Grants:IEG/What is about - C'est quoi. A series of communication tools about Wikipedia. Cameroon pilot project

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What is about - C'est quoi. A series of communication tools about Wikipedia. Cameroon pilot project

project contact:





  • Michael Epacka (grant beneficiary)



A project to produce site-specific communication tools about Wikipedia. The tools target people who do not know Wikipedia and do not necessarily know what free knowledge and sharing knowledge are all about.

engagement target:


strategic priority:

Increasing Reach

total amount requested:

15000 euro

2013 round 2

Project idea edit

At the moment, the communication about Wikipedia addresses people who already know Wikipedia. Starting from this reasonable assumption[1], we have tools which provide information on how to edit Wikipedia, how Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects work, how you can contribute and who is part of the community. But a large part of the world does not know Wikipedia.
This project focuses on people who do not know Wikipedia and on people who are not necessarily accustomed with concepts of free knowledge and sharing knowledge. This is the majority of the world' population.

The project produces site-specific communication tools which interpret the core vision of Wikipedia for a public who does not know what Wikipedia is about. The tools are conceived by video makers, designers and artists, and they are curated by cultural institutions based in specific countries.

The grant is requested to implement the pilot project of What is about - C'est qui: A series of communication tools about Wikipedia in Cameroon in 2013-2014.

Project goals edit

The project aims at

  1. Experimenting interpretations and new communication tools which address a specific public who do not know Wikipedia and do not necessarily know what free knowledge and sharing knowledge are all about. The choice of experimenting is meant to respond to the need of new strategies to reach and involve communities in particular in Sub-Saharian Africa, a wide area of the world which has a very limited number of active Wikipedians and Wikimedians, a very reduced stable Internet connectivity and very few people who actually know Wikipedia and what is all about. The relevance of the project is also specifically linked to the educational system of many areas of the world, where pupils are taught in large classrooms to learn by heart their lessons, a feature which does not provide easily a full understanding of the concepts of free knowledge and sharing knowledge.
  2. Involving in the production of those communication tools video makers, designers and artists based in specific countries. Their involvement is not only meant to guarantee a pertinent production but also to enrich Wikimedia network with relevant new people who can contribute to new projects and events (i.e. Wikimania in Africa).
  3. Producing something valuable and fun. The communication tools are not meant to "explain how good Wikipedia is for you" but to include Wikipedia, the Wikimedia projects, free knowledge and sharing knowledge into a broader international conversation. The producers are provided a brief, but they are free to question and make fun of Wikipedia, to rise issues and to provide their own interpretation of it.

The pilot project will be implemented in Douala, Cameroon. The aims of focusing the pilot in this city and country are

  1. Taking advantage of Wikipedia Zero. Wikipedia is provided for free in Cameroon on mobile phones by Orange.
  2. Guaranteeing continuity with WikiAfrica Cameroon and Afripédia. The communication tools will be linked to past and current work related to Wikimedia in Cameroon and they will build upon an experience.
  3. Involving relevant creative producers/people. The art centre doual'art with its work implemented since 1991 has created in Douala links with creative people who can develop the project and produce relevant results.

Part 2: The Project Plan edit

Project plan edit

Scope: edit

The project plan focuses on the Cameroon pilot project.

Scope and activities edit

For the general aims of the project please refer to Project goals. Here we list the specific objectives of the Cameroon pilot project, the activities we implement to reach them, and the results/outcomes we expect to obtain.

Objectives Activity Expected outcomes Measures of success
  • Involving in the production of the communication tools video makers, designers and artists based in Cameroon.
  • Making sure the team has all the necessary information and skills to produce the communication tools.
  • Experimenting a production process which can be scalable.
  • Definition of the team. The team needs to be able to produce the tools, to know the local audience, to know the local context and to know about Wikipedia. We are not looking for a person with all those skills and information, but to bring together an international team.
  • Meeting between the team in Douala, 3-10 December 2013 during the SUD Salon Urbain de Douala.
Full brief and full communication strategy (dissemination).

The next step (production) can be implemented.

  • The producers know what they are meant to produce and they receive answers to their questions
  • The expectations of the team are managed (collected and selected). The brief will make it clear which expectations will be taken into account and which ones will not be considered for this specific production (they can be considered in other projects).
  • Reports and documentation.
  • Experimenting interpretations and new communication tools which address the public in Cameroon in Douala Edéa and Limbe (decision to focus on Douala). The tools are meant to present Wikipedia to people who do not know Wikipedia and do not necessarily know what free knowledge and sharing knowledge are all about.
  • Producing something valuable and fun.
  • Making sure we produce different kind of media which can be distributed through different channels.
  • Commissioning the work to relevant artists/authors.
  • Contracts with the authors. All non exclusive rights (including the right to sublicense the works) go to doual'art and Wikimedia Foundation; the authors maintain all their non exclusive rights and their moral rights (in particular attribution).
  • Script of the video.
  • Production of the video.
  • Series of comics.
  • A video.
  • A soundtrack.
  • A series of bi-dimensional works (comics).

