Grants:PEG/Tinucherian and Shijualex/Wiki Community development in India and newsletter/Report

Report accepted
This report for a Project and Event grant approved in FY 2011-12 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
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Report for the grant Wiki Community development in India and newsletter received by Shiju Alex and Tinu Cherian from the Wikimedia Foundation, USA.



The primary objective of the project was to build wiki communities across India. This could be achieved only by bringing together Wikipedians and Wiki-enthusiasts in various towns and cities through Wiki-Meetups and Wiki-Academies. We conducted more than ten such events in nine states.

Please note that some of the community building efforts mentioned in this report were executed while Shiju was working as consultant (2011 Oct to 2012 Nov) to WMF India Programs. Also note that Both Shiju and Tinu as volunteers, Shiju as India Programs consultant and Tinu as Board member of Wikimedia India Chapter, were actively involved in spearheading several other Wikimedia meetups and other outreach programmes, which are not covered/mentioned as part of this grant/project.




Date: 2010 November 14
Venue: ThoughtWorks Technologies (India) Pvt Ltd, Thiru Vi Ka Industrial Estate, Guindy, Chennai

This Wikipedian meetup in the South Indian city of Chennai was held on 14 November, 2010. We preferred to call it the second Meetup in Chennai as there was a WikiCamp in early 2007. There are some small unofficial Wikipedian gatherings in the city reported earlier.

A total of 45 Wikipedians and Wiki-enthusiasts attended this meetup that was conducted over a whole day. The pre-lunch session had a Wiki Marathon and a formal WikiMeetup after the lunch. Tamil Wikipedian Ravishankar (User:Ravidreams) gave a brief intro about Wiki Marathon and participants with laptops worked collaboratively on the marathon. Many newbies turned up in the morning itself. There were around 20 participants for the Wikimarathon. The post lunch session was started by 2:30 PM with a round of introductions of the attendees. Srikanth Lakshmanan (User:Logicwiki) gave an introductory presentation about Wikipedia and the different ways to contribute to it (Presentation). Mohamed Mahir Ahamed Ibrahim (User:Mahir) gave an introduction about Tamil Wikipedia and other Tamil WikiProjects. Ravi announced the landmark achievement of Tamil wikitionary being the 9th largest Wikitionary in the world. There were a lively Q & A session on various topics from Contributing to Indic wikipedias, Tamil input schemes, Copyrights, Vandalism, Credibility of information etc. User:Shijualex gave a small talk about Malayalam wiki community activities. One of the senior editor of Tamil Wiki and a retired Tamil professor , User:Sengai Podhuvan spoke a few minutes about his activities in wiki world. This was one of first public Wiki events Sengai Podhuvan attended and later he was even featured in the annual fund raising banners. Emphasis to promote Tamil Wikipedia was given in this meetup, held at the capital city of the state of Tamil Nadu. A call for future regular meetups were welcomed by the participants. This meetup was organised by Tinu Cherian, Shiju Alex with support from Srikanth L, Ravishankar , Mahir and many other Wikipedians. The venue was given by ThoughtWorks Technologies for free. Tinu Cherian drove back and forth the some of the Wikipedians from Bangalore-Chennai, along with him. All of the organizers stayed in their relatives-friends' houses to reduce the costs.


Date: 2010 December 11
Venue: The Computer Society of India (CSI), Kolkata office

The first Wikipedian Wiki-meetup at Kolkata, the capital of the State of Bengal, on 11 December, 2010. The meetup was organised by Tinu Cherian, Shiju Alex and Kolkata based Bengali Wikipedian Jayanta Nath and Indranil Das Gupta. The meetup was help at office auditorium of The Computer Society of India (CSI), Kolkata office.

After the general introductions by the attendees, Tinu Cherian and Shiju Alex gave an introduction to Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Projects. Jayanta Nath gave a detailed introduction to Bengali Wikipedia and how to contribute to it. An enthusiastic Q & A discussion was followed by networking and refreshments provided by CSI.

The city of Kolkata hosted at least 9 Wikimeetups after this first meetup.


