Africa Environment/Results and best practices/es

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This is the Results and Best Practices of the Africa Environment initiative run in March and April 2023. To access the lessons learned, please directly jump to the last section.

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AKI Africa Environment drive 2023 Visual 1

The Africa Environment WikiFocus encourages Wikimedia and other communities to contribute content related to Africa’s Climate to the Wikimedia projects in March 2023 and beyond! The WikiFocus is a project created and developed by Wiki In Africa (WIA) and Wikimedia Community User Group Côte d’Ivoire (WMUG IC) as an integral part of the African Knowledge Initiative (AKI) series of campaigns. The Africa Environment WikiFocus is a content creation and contribution WikiFocus that launched on the African Union’s Wangari Maathai Day (3rd of March). This page is created and maintained by Wiki in Africa.

The theme

The main focus of the initiative is to encourage Wikimedia and other communities to contribute content related to Africa’s Climate to the Wikimedia projects. Individuals, communities, and organizations are free to contribute in a variety of different way. The topics covered in this focus relate to the climates of Africa, and the impact of climate change and environmental issues or threats faced by countries and communities across Africa.

Project Partners

The organising partners of the Africa Environment WikiFocus was conceptualised in its current form and has been implemented and managed by Wiki In Africa and Wikimedia Usergroup Côte d’Ivoire.

The Africa Environment WikiFocus was created in response to a community call for submissions to the Africa Knowledge Initiative (AKI) around a celebration of Wangari Maathai Day, an Africa Union designated day to draw attention to environmental matters across Africa. The Africa Knowledge Initiative is managed by a working group of members from the Wikimedia Foundation, Africa Union and Africa No Filter.

The Drive was locally implemented by 17 groups through training sessions, edit-a-thons, in-field trips, presentations etc. by Local Organizing Partners.

Potential partners

In order to ensure quality, researched content and experts are involved, and the Wikimedia network expansion, the teams across all levels (from AKI Working Group to local community teams) will endeavour to partner with existing Africa-based Climate and Environmental Organizations and NGOs, and academic and research institutions.

In total we reached out to exactly 35 names potential partners where 27 were contacted, 8 were not contacted because of missing their contact details

  • Partners OnWiki on the list are 2 were contacted and no response from them
  • Partners OffWiki on the list we have 25: we had 2 responses: Womin ( Provided Logo and some resources ) and WASCAL ( Provided only Logos)
  • Link of all potential Partners


Central Portal Creation and Maintenance

List of activities Current situation
Set up the portal structure Hecho
Create main page (context, call to action etc.) Hecho
Create structure of partner page Hecho
Create structure of participant page Hecho
Create structure of microfunding page Hecho
Create structure of resource page Hecho
Create structure of event/programming page Hecho
Create structure of red lists page Hecho
Set up the translation system Hecho
Get the translation done Hecho

Local Organizers and micro-funding

A significant part of the work done has been to do sub-granting to Local Organizers

Micro Grants task list
Call for Applications for Microgrants
task status
Define criterias and minimum requirements Hecho
Write the Call to participate Hecho
Translate the Call Hecho
Create the list of places to inform about the call Hecho
Populate the list of places where the call was posted Hecho
Populate the meta page with the Call and criterias Hecho
Reach out to potential partners *off-wiki* to make them aware of micro-grant Hecho
Define and create the submission system Hecho
Publish the call Hecho
Call for jury members Hecho
Evaluate the jury members candidates and finalize the jury Hecho
Create telegram group for jury Hecho
Set up first meeting for jury to share process and criteria Hecho
Review the propositions Hecho
Initial check with grant bodies for good standing on applicants Hecho
Make decisions on propositions accepted Hecho
Create expectations pack for approved micro-grants Hecho
Create check list of admin requirement for grantees Hecho
Prepare contract template for the micro-grants Hecho
Creating template for expense report Hecho
Check good standing with WMF, WM FR etc. Hecho
Inform all requesters of proposition status Hecho
Inform grant admin for each acceptance Hecho
Drafting the general template for convention Hecho
Contact all grantees and collect administrative information Hecho
Establish list/folders of supported orgs and individuals Hecho
Signature of all contracts Hecho
Fund transfer Hecho
Documentation filed: evidence of transfer and reception Hecho

Application process

Wikimedians with experience have been encouraged to apply for a micro grant to implement the AFRICA ENVIRONMENT WIKIFOCUS campaign, African Environment Day in their countries. Micro-grants of up to 1500 USD were proposed to local African communities for the occasion.