The next step (distribution) can be implemented. The quality of the productions will be evaluated during the distribution process.

  • A video.
  • A soundtrack.
  • A series of bi-dimentional works (comics).
  • Reaching a specific public who do not know Wikipedia and do not necessarily know what free knowledge and sharing knowledge are all about.
  • Experimenting different communication channels.
  • Testing the distribution of the tool in at least one other country.
  • The works are uploaded by doual'art or Iolanda Pensa or other team member on Wikimedia Commons, youtube and any other relevant website.
  • Press conference. Expected 10 journalist; 3 articles on the local media.
  • Conference with round table with intellectuals, students and journalists living in Cameroon to present the video and to discuss about it.
  • The communication strategy will be defined more precisely with the team. Possible options:
    • Distribution on local TV (video).
    • Distribution on local radio (soundtrack).
    • Distribution on a publication - small booklet, postcard or local newspaper or magazine (comics).
    • Experiment in distributing the video through the pirate market of DVD and Nollywood films (well, in the case of our video the distribution would be actually legal).
    • Experiment in distributing the video at Film festivals.
    • Experiment in distributing the video through neighborhood cinemas.
    • Experiment in adding the video to the documentation about Kiwix and on the offline Wikipedia on USB key.
    • Commissioning essays to African thinkers directly or in collaboration with a journal/magazine.
    • Presentations of the video associated with short, fun, editing sessions.
  • Presentation of the communication tools in at least another country (in collaboration with existing projects, Afripédia or WikiAfrica Côte d'Ivoire).
  • All content is released under Creative Commons attribution share-alike or Creative Commons attribution.
  • The works are accessible online, through CD-DVD and on paper.
  • The distribution of the works is implemented in Cameroon (focus on Douala Edéa and Limbé) and in another African country.
  • Feedback is collected (photos, comments, reviews).
  • Reuse of the content. This is the major measure of success. Expected: the video is reused in 10 projects-communication initiatives by the end of 2014.
  • Number of audience on TV (statistics? not sure we can access them), views online (statistics), number of printed CD-DVD and paper (to be defined in the communication strategy).
  • Expected 100 people specifically targeted (personal communication, invitation to provide feedback, involvement in the press conference and the conference-round table, the tools are sent them and they are encouraged to use them for their projects).
  • 10 reviews.
  • The video is considered enough relevant and good to be selected to go on Wikimedia Commons homepage.
  • Record the experience.
  • Evalutate the tool and the experience.
  • Disseminate the experience and its results.
  • Pages on meta/outreach which present the experience and the methodology used.
  • Feedback from the organizers, participants and public at a local and international level.
Reuse of the experience. This is the major measure of success. Expected: 3 projects imitate the experience in 2014-2015.

Tools, technologies, and techniques edit

The implementation of the project relies on existing tools and on the equipment and skills of the people involved.

Budget: edit

Total amount requested edit

15000 euro
Iolanda Pensa will work on the project as a volunteer. Her travel costs to Douala in December 2013 will covered by SUPSI within the frame of the project Culture and Safety in Africa.

Budget breakdown edit

Marilyn Douala Bell through doual'art will be receiving and managing the budget. They have a double signature account and they are a structure with regular administration.

Expense Cost euro
Video production costs. 5000
Commissioning of a series of comics. 1000
Project management: administration, reports, follow up, curatorial work, communication of the project through its communication channels and press conference 1500[2]
Distribution costs. 4000
Travel expenses to present the video at Wikimania London August 2014. 1450 + 1450 (two people from Cameroon - Michael Epacka and Marilyn Douala Bell) + 600 (one person from Italy - Iolanda Pensa) 3500
Total 15000

