Wikipedia 4 Refugees

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Logo of the Wikipedia 4 Refugees initiative

Project description & background[edit]

Developed by a team of volunteers engaged in training digital skills to asylum seekers/refugees in Rovereto (Trentino Alto-Adige region, Northern Italy), the project Wikipedia 4 Refugees aims at involving a group of asylum seekers/refugees in translating relevant entries from the Italian linguistic edition of Wikipedia into the languages of the participants.

The project is a follow-up of the “Digital Skills” initiative implemented during 2016-17 by a group of volunteers in cooperation with the University of Trento and with Cinformi, the local immigration office. During this course while the students were learning about Wikipedia, the trainers noticed their enthusiasm in discovering the editions in their own languages.

The project Wikipedia 4 Refugees has an ambitious educational objective targeting a disadvantaged group that will have the opportunity to meet Wikipedia and its collaborative sibling projects as well as to learn advanced digital skills.


  • encouraging interaction and intercultural exchange between asylum seekers/refugees and the Wikipedia community;
  • adding, improving and translating content in underrepresented linguistic editions;
  • recruiting new editors from Global South countries;
  • training digital literacy skills, including: participating on the open Web by using its collaborative tools; contributing content by translating and summarising texts; evaluating critically information found online (media literacy)

Target group[edit]

A small group (8-10 people) of asylum seekers/refugees living in the Trentino Alto-Adige region. The participants will be selected with the help of Cinformi, the local immigration office.


Wikipedia 4 Refugees will include a course composed of 10 lessons, 2 hours each, once a week. The participants will first be introduced to Wikipedia and how to use it (lesson 1-3); the rest of the course will be dedicated to translating and uploading the entries (lesson 4-10.) The participants will be followed by a main teacher/coordinator, a shadow teacher (an asylum seeker/refugee with advanced Italian language and digital skills), Wikipedia experts, linguistic mediators and 3-4 assistants.

The project will also include a preparatory phase, composed of:

  • a train-the-trainers session, in which the main teacher, the shadow teacher and the assistants will be introduced to Wikipedia and editing techniques;
  • preparation of handouts summarizing Wikipedia mark-up and a graphical explanation of the Wikipedia interface in both Italian and the target languages;
  • when necessary, editing of the Italian entries to be translated into the target languages, in order to make sure they are complete and accurate.

Languages & Content[edit]

The target languages will include underrepresented African/Asian languages that already have a Wikipedia edition. They will be selected depending on the mother tongues of the participants and may include: Wolof, Fula, Bambarà, Pashtu.

The target entries may concern entries about Italian culture, institutions and laws and entries about the functioning of the asylum system in Italy and in Europe. We are now in the process of selecting the target entries with the help of the Wikipedia community and Cinformi employees working with asylum seekers/refugees.

Where & When[edit]

The project Wikipedia4Refugees will take place next Autumn (starting in September/October) in Rovereto/Trento in Trentino Alto-Adige Region.

Who we are[edit]

  • Rossella Vignola: Wikipedian since 2015, I contribute content on media freedom related issues. I organised the Wiki4MediaFreedom edit-a-thon held in Belgrade in November 2016 and I love to participate to wiki-events. I am involved in the local solidarity network with refugees and I'm volunteering in teaching digital skills.
  • Martina Puppi: new Wikipedian, I am active in the local support network of refugees, with and for whom I organize digital skills courses.
  • Niccolò "Jaqen" Caranti: Wikipedian since 2006, sysop on Italian Wikipedia since 2007 and on Wikimedia Commons since 2013. I have taught courses about Wikimedia projects in schools, universities and libraries. I love to organize wiki-events (such as edit-a-thons with museums).


The project Wikipedia 4 Refugees will be developed with the support of the University of Trento - that will host the workshops at its premises - and of Cinformi that will select the participants and provide linguistic mediators. The project is also supported by the RapidGrant scheme of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Project Updates[edit]

Our Rapid Grant proposal was accepted in early September. This is what happened since then:

  • We formed the group of tutors and the group of students (Cinformi, the local immigration bureau, assisted with the latter);
  • We made arrangements with the University of Trento, one of our partners, regarding details of location & materials (PCs, internet connection, stationary);
  • We prepared course-related materials (handouts, list of target articles to propose for translations);
  • On September 29, two experienced Wikipedians lead a "Train the trainers" session for the tutors (5 people), the main teacher, and the shadow teacher;
  • We scheduled the first public presentations of the project: at an University of Trento event (October 17); at MozFest 2017; and at itWikiCon 2017.

The first class will be on October 16.

Train the trainer session (Sept 29, 2017)

List of possible articles to be translated[edit]

Refugees' rights, global and local situation of refugees:

Core basis of citizenship education:

Local territory: