Grants:PEG/WM ZA/Kiwix and mobile wifi hotspot/Report

Report accepted
This report for a Project and Event grant approved in FY Pending has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
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Compliance and completion

Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?
Answer YES or NO.
Is your project completed?
Answer YES or NO.
Did you use any of the grant funds?
Answer YES or NO.

Activities and lessons learned

WLM events
Handover of the Kiwix unit installed at Sinenjongo High School in Cape Town, South Africa. In the picture is Douglas (from Wikimedia ZA) on the left and the schools principle on the right receiving the Kiwix unit.
Original location of the Kiwix unit installed at Sinenjongo High School in the school principle's office in December 2015. Although the location was secure it was not ideal as the metal walls of her office blocked the signal to the rest of the school.
The Kiwix unit installed at Sinenjongo High School in Cape Town, South Africa in September 2016. This was the second attempt at installing the device. This time in a location that was both secure from possible theft and that allowed for easy WiFi access from outside in the rest of the school. This location was successful.
An external view of the Kiwix unit at Sinenjongo High School in its 2016 location. The two aerials of the WiFi booster can be seen protruding from the air vent holes on the wall of the building.
Testing the Kiwix unit installed at its 2016 location in the school.

This section describes what the grantee did, and what the grantee learned from implementing the project. This section should be useful to others implementing similar projects and is an opportunity for the grantee to reflect on the project's performance.


Provide a detailed list of activities performed to complete this project, descriptions of these activities, and the amount of time spent on each activity. This section should also include a list of participants, or a link to pictures, blog posts, or videos from the project or event.

Activities of the project were two fold:

  • Kiwix units
  • Conduct a benchmark survey of Wikipedia & internet usage at Sinenjongo High School.
  • Install a test Kiwix unit at Sinenjongo High School in Cape Town.
  • Test impact/usage of the Kiwix unit.
  • Use a second unit to market the technology to local partners. A presentation of the unit was done to multiple stakeholders in government including the Western Cape provincial head of eduction. The conclusion of the presentations was that Kiwix would not be of use for high income provinces as they were in the process of installing free internet access in all schools. However it was also concluded that poorer provinces such as the Northern Cape or the Eastern Cape would benefit greatly from this technology as there was no prospect of any future roll out of free internet access.
  • Mobile WiFi hotspot
  • Obtain 2 mobile internet connections for use 'on-the-go' for Wikimedia ZA chapter activities.

Lessons learned

What lessons were learned that may help others succeed in similar projects? Consider the following questions and respond with 1 - 2 paragraphs.
What went well?
Public perceptions, interest and goodwill towards the project was evident. Both in the ease of securing meetings for presentations of the Kiwix system and in securing possible locations to test the system. Public interest was high and often enthusiastic.
What did not go well?
Resolving bugs: upon receiving the Kiwix units we discovered that they were unusable due to a bug in the software. This delayed deployment as we communicated with the Swiss team to debug the system's landing page.
Deployment of the Kiwix unit at Sinenjongo High School prooved to be more difficult than anticipated. The school buildings were pre-fabricated one-room metal buildings spread out over a wide area thereby preventing WiFi signal from leaving the inside of the buildings and being projected outside for the whole school to use. It was judged necessary to install the Kiwix unit inside one of the more secure buildings due to concerns over the unit possibly being stolen. This meant that for the first 6 months of the Kiwix project no one was able to use Kiwix as it was inside the principle's office for safekeeping. After which the school judged it best to keep the Kiwix unit in a safe for an additional 3 months. Project organisers then installed a WiFi signal booster for the Kiwix unit and reinstalled it in the Science lab. This allowed students to use Kiwix both inside the science lab as well as projected signal outside the buildings covering around one third of the school.
Although the presentation of Kiwix to the Western Cape department of education was not a success due to their planned instillation of free internet access across all schools (Kiwix can not compete with free internet access) there was a feeling within government that other provinces would greatly benefit. Poorer local governments with no prospect of providing free internet access would likely find great utility in providing public access to Kiwix as it is a cheaper system to install and has no running costs and can be installed anywhere with access to electricity. Simply requiring a once off cost to install and low maintance costs for upkeep means that it is much more achievable and easier for local governments to fund and implement. Schools, libraries, and public places in rural areas and in poorer provinces of South Africa such as the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Limpopo Province, and in neighbouring countries such as Swaziland or Lesotho would be ideal candidates for future possible deployment of Kiwix.
What would you do differently if you planned a similar project?
In addition to the Kiwix unit we would have purchased one or more WiFi boosters so that the unit's signal could be projected around the schools more effectively. We also would have build a weather proof, theft proof version for instillation outside. Additionally and importantly we would have optimised the Kiwix software for use on mobile devices as most users of the system are highly likely to use it from wifi enabled mobile phones. We also would have talked directly to schools and libraries in rural areas and would have approached the local governments of poorer less internet connected provinces instead of the much wealthier Western Cape provincial government.

