FreeContent4SustainableEcosystems/Mothers of Intention/Proposals

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Public description of your project

Please provide a brief statement that best describes your proposed work. This description will appear on our website and in our annual report. It can be no longer than 250 characters including spaces.

  • To develop a scalable and sustainable model for teaching basic literacy, numeracy and decision-making skills to very poor women and children in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh;
  • To educate 6,000 mother-educators and 50,000 children
  • To increase the availability of open educational content on WikiEducator;
  • To leverage the skills base of teacher educators to participate in development of free content;
  • To develop clusters of support to strengthen local capacity; and
  • To create a model of empowerment that can be used and adapted elsewhere in Asia.

Proposal summary

Give a brief summary of your proposed work using no more than 300 words. Please write this description in plain English (no jargon). Assume the people reading it are knowledgeable, but are not educators. Describe the purpose of the proposal, including its importance; the way you plan to achieve your aims; expected outcomes; and the way you will evaluate your success.

The Mothers of Intention project will seek the contribution of specific educational content to WikiEducator, to be modified, customized and adapted by clusters of mothers (teacher educators) in Bangladesh. The project outcomes involve training 6,000 mother-educators in Bangladesh, to reach up to 50,000 very poor children by 2011.

WikiEducator, a Commonwealth of Learning-supported project, is a website dedicated to the collaborative development of free content for education that anyone can modify and use. WikiEducator has grown exponentially during its first year of operation and is currently ranked within the top 8% of most visited websites in the world.

In 2008, WikiEducator has launched the Learning4Content project - that is working closely with experienced Wikipedians who will be invited to present the training workshops for educators using COL's WikiEducator tutorials ( and the OER workshop toolkit in return for a small honorarium. COL is working closely with Erik Moeller, a board member of the WikiMedia Foundation to advise on liaising with Wikipedians. Mr Moeller is also a member of the WikiEducator International Advisory Board. The strategy of the Learning4Content project is to scale up training and content development by networking with teachers, trainers and lecturers as well as with members of the Freedom Culture, most notably the Wikipedia community.

Value Proposition

  • Focus on extremely poor mothers (to become neighborhood teachers) in Bangladesh
  • A scaleable and sustainable model to reach 50,000 children by 2011
  • Focus on basic literacy & numeracy
  • Focus on higher level thinking and decision-making skills
  • Focus on relationships, networking and volunteerism
  • Leveraging the skills base of WikiEducator
  • Developing free and open content - that can be used by others

Partners (prospective)

Amarok Society works with local, partner NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to deliver education programmes of its own design to the very poor, as the foundation upon which poverty alleviation and all other social improvements may be achieved. It seeks to effect long-term, practical outcomes by the most direct means. On the basis of decades of practical success in disadvantaged communities in Canada and abroad, they have come to believe in the power of mothers to effect lasting improvements in their families and in their communities.

Baridhara Mohila Samobaya Samity, Ltd., is a women's financial cooperative of Dhaka, Bangladesh. With depositors and members numbering nearly 40,000 poor women, it is probably the largest women's organization in Bangladesh, and is believed to be the largest women's financial cooperative in Asia. It began as a project of Worldvision in 1989; when Worldvision wished to close the project a few years later, the members undertook to operate it themselves. It was after the departure of Worldvision that the Samity's main growth and development took place. Its membership is solely women, who are able to enter into deposit programmes or take out loans. The Samity is distinguishable from Bangladesh's famous microcredit projects in that it charges considerably less interest on loans, it is non-profit and all members benefit from its success. Baridhara Mohila Samobaya Samity, Ltd., also works in a charitable partnership with Amarok Society of Canada to provide education programmes in very poor neighbourhoods of Dhaka, training mothers to become family and neighbourhood teachers.

Requests for Assistance

Seeking project funding...

