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News from the Wikimedia Foundation and about the Wikimedia movement


News and information from the Wikimedia Foundation’s Global Development department (RSS feed).

In Egypt, Ain Shams’ Al-Alsun celebrates four terms of successful work on Wikipedia

This post is available in 2 languages:
English  • Arabic


Students, ambassadors and professors celebrate as they wrap up the fourth term on Wikipedia.

Two years ago the Wikipedia Education program had its first inception in the Arab world with Egypt’s Cairo Pilot. With such a large number of Arabic speakers (530 million primary and secondary speakers) Arabic Wikipedia needed more support to follow its sister versions of the encyclopedia that have more contributors with fewer native speakers. The Arabic Wikipedia today has about 280,000 articles while the Dutch Wikipedia, for instance, has 1.7 million articles with only 27 million native speakers. Every day thousands of Arabic users visit Wikipedia and many of them edit articles. Unfortunately, most of the new pages and edits created by new users are vandalism and not valid entries. Arabic Wikipedia needed a trusted source to recruit new volunteer editors. This was one of the reasons for launching the education program. The faculty of languages (Al-Alsun) at Ain Shams University joined the program as one of the first three participating institutions. During the first term, Egyptian students contributed 1.1 million bytes of information to the Arabic Wikipedia and created more than a hundred articles, three of them were featured articles. Now, Al-Alsun is still having incredible results, adding 7 million bytes in the fall 2013 term alone!

Everyone is happy with the the amount of female participation and the role they played in helping bridge the gender gap.

About forty students, ambassadors and professors of the Al-Alsun college gathered to celebrate the achievements they had during their fourth term in the program. Dr. Karma Sami, the vice dean of Al-Alsun, opened the celebration with a word about the importance of supporting such initiatives to enrich free content on the internet. The professors supervising the program, Dr. Dalia El-Toukhy, Dr. Radwa Kotait and Dr. Iman Galal followed Dr. Sami with words encouraging their students to continue editing Wikipedia. I had a short presentation about the term results. Students have created more than 2,400 new articles in six months. The average number of active editors jumped to 36 editors/month. Having open discussions about content quality will help us achieve new goals as we continue to grow. It is encouraging to see more than forty featured articles created by students.

Reem Alkashif.

Every term the program brings new active editors to Wikipedia who gradually become “Wiki-addicted.” “I love the thought that somewhere somebody needed a piece of information badly, and then he/she found it and became happy.” Reem says.
Reem Alkashif is a post-graduate student who first edited Wikipedia when Dr. Radwa Kotait selected her to join her translation course in the Wikipedia Education Program. Reem was one of the students with extraordinary contributions during her first semester in the program, she has created new articles including featured articles about the 1972 book about slavery in the American South, The Slave Community, and an article on the History of Mars Observation. Reem continued editing the Arabic Wikipedia, becoming a campus ambassador in an effort to share what she has learned with her fellow students.

Wiki Tour Chile 2014 photo contest in its final stage!

This post is available in 2 languages:
English  • Spanish


Moai in Rano Raraku, Easter Island, Chile.

Wiki Tour Chile 2014.

Wikimedia Chile organized the photo contest Wiki Chile Tour 2014 which ran between April 5 and May 4 with a theme centered around Chile’s heritage and identity. The competition focused on photographs of nature, urban landscapes, holiday destinations, typical locations, economic activities, crafts, customs and cuisine that showed the cultural particularities of Chile.

Old house in Alegre Hill, in Valparaíso, going up through Almirante Montt street.

The contest produced 3,000 photographs, counting those directly uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and the ones shared on the Flickr group that requested compatible licenses. These pictures will serve to better illustrate articles on Wikipedia, but mainly the articles on Wikivoyage, the free travel guide that anyone can edit, a project of the Wikimedia Foundation that was launched in early 2013.