Project goal and measures of success


This section should reference the project goals and measures of success described in the approved grant submission. See Grants:PEG/WM ZA/Kiwix and mobile wifi hotspot to review the goals and metrics listed in the approved submission.

Project goal

Provide the project goal here.
The goal of this project was two fold. One was to secure 2 offline wifi Kiwix devices that will allow users to access the full version of English Wikipedia with thumbnail images without having to access the internet. Four One of these units will be installed in disadvantaged communities to allow locals to access Wikipedia without having to access the internet. One unit was to be used by Wikimedia ZA as a demonstration unit to show the technology to interested potential partners in South Africa. This technology could be particularly useful in bringing Wikipedia to rural areas of South Africa. Especial since smart phone usage is now becoming common place enough in South Africa that even many of the poorest of the countries citizens now can access wifi devices. The idea here is to demonstrate this technology so it could possibly be rolled out by government and/or other local partners in Southern Africa.
The second goal is to secure 2 mobile wifi internet hotspot units so as to allow Wikimedia ZA to setup temporary mobile wifi internet hotspots so as to conduct Wiki related events more effectively and with greater ease. The units will allow Wikimedia ZA to do edit-a-thons, demonstrations, editing training, and upload marathons in any part of the country with 3G coverage. One unit was to be located in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town so that the resources are relatively evenly spread across the country for the whole chapter to be able to use them in centres where Wikimedia ZA is most active. This is now the case. Previously the chapter has experienced difficulty in conducting some of the said activities due to unreliable internet access or no internet access at all. Furthermore many activities that Wikimedia ZA would like to do in more rural areas can not be done due to lack of local internet connectivity options. This project has helped resolve these issues.
Did you achieve your project goal? How do you know your goal was achieved? Please answer in 1 - 2 paragraphs.
Mixed results
  1. Secure 2 fully functioning Kiwix devices from Wikimedia CH. (done)
  2. Deploy 1 Kiwix device at Sinenjongo High School. (done)
  3. Level of use of Kiwix devices. (not done)
  4. Level of interest and 'buy-in' from local partners for deployment/rollout of Kiwix. (see below)
  5. Secure 2 fully functional mobile wifi units. (done)
  6. Number of times mobile wifi units will be used. (Cape Town - 21 times and the device is still in use, JHB - unknown)

Will consider the project a success if all units were secured and installed at the school. We do still do not know what the 'natural' or 'normal' rate of use might be for a Kiwix system or the extent to which Wikipedia is used in poor informal settlements such as Joe Slovo Park. This was due to the extended period of time when they unit was not used by the school before the wifi projection problem was solved by the setup and instillation of wifi boosters in September 2016. The other Kiwix unit was used to demonstrate the technology to local groups in South Africa. A demonstration with the Western Cape department of Education was not successful due to the departments decision to rollout free wifi at all schools in the provice, the same was the case with a meeting with the department of health in the province. It was suggested that the Chapter instead focus efforts at approaching poorer provincial/local government departments in the Northern and Eastern Cape where it is highly unlikely that free wifi will be rolled out soon and that are more rural. A demonstration to the Donwald Woods Foundation was more successful with them requesting more information about the technology and a the possibility of rolling it out in rural areas of the Eastern Cape. The technology was also shown at Wikimania 2016 kick starting a meeting between Wikimedia CH and the Wikipedia Medical User (at Wikimania 2016) group to possibly roll out the technology for medical personnel in internet scarce locations globally. This helped launched an imitative with the Internet-in-a-box and the Kiwix team (including Wikimedia ZA) to investigate this technology further and that is currently still running.

Measures of success

List the measures of success exactly as provided in the approved grant submission, and evaluate your project according to each measure listed there.
  1. Secure 2 fully functioning Kiwix devices from Wikimedia CH. (done)
  2. Deploy 1 Kiwix device at Sinenjongo High School. (done)
  3. Level of use of Kiwix devices. (not done)
  4. Level of interest and 'buy-in' from local partners for deployment/rollout of Kiwix. (see "Did you achieve your project goal?" above)
  5. Secure 2 fully functional mobile wifi units. (done)
  6. Number of times mobile wifi units will be used. (Cape Town - 21 times and the device is still in use, JHB - unknown)
Provide an overall assessment of how your project went according to these measures.
Mixed success
The project was not a full success due to delays in adequate roll out in the field in Sekunjalo High School due to poor WiFi signal issues and due to a relative lack of interest by local government (Western Cape) in the technology. This lack of interest was due to the planned roll out (unforeseen at the time of the grant application) by that provincial government of free WiFi at all government institutions. No other local governments have yet been approached due to geographical constraints on meeting them. These challenges were compounded by the budget short fall issues, already mentioned in this report, that stopped many aspects of it due to a lack of funds. In the future we would strongly suggest adding a WiFi booster pack to Kiwix units.
However the project was a success in that 2 units were secured, one installed at the location for future data collection (the Sekunjalo project is still ongoing), and we were abled to demonstrate the project and generate some interest with certain NGOs. Additionally we got strong feedback that this technology would likely be of great interest to other poorer and more rural provinces/local governments in the country. It also helped kick start other Kiwix related projects (already mentioned in this report) as well as gave Wikimedia ZA mobile editing capabilities.
If you were to plan a similar project, would you measure it differently? If yes, please explain how.



