Schools, education organisations and Wikimedia foundations from across Europe will be working together for the next three years as part of the 'WikiWomen' project. The project partners, in Friesland (NL), the Basque Country (ES) and Ireland (IE) are committed to using Wikipedia in minority language areas in Europe as a tool for teaching digital literacy, social engagement and language skills. The project is funded by the European Commission's Erasmus Plus programme, intended for projects in the fields of education, training, youth and sport.
"Statistics show us that there aren’t enough articles that relate to women on Wikipedia," says Mirjam Vellinga, coordinator of the project at Afûk, the main educational organisation for the Frisian language in The Netherlands. "There is much less writing about women, because the articles that are written on Wikipedia are written by mainly men and are often about men. On the Dutch Wikipedia, for example, only 18% of biographies are about women. We would like to make students and teachers aware of this too. "
Smaller languages can also struggle to have a large enough digital presence. "So it all boils down to two levels of emancipation: the emancipation of the minority language and the emancipation of the woman," Vellinga summarises.
The fact that the project is carried out in three different countries offers great opportunities for pupils and teachers. Pupils and teachers from the three regions come into contact with each other through various exchanges during the project. Mirjam Vellinga: "For students, this will be a kind of 'Wikithons' where they can work on their articles together under the guidance of experts and Wikipedia organisations. "
In March, partners came together in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands for a two-day meeting. The focus was sharing knowledge and experience, but also working on the first steps for the project in the coming months.
Contact: Simon Tubb, project manager, Learning Hub Friesland.