Today, October 15th is "blog action day". The aim is to talk about poverty and raise awareness, initiate action and shake the web.
Yesterday, I read on my Google reader feed that UNESCO promotes a publication called "Why languages matter". This publication gives a great concise run-down, with plenty of examples, the power of approaching people in their own language. The subtitle of the publication is: "Meeting Millennium Development Goals through local languages".
When you read this document, you get the feeling that local languages provide an essential tool in the fight against poverty, hunger, lack of education, child mortality, gender equality ... The text is full of success stories. It clearly states the obvious message that when you state your message in the language that people understand, you may be heard.
The Wikimedia Foundation provides the opportunity to write in many languages. Regularly projects in new languages are approved. As the support for the mother tongue of people provides such clear benefits, we can be proud with our continued support for so many languages. The trick is how to reach out to all the people for whom a Wikipedia is not yet available in their language.
An encyclopaedia provides a lot of basic information. When this basic information is available in the languages we support, it is not unlikely that it is the first encyclopaedic resource for many languages. When you look realistically at our resources, you will find that most Wikipedias are just not of a quality where they can make a difference.
Our challenge is to overcome the problems that exist. Our challenge is to find the resources so that we can enable language communities to create their content.