PhilWiki Community turns 9

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The Philippine Wikimedia Community User Group (PhilWiki Community) extends its gratefulness to all the participants, volunteers and supporters for their commitment in making information accessible in the Philippines and beyond as it celebrates 9 years of participation, collaboration and friendship.

In its newly-launched The PhilWikiCommunity blog managed by Mingming, the affiliate’s mascot, PhilWiki Community thanked the community:

“To the esteemed members of PhilWiki Community, your unwavering dedication, relentless pursuit of knowledge, and collaborative spirit have collectively laid the foundation for an inspiring community that continues to flourish. Your tireless efforts to cultivate a culture of shared learning is truly commendable.”

“Wishing you all continued success, growth, and collaboration in the years ahead. Cheers to the amazing community!”

“We have accomplished so much since the organizing of the Philippine user group for unaffiliated Wikipedians on June 1, 2015.”

It was only in 2023 that the PhilWiki Community received its first Wikimedia Community Fund grant through the Wikimedia Foundation’s General Support Funds which supports the operation of the non-profit organization.

On top of the list of its achievements mentioned in the blog post published a week earlier, is the formation of various communities and collaborations with institutional partners which support the aims of PhilWiki Community. The WikiWomen Filipinas and three pilot Wiki Clubs at the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture-Calabanga, DepEd Naga City, and DepEd Camarines Sur were established last year. The women’s support group, headed by diversity program chair Maria Glenda Brioso, aims to foster a more inclusive and diverse community whereas the Cararayan National High School Wiki Club was formed to serve as an extra-curricular organization while integrating Wikipedia in practical research.

The CBSUA Wiki Club was established in collaboration with the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture becoming the first university in the country to support a Wiki Education program. As a result of past engagements with public school school teachers in Camarines Sur, the PhilWiki Community organized the Wiki Club Minalabac, a professional club of educators and individuals supporting the promotion of open educational resources in the academe and beyond. All education initiatives are managed by Marife Altabano under the Wiki Education PH program.

The User Group has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bikol Wikipedia Community and Nueva Caceres Heritage Movement for its collaborative project on heritage promotion and preservation later this year. In August 2023, its president Maffeth Sto. Tomas and chair Ian Kenneth Orasa signed a memoradum of understanding with the Naga city mayor and its city librarian to formalize the partnership between the two entities. This paved way to more collaborations with the Raul S. Roco-Naga Public Library where the affiliate maintains an office space. The public library has also served as a meeting place of community members and as a venue for activities including the Bikol WikiConference 2023 which the Bikol Wikipedia Community spearheaded. The conference was attended by educators, language enthusiasts and editors, which led to the formation of the said Wiki Clubs.

It has maintained and reestablished partnership with the Ateneo de Naga University though the James J. O’Brien Library S.J. and with University of Nueva Caceres through the UNC Museum, the second oldest university museum in the country. Cultural organizations namely Sumaro Bikolnon (SB) and the Nueva Caceres Heritage Movement remain its allies in the promotion and preservation of our heritage.

In partnership with the Commons Photographers User Group and academic institutions namely the Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges Center for Rinconada Studies, Ateneo de Naga University Social Sciences Department, and the University of Nueva Caceres Museum, the PhilWiki Community successfully organized the first WikiCommons PH Conference which brought together different Wiki Loves photography contests, photography enthusiasts and heritage advocates from Vigan, Manila, Batangas, Aklan, Bacolod, Cabadbaran and Bicol region to strengthen collaboration. Through its GLAM Philippines project, led by GLAM committee chair Francis Charles Brioso, the community has visited and documented collections on display at the National Museum of Anthropology, NM of Natural History, and NM of Fines Arts in Manila; and University of Nueva Caceres Museum, Museo Historico de la Universidad de Sta. Isabel, Museo ni Jesse Robredo, and Museo del Seminario Conciliar de Nueva Caceres in Naga City.

For almost a decade now, the PhilWiki Community has sent at least 22 delegates at various international and regional conferences as reflected in its annual reports: 7 delegates at the Wikimedia Conference/Summit held in Berlin from 2016 to 2019 and in 2022; 9 members at the ESEAP Conference/Summit held in various locations from 2018 to 2024; one delegate each at the Wiki Education Conference 2019 held in Basque Country, and WikiWomen Camp 2023 held in New Delhi; and four delegates at Wikimania Singapore in 2023.

The PhilWiki Community blog also mentioned the various communities it has collaborated with including the Hablon User Group of Wikimedians in the Philippines whose co-founders Jojit and Bel Ballesteros had served as speakers in its past activities during Bikol Wikipedia day celebrations, Butch Bustria of ESEAP Hub who supported the User Group through donation of reference materials for its outreach activities, the founding members of Wikimedians of Nepal and Maithili Wikimedians User Groups who have been consultants during Wiki Earth Philippines, Wiki Loves Monuments Philippines and other Wiki Loves competitions, and Krishna Chaitanya Velaga of Wikipedia & Education User Group who served as consultant in its 1Lib1Ref Philippines Campaign 2019. Likewise, it enumerated past and current collaborations with communities namely the Sinirangan Bisaya Wikimedia Community in 2015; Wikimedians of Nepal and Maithili Wikimedians User Group, organizers of Wikicamp Nepal 2018; Viresh Raj Sah of Hindi Wikimedians User Group, organizer of WikiSammelan 2019; the Commons Photographers User Group members as well as different Wikimedians from Thailand, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, New Zealand et cetera.

Through collaborations with local and international Wikimedians, the Philippines has consistently participated in Wiki Loves Earth since 2018. Likewise, it has been promoting the Wikipedia Asian Month campaign since 2015, and the WikiGap campaign since 2019. During the pandemic, 200 teachers in Bolivia and Morocco and around 700 teachers in the Philippines received 36 hours of training led by the Wikimedia Foundation Education Team in partnership with Wikimedistas de Bolivia, Wikimedia Morocco – ويكيميديا المغرب, the PhilWiki Community User Group, and the DepEd – Division of Pasay.

The PhilWiki Community reflects, that since its official recognition as an affiliate of the Wikimedia movement in October 2015, it has grown from strength to strength to further its aim of promoting the nation’s many languages and cultures, as well as the growth of the various Wikimedia projects. Further, as part of its inclusive and pluralistic focus, the organization welcomes and encourages everyone with an interest to take part in the promotion of free knowledge.

Mingming at WikiCommons PH Conference 2023

Irvin P. Sto. Tomas is the founding chair of PhilWiki Community. Currently, he serves as board secretary of the Commons Photographers User Group and a member of the ESEAP Preparatory Council.

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