Date: 2011 February 12
Venue: Sarai-CSDS, Civil Lines, New Delhi

The first workshop for Hindi wiki projects was held on 2011 February 12 at Sarai-CSDS, Civil Lines, New Delhi.The workshop was attended by more than 35 participants. The workshop was divided into two sessions. The first session was an Introductory presentation about wiki, Wikipedia, and Hindi wikiprojects. In the second session we introduced wiki editing to the participants. There was also a short introduction about WikiBhasha by the representatives form Microsoft.

Shiju Alex assisted Hindi Wikipedian Mayur to organize this workshop. More details of this workshop is available in the report mail that Mayur sent to Wikimedia India list on 2011 February 15. Also see this mail sent by Shiju

Photographs from this workshop are available at


Date: 2011 February 20
Venue: National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli

The first meetup at Trichy/Tiruchirappalli was held on Feb 20, 2011 at National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli. This event was hosted along with the inter-college festival Pragyon. Wikipedians Bala Jeyaraman (User:Sodabottle), Srikanth L and Tinu Cherian organised the event, along with the student organizers. We were at the venue for 2 days in entirety. On the second day, there was a formal Wiki Meetup and Academy attended by more than 100 people.

For two days, we were provided with a stall where we were able to interact with 100s of participants from various colleges in Tamil Nadu, who have come for attending the college festival. The responses at the Wikipedia stall was overwhelmingly positive with students saying that they will edit in the future. We explained to them on how to contribute to various Wikimedia Projects and also clarified their various doubts. Most of the students we met claim they a) know they can edit wikipedia and b) have made some minor edits. Some admitted they didnt know they could edit and some believed they contribute only to articles on academic subjects etc. We gave them the standard - give back your knowledge to the world + participate in an exciting world wide project pitch. We also distributed a Wikipedia flier to the people visiting the stalls. Another good thing that came out the stall was we were able to convince the members of the NIT photography club to CC/SA licence their work and upload it to flickr/commons. There was an exhibition of their works in the same area where our stall was situated and featured several high quality images, that can be used to illustrate articles on Indian subjects. They have promised to set up flickr stream for their works with appropriate licensing.

On Day 2, We conducted the meetup/workshop in the NIT computer lab. We had requested the college authorities to allow people who doesn't have to register for the college festival to gain entry for the sessions. The computer lab had a seating capacity of around 100 seats and the college had to screen the interested via an aptitude process to restrict the number of attendees of the students. Three middle aged wiki enthusiasts also attended to hear about Tamil wikipedia. One of them was a HOD of the Computer science department at an arts and science college near Trichy. He was impressed with our workshop and said from now on he will encourage his students to edit Wikipedia.

Tinu started the presentation with a general introduction to Wikipedia, the foundation, its history, the various projects languages etc. Bala did the second session on helping the attendees on how to contribute to Wikipedia and other projects. There was a live editing session where all the participants could try editing Wikipedia at the same session. Bala also introduced Tamil wikipedia and explained how easy it is to contribute using the various typing tools available. There was then a brief question session, which featured some insightful questions about our external links policy, handling regional language variations (srilankan Tamil vs Tamil Nadu Tamil), using Wiktionary, the difference between Wikibooks, Wikisource and Wikipedia. Srikanth took over the third session was about Wikipedia hacking - bots, mediawiki, programming tools, databases, scripts and Wiki software.

The students had arranged for a Wikipedia Birthday cake to celebrate the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Wikipedia. The college organizers were kind enough to provide us with free accommodation for the three of us.

A detailed report on the two-days event was recorded by Bala is here.


Date: 2011 April 03
Venue: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bhubaneswar

This Meetup held in Bhubaneshwar on April 03, 2011 was the first Wiki-Meetup/Academy in the state of Odisha, the home of Odia language.

The 2nd Odia Wikipedia Academy (First one was held in Bangalore) was held at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bhubaneswar. This was the first outreach academy of Odia Wikipedia in Odisha to bring an awareness andmotivate common mass from different educational and social background. Odia Wikipedia was started way back in 2002 and was one of the four Indian languages, Asamese, Malayalam, Odia, Punjabi. But because of the lack of proper awareness and activism there was a snail movement for almost 8 years. Shiju introduced Odia Wiki projects to many fellow Odias which later motivated them to bring the Wiki movement back to the first Odia Wikipedia Academy, conducted in Bengaluru.