An application process was published, to call for volunteers who wanted to organize training, contribution or translation events throughout the month of March in order to contribute knowledge, images and data that would significantly enrich and increase existing knowledge on climate, climate change and environmental threats in Africa in Wikimedia projects. Several types of activities were also offered to organizers (red lists, satellite activities etc.). Applicants were asked to include an anticipated calendar of events, potential local partners, the team members biographies, and detailed budget. A list of criterias was proposed to guide them.

The application was to be submitted on meta to promote transparency. A template was proposed to facilitate the submission. This is the link to the page during submission process.

62 applications were submitted. See Category:Africa Environment/Microfunding/Request

Jury: Call and Selection

Experienced Wikimedians (African and Non African) were asked to volunteer to join the microgrant jury team through an open call. Seven people were selected as the final Microgrant Jury Members for the March 2023 edition of the Africa Environment Wikifocus : Africa Environment/March 2023/List of Jury Members

Final Selection of Projects and Teams

The jury has reviewed and ranked propositions based on the quality of the proposition, and on the team who submitted the request competencies and experience. The jury list has been further reviewed by a working group. Before final approval, all potential Grantee names were reviewed by the Wikimedia Foundation grant team, to check for the Grantee standing situation. The review showed that one Potential Grantee was out of compliance (and swiftly made it so to actually be in compliance)...

After the call for small grant applications, 17 teams were selected. See Final selection

Contractual agreement

After announcement of the final list of 17 groups approved, all Grantees were asked to provide identity and bank information. Grantees had to sign a contract with Wiki in Africa (with documentation delivery milestones), key contact information, and provide bank details.

Onboarding and Grantee Management

Onboarding was done during two offices hours

  • 14th Feb.2023-4pm UTC - Office Hours - English
  • 23rd Feb.2023-3pm UTC - Office Hours - French

As well as on the shared private telegram channels and directly by email.

Money transfer

After all conventions were signed, international transfers were submitted. Out of 17 wire transfer, 14 were immediately rejected by the South Africa Central Bank (the 17 transfers done the same day may have played a role, but it is also worth noting that South Africa had been added to the Grey List just a few days before the implementation of the transfer).

The transfers thus turned out to be very complicated, involving

  1. transfer of small sums by World Remit (which comes with a load of complexities and limits
  2. indirect transfer of funds from a member of the WIA team living in France
  3. one by one transfer (with several days delay between each)

Ultimately, all grant funds went through - though with much delay (more on the topic further below)

Pre-Drive : Awareness and communications

List of tasks
WP : on wiki communication Current situation
Request and follow-up with site-notice request Hecho
Create site-notice banner Hecho
Set up and host #1 office hours in French Hecho
Set up and host #1 office hours in English Hecho
WP : design
Create design brief Hecho
Assign design to designer Hecho
Review design options Hecho
WP : off-wiki communication
Prepare press release Hecho
Prepare diff on WMF
Prepare social media campaign Hecho
Prepare database of climate/environ press + orgs for press release Hecho
WikiAfrica Hour alert sent via Socials + other elements Hecho
Prepare list of onwiki places to announce the launch Hecho
Social media campaign launch… Hecho

Brand and Messaging

Visuals for just a few of the images created are below

Internal communications

Several telegram channels were created to ease communication. One was restricted to organizers only.

The public telegram channel: Telegram chat group

The Initiative was also largely shared on some WikiProject pages (such as the Climate Change WikiProject or Africa WikiProject etc.), on mailing lists, on village pumps, on various telegram channels, so as to inform the maximum number of wikipedians.