Two winners will be determined by popular vote by way of most “likes” received on Facebook. The voting will take place between May 26 and June 22 via the albums Wikimedia Chile made ​​available to the public through Facebook. You can find the links below:

Contestant’s photographs are housed on Wikimedia Commons, another project of the Wikimedia Foundation, which are available for you to see and use, provided that you respect the license with which the photos were released with by their authors.


The Umepedia Challenge has now ended!

This post is available in 2 languages:
svenska  • English


The Umepedia Challenge is the latest part of the work done in the QRpedia project Umepedia.

The winner will, amongst other things, be able to showcase this on her/his user page.

Everybody who takes part in the Challenge and through their efforts helps us once again to show how fantastic Wikipedia is will be able to showcase this beautiful award on her/his user page.

A graph listing all the different language versions of the 40 original articles.

The Umepedia Challenge has now come to an end and we are extremely happy with the results! The contest took place between May 1-31 and has been focusing on creating (initially) forty Wikipedia articles about the Swedish city of Umeå in as many languages as possible. These forty articles have been expanded over the last year by a group of Swedish volunteers and translated into English in the weeks before the contest.

Based on other previous online contests we had set our hopes low with only 25 contributions, but this was reached and surpassed on the very first day of the Challenge! As I am writing this (May 27) we have a stunning 551 contributions by 37 participants! It’s also great to see that 11 languages now have all 40 articles available, making them an excellent source of information about the city of Umeå. We are blown away by this! Because so many languages already had all of the 40 articles created, we decided, 20 days into the contest, to add six more bonus articles. We want to sincerely thank all of you for the hard work on Wikipedia and for spreading information about the contest (and to Amical Wikimedia for the idea of using the simple and elegant WLM design in online writing contests) and to Wikimedia CH for sponsoring a number of special prizes!

So why did we limit ourselves to 40 (+6) articles? Well, the idea was that we wanted to focus the efforts and make it possible for the participants to see how much work was left. During the year we will place signs with “QRpedia codes” next to these 40 historically and culturally important places in Umeå (which is currently the European Capital of Culture). You might already know this, but a QRpedia code is a smart form of a Quick Response (QR) code, which automatically identifies what language you are using on your phone and directs you to the right language version on Wikipedia, so that you can read the article in your native tongue. This is an excellent way for immigrants, international students and tourists to enjoy and learn more about the city. Having all of these articles ready will make it easier for us to come to an agreement with the house owners to put signs on their buildings, so in that sense, the volunteer effort is extremely valuable.

One problem is, for example, that tourists have to pay a lot for the roaming charges, but luckily Umeå already has a city-wide Wifi network that is free to use for 15 minutes per day. On top of the 40 places, we also have QRpedia codes in the exhibits in Guitars – the Museum, connected to famous musicians. Perhaps our next challenge will include these, and Umepedia Challenge 2.0 will surely include other important articles that will support the 40 Umepedia Challenge articles in order to give them more depth. In future contests we will also do our best to improve the point system further to make it even more fair, while keeping it fun and easy.

For anyone interested in organizing translation challenges in the future please feel free to use the handy tool that we developed, where the number of languages an article has been translated into can be counted using calls to the Wikidata API.

The winners of the main prizes in the Challenge are:

1st: User:Satdeep gill = 828 points
2nd: User:Artificial123 = 763 points
3rd: User:ANKAN GHOSH DASTIDER = 710 points
4th: User:Semso98 = 574 points
5th: User:DirkVE = 526 points
6th: User:Stryn = 396 points

Congratulations to all of you!

Warm regards,

John Andersson, Project Manager, Wikimedia Sverige.


Umepedia Challenge är nu över!

Umepedia Challenge är den senaste delen inom QRpedia-projektet Umepedia.

Vinnaren kommer bland annat att kunna visa upp det här fina digitala priset på sin användarsida.

Alla som har deltagit i tävlingen och genom deras insatser än en gång visat hur fantastikt Wikipedia är belönas med det här vackra priset att visa på sin användarsida.