Dhanada Mishra of Human Resource Development Management Studies had formally inaugurated this event. A FAQ Booket was released by and distributed among the first time participants of the Wikipedia Workshop. Wikipedians Shiju Alex and Tinu Cherian were also took active part in facilitating the event. The workshop was conducted by Odia Wikiali (Odia version of an Wikipedian/User) Subhashish Panigrahi.

The whole Academy/Workshop, attended by at least 30 people, was conducted in 2 main sections, Subha introduced Odia Wikipedia to the audience, said about the history and the development and current status. The second session was focused on how to type in Odia using the transliteration/Inscript tool which was newly incorporated, solving typing issues, searching existing articles, creating articles and editing for enhancement of old article. In this session he has demonstrated how to add content using the commonly used syntaxes, adding pictures and other media files. This was an interactive session where the audience interacted with the demonstrator and each other and several discussions went on based on the major issues. Several participants from from the nearby management colleges, engineering students, entrepreneurs, college students have also participated. At the end of the session a lotion based core group of active users was formed which will be promoting the Wikipedia movement and bringing more and more contributors to enhance it, make it more user friendly and make it reach to masses.

This meetup triggered the growth of various Odia meetups/academies at different part of the Odisha state and also to the growth of Odia Wiki Projects.


Date: 2011 May 28
Venue: Karnataka University, Dharwad

A Kannada Wikipedia Workshop was organized in Dharwad last week, the first ever such workshop in North Karnataka. Shiju Alex was also part of this workshop. Total 51 people participated in this workshop.

More details of this workshop is available in the blog written by Hariprasad nadig who designed this workshop. It is available here Photographs of this workshop is available at


Date: 2011 June 11
Venue: District Library, Kannur

A meetup of Malayalam wikipedians was held in Kannur on 2011 June 11. This meetup was attended was close to 80 particpants. Malayalam wikipedians released the first ever wikisource CD during this meetup. There are numerous news reports (both in malayalam and English) came about this meetup. Few in English are listed below:

Shiju Alex was one of the main organizers of this meetup.Only a portion of the meetup expenses (expenses which was not able to cover locally) is supported from this grant amount.

Few Photographs are available at




Date: 2012 January 29 -
Venue: Guwahati University Computer Science Department

This was the first wiki meetup of Assamese wikipedians and Shiju assisted Assamese wikipedians to organize this workshop.The meetup started at 2:30 PM with the welcome speech by Assamese Wikipedian Jyothi Prasad (User:Jpnath008)who was the main organizer of the first wikimeetup. After the welcome speech computer science department HOD Dr. Anjana Kakati Mahanta inaugurated the first wiki meetup. In the inaguaration speech she mentioned that she was very glad that she could host the first wiki meetup of Assamese wikipedians and extended support for future wiki meetups also. Then User:Psneog a senior Assamese Wikipedian and Asst. Prof at NIT Silchar, shared his experience with the Assamese Wikipedia and his vision about the future of Assamese wiki projects. After that all the participants introduced themselves.

Then User:Gitartha.bordoloi started the Introduction to Wikipedia session. More details of this workshop is available in the email report that Shiju Alex sent to Wikimedia India list on 2012 February 04 ( Photographs from this meetup is available at


Date:2012 February 01
Venue:Tezpur University Computer Science Department

The second Assamese wikipedia meetup was happened at Tezpur.

The Meetup began at 11.30 a.m with the welcome speech by user Dipankar Chetia. The CS Departmental Head of Tezpur University Utpal Sarma has also attended this meetup. The welcome speech was followed by the introduction of all the attendees. During the introduction the Assamese Wikipedia FAQ booklets were distributed among the participants. Most of the attendees were new to Wikipedia or to Assamese Unicode writing.

After Welcome speech and introduction, CS Department Head of Tezpur University Utpal Sarma gave a short speech on the importance of Assamese content in web and expanding the Assamese Wikipedia.