Intended impact: edit

Target audience edit

Target audience Objective How it is addressed Expected outcome
People who do not know Wikipedia and do not necessarily know what free knowledge and sharing knowledge are all about. At the centre of the project. They represent an audience which has not been addressed specifically jet.
  • Communication tools specifically designed for them
  • Local communication channels (TV, radio, newspapers - through comics and press contacts) and facebook.
  • The distribution in another country will be tested.
People will get an idea of what Wikipedia is about.
Video makers, designers and artists based in specific countries They produce the communication tools.
  • Team and attribution.
They interpret Wikipedia and they produce communication tools
Local cultural institution They guarantee the proper management of the project and the curatorial work. It contributes to the production of the communication tools. Team and attribution.
  • Reports about the project and management (contracts, administration, financial reports).
  • Collecting feedback and evaluation of the project.
  • Taking care of the distribution (contacts, negotiation, organization)
Team of wikipedians/wikimedians[3]. They contribute to the discussion and dissemination of the Wikimedia projects. It contributes to the production of the communication tools. Team and attribution.
  • Provides information, answers questions, engage in discussions.
  • Documents the projects on the Wikimedia projects (meta/outreach/Wikimedia Commons)
African thinkers They contribute to the discussion about Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects.
  • Press conference.
  • Conference-round table.
  • Direct contacts with 100 specific people.
  • (Optional) commission of 3 essays.
  • African thinkers share their comments and ideas and contribute to the international discussion about Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects.
  • Provide their interpretation and contextualization of concepts of free knowledge, sharing knowledge and knowledge.
People who are currently on Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects. They support the Wikimedia projects and movement.
  • Application within the grant program.
  • Documentation of the project on meta/outreach.
  • Uploads on Wikimedia Commons.
  • Article on the Wikimedia Foundation blog.
  • They will see new communication tools different from the previous and they will be invited to comment and discuss about them.
  • They will have the possibility of acknowledging that Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects can be interpreted differently from how they see them.
  • They will have the possibility of acknowledging that Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects are interpreted in those tools exactly how they see them.
  • Possibility of reusing the experience freely and with all the documentation provided.
Communication teams of Wikimedia Foundation, chapters and the Wikimedia movement They are provided with new communication tools.
  • Communication tools under cc by-sa.
  • Non exclusive rights to Wikimedia Foundation to allow distribution under Creative Commons attribution.
  • Possibility of using the communication tools for exhibitions and within conferences,
  • Possibility of translating them and modify them.

Fit with strategy edit

From a short-term and methodological point of view the project focuses on Increasing Reach, but from a strategic and long-term perspective the project aims at Improving Quality.

Quality implies diversity of content on the Wikimedia projects. It means to improve the neutrality of articles, the representation of a worldwide view of subjects, and the geographical balance. To improve the Wikimedia projects quality and to obtain this diversity there is a need to target simultaneously

  1. people who are not currently on Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects.
  2. people who are currently on Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects.

Both targets needs to be taken into consideration. It is not through an injection of new users that diversity will be acknowledged: it is necessary to work on the community as a whole.

Having people interpreting and question the Wikimedia projects from their own perspective means to bring new people into a conversation and to feed the community with people, hints and visions. It does not mean to train new people by teaching them how to do it, but to engage them in a broader discussion about what it means and what it could mean Wikipedia, the Wikimedia projects, free knowledge and sharing knowledge for them.

Sustainability edit

The project is designed as a pilot project with the specific aim to replicate it in the future if successful.

  • The involvement of video makers, designers and artists based in specific countries has the specific advantage of producing an artwork. An artwork is more sustainable than another kind of communication tool because it doesn't loose value through time and it can be reproduced in different ways (TV, news, exhibition, festival...).
  • The involvement of an institution/person with relevant knowledge of the arts and the creative field in one country has the advantage of allowing the work to circulate not only in the Wikimedia distribution and communication channels but also within other networks (art, exhibitions, art publications...).
Scalability edit
How to replicate the structure

Brief. The brief provides all the necessary information to commission the work and the frame of the communication tool (target, plan, requirements, credits). The brief can work as a model to reproduce the experience.
Structure of the team. The composition of the team is structured to allow a new project to create a similar group of skills and experiences in a different country:

  1. People active on the Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects. This provides the support to start a conversation about Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects.
  2. An institution/person with relevant knowledge of the arts and the creative field in one country. This guarantees that video makers, designers and artists based in specific countries are curated and selected. Of course there can be different criteria to select who implements the production, but it is healthy to at least ask someone who knows about it (and not just pick the first one you find online).
  3. One or more people/institutions/companies which implement the production. They can be more easily selected by an institution/person with relevant knowledge of the arts and the creative field in one country.
How to find a budget for it

The production of communication tools in different countries can be included in the communication budget of specific projects. The possibility of working with different media (radio programme, video, artwork, comics...) allows to produce tools which require different kind of budgets and also the use of limited resources.

Measures of success edit

For the specific expected results of Cameroon pilot project please refer to Scope and activities.