Ett diagram som visar hur många av de ursprungliga fyrtio artiklarna som finns på de olika språken.

Umepedia Challenge har nu kommit till sitt slut och vi är extremt glada över resultatet! Tävlingen ägde rum maj 1-31 och fokuserade på att skapa (inledningsvis) fyrtio artiklar om Umeå på så många språk som möjligt. Dessa fyrtio artiklar har utökats under det gångna året av en grupp svenska volontärer och översattes till engelska under veckorna före tävlingen.

Baserat på andra online-tävlingar satte vi våra förväntningar lågt med enbart 25 bidrag. Detta resultat nåddes och överskreds dock redan första dagen på tävlingen! I skrivande stund (27 maj) har vi imponerande 551 bidrag av 37 deltagare! Det är även fantastiskt att se att 11 språk nu har alla 40 artiklar tillgängliga vilket gör dem till en utmärkt källa för information om Umeå stad. Vi blev verkligen helt överväldigade av detta! Eftersom så många språk redan hade skapat alla 40 artiklar bestämde vi oss för att, 20 dagar in i tävlingen, lägga till ytterligare 6 bonusartiklar. Vi vill rikta ett stort tack till er alla för ert ihärdiga arbete på Wikipedia och för att ni hjälpt till att sprida informationen om tävlingen (och till Amical Wikimedia för idén om att använda den enkla och eleganta WLM-designen för skrivtävlingar online) samt till Wikimedia CH för sponsringen av flera specialpriser.

Så varför begränsade vi oss till 40 (+6) artiklar? Jo, idén var att vi ville fokusera insatsen och göra det enkelt för deltagarna att se hur mycket arbete som återstod. Sedan kommer vi under året att sätta upp skultar med “QRpedia-koder” intill dessa 40 historiskt och kulturellt viktiga platserna i Umeå (som för närvarande är Europeisk kulturhuvudstad). Du kanske redan vet detta men en QRpedia-kod är en smart typ av Quick Response (QR)-kod vilken automatiskt identifierar vilket språk du använder på mobiltelefonen och tar dig till den språkversionen av Wikipedia, så att du kan läsa artikeln på ditt modersmål. Detta är ett utmärkt sätt för invandrare, internationella studenter och självfallet turister att ta del av och lära sig mer om staden. Att ha alla dessa artiklar redo kommer att göra det enklare för oss att komma överens med husägarna om var skyltarna ska sitta så även för detta har volontärinsatsen varit extremt värdefull.

Ett problem är självfallet att exempelvis turister måste betala höga roaming-avgifter, tursamt nog har Umeå redan ett stadstäckande wifi-nät som är fritt att använda 15 minuter om dagen. Utöver de 40 platserna har vi även QRpedia-koder i utställningarna i Guitars – the Museum, kopplade till artiklar om kända artister. Vår nästa utmaning kommer kanske inkludera dessa och Umepedia Challenge 2.0 kommer säkerligen att innehålla mer viktiga sidoartiklar så att de nuvarande artiklarna får mer djup. Då kommer vi även att arbeta vidare på att utveckla ett ännu rättvisare poängsystem som dock kommer att vara fortsatt enkelt, då det är en central aspekt för att göra det roligt.

För den som är intresserad av att organisera översättningstävlingar i framtiden kan vi tipsa om ett bekvämt verktyg som vi utvecklat där antalet språk en artikel har översatts till automatiskt räknas ihop genom anrop till Wikidatas API. Det sparar en hel del tid!

De sex vinnarna i Umepedia Challenge är:

Första: User:Satdeep gill = 828 poäng
Andra: User:Artificial123 = 763 poäng
Tredje: User:ANKAN GHOSH DASTIDER = 710 poäng
Fjärde: User:Semso98 = 574 poäng
Femte: User:DirkVE = 526 poäng
Sjätte: User:Stryn = 396 poäng

Ett stort grattis till samtliga!