After this Dipankar Chetia gave a presentation on different Wikimedia projects and present scenario of Assamese Wikipedia. The presentation also provided a basic introduction of Assamese Wikipedia to the new people. This is followed by a small editing session which is lead by Bishnu Saikia.

More details of this workshop is available in the email report that Shiju Alex sent to Wikimedia India list on 2012 February 04 ( Photographs from this meetup is available at



There were 3 Punjabi Wikipedia workshops organized under the guidance of Shiju Alex. Following are the details


Date:2012 July 28
Venue:College of Computer and Information Technology (CCIT), Ludhiana

The first ever workshop for Punjabi happened in Ludhiana, Punjab. Surinder Wadhawan, a Mumbai based Wikipedian played an important role in designing this workshop and introducing Punjabi Wikipedia to the Punjabi speakers. The interest and enthusiam showed by Surinder encouraged long-time Punjabi wikipedian G.S.Guglani to join this workshop.

About 25 participants came over for this workshop. The College of Computer and Information Technology (CCIT) supported in hosting this event.

More details of this workshop is available at and few photographs are available at,_Ludhiana


Date:2012 August 16
Venue:Punjabi University, Patiala

Patiala is the home to the famous Punjabi University. A Wikipedia workshop was organized at the Punjabi University’s Punjabi Department on August 16, 2012.

Once Guglani’s support was confirmed we looked for suitable places to conduct the introduction workshop for Punjabi Wikipedia. Guglani himself suggested Patiala, Ludhiana, and Amritsar as the probable places to conduct the Punjabi Wikipedia introduction workshops. Prof. Rajinder Brar, Head of the Punjabi Department agreed to provide full support to conduct a workshop at Patiala.

About 30 participants including students and teachers attended the workshop. Guglani played a pivotal role in organizing the workshop. Shiju Alex gave ample support.

More details of this workshop is available at and few photographs are available at


Date:2012 August 17
Venue:Spring Dale Senior School, Amritsar

After Ludhiana and Patiala we came to Amritsar, which we all know is home to the Golden Temple and the spiritual centre of Sikh religion, to introduce Punjabi Wikipedia. The workshop was held at the Spring Dale Senior School, Amritsar on August 17, 2012.

When we decided to conduct a Punjabi Wikipedia introduction workshop at Amritsar, the location was an issue. We tried to contact many institutes (mostly colleges) over phone. We couldn’t get the permission. Finally, Punjabi Wikipedian G.S. Guglani directly approached the Spring Dale senior school management with the request for a space to do the Punjabi Wikipedia introduction workshop. Spring Dale is a famous English medium school in Amritsar. The school principal, Rajiv Sharma not only agreed to host the workshop but also made arrangements to bring selected students and teachers from eight other schools in Amritsar to join the workshop. Actually this was a bonus for us since we asked just a meeting place to host our workshop but not only we got the meeting place, we got assured participation from eight other schools and the permission to use the computer lab to conduct the hands-on wiki editing session. Nearly 50 participants including students and teachers from eight different schools apart from the students and teachers of Spring Dale School attended the workshop. One of the active and long-time Punjabi Wikipedian Guglani Gurdip Singh lead the workshop with the active support from Shiju and Subhasish.

More details of this workshop is available at and few photographs are available at





The primary purposes of Pune exercise were to 1) help in the training of Wikipedia ambassadors as part of IEP training 2) help in the media coverage of the Wikimedia Foundation India Projects, India Education Project 3) attend the regular Pune meetup, meet the city wikipedians and improve the inter-city community collaborations. As part of this, Tinu Cherian participated in the two day IEP Ambassador Program training and the Pune Wikimedia meetup 14.

Some of the news coverage that came out of this includes :

Times of India and The Hindu are the largest and most widely read English Newspapers in India. Sakaal Times is a widely read newspaper in Maharashtra, published both in English and Marathi.



The entire effort for the newsletter was done by a bunch of volunteers from various Indic languages. The first edition of newsletter was released on 24 September 2010. Shiju Alex did the project coordination. The second edition of the newsletter also (renamed as Wikipatrika) was brought out with the help of volunteers. Shiju Alex. Tinu, and Achal Prabhala were the project coordinators. The third edition of the newsletter was brought out under the leadership of Noopur Raval, Consultant, India Programs.

