Submissions/1 year of outreach into Omaheke - ups and downs

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2014 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this August.

Submission no.


Title of the submission
1 year of outreach into Omaheke - ups and downs
Type of submission
discussion, with an introductory presentation
Author of the submission
Peter Gallert
E-mail address
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Polytechnic of Namibia, Namibia Knowledge Portal
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

The Namibia Knowledge Portal (NKP) is a project aimed at improving school education and community knowledge creation in Namibia. It is supported by local political, academic, and entrepreneurial institutions, and it has the aim to make school computer labs sustainable and valuable. We deliver training to teachers and community activists on computer user and repair skills, Internet literacy, and Wikipedia. In its first stage NKP supports six pilot schools from Namibia's Omaheke Region; an expansion into other Regions of Namibia has been suggested by Government and is in funds acquisition stage.

We regularly experience logistic challenges in the countryside. Scheduling of workshops faces innumerable constraints, and once we agree on a date to visit the village the Internet connection is slow and unreliable, and there might be a power failure that takes days to be repaired. There is also always the danger of a wedding or a funeral that draws the participants away from our training so that we find the school empty on arrival.

Nevertheless, the first two training blocks in Omaheke went well, reported on the WMF blog here and here. But in the second half of 2013 interest in our activities seems to have waned to a degree that cannot be explained by organisational issues only. Participants that we wish to attract, and that declare their commitment prior to the workshop, are generally not the ones attending. We typically sit with a crowd of people that have no use for, and no interest in, Wikipedia. Consequently they do not return after the first or second session, and we have to abort the training midway.

After one year of educational outreach activities---workshops, training, even a motivational seminar---there is very little effect of our work. Attendance of our events has dropped, villagers do not use their acquired skills, and edits to Wikipedia are made only during workshop days. On a meta-level, we are battling with the notion of development coming from the capital Windhoek in the form of a company car with trainers and educational material. We have yet to bring the thought across that the car will head back after a few days, and that development of the rural area will happen only if local residents apply their acquired skills.

We have one more year of funding and would like to get input from the outside on how and what we can improve. We already have academic support from various sides: Anthropologists to minimise the possible impact of cultural differences between presenters and attendees, computer scientists to investigate related issues of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), and software developers that experiment with possible positive interventions in the apathy of the participants. But because of the relative newness of the project we haven't had much input from the Wikipedia community: Are there best practices that we did not implement? What have more successful outreach programs done differently? We would like to discuss how to get more bang for our bucks.


Education Outreach

Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)

30 minutes:

  • 10 Minutes introductory presentation,
  • 5 x 1 minutes for stand-up introductions of projects or lessons from the audience,
  • 15 minutes discussion
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?

Yes, I got a scholarship.

Slides or further information (optional)

I will develop slides for the introductory presentation should the proposal be accepted. For further information on the project see the web site of the Namibia Knowledge Portal. For the scientific background see the Indigenous Knowledge Technologies web site.

Special requests

Needs to be clash-free for me and for presenters that add their name below to give 1-minute presentations.

Interested presenters of 1-minute project profiles

Interested attendees

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  1. B25es (talk) 20:10, 25 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Ijon (talk) 23:53, 29 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Djembayz (talk) 19:50, 13 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]
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  6. Mmzahid03 (talk) 09:21, 27 March 2014‎ (UTC)[reply]
  7. Martin Kraus (talk) 20:57, 29 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  8. LiAnna (Wiki Ed) (talk) 20:22, 1 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  9. --Iopensa (talk) 10:31, 5 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  10. FKoudijs (WMF) (talk) 22:39, 10 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 06:26, 7 May 2014 (UTC)[reply]
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