Med vänliga hälsningar,

John Andersson, projektledare, Wikimedia Sverige.

A Collaborative Definition of Impact: Building Metrics Together

Voting wall at metrics brainstorming session, Berlin 2014.

What do metrics not tell us?

As part of the Wikimedia Conference in Berlin, on Thursday, April 10, members of the WMF Grantmaking department’s Learning and Evaluation team held a brainstorming session around metrics with chapter representatives from around the world. The aim of the session was to start a conversation around what the evaluation metrics piloted in the (beta) Evaluation Reports tell us about our current programs and what they do not tell us, in terms of program impact.

Sharing evaluation information across the movement helps program leaders all over the world benefit from each others know-how and strategies for program design. Evaluation metrics are important tools to help make decisions like, how much time and how many resources should I invest? Every program has at least one purpose or goal behind it, and having a systematic way to measure the results of those goals helps program leaders to better tell the story of their programs; what worked, what didn’t, why or why not.

During the brainstorming session, we worked in two groups, one focused on image upload based programs, the other focused on text-centered programs, to start to answer three big questions:

  • What outcomes and story do the pilot metrics bring forward?
  • Where are there gaps in the story, or what outcomes do the pilot metrics not measure?
  • How else might we measure the outcomes that are not yet included in the story?


New grantees bring fresh perspectives on research, mobile, and community-building

Individual Engagement Grants to unlock 12 new projects

A new group of Individual Engagement Grantees will be starting to experiment soon, boldly piloting new ideas aimed at improving Wikimedia’s projects and online communities.

This round, the Wikimedia Foundation is supporting 12 projects led by 16 grantees with countless volunteer participants from around the world. For the first time, Individual Engagement Grants are funding mobile app development, Wikipedia research, and projects aimed at improving Wikivoyage and Wiktionary. And we’re excited to learn something new from each new initiative.

Our grantees are excited to begin these new projects too!  As grantee Paul Weiss put it, “Having the support of the community makes me even more motivated to do the research. And feeling accountable for delivering useful results back to the community is a positive thing for me. I expected to be happy if the proposal got funded, but, frankly, I am kind of surprised at how much the news is affecting me!”

For the rest of this year, grantees will be building new tools and strategies for engaging contributors in Wikisource, Wiktionary and Wikivoyage, and surfacing more reference materials for English and Telugu Wikipedians. They’re creating mobile apps aimed at engaging new readers and long-time editors of Wikipedia, and researching Wikipedia’s gender gap and category systems. They’ll aim to grow communities around senior centers and multilingual medical content, and pioneer new ways to encourage Wikipedians to mentor the next generation of editors. And they’ll be sharing their findings on meta-wiki over the coming months, so that we can all follow along.

User:I JethroBT, grantee for Reimagining Mentorship

Introducing Wikimedia’s round 1 2014 Individual Engagement Grantees:

  • Making Telugu Content Accessible, led by Santhosh, funded at 104,000 Rupees.  Santhosh will be creating an online catalog for the Digital Library of India’s collection of Telugu books and making it available to editors of Telugu Wikipedia in search of new sources.
  • Medicine Translation Community Organizing, led by CFCF, funded at $10,000. The project aims to improve volunteer systems and build sustainable community processes for integrating translated medical content into Wikipedia’s various language versions.
  • Open Access Reader, led by Edward Saperia, funded at $6550. This project will experiment with easier workflows for Wikipedia editors to access relevant open access research for use in articles.
  • Optimizing Wikimedia Category Systems, led by Paul J. Weiss, funded at $9750. The researcher will use quantitative analysis and user studies to investigate English Wikipedia’s category systems, providing the community with data to shape future improvements.
  • Promoting Wikivoyage, led by Tammy Bennert, funded at $600. Tammy’s project is our first foray into funding Wikivoyage; she’ll be experimenting with effective and sustainable strategies for engaging tourism bureaus to contribute to English Wikivoyage.


