Hi South Africa Chapter!
By means of and introduction, my name is Jessie Wild, and I am a Special
Projects manager for the Global Development department at WMF. I work on a
variety of projects for the WMF dealing most specifically with Wikimedia &
Education and increasing the opportunities for access to Wikipedia.
One such initiative, which I hope you are mostly all aware of, is the
Offline Wikipedia projects. This is basically about penetration of the
encyclopedic materials into areas – particularly secondary schools – without
consistent access to the Internet. Content subsets of Wikipedia which are
small enough to fit onto a standard USB stick have been created and uploaded
onto computers in schools around the world as essentially a piece of
software. “Wikipedia for Schools” is the most commonly distributed content
The distribution of this material has been mostly done thus far throughout
Africa by organizations with broad reach. Wikimedian volunteers, though,
have done a tremendous amount of work to push this effort, and you may have
heard specifically of the work done by the Wikimedians in Kenya on this
front earlier this year.
I am writing to let you know about a recent email I got from Sangari SA, who
has helped contribute since 2004 Wikipedia for Schools in over 1000 schools
in South Africa. Amazing! He said the Minister of Basic Education is asking
for more information about the materials, given the great expense of the
alternatives (Microsoft Encartha and Brittanica).
I bring this up for two reasons:
Pending endorsement from the Minister, the demand for this project could
be really great across the ~26000 schools in SA.
There is an updated version of Wikipedia for Schools to be released in
about a months time
So I am thinking and wanted to know what YOU all thought: would your
chapter be interested in getting involved with the potential distribution
and corresponding training associated with these distributions? That is,
showing teachers what the materials are like, teaching about the importance
of open education resources, giving sample classroom usages.
If this is not something anyone is interested in, that is definitely ok,
though I of course think it is a great opportunity let alone a great cause
:) If there are some individuals who would like to join the discussion
please email me and we could organize a plan for execution!
Global Development, Manager