  1. Before it did not exist now it exists. And we can start talking about it. The first measure of success of the project is to produce something and to generate a discussion about it. The production is new because it uses a very specific approach and it focuses on a different target compared to what we currently have as communication tools. The discussion is supported by communication tools which introduce a topic of conversation: what should we focus about if we want to communicate Wikimedia and the Wikimedia projects to people who do not jet know them? What do they mean in a specific context where piracy is the common practice and where sharing knowledge is not considered a priority compared to acquiring knowledge? The topic is both addressed locally - by involving local intellectuals, thinkers and artists and by distributing the communication tools essentially to what we can call the local middle class (people with a TV).
  2. Producing something good. Feedback and the results of the distribution will give us an idea of the quality of our production. If the production is good, distribution will be easier. There is obviously a risk in a new production: the communication tools might come out mediocre. The risk is managed by involving a team of people with specific skills and experience in the field.
  3. People see them, use them and react. The project focuses on the step before editing Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects. Even if evidences say that talking about Wikipedia on the media produces an increase of editing[4], the reality is that we are targeting an audience which is not necessarily in the condition to edit Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects. The statistics on the edits and access from Cameroon will be checked before and after the project, but the project is more likely to produce a reaction on
    1. People working in countries where many people do not know jet Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects who can test new communication tools and strategies.
    2. Wikipiedia Zero. The communication tool can be used to foster the communication campaign of Wikipedia Zero. An impact can be measured on the use in Cameroon.
    3. Kiwix and Wikipedia offline. The communication tool can be used to present Wikipedia to larger audience.
    4. People working on Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects communication who can test new communication tools and strategies.

Participant(s) edit

Hip Hop concert organized by Micheal Epacka in New Bell, Douala, Cameroon.
  • Michael Epacka. He is based in Douala in Cameroon and he is the regional creative and strategy director of a communication company. With a passion for music, he has produced concerts, videos and video clips for national and international clients. He has been working with many Cameroonian artists and musicians and he has been collaborating with doual'art and the SUD Salon Urbain de Douala also with music and video productions. His latest production is a series of 4 webisodes series + avideoclip for MTN Cameroon called “The Unstoppables”. It is a fiction about four Cameroonian youngsters making music together. It was broadcasted on line+TV and the operation ended with a concert. It’s the core of the 2012-13 MTN brand campaign, and with his company they produced all sounds+videos for this (Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Unstoppable videoclip. As an example of what they produce in the field of music Hip Hop Développé. He speaks French and English.
Almo The Best.
  • Comic author. Almo The Best (pending) is a comic artist from Douala in Cameroon. He works for national publications, he has published comic books and he has participated in international comic festivals. He is funny and very appreciated for his sense of humor and for the way he makes fun of local and international issues. He could be the comic authors to which commission the comics related to free knowledge, sharing knowledge and Wikipedia. The idea of commissioning bi-dimensional artworks is meant to facilitate the distribution and to address the public in different way. Blog of Almo the Best.
  • Marilyn Douala Bell. She is a socio-economist and president of the art centre doual'art based in Douala, Cameroon. She has a long experience in managing complex projects and in supporting cultural productions. She has been promoting with her husband Didier Schaub and doual'art staff the project WikiAfrica Cameroon (including Wiki Loves Monuments Cameroon, the organization of a training related to Wikipedia, and a WikiAfrica hub at doual'art where people have an internet connection which actually allows to edit Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects). She speaks French, English and Portuguese.
  • Iolanda Pensa. She is an active wikipedian and wikimedian, member of Wikimedia Italia and Wikimedia CH, and scientific director of WikiAfrica and Share Your Knowledge projects for lettera27 Foundation between 2007-2012. She is currently researcher at SUPSI. She is an art critic with a university degree in art history and a Ph.D. in anthropology and urban planning. She has been focusing on research on contemporary African art since 1998 and she has accomplished regular field research in Douala since 2003. She has wrote the scripts for the video Share Your Knowledge why and the video Share Your Knowledge how and she has commissioned artworks since 2007. She speaks Italian, French and English.

References edit

  1. The assumption is absolutely reasonable. It is based on then fact that Wikipedia has more than 400 million readers, it is one of the first Internet websites and it is the major online source of information.
  2. 20% of the overall costs.
  3. The project relies on the fact that in many countries there is not an active local wikipedians/wikimedians community. Therefore the project is not based only on focusing on local wikipedians/wikimedians, but on wikipedians/wikimedians who can be based elsewhere. There is a need to engage in a conversation related to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia project, there is a need to provide information, to discuss about it and to make sure that people who are producing the communication tool get a personal understanding about what Wikipedia and the Wikimedia project. Since the tool focus on the about - not on how Wikipedia works - this understanding does not necessarily requires that all the people involved in the project are wikipedians/wikimedians. Furthermore, wikipedians/wikimedians based in the country can be of course part the team, but the project is not based on the idea that "local" wikipedians/wikimedians have to be involved or wish to be involved.
  4. Meeting with Frieda Brioschi who was mentioning statistics about wikipedia in Italian and the fact that when media in Italy talk about Wikipedia, you can see an increase in the edits, 2011.

