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Community Projects 2 August 2017

The Internet Society and Wikimedia Team Up to Empower Everyday Heroes

By Joyce DogniezGuest AuthorVice President, Empowerment and Outreach, Internet Society Foundation

The best education materials are inclusive, equitable, and high-quality, and they promote lifelong learning. One of the best tools for sharing these types of materials is the Internet. However, the body of education materials currently available online is not yet as inclusive and equitable as it could be.

So many of us default to looking online for anything we want to know. Wikipedia alone covers more than 40 million articles in nearly 300 languages. With this scope, it can sometimes feel like things that haven’t happened online haven’t happened in real life. And that’s a problem — especially because so many of the facts that don’t make their way online are about women, people of colour, and the global south.

The good news is: We can help. Today, we are proud to announce that the Internet Society and the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that supports Wikipedia and the Wikimedia sites, are collaborating on a new competition called the “Chapterthon,” to support projects that extend the education benefits of the Internet to more people around the world.

To participate, any Internet Society Chapter can propose a project within a timeline and budget to achieve a common goal for the development of education and the Internet. This proposal can be made jointly with a local group of Wikimedia volunteers, creating a great collaboration opportunity between the Internet Society and Wikimedia volunteers worldwide.

No one knows more than you about the kind of content people in your community wish they could find online. Now is your chance to get it there. By posting local content that matters to people where you live, you are doing your part to help shape the Internet into one of the world’s most valuable tools — a tool that could help close the gender gap, and bring equal education access to people everywhere.

Your proposal could spark something we never thought possible. Maybe it’s an online lecture about the best way to grow crops on local soil. Maybe it’s instructions about how to use the Internet in a language that lacks those instructions. Maybe it’s training local leaders to set up an Internet cafe. Whatever you see missing in your community, we want to support you in answering that need. The strongest proposals will win a grant of $2,000 USD to realize their visions, and one final project will win $3,000 USD.

Events like the Chapterthon help us reach beyond our usual space, but we can’t do it without you. If you want to be part of making the Internet a truly equitable and inclusive resource, please help us include a diverse array of people who use the Internet to make change in their communities.

You can find additional information and proposal forms on the Internet Society website. We look forward to seeing what you make happen!

Joyce Dogniez, Senior Director, Global Engagement, Internet Society
Jorge Vargas, Regional Manager LATAM, Strategic Partnerships, Wikimedia Foundation

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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