimedia stakeholders.
What are your challenges? What could the Movement learn from you?
Just like any other country, my homeland is experiencing complex economic, political, social and technical challenges in its domestic and international relations. The fact that Wikimedia Foundation can't fund Wikimedia Russia puts us into the category of self-sustaining Wikimedia organizations, just like it is recommended by 2030 Strategy process. We have a lot to learn from all the 30+ language communities of Russia that have active WPs, other projects and others in the Wiki-incubator.
We are used to
- running our programs on volunteer time,
- finding local prize and venue sponsors,
- looking for ways to strengthen our diverse communities and
- making sure people don't burn out
- supporting local stakeholders and developing long-term relationships.
What needs to happen until 2030?
At Wikimedia Conference Russia in 2016, I gave the following two during my presentation:
1. We need a global Russian language Wikimedia Thematic Organization, with local User Groups in all major cities around the world that have speakers of Russian.
2. We need a system to start engaging all language communities residing in Russia into editing Wikimedia projects, beginning with the largest ones.
- 2018 Wikimedian of the Year pledge of Imagine a world in with all humans see clear benefits in sharing their knowledge with others and
- Wikimania 2019 Closing Ceremony speech right before we had my successor named,
I would now add two more:
3. We need to empower all Wikimedia stakeholders to develop the feeling of project ownership
4. We need to help make all language and culture communities represented and sustainable.