User:Reg/Sustainable Wikimedia Center
Abstract: This is a Project Proposal regarding the creation and support of an Open-Knowledge-oriented center in Bamako, Mali.
Wikimedia in Wikimedia Center is used in this document as a shortcut to everything related to the Free Knowledge movements. It refers to every Wikimedia projects of course, but also Open Street Map, Free Softwares, Free cultures, Peer-education, and every projects centered around sharing knowledge.
We found the term Wikimedia to be relatively easy to assimilate to those by this document's audience.
Who we are
We are a group of Free Knowledge enthusiasts in Bamako with supportive friends abroad. In the past years, we've achived:
- moulin, the Offline Wikipédia reader (now Kiwix). Deployed widely in Mali and distributed in the middle east.
- La Source, a wooden-made Offline free content (books, movies, software) kiosk.
- Bamanakan and Songhai in the French Wiktionary (4,000+ words)
- Wiktionary-to-paper dictionary converter.
- Open Street Map of Bamako.
- Advocacy & Trainings.
The project would be implemented by a private Malian software company (Yeleman) in which some of us work.
Yeleman is a small Malian company providing software services which are all Free Softwares.
Yeleman has already been contracted a couple of times by Wikimedia CH to work in related areas.
Since 2007 and the success of our Wikipedia reader, we have wanted to create such a Wikimedia Center. We have invested a lot of personal money, time and efforts into this without success.
In our mind, a Wikimedia Center is a place where anybody can come to:
- Learn about the Projects, the Movement, what's going on.
- Receive training in using those projects.
- Receive training in contributing to those projects.
- Receive assistance & support.
- Access resources (Computer, Internet, Camera, etc)
We did provide all this but it always collapsed due to the lack of Money & Human resources.
Money is needed to pay for Computers, furnitures, Internet connection, the rent of the place, the electricity bill, accessories and to fix equipments. Because we wanted this to be 100% free for users, we had to pay for everything ourselves. A couple of motivated volunteers can't handle that for long.
- Human resources. We wanted to rely only on volunteers also.
Because there was no volunteers at first, we were needed a lot but we hadn't enough time for it.
It's been more than a couple of years since we abandoned efforts on the Center Project. Not that there is no need for it, but because we had no strong plan for it to be sustainable. We believe we are now ready to experiment something else and are sure it will succeeded this time.
Our solution is to tie it with the co-working space that Yeleman is about to open. The co-working space (Jokkolabs) has various objectives from which a few are shared with the Center:
- The space is part of the Jokkolabs Movement. A Network of co-working space (Senegal, France so far) valuing open knowledge and community interactions. Learn more on the website.
- The space does not target primarily the Center audience but entrepreneurs and is thus paid-for. This is critical as this will ensure the sustainability of all activities.
- The space provides all the logistical resources needed: place, seats, connectivity, electricity, etc.
- The space is closed every Friday afternoon to host events and trainings. This is where the Center becomes active by providing regular, open presentations and trainings on Wikimedia activities.
- The space is closed on Week-ends to allow enthusiasts to regroup and work together on activities.
- The space hosts an Afripedia hot-spot with permanent access on the terrace.
- The space offers a couple of co-working seats for top contributors.
Beside, the space also offers:
- Great working environment for a fantastic price.
- Weekly (when not Wikimedia) presentations and trainings on Entrepreneurship, Knowledge building/sharing, Technology, Open Data, etc.
- A Community of workers and value-sharing people. In Senegal, Jokkolabs achieved to build a sense of community to the various Linux, Free Software, Activists groups.
Pairing the Center with the co-working space solves the Money & Resources problem clearly. It ensures also that the space will be running for long as the co-working space is not-for-profit and all revenues are invested in the space (Jokkolabs policy).
Also, the frequent, regular, dedicated presentations & trainings on Wikimedia ensures that we will be able to reach a lot of people. A part of those numerous attendees is expected to embrace the movement and become trainers and leaders. Once we have leaders, the community is on rails and we'll mostly provide resources and space (week-ends).
Initial results from Afripedia and attendees of the Afripedia weekly meetings at the University shows a great interest at least for students. Afripedia leaders are eager to see the Center alive to take over on advanced training and create a city-wide community (center is located on the other bank of the city).
The co-working space is ready to open soon as Yeleman invested a lot of efforts and Money into it already:
- Space-creation work (construction, security, paintings)
- Solar-powered electricity backup
- Load-balanced Internet Connection setup
- A/C in both co-working/presentation space & Meeting Room
- Furnitures and equipments (screen, projector, white board, etc)
- Trainings chairs
Those investments are close to $10,000 which is a lot of money for our small company (r.c the co-working space is non-profit).
We are seeking assistance from the Wikimedia movement in paying the recurrent costs for the first year of operation. Indeed, there is no co-working space in Mali and the values we are bringing in are very disruptive to the Malian culture where knowledge is an asset that you don't share nor even sell because that's a way to earn money.
We thus expect sustainability to take some time as we turn protective entrepreneurs into social change actors.
Here's a list of
|Item||Cost in XOF||Quantity||Total||USD (450F)|
|Internet Connection (384kbps) / year||324,000F||3||972,000F||$2,160|