  • linkage to development agencies
  • Possible contacts for Funding

Road Works.svg Work in progress, expect frequent changes. Help and feedback is welcome. See discussion page. Road Works.svg

SECTION 2: Proposal Narrative

A. Background


B. Problem / Theory of Action

Please describe the issue or problem you are planning to address and the evidence you have that the problem is important, and your theory of action for addressing the problem. If relevant, include a brief literature review or a discussion of your hypothesis and alternative hypotheses. Explain how your goal relates to the Foundation’s grant-making priorities. Discuss how your work advances the Open Educational Resources field beyond its current state and how it relates to any similar work being carried out. Please note that Sections 3 and 4, Logic Model and Program Chart, should be drafted before you complete items B through E of this section.

Educating Poor Women and Children in Bangladesh

Scaleability and Sustainability

A key issue in developing education solutions in developing context is the lack of innovative and effective content to reach the last mile Millenium Develpment Goals and a way to share and improve innovation through free and open content that can be modified for local contexts.

WikiEducator, as a platform for the development of free and open educational materials, provides a democratic and socially interdependent ecosystem which is rooted in: (1) wiki skills development; (2) content development; and (3) community growth and sustainability.

Using the power of mass sharing and collaboration, WikiEducator aims to solve hitherto challenging problems through developing free access to effective educational materials that in turn can be distributed, modified and adapted without any restriction. These free and open educational materials can make a significant difference to the lives of people who would otherwise not be able to afford such access.

In 2008, WikiEducator is focusing on providing wiki skills to educators through the Learning4Content project. A significant opportunity for leverage exists for reaching some of these last mile MDG targets through developing free content in digital formats, which can then be distributed using appropriate and accessible technologies. supporting these individuals into Collaborative Clusters - so they can provide internal support while building individual and community capacity - essential components to sustainability.

Achieving scalability and economies of scale

The OER initiative must find ways to scale up the rate of free content production for education while at the same time allowing participation by those who normally produce materials without internet connection, involving those without access to computers. WikiEducator's experience in open distance learning provides us with the core competencies in achieving scalability and economies of scale in educational development of material and these constitute the foundations of this proposal. The innovative component for this initiative will be the focus on very poor people and organizations with only intermittent computer and internet access.

The FreeContent4SustainableEcosystems project hypothesises that:

(from L4C)

  • The existing skills of Wikipedians who are well versed in the basics of wiki editing and passionate about free content development provides us with a skilled resource of trainers across the globe;
  • finding new ways of collaboration with intermittent on-line access is possible;

Given the dynamic nature of the wiki model, the project can adopt a learn-by-doing approach refining materials, learning resources and processes as the the project progresses. This will contribute to a recursive cycle of continuous quality improvement.

An experiential-based approach

WikiEducator has demonstrated that educators can become proficient free content producers using wiki technology, if provided with an opportunity to acquire the basics of wiki editing.

Wiki editing off line and for teachers new to literacy itself, will require a variation on the Learning4Content model. .

Collaborative Clusters

Establishing collaborative groups/clusters of individuals will result in creation of free and open education materials. They are designed with a grassroots focus for growth, maintenance and sustainability in mind.

  • sustain communities of interest
  • provide internal support / capability
  • build individual / community capacity
  • grassroots-oriented
  • opportunities for internal / external links
  • identity/branding
  • news items
  • connections with other clusters
  • project focused


* The WikiMedia Foundation - The Commonwealth of Learning is collaborating with the Wikimedia Foundation to develop technology to produce portable document format (pdf) versions of content directly from the wiki. In this way, printed study materials can be produced for learners without access to the Internet thus widening access to the benefits of digitally authored OERs.

* Wikipedia - A Top 10 website and the largest encyclopaedia developed in the history of human kind has demonstrated that through the principles of mass-collaboration and self-organisation it is possible to produce large volumes of high quality free content. COL has established WikiEducator to support free content development in education and uses the same software, as the Wikipedia.


  • Local partners
  • Certificate granting programs (i.e., CCNC)
  • The InGots

C. Inputs

Inputs include money, staff time, knowledge and expertise, equipment, and facilities. Please describe the major inputs that will be devoted to the project. Attach a one-page curriculum vitae of each key participant as well as any significant advisors or consultants. Please discuss resources (including in-kind) that are to be contributed by your organization as well as other sources, including foundations and government agencies. Explain why you believe your proposed project is likely to succeed with the resources you intend to devote to it. If there is a strategic plan and/or business plan, describe briefly and attach.