Cancer Research UK, Royal Society and Women Fellows

The photo shows the entrance of one of the Cancer Research UK buildings

The Cambridge Research Institute, one of CRUK’s main research centres.

This post was written by John Byrne, Wikimedian in Residence at both Cancer Research UK and the Royal Society and was first published on the Wikimedia UK blog

I’m fortunate to have been appointed as Wikipedian in Residence at Cancer Research UK (CRUK), the world’s largest cancer research charity, funding over 4,000 research staff working on cancer. The role will run until mid-December 2014 and is funded by Wellcome Trust, a large UK medical research charitable foundation. I’ll be based at CRUK’s London headquarters, the Angel Building in Islington, working there four days a week. Alongside this, until early July I will also be continuing my six month term, on a one day a week basis, in the same role at the Royal Society, the UK’s National Academy of Science.

Part of the role at CRUK will be to work with the existing medical editors on the English Wikipedia to improve our articles on cancer topics, in particular those on the four common cancers which are widely recognised as having the greatest “unmet need” due to little improvement in survival rates in recent decades. These are cancers of the lung, pancreas, brain and oesophagus. CRUK has just announced a new research strategy with an increased focus on these types of cancers, and my role will complement that. I will also be addressing other cancer-related content, for example in relation to the Medical Translation Project of WikiProject Medicine.

CRUK has access, through its own staff and its access to other researchers and clinicians, to tremendous amounts of expertise, both in terms of science and the communication of science, where they have teams trained and experienced in communicating with a wide range of distinct audiences, from those who write their patient information pages in very plain English to the different teams who produce material for scientists and for general audiences. My boss, Henry Scowcroft, writes for CRUK’s award-winning science blog, and is a Wikipedian. I’ll be exploring a number of approaches in hopes of bringing all this expertise to bear on Wikipedia’s content.

Wikimania 2014 in London, about a mile from CRUK’s HQ, is a great opportunity to bring CRUK and many medical Wikipedians together face to face. A novel aspect of the role is that we are planning to conduct research into the experiences on a range of different types of consumers of Wikipedia’s cancer content. There has been very little formal qualitative research into the experiences of Wikipedia’s readers – we hope this project will begin to address this gap, as well as encourage others to carry out similar projects.

I will also be making presentations and conducting training for key groups of CRUK staff and researchers at their five main research centers in London, Manchester, Glasgow, Oxford and Cambridge. Some of this will be traditional how-to-edit training, but I will also be doing some workshops aimed at people who want to contribute reviews and comments, but who don’t expect to do much editing themselves.

On another tack, I will be working on releasing suitable CRUK images on open licenses and uploading them onto Wikimedia Commons. I think the medical diagrams CRUK has created will be especially useful in Wikipedia articles. We’re already making substantial progress towards a substantial release of content.


Luganda Wikipedia project

A logo for Wikipedia in the Ganda language.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to write articles in one of Wikipedia’s least represented languages? Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to combine sustainable development, village and school development and mobile learning with Wikipedia in a developing country? Well, here’s my experience doing just that!

Caroline Gunnarsson & Paulina Backstrom, two Wikipedia ambassadors who taught Wikipedia in English and Luganda in Uganda through a project directed by Wikimedia Sweden & WWF.

Our names are Paulina Bäckström and Caroline Gunnarsson. We are two 20-year-olds from Sweden. Our journey began in 2012, after our first trip to Uganda during high school. As part of an exam we were asked to write Wikipedia articles based on our experiences from the trip. Wikipedia’s unique value as a source of knowledge and educational tool inspired us to embark on a project. To read more about the background of our project, please go to our page at Uganda pilot.