External communications

social media ?

Central Notice Banner

A Central Site Notice banner promoted the Africa Environment Drive to Wikipedia editors and readers in Africa during two months

Pre-Drive : Non Wikimedian Partners

List of tasks
WP : partnership Current situation
Create a list of potential partners (onwiki and offwiki) Hecho
Establish a contact strategy for the different categories of potential partners Hecho
Write a template of messages to send potential partners Hecho
Translate the template message Hecho
Contact the onwiki partners Hecho
Contact the offwiki partners Hecho
Create database of offwiki partners Hecho
Contact Wikimedians of Sustainable Development Hecho
Negotiate terms of partnership - documented somewhere Hecho
Collect logos and materials for partnership Hecho
Press release about partnerships - mid-March Hecho

Bla ?

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Pre-Drive : Resources and Research Collation

Resources and Contents Current situation
Red list: inspirations, translation and Wikidata Hecho
Climate of Country X Hecho
Other red lists and translation lists Hecho

Several processes were conducted

  1. We set-up a full page of curated resources in French and English. Some of the resources came from partners : Africa Environment/Resources
  2. We organized three training sessions. One was dedicated to Improving Wikipedia’s coverage of climate change, one was a dashboard training session and one was a wiki data training: Africa Environment/Resources . All those sessions were recorded and the record + material were published (and stay available). The first webinar is available in 4 languages.
  3. We curated a list of red-list about Climate Change in Africa countries in English : w:Wikipedia:WikiProject Climate change/Africa task force/Climate of
  4. We curated a list of red-list about Climate Change in Africa countries in French : w:fr:Wikipédia:WikiProjet Changement Climatique/Groupe de Travail Afrique/Climat de
  5. We curated a list of African Biographies to write : Africa Environment/List Africa Biographies
  6. We created a list of articles to translate in several regions North Africa - East Africa - West Africa - Southern Africa - Central Africa - South Africa
  7. We promoted the WikiProject Climate change task force, with more lists : w:Wikipedia:WikiProject Climate change/Africa task force

WikiFocus Activities in March/April

List of tasks
LAUNCH Current situation
WP : launch day Hecho
Planning agenda and who is involved where Hecho
Press release Hecho
Press conference in IC
Organize and host online launch Hecho
Social media launch Hecho
WP : month activities Current situation
Plan and assign program of implementing partner events from team In process
Coordinate programme of implementing partners event In process
Organize and host mid session public update and sharing Hecho
Organize and host final public meeting Hecho


  • Social media campaign conducted via @WikiAfrica platforms
  • External press release sent in English and French to 845 media professionals across Africa
  • Event communications page created to support organisers communications efforts
  • Letter sent to all organisers providing details of how to engage with media and use communications materials provided
  • How to page and Online Training Series created to assist new editors and organisers

WikiFocus Launch Event: March 3rd

On the 3rd March,the Africa Environment Wiki Focus Drive celebrating Wangari Maathai Day! it was also the Launching day of the Africa Environment WikiFocus.

The Guests included:

  • Tatjana Baleta from Global Systems Institute, University of Exeter
  • Tracey Anyango from Center for Justice Governance and Environmental Action.
WikiAfrica Hour Episode 22 Special Edition launch of Africa Environment WikiFocus
WikiAfrica Hour Episode 22 Special Edition launch of Africa Environment WikiFocus

Local Organiser Activities

Local Organizers were invited to

Three global online training Sessions

More info : Training sessions

Three global online trainings have been organized to help participant to have a good understanding of the project

  • Improving Wikipedia’s coverage of climate change, facilitated by Su-Laine Brodsky
  • Dashboard training session, hosted by Euphemia Uwandu
  • Wikidata training session, by Yamen Bousrih

Mid-WikiFocus Sharing Session

Organized by CIV

Closing session: May 16th

The closing session was on May 16th 2023. This session was facilitated by Wiki in Africa team and Wikimedia community Cote d'Ivoire team.