The successful implementation of the Learning4Content project will require the following inputs:

  1. Training materials. COL has developed 11 free content tutorials covering the basics of wiki editing using Mediawiki software ( Mediawiki is the same software used by the popular Wikipedia encyclopedia, currently a top ten website. COL has run two pilots using these tutorials in eLearning format with 110 participants from 30 countries. These tutorials will be used as the core training materials for the project. This resource is an estimated contribution of $8 000.
  2. Workshop resources. Face-to-face workshops require resources including preparation checklists, draft agendas, workshop activities and slide show resources. COL is currently developing an OER workshop toolkit for the Learning4Content project. This workshop toolkit is based on the practical experience of presenting 3 capacity development workshops in Africa and a Pacific regional workshop ( Drawing on this experience COL is in the process of refining the learning design and workshop activities for the OER workshop toolkit. We estimate this resource contribution to be $13 000
  3. Learning contracts. Prospective participants in the Learning4Content project will commit to developing a free content lesson on WikiEducator in return for training in basic wiki editing. COL has commissioned the development of a learning contract for this purpose ( We estimate this resource contribution to be $3 000. Learning4Content workshop participants can potentially become future workshop facilitators.
  4. Mothers of Intention educators. The phenomenal international success of the Wikipedia has resulted in a global community of volunteers with wiki editing skills. The Learning4Content project will draw on this global community to facilitate capacity building workshops for educators around the world.
  5. Project leadership. COL has extensive experience in the use of technology to widen access to education, particularly in the developing regions of the world. The project will be led by Dr Wayne Mackintosh who has a proven international track record in free software and free content for education. The Learning4Content project is an integral component of WikiEducator's strategic plan ( which is now moving into the second phase of scaling up free content development. Sir John Daniel, CEO and president of COL is the patron of WikiEducator and the community is guided by an International Advisory Board ( covering five global regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, the Pacific and North America. Deserving particular mention with reference to the Advisory Board is our capacity in gender equity. Dorcas Muthoni the co-founder of LinuxChix Africa and Dr Savithri Singh, Principal of an Undergraduate college at the University of Dehli, India are both Advisory Board members of WikiEducator. The COL team will be complimented by the skills of Dr Tanyss Munro, Education specialist for Governance with responsibilities for Gender in COL's program.

In addition to the contributions in kind identified above, COL will also be committing CAD60 000 to the Learning4Content project from our program budget to finance honoraria for facilitators, over and above the funding from this grant proposal.

Achieving COL's strategic plan

COL's program is guided by our three-year strategic plan, 2006 - 2009 entitled learning for development ( eLearning for education sector development, an official initiative of COL's programme, has specified the development of OERs as a strategic priority. In realisation of these strategic priorities, COL's WikiEducator has developed a business plan in support of the achievement of the corporate development vision.

Building the WikiEducator community together
The strategic objectives for the eLearning initiative are aimed at achieving the four C's, namely:
  • A thriving community of practitioners and policy makers throughout the Commonwealth committed to leveraging the potential of e-learning for development using OERs. For example, active community networks clustered around: learning for livelihoods; open schools, tertiary education; and VUSSC.
  • The capacity and skills to engage meaningfully with the supporting technologies and global best practice in e-learning for development.
  • Free content development supporting capacity building, by refining existing resources and reconfiguring them in formats that facilitate reuse across the Commonwealth.
  • Ensuring smart connections which refer to the technology requirements for a cost effective OER and eLearning initiative. Connectivity also refers to the “connections” among different open source software solutions to fill the gaps between existing mainstream technologies and the unique requirements of ODL so as to widen the reach and access of free content in the developing world.

