Hello, everyone.

I would like your input on an idea we at the Wikimedia Foundation have been exploring as one possible model of outreach activity in South Africa: a two-day "train the trainer" event in Pretoria for (mostly campus) librarians from South Africa, to enable them to go back to their respective institutions and communities and deliver two-hour and one-day talk and workshops on Wikipedia.  The training event would be funded by a grant from the Wikimedia Foundation.

More details: the participants are to be carefully selected for good existing computer literacy and relevant skills (but a Wikipedia background won't be required), and the training event would include a balance of "theory" (free knowledge, free licenses, NPOV), background ("How does Wikipedia get written?"), user training (navigation, categories, Commons, talk pages, portals, WikiProjects, ...), and basic editor training (user accounts, basic markup, where to get help, how to interact on talk pages).  Ideally, the trainee-trainers would be able to deliver a two-hour "introduction to Wikipedia" or "How to Make the Most of Wikipedia" module, and/or a one-day "Introduction to Editing on Wikipedia" workshop, in their respective communities, as opportunity and conditions permit.

This specifically seeks to address a "bootstrapping" difficulty, i.e. the short supply of Wikipedians available to deliver that sort of training.  No attempt will be made to make these trainers pose as veteran Wikipedians; the focus is clearly to be along the lines of "Wikipedia is tremendously useful, and we can share some useful information about it that would let you use it more effectively and explore it further on your own".

We are looking into partnering with a Pretoria-based non-profit named ITOCA -- Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa -- which specializes in conducting training events for librarians, teachers, and IT personnel in sub-Saharan Africa.  (Ms. Blessing Chataira of ITOCA is subscribed to this list.)  ITOCA can handle the logistics of holding this event -- recruiting and selecting participants, booking and providing accommodations and refreshments for the training event, preparing physical materials, collecting feedback and providing follow-up with participants in their respective communities after the event, etc.  What ITOCA certainly cannot do is _prepare and deliver_ such training.  That would certainly require a veteran Wikipedian!  

I would therefore ask if any of you might be interested in working with the WMF on designing the curriculum for such an event, and/or in delivering such training, once a curriculum is available.  The Wikimedia Foundation would gladly cover travel expenses (i.e. Wikipedians outside Gauteng can certainly help!) and provide a "per diem" budget for meals and incidentals.

I welcome feedback about the idea, whether or not you're able to help out.


    Asaf Bartov
    Wikimedia Foundation