"Wikipedia for Peace" was a two-week project organised as a "workcamp" by Service Civil International (SCI) Austria as a pilot project in cooperation with Wikimedia Österreich. In the course of the project 12 people from 9 different countries (Germany, Bulgaria, Ireland, Basque Country/Spain, France, Austria, Serbia, Portugal and and language backgrounds came together in Vienna from August 14 until August 27 2015 in order to edit Wikipedia articles about peace.
The participants - mostly newcomers to Wikipedia - did research by themselves online and with books from libraries in Vienna surrounding the topic, they exchanged about their research and received additional input through workshops. The participants then wrote articles in the Wikipedia version of their native language and thus increased the public outreach of knowledge surrounding peace. At the same time the participants learned about the principles of participatory web culture, open content and free licenses. The participants learned how to write and edit Wikipedia articles and how to use other Wikimedia platforms (such as Commons, Wiktionary and Wikidata). The project also encouraged the exchange between different language versions of Wikipedia. At the end of the two-week project the participants were encouraged to stay active in Wikipedia and share their experience in their local communities.
The project has been granted a patronage of the Austrian Commission for UNESCO because of its focus on peace, the promotion of open knowledge and the involvement of speakers of endangered languages.
Service Civil International (SCI) is a peace organisation and is one of the biggest non-profit networks of volunteering organisations. The first SCI workcamp was organised in 1920 close to Verdun (France) by the Swiss pacifist Pierre Cérésole. Through workcamps SCI wants to increase international understanding and wants to create awareness for people with fewer social opportunities, global inequalities, sustainability and a responsible use of resources. In SCI workcamps people from different countries, culutral and social backgrounds work together between two and four weeks for a local non-profit initiative.
The Austrian branch was founded in 1947. SCI Östereich is focused on organising volunteering projects in Austria and sending volunteers from Austria to workcamps in other countries. The NGO is based in Vienna.
Two of the participants served as coordinators of the project in Vienna. Both had experience with Wikimedia projects and SCI workcamps. Mainly responsible was Thomas Schallhart, who is as a volunteer responsible for workcamp organisation in Austria with SCI since 2013. As Shikeishu he is active in the German-speaking Wikipedia since 2005.
The project was funded by Wikimedia Österreich with 2.000 EUR. Accomodation and food were organised with these costs. The participants paid their own travel costs. Generally accomodation and food are very simple in SCI workcamps (self supply, mostly sleeping with mattresses on the floor). The project was cofinanced with 500 EUR through the Austrian Ministry of Youth's funding eureprojekte.at.