WikiEducator's business plan is divided into three distinct phases:

  1. Establishing foundations (May 2006 - Dec 2007). This phase involves setting up the technologies and processes to facilitate community development for free content.
  2. Scaling up free content development (Jan 2008 - Dec 2008). The prime purpose of Phase 2 is to scale up the rate and quality of free content development building on the foundations established during Phase 1. Phase 2 will be realised through ongoing community development with special emphasis on scalable capacity development. The Learning4Content proposal is the flagship project of this phase of WikiEducator's business plan.
  3. Sustainable implementation of free content in education (Jan 2009 - ). The purpose of this phase is to prioritise activities which implement free content into mainstream educational activities. The success of the free content movement in education will be measured when real students enroll in real programmes using free content.

D. Activities

Describe the activities you will undertake to achieve your intended outcomes. Explain why these activities will lead to your intended outcomes and how you will overcome any obstacles. Describe how you will measure whether or not you have successfully carried out your activities. What key constituencies, including traditionally underserved groups, participate in the work of the project? Discuss any significant collaborations with other organizations or program units.

The Mothers of Intention project is categorised into distinct types of activities, namely foundation activities and specific project activities. The foundation activities are the prerequisite building blocks for the successful delivery of the Mothers of Intention and represent COL's contribution in kind to the project. These will be followed by the specific project activities of this proposal which will be co-funded from COL's core programme budget.

Foundation activities

The Mothers of Intention project requires a set of free content resources as primary inputs. The development of these resources have commenced and have been funded through Amarok's core programme. Additional development of these curricula resources is required, and they will be in place prior to the commencement of the project.

Intended outcome: Free content resources required for the Mothers of Intention project are developed and completed before commencement of skills development workshops.

Activity Status Obstacles and risk management strategy
Develop tutorials for Wiki editing on WikiEducator
  • Tutorial development completed
  • Pilot testing completed
  • Language and usability refinements from pilot testing in progress
  • Tutorials not completed on time. No risk, as tutorials are already uploaded on Wikieducator

Develop OER workshop tool kit for Learning4Content trainers

  • Under development
  • Learning design refinements to be completed
  • OER Workshop toolkit not completed on time. Low risk as first drafts of the content have already been completed.
  • Learning design outstanding, however a consultant has been identified and COL is in the process of finalising the contract.
Develop learning contract for the participants
  • First draft of learning contract completed
  • Refinements for different levels and categories of educators required
  • Community review of learning contracts outstanding
  • Learning contracts not completed on time. Low risk as first drafts have already been completed
Develop promotional brochure for the Learning4Content project
  • Not started
  • Promotional brochure not completed on time. Low risk. COL's in house graphic design capability will ensure delivery on time.

Project activities

The following activities are required for successful delivery of the project.

Intended outcome: All activities completed to enable the training of at least 2 500 teachers in basic wiki editing skills and corresponding development of 2 500 corresponding lessons of free content.

Activity Obstacles and risk management strategy Monitoring mechanism
Develop processes and supporting technologies on WikiEducator for registration and selection of workshop facilitators (for example registration template linked to Wiki Category pages). Process documentation and supporting technologies not completed on time. Low risk because prototype templates which can facilitate this process have already been developed. Prototype template trialled by WikiEducator community on the wiki.
Develop facilitator's guide containing instructions, check lists and deliverables for claiming the facilitator's honorarium. Facilitator's guide not completed on time. Low risk as the development of this documentation will be overseen by COL's managers allocated to this project. Facilitator's guide developed on the wiki and peer reviewed by the community.
Assign self-nominated facilitators to proceed with arrangements for a Learning4Content workshop. Suitably qualified facilitator's cannot be identified. Medium risk given the element of voluntary work required. The following risk management strategies are planned:
  • Facilitators must present evidence of their Mediawiki editing skills;
  • Facilitators must provide a letter of support from the institution or organisation where the workshop will be hosted;
  • COL will liaise with their identified focal points in Commonwealth countries and the Wikimedia community to identify potential facilitators.
  • COL will network with large Mediawiki projects including Wikipedia, Wikiversity and Wikia to assist with identifying possible workshop facilitators.
  • COL must approve the nomination of all facilitators prior to presentation of a Learing4Content workshop;
  • Honorarium is to be paid in arrears, to minimise financial risks of this model.
All activity relating to the nomination of facilitators will be monitored on the wiki in accordance with the guidelines and criteria established in the facilitator's guide.
Presentation of a Learning4Content workshop combined with the submission of learning contracts for developing a lesson of free content from workshop participants. Wiki skills not acquired by workshop participants. Medium risk. While high quality resources will be provided for training, COL cannot exercise direct quality control on the actual workshop or ongoing commitments of teachers to complete their free content lessons. The following risk management strategies are planned:
  • Honorarium is paid in arrears based on observed wiki skills demonstrated by participants on WikiEducator;
  • A learning contract must be submitted by each participant on WikiEducator prior to the workshop.
  • Follow-up feedback and motivations to participants from the WikiEducator community.
  • All edits on WikiEducator can be monitored by the community
  • Workshop participant's User accounts will be specified in the Learning contract so post workshop activity can be monitored.