Satellite events

Two satellite events took place

  • ISA Campaign Tell Us About Her : Women on the Frontline Climate. 1st - 31st March 2023. Organized by Wiki In Africa. Aimed at improving the visibility of women in climate change as well as their works on Wikimedia projects. See also Campaign
  • Wiki Loves Africa. March 1st till April 30th. Photography contest on Climate & Weather. Organized by Wiki In Africa. See also campaign

Post drive (May-June)

List of tasks
WP: funding Current situation
Calling for activity and financial report from the local organizing teams Hecho
Collating and making visible the activity reports Hecho
Collating the financial reports of local implementing partners Hecho
Sampling request for expenses documentation to teams Hecho (though not as it was expected to)
Reporting to WMF or other WM granting orgs (good/bad standing) Not yet
Synthesis of all expenses by implementing partners Hecho (WIA)
WP: reports and thanks Situation
Collate social media campaign analytics Hecho
Collate on wiki metrics Hecho
Creation of a final activity report for WIA team Hecho
Creation of a final financial report for WIA team Hecho
Thank you to jury members Hecho
Thank you to local wiki partners Hecho
Thank you to offwiki partners Hecho
Writing a public postmortem for community Hecho

Local organizers reports

All local organizers were contacted and asked to submit a public report. They were proposed a template. The report was to be directly added in the same wiki page than their micro funding request. All reports maybe found in Category:Africa Environment/Microfunding/Report.

All local organizers were also asked to clean-up their dashboard, so that it would only include content related to the Africa Environment project.

Besides, according to the convention all of them had signed upon acceptance of the funding request, all Local Organizers were asked to provide whatever receipts were available that would document part or all of their expenses. The receipts were usually stored in a separate folder and access was given to the Wiki in Africa admin.

Their adherence to those requests was tracked in a table on a wiki page : Africa Environment/March 2023/Results of the requests selected


Two surveys were set-up and run, using google forms. In both cases anonymous.

  • The first survey was dedicated to Local Organizers. Link to the form
  • The second survey was meant for all interested participants, whether part of one of the local organizer group, or not. Link to the form

Collating and analyzing other data

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  • Social media
  • etc.

Results and impacts

Content production

  • The link of the Dashboard gives a general view of all contributions by participating community.

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Global activities

  • Online office hours : ?
  • One global launch event
  • Training sessions : 3
    • 1 webinar to assist increasing entrants’ understanding of the campaign
    • 1 training webinar about Dashboard
    • 1 training webinar about Wikidata
  • 1 global mid-term event
  • 1 global closing ceremony

Most (but unfortunately not all) online event were organized in at least 2 languages

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Local activities

Local meetings (training, edit-a-thon, conference etc.) were organized by all local groups

Examples of content created

In French

In English

In other languages

Examples of event pictures

Examples of posters

About local organizers administration

17 requests for micro funding were accepted by the jury. 17 organizers received their funding. 1 organizer decided to cancelled their participation and later send back the funds to Wiki in Africa.

Out of the 16 remaining grantees

  • 16 created a dashboard to track their production
  • 13 created a project landing page to provide further visibility to their activities
  • 12 cleaned-up their dashboard (the 4 non-cleaned dashboard do not reflect the reality of their production as it includes lots of content unrelated to Climate Change. In most cases, footballers biographies...)
  • 13 provided finalized report. 1 provided a partial report and 2 never submitted a report
  • 6 provided some receipts

Surveys outcome

  • Organizer survey outcome (10 answers/16) Link
  • Participant survey outcome (22 answers) link


Some lessons

  • We discovered that Zoom had to be set-up differently to feature the translation system. When the system has been wrongly set-up and the link to the event largely communicated, it is too late to fix, and no translation system can be available
  • Setting-up a dashboard campaign was a good idea. However, letting the local teams (in particular new teams) set up their own program was a mistake. The global organizers end-up not being facilitators of the programs and thus can not help to do the final dashboard clean-up. When the local organizer does not do the final clean-up and is not responsive, there is nothing Global Organizers can do to fix the situation