Discussion edit

Community Notification: edit

Email contacts with people working on projects in Africa and with some people more specifically working on communication, Wikipedia Zero and the Global South.

Endorsements: edit

Do you think this project should be selected for an Individual Engagement Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project in the list below. Other feedback, questions or concerns from community members are also highly valued, but please post them on the talk page of this proposal.

  • Community member: add your name and rationale here.
  • Like the idea very much. Expecting a joyful, vibrant video (let's face it... most of the videos produced so far are rather static. I love some of them - such as the Edit Button - but I am not sure they are very appealing to young people...). Like the goal of a French/English outcome as well ;) Should be a great addition to the projects currently developed in Africa. Budgetwise: I am unsure of the part related to travelling costs to Wikimania London (could also be a request for Wikimania travel grants next spring + who will be the two people to present the video ? ) Anthere (talk) 20:08, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
I added in the budget the names of the people traveling to Wikimania London (I actually meanwhile added also myself) and a comment in the discussion page to explain why I put this in the project budget. I have also added some thoughts about languages in the discussion page. --iopensa (talk) 14:45, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I've worked for the WikiAfrica project in Cameroon and we did a lot of communication (TV, newspapers, etc.) but we didn't have very good results because people don't know Wikipedia (and because we tried to communicate about very specific projects). So, I think it's a very good idea to do a video to explain what is Wikipedia before asking people to edit it. Guillaume WA (talk) 18:11, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I know firsthand that the awareness and understanding of Wikipedia is quite low in Cameroon and in many other African countries so this could be a good attempt to try and move the needle on this. Kul (talk) 19:03, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
  • That sounds great, particularly in combination with the USSD Wikipedia Zero access. I'm sure it could be reused elsewhere; the same challenge exists down here in Namibia. --Pgallert (talk) 08:08, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
  • These are exactly the kinds of interventions that we need to spread the Wikipedia word in ways that people on the ground in communities across Africa can understand, engage with and relate to. By speaking their visual language injected with a specific brand of local humour, an authentic video and comic strip for Africa by Africans will definitely break through some of the communications barriers that we have found on the ground in the WikiAfrica work across the Continent. Besides which these mediums proposed are perfect for viral spread via mobile. It would be great if, as a pilot, this intervention could become a series of videos and other media unpacking and de-mystifying Wikipedia to an African audience that is desperate for information about their world (local and international). Granted it will reflect Cameroonian sensibilities and humour, but even if the humour cannot be translated, the format can be adapted for local audiences across the continent. It has my support and WikiAfrica will definitely be looking to use it as ways of encouraging individual and community activation across the continent. Islahaddow (talk) 08:58, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I love this project idea and strongly endorse it for many of the reasons expressed here already. Fun is good, and comics are great fun, and if there's something you can create out of this that has use beyond the geography and language it is made in/for then that's excellent. I have one suggestion - is there a way you can refine the distribution and follow up to include pilot editing sessions? As much as I love the idea of an innovative and new form of outreach, I think this would be strengthened considerably by having some firmly created plans to run short, fun, editing sessions at the time of distribution. The data seems to suggest that one-time editing seminars don't necessarily produce great results in terms of editing, but is there a way your project can change that around by involving people (the end users who this project is 'distributed' to) in a smarter way? Regardless, a great project, and one that I hope takes off. aprabhala (talk) 14:31, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
I added the hint in the Scope and activities among the possible distribution strategies. We will produce the communication strategy/distribution plan in December 2013, so meanwhile we can think about it and please do not hesitate to send suggestions. It is an excellent idea to make short, fun, editing sessions; maybe we can test something in Douala in December to see how people react. --iopensa (talk) 15:07, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
  • This sounds like a great idea to me. Creating awareness of Wikipedia by DVD distribution (that is normally pirated) sounds awesome. Victorgrigas (talk) 14:41, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Seems a sound project. Keep me up to date! MADe (talk) 10:32, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
  • The investment sounds absolutely reasonable for such deliverables (video, comics) by locals with impressing experience; the potential audience and concrete impact is immense and of particular importance given how much there is to do in this area. I am a bit skeptic about managing to get the video on TV, but it's nice to be able to even think about it and it's not the only way for distribution so they don't have all eggs in one basket. --Nemo 21:57, 28 October 2013 (UTC)