Since 2015, Wikimedia Austria cooperates with the peace organisation Service Civil International (SCI) in organizing international camps in Austria. Wikipedia for Peace is one of the few examples of a well-functioning cooperation between Wikimedia chapters and a non-governmental organization: Since 2017, the project has expanded to Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Poland.
The makeup of a Wikipedia for Peace camp reflects the culture of peace that the project is striving for: About 15 people from all over the world come together for about two weeks to write and improve Wikipedia articles in their native languages about peace and connected underrepresented topics. The focus of the camps so far has been women peace activists, environmental justice, the LGBT community as well as refugees and persecution. But the projects also create an atmosphere that goes beyond: Participants cook together, live on a low-budget, learn and reflect about the topic they write about together, meet up with activists or people affected by conflict.
The project is a best practice of bringing more diversity and community health to Wikipedia through outside cooperation, in this case the peace movement. The camps attract a majority of young and female editors, most of which are newcomers to Wikipedia, bringing in new interests and perspectives to our encyclopedia. In a typical camp, articles are written in more than ten languages; people work closely together across a diversity of cultural and linguistic barriers. Wikipedia for Peace contributes to closing both knowledge gaps in underrepresented topics and participation gaps in bringing underrepresented groups to take part in the project.
Attendees will understand the need and benefit of starting cooperation with peace and youth organizations such as Service Civil International. Attendees will be inspired to start up their own Wikipedia for Peace camps in their community. We will show them how easy it is to start up cooperation with peace organizations and why it is useful for the Wikiverse in terms of diversity, community health and content creation.
The presentation will accordingly be divided into an inspirational beginning. We will talk about the idea and the outcomes of the projects that have happened so far. Then we will raise some of the challenges we have faced, will continue with practical tips and assistance if people are interested in spreading the project to their communities (e.g. a toolkit that we have written) and will end with a motivational call for people to start up their own Wikipedia for Peace projects.