Since the Newsletter is entirely an online effort there was no direct involvement of grant amount in this. But since newsletter is a direct output of community development there is indirect involvement of grant amount. The archive of the Newsletter is available here

Grant Specific Questions


Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?


Project goal and measures of success


Project goal


The project goal was to seed and develop Wikimedia/Wikipedian communities in different parts of India , by setting up Wikimeetups & Wikiworkshops in different cities and towns in India. The aim was also take forward the Wikimedia India newsletter initiative further.

Measures of success


When we started the project in India, there wasn't much support for the languages and active communities for their meetups. In many of the meetups that we organised, it happened to be the very first meetup for the particular language or the state. These meetups and academies sowed the seeds for wiki community growth in various states/towns or the language.

Community growth for cities like Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar and Guwahati and for languages like Odia, Assamese and Punjabi happened only after these initial meetups that we organised. As you can see from the Wikimedia Stats, the number of active editors in most of these languages were very low or near nil during mid 2010 when we started community building using this grant. The languages and cities mentioned above has an active Wikimedian community now. The cities like Kolkata and Bhubaneshwar hosted many Wikimeetups after this first meetup.

We also got large press coverages after these efforts (see the summary of the meetups above), which also increased awareness and knowledge about Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects in the country.

Lessons learned


What lessons were learned that may help others succeed in similar projects?

To run a project of this scale, it needs much passion and dedication from the volunteers. To start the meetup, it involves a long process of identifying interested local volunteer(s), training them , finding a suitable venue and make other logistics and publicity. We were not able to conduct meetups in many other potential cities and towns because we were unable to find such volunteers.

It is imperative that the local volunteers share enough passion and enthusiasm to conduct more meetups and academies in that place.

A lot of expenses couldn't be accounted and reimbursed due to non-availability of bills ( auto fares, food in rural areas, phone calls, and so on) and had to borne by us or volunteers. These type of expenses need to be covered by some mechanism as part of the grant agreement (if there are similar grant allocation in India).

What impact did the project have on WMF mission goals of Increased Reach, Increased Quality, Increased Credibility, Increased and Diversified Participation?

Through this project, we were able to reach more people, increase participation in various Wikimedia projects and build core communities for various language Wikipedias.

We believe that we were able to seed the initial community building efforts in India. We hope the multiple entities that support WMF in India can take forward the wiki community building in India. Going forward we will not be able to contribute actively in these community building efforts due to our personal and professional priorities.

Reporting and documentation of expenditures


Documentation of expenditures has been received by WMF.

Remaining funds are due to WMF. The grantee should return these funds to WMF by bank transfer. Contact grantsadmin at wikimedia dot org to let WMF know to expect the funds. Instructions for returning funds to WMF are at Grants:Return unused funds to WMF.

Did you send WMF documentation of all expenses paid for with grant funds?


Details of expenditures:

Serial Number City/State/Language Amount in INR
1 Chennai (Tamil) 3807.90
2 Kolkata (Bengali) 29528.22
3 Delhi (Hindi) 13839.00
4 Trichy 6611.00
5 Bhubaneshwar (Odia) 34430.00
6 Dharward (Kannada) 19306.23
7 Pune 12944.00
8 Kannur (Malayalam) 8976.00
9 Assam (Assamese) 3415.00
10 Punjab (Punjabi) 5395.5

Of the Rs 3,53,105.17 received from the Foundation as part of the grant, Rs 1,38,308.00 was spent and the remaining amount of Rs 2,14,797.17 that need to be returned. (Provisional amount, subject to final auditing)

We spent only around 40 percent of the grant amount to conduct more than 10 events. Going forward we will not be able to contribute actively in these community building efforts due to our current personal and professional priorities. Hence we intend to close the project and return the balance amount to WMF.

We apologize for the delay in submitting this report and closing this project.

Will you be requesting re-allocation of remaining grant funding?


Will you be returning unused funds to the Wikimedia Foundation?

Yes. Inform us the procedure for that.


Will you be requesting an extension or were you granted an extension?

No. We do not want to extend the grant.