E. Outcomes

Outcomes are expected effects from the proposed project on the target population. They may be intermediate outcomes or ultimate outcomes. Please describe the outcomes you wish to accomplish with this project and how you will demonstrate whether you have achieved them. Describe the key obstacles to accomplishing your intended outcomes. Discuss how you believe the work of your project will generalize beyond its current setting.

The following outcomes are specified for the project:

  1. At least 2500 teachers/educators trained in basic wiki editing skills. This is based on the assumption that facilitators will be able to identify on average 15 teachers/educators for each workshop.
  2. 2500 lessons of free content developed. This is based on the assumption that participants honour their learning contract signed before participation in the skills development workshop.
  3. The establishment of a community of free content developers.
  4. The implementation of free content in the classroom.
  5. The identification of technological requirements that will contribute to an "open participatory learning infrastructure".

The key obstacles and corresponding risk management strategies are highlighted in Section D covering the activities for the project.

F. Evaluation

Discuss your plans to evaluate both your strategy and your outcomes, noting the measures and methodologies you intend to use and the percent of your budget you will allocate. Please keep in mind that the intention of evaluation is to ensure accountability, provide ongoing feedback about how well you are moving toward your goals, and capture knowledge developed for your organization, the Foundation, and others in the field.

COL's activities are planned and implemented in accordance with a results based management system. The Learning4Content project is a planned action which forms part of the eLearning for Education sector development initiative in COL's core development programme. This means that the Learning4Content project is an integral component of COL's monitoring and evaluation systems. Key performance indicators assist with the monitoring of the WikiEducator initiative inlcluding:

  • Growth in the Number of registered users;
  • Daily logs of activity on WikiEducator where the Learning4Content project will be hosted;
  • Learning contracts and planning for Learning4Content workshops will be hosted within a dedicated name space created for the project;
  • Review of the content developed under the Learning4Content project.
  • Monitoring of the growth in legitimate content pages on WikiEducator;
  • Online Participant monitoring questionnaires;
  • External independent evaluation of COL's eLearning initiative which includes the Learning4Content project.

G. Intellectual property rights

In every grant where Foundation resources are used to create products, agreement about the licensing of these products must be made explicit in the grant application. Products include but are not limited to reports, papers, publications, content, and software.

COL's WikiEducator subscribes to the Free Cultural Works Definition ( which only permits free content alternatives of the Creative Commons licenses. In adherence to COL's guidelines on copyright for sharing educational resources, this project supports the Creative Commons Attribution and Share Alike license ( All reports, papers and content developed under the Learning4Content project will be released under this free content license.

The Mediawiki software used for WikiEducator uses the GNU General Public License of the Free Software Foundation.

