In this digital era of images, emojis and GIFs , the importance of diverse perspectives through the use of technology & media representation cannot be overstated, but can be properly utilized for a positive change. History says women are often underrepresented in online platforms, including one of the most influential sources of information, Wikipedia and the wikimedia movement.
Often, It has been hard for the women to build that comfort and trust in the movement for a prolonged period, especially where their in-person participation is involved. Considering such important aspects, the organizing team of Wiki Women Camp has introduced the camp’s mascot, Eesha. This blog post explores how Eesha has been instrumental in shaping narratives, promoting safety, and fostering inclusivity among the Wiki Women Camp participants and aiming to achieve so within the Wiki Women* community.
Eesha’s mission in the Wiki Women Camp 2023, was to be a trusted and informative guide to the participants. We created a digital identity for Eesha with a specific telegram user ID : @Eesha_wwc and officially introduced the mascot to all the participants before the camp. Eesha operated on a 24*7 mode, helping all with the important announcements, insights, latest updates and even coordinated everyone’s safe arrival and departure to and from the venue of the camp. Eesha ensured that the participants were free from worry about their cabs, flight timings, session timing, social tours etc. so that they can relax well and fully focus on the program schedule and activities of the camp.
Building Trust: (Will include feedbacks)
- All the communication made via the WWC Mascot were one-one & secured ensuring that chats and data are not made available elsewhere.
- Seamlessly operated 24*7 and ensure that all the participants are getting updated and adequate information.
- It consistently provided session updates, break times, activities, group photo shoots etc. throughout the camp, making sure no one misses any of the experiences.
“Eesha was always available to support us with logistics during Wiki Women Camp India, which was very convenient. The support provided allowed women wikimedians from across the world arriving in Delhi to quickly feel more confident about navigating the new place and the event program. Having this travel companion allowed us to focus 100% on the important gender work and the joy of gathering in person!”- Tila Cappelletto, WMF staff
“The concept of Eesha to me was more than brilliant. The mascot did not only provide detailed and timely coordination but brought an emotional connection which ensured that satisfaction and delivery was above standard even at awkward times. Everyone needs an Eesha!”
– Joy Agyepong, WWC COT
“It looked as if Eesha was a magical person. Starting from when I landed in New Delhi airport, she was in touch with me regarding everything related to the conference. She was present 24*7, helping everyone regarding all aspects of the conference, from booking cabs to the airport to giving reminders about the conference schedule. I hope we have Eesha, or a similar conference assistant for every Wikimedia conference from now on!” – Netha Hussain, WWC scholar
- The initial thought behind Eesha’s creation was to make the communications related to logistical arrangements through one single real time responsive channel, instead of using an email address or multiple communication channels which might be confusing at times for the participants. Additionally, such a process would enable different members of the COT to take-over if needed.
- Operationally, It had a technological advantage too. “Telegram” itself being a lightweight android application and one that our community is comfortable using, while Eesha was communicating to participants while they were in transit or at connecting airports, none of the notifications were being missed on telegram even with low internet connectivity, whereas it’d have been comparatively difficult with the communication over email, as email threads required a strong internet bandwidth to get refreshed / updated on user’s device.
- Most loving part for the mascot was the overwhelming appreciation it received from the camp participants, even after they got back to their bases. That showed us what value and trust Eesha had earned in two weeks.
The organizers & operating users of Eesha made sure that the UCoC is being followed and participants were being addressed respectfully in all forms of its communications. Not a single concern was raised from any of the participants throughout the camp regarding Eesha’s addresses and communication with them.
It’s always said that there is always a cloud even in the clearest part of the sky. 🙂 We also had a cloud in Eesha’s sky, the background hustle.
Being a new telegram channel, establishing connections to multiple people over different countries and time zones, with **possibly** sensitive data like flight details, cab details, airport arrival and departure timings etc. made the telegram server suspicious of the particular handle which resulted in “Eesha” telegram handle to be banned/blocked by telegram server multiple times and we had to reactivate it again with proper verification.
Brains behind Eesha:
- Manavpreet Kaur envisioned the creation and role of the mascot for the camp. The “Bindi” (red circular shape on the mascot’s forehead) represented gracefulness and strength, whereas the mascot doing “Namaste” with the yellow stole with WWC logo in the front carried a sense of warmth and pride, hosting the camp in India.
- A Turkish volunteer Wikimedian Caner, (User: Kurmanbek) gave the final face to Eesha with his creativity and little bit of Indian touch in the Mascot’s appearance.
- Nishant Pahuja and Nivas Rammisetty worked on the implementation part with a perfect sync, not missing a single query or update throughout the process.
- Eesha can continue to serve as a brand ambassador for the Wiki Women* communities, promoting the values of gender equity, diversity, and empowerment.
- It can be utilized as a means of advocacy and outreach, helping to raise awareness in media files about the challenges faced by women on Wikimedia platforms and promoting strategies for overcoming barriers. Like a continuation of the Wiki Women Camp 2023 theme – “Map up, Rise up.”
- It can be utilized as a digital face in online campaigns, social media interactions, and online discussions to engage with a wider audience and promote inclusivity and diversity on Wikimedia platforms.
- Such a practice could be used by other conference organizers for seamless and technology friendly coordination.
The Wiki Women Camp mascot Eesha embodies the spirit of empowerment, collaboration, and diversity within the Wikimedia movement. As a symbol of uniqueness and strength, Eesha represents the voices and contributions of women in the quest for knowledge equity. Let us continue to celebrate and honor Eesha as an emblem of inspiration and progress in our shared journey towards a more inclusive and equitable Wikimedia movement.
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