Our project is called “Luganda Wikipedia.” We all know what Wikipedia is, but what’s Luganda? Luganda is Uganda’s second largest language, with about seven million native speakers and ten million second-language speakers. Around 16 million Ganda (people living in the Buganda region), speak Luganda.

However, Luganda is often considered a neglected language. Why? I do not have an answer for that. But when you talk about Luganda being neglected on Wikipedia, I have a bit more insight. In January, the Luganda Wikipedia page contained only 166 articles (!). A deserted Wikipedia indeed. It was disheartening to see so many speakers and readers of the language but so few articles, we wanted to make a change. Wikipedia must be one of the best ways to share knowledge in the modern world. Imagine how much knowledge people in Buganda (and other parts of Uganda) can share with each other, with only access to a computer and internet. The mission for the two of us, was to teach Ugandans how to write in Wikipedia, start a local Wikipedia community and plant a seed for the future of  Wikipedia in Uganda. You can summarize the project like this, as noted on our pilot page: “The purpose is to expand Luganda Wikipedia with articles on sustainable development and open up a world where knowledge is freely accessible to everybody in Uganda.” Beautiful words in theory, but did it work in practice? Let me just say that the number of articles in Luganda have risen from 166 to 198. We have inaugurated Uganda’s first (and perhaps Africa’s first) Wikipedia center (computer center) in a small village called Mbazzi, where villagers, who are almost all farmers, are contributing their knowledge. We have also started “Wiki clubs” at different schools.

Tracker software: Efficiently track grant expenses and support volunteer activity

Thanks to our tracker, we are able to avoid the accountant's nightmare depicted in the image.

Thanks to our tracker, we are able to avoid the accountant’s nightmare depicted in the image.

To ease the administrative burden of tracking grant expenses and to support a higher volume of volunteer activity, the Czech Wikimedia chapter (WM Czech Republic) created their own “tracker” – a lightweight expense tracking system that can be adopted by any organization.

WM Czech Republic has been utilizing this software since 2011 to implement our Mediagrant and Presentation&Outreach programs. These are two of the three Project and Event Grants that our chapter operates under – Mediagrant supports free media creation (see this or this blog post), while Presentation&Outreach deals with promotional activities of our chapter.  Having no executive employees, we needed to develop a procedure to make sure that all receipts are filed, approved, and catalogued. This requires a simple way of controlling the flow of money.

Petr Novák (Che), a member of our chapter, took initiative and looked at the options. First, he considered building the tracker upon a pre-made piece of software, such as Bugzilla. Then, he decided to start from the beginning and develop a completely new and lightweight tracking system. The result is freely accessible online and now includes hundreds of grant expenses. “I have spent about 70 days working on it over the three years – but I never killed the whole day with it”, says Petr Novák when I ask him about the tracker. He adds humbly: “It is a trivial app written in Python using the Django framework. Its sole purpose is to store information about tickets.”

Every „ticket“ (expense) has a catalogue number and includes one or more receipts. Routine tickets, such as minor travel expenses for Mediagrant photographers, are usually filed after the pictures are uploaded to Commons. For major expenses, tickets are written in advance and sent to our grant committee for review and approval.  The ticket page includes a description, list of expenses, a place to upload scanned receipts, and a link to the photos uploaded on Commons. The receipt is the only part of tracker that is not accessible to everyone on the Web since it might contain personal information.

Tickets also track cash flow. They can be marked as ‘draft’, ‘filed’, ‘approved’, ‘catalogued for reimbursement’, and finally ‘reimbursed’. All receipts are handed over to our part-time grant administrator who catalogues them for the accountant to archive. Most importantly, the time period between request for reimbursement and actually transferring the money is usually very short, making it an easy process for our volunteers.

Our tracker includes more than 500 tickets and the number grows on an average of about 5 per week. 76 people, both chapter members and collaborators, have registered in the tracker system and 43 have filed a ticket. A free software released on GitHub, anyone can install Tracker. Alternatively, you can contact me and I’ll put you in touch with Petr Novák who is willing to install the tracker for any Wikimedia organization on their server.

