Wikipedia To Provide Articles Via Text Message To Aid Education In Emerging Nations
But now, Wikipedia is hoping to get in front of even more people -- the "people who need it most." Knowledge can change everything, and direct economies out of the doldrums. Education is absolutely vital for a society to thrive, and having free and easy access to Wikipedia is a great start. Wikipedia knows that many people in emerging nations only have access to simple mobile phones -- the kind of phones that can only receive text messages and phone calls. Now, Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that operates Wikipedia, has established Wikipedia Zero, a program where we partner with mobile operators to give their mobile users free-of-charge access to Wikipedia and its growing trove of 24 million articles. More importantly, this program is hoping to allow Wikipedia entries to be delivered via SMS (text) within the next few months.
With the program, users will send a text request to Wikipedia and, within seconds, they will get the article to their phone. Wikipedia is partnering with the Praekelt Foundation, a nonprofit based in Johannesburg, South Africa, to make this all work. It's hard to imagine how this might change the future of education in places where no formal education system exists. Give someone access to a free and near-infinite knowledge base, and watch where it goes. Exciting times, indeed.