H. Compelling reasons for the grant

  1. The Learning4Content project will be able to test and implement an approach purposefully designed to scale up the rate of free content production for education by leverage COL's experience in achieving economies of scale associated with skills development in using wiki technology for collaborative authoring of OERs across 53 Commonwealth states.
  2. The project will demonstrate the feasibility of a networked ecosystem among leading free content projects.
  3. The project will provide an international test case to identify the technological requirements for an "open participatory learning infrastructure" that are appropriate for developing society contexts.
  4. Learning4Content establishes the foundations for a community-driven free textbook project by increasing the number of skilled educators to participate in collaborative authoring using social software technologies;

SECTION 3: Logic model

A logic model is a graphical representation of cause and effect that links inputs to activities to outcomes, typically by tracing events over time. It describes how an organization or project plans to get from here (inputs) to there (outcomes). Although the model shows forward movement, an organization often begins its planning process by articulating its intended outcomes and then working backward to determine how to achieve them.


SECTION 4: Programme chart

Category of Outputs and outcomes Indicators of progress Activites Targets/Baselines Target Date

Foundation activities/outputs

Prerequisite materials and process documentation completed and freely available as OER resources Resource materials uploaded on WikiEducator
  • Tutorials on wiki editing for WikiEducator completed
  • Promotional brochure for Learning4Content completed
  • OER workshop tool kit completed
  • Learning contracts for participants completed
  • 11 tutorials on wiki editing designed for educators
  • 1 Promotional brochure available in print and electronic formats
  • OER workshop tool kit prepared for 3 workshop configurations
  • Downloadable learning contract for participants
  • Tutorials - completed
  • Other activities - 15 December 2007

Project activities/outputs

Educators trained in basic wikiediting

Number of workshops and training sessions Number of educators trained

  • Promote the Learning4Content project across the Commonwealth
  • Ongoing selection of workshop facilitators
  • Ongoing selection of workshop participants
  • Monitoring of training activities on WikiEducator
  • Online workshop evaluations completed
  • 160 workshops in 53 countries
  • 2500 educators trained
  • 25 workshops (375 educators) by 31 March 2008
  • 45 workshops (700 educators) by 30 June 2008
  • 45 workshops (700 educators) by 30 September 2008
  • 45 workshops (725 educators) by 31 December 2008

Intermediate outcomes

Free content lessons developed Number of free content lessons completed
  • Participant user pages completed
  • Draft lesson plan uploaded on user page
  • Lesson content developed
  • Buddy review completed
  • Final version of lesson completed

2500 free content lessons completed including the following formats:

  • Classroom handouts (see Handouts4Teachers
  • Wikipedia article converted into a free content lesson
  • Original lesson content developed
  • 375 lessons by 31 May 2008
  • 700 lessons by 31 August 2008
  • 700 lessons by 31 December 2008
  • 725 lessons by 31 March 2009

Ultimate outcomes

Sustainable community of free content developers is established Linear growth rate in new content developers joining WikiEducator
  • Ongoing content development
  • Ongoing capacity building for free content development
  • Commencement of new free textbook projects on Wikibooks and WikiEducator
  • Community teams and national nodes established
Free content resources in support of all national educational curricula available as OERs by 2015 Ongoing refinement and revisions to free content resources.

Section 5:Financial information

Budget for the Learning4Content project for the year ending 31 December 2008

Details Amount in USD
Hewlett Foundation Grant 100 000
COL budget allocation for Learning4Content 60 000
COL contribution in kind (Prerequisite training materials) 25 000
COL investment in wiki to pdf technology 15 000
COL associated staff costs 40 000
Honoraria and workshop incidentals

(160 Workshops planned)

160 000
Development of wiki to pdf extension for Mediawiki software 15 000
COL staff costs 40 000
Development of training materials and workshop resources 25 000


  • A flat rate of $1000 per workshop is used to cover a small honorarium for the facilitator and limited workshop incidentals. Specifications for minimum duration of the workshop are covered in the selection process.
  • Facilitators are required to identify host institutions that will provide access to computer laboratories for the training.
  • Participants must have access to a computer with an Internet connection for completion of the lesson content on WikiEducator

The WikiEducators working at this resource, consider it to be
around 2% complete

This is a ballpark figure; modify this value only if you are the main authour of this resource, or rough consensus has been achieved in the talk page