What worked well

  • New friends ! New editors ! New skills !
  • Some good content about Climate Change
  • WMF staff came to help to provide live translation in some of the global events
  • Drive was supposed to operate one month and was thankfully expanded to two months. Thank you for the flexibility

What did not work so well


  • Timeline was too short. The final official GO to the project was given very late to the Global Organizers (WIA and CIV) by the Project Owners (WMF, AU, ANF). Literally ONE MONTH was available to organize the whole set-up, where at a minimum two months were required. This was particularly challenging since the the Global Organizers were sub-granting to 17 other organizations. We had ONE MONTH to publish a call for interest, collect propositions, set-up a jury, organize the selection of grantees, collect identity and bank data, sign contractual agreement with each of them and disseminate the funds. This was an impossible task, which created A LOT of stress to the Global Organizers, and disatisfaction to the Local Organizers who also wish they would have more time to organize (and generally blame the Global Organizers for the situation).


  • No convention was planned between the project owners (WMF, AU, ANF) and the global organizers (WIA and CIV). It was particularly an issue in the case of WIA, which had to contract with the Local Organizers, without having yet neither the full funds, nor a convention. Again, this caused stress and is not good practice.

Microgrant transfer blocks

  • Money from the Owners arrived late and after many requests from WIA. This was particularly an issue since WIA had to regrant some of the money it had not yet received, and had no contract with the Owners. Again, this caused stress and is not good practice
  • The South Africa Reserve Bank blocked most of the transfer to Local Organizers (for still unknown reasons really).
  • The reasons for rejecting the majority (but not all) of loaded beneficiaries was provided by the Wiki In Africa's bank's foreign exchange division. They claimed that, due to international exchange controls, there should have been a block application for permission to transfers all the amounts, which would take 6-8 weeks to be approved by the SARB. To do the block application so late in an already delayed process would have further delayed the remittence of funds to the micrograntees.
  • Money had to be transferred by unplanned means. This took a lot of time and energy from the Global Organizers. Some money had to be transferred from personal accounts to go through. The consequences (beside lot’s of time and energy from all parties) was that funds to the Local Organizers was delayed, sometimes impairing the operations to proceed. It also cost a lot of bank fees.
  • One transfer was rejected due to the Local Organizer providing an incorrect account number. Loss of time and bank fees.
  • One transfer to a Nigeria account got « lost » for about 2 months. It took much pressure on the side of the South Africa bank to get the Nigerian Bank to finally credit the beneficiary.

Project Owner support

  • The Project Owner published a call in 2022 where organizations were invited to submit propositions to run the Africa Environment. Yet, when the proposition was accepted, two different organizations were asked to be « partners » to run the initiative, in spite of not having the habit to work together, nor actually having submitted the same proposition initially and left entirely alone to self-organize. Given the very short timeframe to implement the project, and thus to get two organizations to learn to work together unexpectedly, the Project Owner should have provided some support to help the partnership to be fully effective
  • The Project Owner partnership did not seem to work very efficiently and the result was sometimes counter effective and impacting negatively the operations by Global Organizers.

Project partnership challenges

  • Possibly due to the very short timeline and project delays and stresses, it was challenging to get traction from the content and network partnerships requests made in the month before the drive itself.
  • Many local teams reported their difficulties to engage locally and get actual content produced by their participants (many of which were very new). Some of this was due to the short timeline and inability to navigate a data or content partnership with government or academic institutions in such short timeframes (as their internal processes are much longer).

Training and support

  • The heterogeneity of the teams (which in itself seems to be a good idea...) made it more difficult to provide training and support that could be beneficial for all. New teams in particular would have benefitted from more basic training about « how to edit Wikipedia » or « how to run workshop » whilst experienced teams did not need that. This kind of key support requires rethinking for future projects.
  • Several articles were deleted in English and French wikipedia, due to a lack of quality or insufficient sources, which again raise the issue of editors skill support being required.
  • A few IP blocks were reported, but not so many ... (things seem to be improving).

More ideas for improvements

  • Pay more attention to the initial set-up of the dashboard campaign and programs