The methodology to be adopted for conducting the outreach program must be inclusive and based on democratic values and principles. The program should be implemented in a manner that it does not disrupt the harmony and solidarity within an ethnic community and among different ethnic communities. [Editor's note: The topic of ownership of collective knowledge can be sensitive, complex and thorny. Wikimedians should be extremely careful while organising, carrying out and publicising their activities for outreach and engagement with ethnic minorities and indigenous groups. These activities should not result in unintended consequences for the minority/ indigenous group or for the Wikimedians involved.]
In order to fully engage members of the target group(s):
- We should make use of simple and familiar technologies [such as affordable devices and popular mobile phone apps], which can be easily understood and applied by the communities. [Editor's note: " We" in this learning module refers to the prospective organisers of the outreach program.]
- We could consider residential training [that is, programs that require participants to stay at the site of training for a defined duration].
- There should be a plan for continual and consistent engagement of the individuals trained at such programs. Such engagement includes field work, online correspondence [with peers and mentors] and short, regular meetings. It ensures that the group of trainees stay informed of the latest developments and updates [regarding outreach, the progress of programs and inclusivity in the Wikimedia movement].
- The use of online sources of knowledge and information such as Wikipedia can be taught to youth groups who already have access to and make use of the Internet.
- After completing #3 and #4, a local community of Wikimedians and resource persons needs to be brought together. [via meetups in person, local mailing lists, social media groups with restricted access, etc.] In the future, members of the Wikimedia community will act as intermediaries between local indigenous groups/ ethnic minority groups and global communities.
- Where Internet connectivity is poor or unreliable, alternative ways of accessing the Internet may be explored. [Editor's note: Alternative modes of access could include community-owned network infrastructure.]
- We should initiate and run a "community e-information centre", a resource hub for local ethnic minorities and indigenous groups. In rural areas and villages, the centre should preferably be managed by local Wikimedians trained via the outreach project. The e-information centre may also serve as a marketplace, a platform for discussing the community's issues and promoting its traditional values via media,and so on. [Editor's note: By "community e-information centre", the author refers to a brick-and-mortar room or kiosk where community members access the Internet for the purpose of consuming and producing knowledge and information. Using the resources at the centre, members may be able to contribute to or make use of Wikipedia and its sister projects.] It will be a way of bridging the gap between ethnic minority/ indigenous groups and more privileged populations. It will also serve as a process for coping with the trend of development while retaining minorities' economy, culture and tradition.
Preparing the design for the outreach program
- The location and habitation of the ethnic minority or indigenous group should be identified. The group's origin, traditional and current sources of livelihood, way of life, the issues they face, the nature of problems they cope with, their hopes, aspirations, values interests, beliefs and practices may all be included in the content necessary for the program.
- The factors that are still relevant to the changing situation [in terms of the group's economic status, environmental conditions, the loss of native or indigenous languages and so on] should be clearly spelt out. The community should be actively consulted and informed in determining the way to bridge the gap [so that they may actively access and contribute to] Wikipedia or its sister projects.
- It is necessary to address these two questions: "What are the things ethnic minority/ indigenous communities are forced to cope with? What are the things that the world could learn from people who are are underrepresented?"
- Answers to the above questions will also address the knowledge gap between younger generations and older ones, especially the bearers of traditional knowledge. It will also serve as a learning process for all parties involved, a process of equal economic development, peace and justice.