Education/Newsletter/January 2015/100+ Indian college students will contribute to Wikipedia to support national pilgrimage

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By Abhishek Suryawanshi (Wikipedia Education Program India), Anna Koval (WMF)

Wikipedia Workshop student participants in Nashik, India

Snippet: Intensive training was held in India for more than 100 students to contribute content about their town on Wikipedia.

In August 2015, 30 million people will pass through India as part of a pilgrimage known as the Kumbh Mela. The Kumbh is one of the largest human gatherings in the world. Many tourists will be visiting the city of Nashik to attend Kumbh Mela and so many will use Wikipedia to get information about the city during the event.

In honor of the Kumbh, MIT Media Labs is hosting series of Kumbathon workshops in Nashik, India. As part of this two-month project, more than 100 college students will upload information and photographs of their home city to Wikipedia. The project aims at developing, correcting and expanding the available information about the city on Wikipedia in English, Marathi, and Hindi languages in particular.

The first workshop was on the 3rd and 4th of January at the Nashik campus of the Institute of Engineers (India). More than 100 students from 7 different colleges participated in the workshops. Indian Wikipedia Education Program Ambassador Abhishek Suryawanshi spoke at the event whose aim was to encourage and train students to share information about their city on the free encyclopedia. The students were introduced to Wikipedia and its essential editing techniques.

The event received much generous local support. MIT Media Labs and the KumbaThon Team managed local logistics. The Institute of Engineers (India) offered their modern auditorium for free. And Airtel sponsored 4G internet connection for two days.

The students' contributions are still being stored in Google Docs, and after adding proper citations and references, their work will be moved into sandboxes and then go live on Marathi, Hindi and English Wikipedia. There are 9 Wikipedians, including 1 English Wikipedia administrator, volunteering on this project and working on the team. All 8 Hindi admins are supportive of this work as well. These workshops are part of a pilot project of the WikiProject WikiConnect, a large-scale project to connect Wikipedia to rural parts of India.

The next workshop is scheduled on 28th January 2015 in Nashik. We look forward to sharing our progress again soon.

Media coverage of the event

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in India here.