Tracker has allowed our chapter to support an increasing amount of volunteer activity and improve our administrative processes. It’s simple, easy, and will help your community and programs grow!

Vojtěch Dostál is a board member of Wikimedia Czech Republic. He would like to express his gratitude to Alexandra Wang from the WMF Grantmaking team for her immense help with the draft of this post.

“Wiki Learning” to be adopted at Mexico’s Tec de Monterrey

This post is available in 2 languages:
English  • Spanish


Project leaders Dr. Lourdes Epstein, Leigh Thelmadatter and Dr. Paola Ricaurte.

Tec de Monterrey has officially adopted Wiki Learning throughout the school system, working with Wikimedia projects as part of its continuing effort to develop a 21st century pedagogy for the institution.

Tec de Monterrey is Mexico’s largest private university system, with 34 campuses throughout Mexico. In 2013, this system, based in Monterrey, Mexico, launched an ambitious program called the Tec 21 Educational Model (Modelo Educativo Tec 21) to redesign teaching and learning methods for all of its programs, from high school to the graduate level. Recognizing that students learn differently in the digital age and that graduates need skills beyond mastery of the subject matter to succeed, the program is part of an effort to encourage and strengthen in students 21st century skills and to improve the universities’s standing among other institutions in Mexico, Latin America and the world.

The earliest assignments with Wikipedia at Tec de Monterrey were in 2007 with advanced English students at the Toluca campus. These assignments were continued at the Mexico City Campus in 2010 and have since developed to include various levels of English, as well as classes in journalism, communication and Spanish for foreigners. The Mexico City Campus’s initiative to have students translate Wikipedia articles (from the language students are studying — English — into their native language: Spanish) came to the attention of the Wikipedia Education Program, which later adopted the model in Egyptian universities in 2012. Since then, translation assignments have become relatively common in schools that use Wikipedia.

Tec students organized Mexico’s first Wikipedia student group, today under the name of Wiki Borregos. Other innovations include assignments involving the uploading of images, creation of sound files and illustrations, using photo descriptions to impart language and cultural knowledge, and Wikipedia work to satisfy community service requirements for both International Baccalaureate and undergraduate students.


Wikipedia Zero will accelerate Wikipedia in Nepal

This post is available in 2 languages:
English  • Nepali

Screenshot of Nepali Wikipedia.

This is a guest post from Nepali Wikipedian Ganesh Paudel and does not necessarily express the views of the Wikimedia Foundation. 

On May 6th mobile operator NCELL announced the launch of Wikipedia Zero in Nepal. Wikipedia Zero is expected to be a very useful service in Nepal, where over 90% of internet users access the internet using their mobile phones. The service will provide Nepalese users in very remote areas access to Wikipedia – free of cost. The local Wikipedia community, Wikipedia Education Program leaders, Wiki Poject Med and all volunteer contributors are excited by the news.

The Wikipedia Zero team and local Wikimedians are communicating with Nepal Telecom, the government owned mobile operator company, to encourage them to start this service as well. Throughout the years, Wikipedia has been established as an increasingly effective educational tool. There will surely be an acceleration in use and expansion of Wikipedia after launching Wikipedia Zero in Nepal. Currently, five languages have pages that serve the Nepal Wikipedia community – Nepali, Newari, Bhojpuri, Pali and Sanskrit. Ten other language Wikipedia pages are in test phases. This service will broaden the path to develop local content in all 123 languages spoken in Nepal.

So what exactly is Wikipedia Zero? Wikipedia Zero is a free browsing service that allows users to surf Wikipedia pages without incurring data charges. The name refers to the zero cost of using the service. The Wikimedia Foundation provides this service in collaboration with mobile operators. If the user clicks on an external link, a message will warn them that ‘this service is chargeable’ to ensure that accidental data charges are not acquired.