This section ties this project to Wikimedia's broader goals, and shows what the project accomplished.

What impact did this project have on WMF's mission and the strategic goals? Please answer in 1 -2 paragraphs and include specific measures of impact such as the number of readers or editors reached by a particular project, or the number of articles edited or improved.
Stabilize infrastructure
Increase participation
Improve quality
Increase reach
Encourage innovation
This project both increased reach by providing free access to the off-line Wikipedia on Kiwix and encouraged innovation by testing out the in field deployment of the Kiwix system.

Reporting and documentation of expenditures


This section describes the grant's use of funds


Did you send documentation of all expenses paid with grant funds to grants at wikimedia dot org, according to the guidelines here? Answer "Yes" or "No".


Please list all project expenses in a table here, with descriptions and dates. Review the instructions here.
These expenses should be listed in the same format as the budget table in your approved submission so that anyone reading this report may be able to easily compare budgeted vs. actual expenses.
Note that variances in the project budget over 10% per expense category must be approved in advance by WMF Grants Program staff. For all other variances, please provide an explanation in the table below.
Total project budget (from your approved grant submission)
R 37,926.95 or US$3,544.40
Total amount requested from WMF (from your approved grant submission)
R 37,926.95 or US$3,544.40
Total amount spent on this project (this total should be the total calculated from the table above)
R28,616.00 or US$2,384.67
Total amount of WMF grant funds spent on this project (this total will be the same as the total amount spent if the WMF grant is your only funding source)
R28,616.00 or US$2,384.67
Are there additional sources of revenue that funded any part of this project? List them here.



Please provide a detailed breakdown of project expenses according to the instructions here.

Grantees are subject to line-item scrutiny of expenses. Changes to the approved budget beyond 10% in any category must be approved in advance.

Project budget table

Kiwix devices budget

Qty Rate (Rand) Total (Rand) requested Total (US Dollars) requested Notes Total (Rand) spent Total (US Dollars) spent Notes on spent funds
1 Kiwix offline Wikipedia wifi devices (total) 2 5,339.35 10,678.70 1,000 [1] 12,000.00 1,000.00 2 units bought at $500 each
2 Shipping
2.1 Courier/DHL 1 2,135.74 2,135.74 200 [2] 1980.00 165.00
2.2 VAT/customs 1 4,085.51 4,085.51 382.59
2.2 Instillation and maintenance 1 2,746 2,746 250
2.3 Insurance 1 281 281 25 [3] 240.00 20.00
TOTAL BILL Number 1 19,926.95 1,857.59 14,220.00 1,185.00
  1. The 2 Kiwix devices will be distributed accordingly:
    • 1 device held back and to be kept by Wikimedia ZA for demonstration purposes.
    • 1 devices to be installed at Sinenjongo High School
  2. The Kiwix devices are expensive and we do run the risk of them breaking in transit. We also want to get the units to Cape Town ASAP. We have researched many options and already tried regular post which resulted in unsatisfactory results. We have therefore concluded that DHL is the best means of shipping these units to South Africa in a safe and timelessly fashion.
  3. Insurance on shipped items is 1% of the stated value of the goods being transported. Therefore insurance is $25 or $2500*0.01=25.

Mobile wifi budget

Qty Rate (Rand) Total (Rand) Total (US Dollars) Notes Total (Rand) spent Total (US Dollars) spent Notes on spent funds
1 Ecoboxx 160 2 3,800 7,600 712.21 7860 655.00 Bought 2 units, 1 for Cape Town, 1 for JHB.
2 Wireless modem 2 1,800 3,600 337.36 3,559.00 296.58 2 units bought, 1 at R1259 for Cape Town, 1 at R2300 for JHB.
3 Dongle 2 400 800 74.96 0 0
4 Pre-paid data 2 (as needed) 3,000 6,000 562.27 [1] 2000 166.66 2 purchases of data at 20GB each for R999
TOTAL BILL Number 2 18,000.00 1,686.81 14,396.00 1,199.66
  1. Pre-paid cellphone data in South Africa expires after 2 months regardless of how much data remains unused. This means that data will have to be 'topped up' as the system is used throughout the project period. R3,000 is roughly enough to purchase 40~60 GB of data depending on the size of the individual data purchases.

Total cost of project:

Qty Total (Rand) Total (US Dollars) Notes Total (Rand) spent Total (US Dollars) spent Notes on spent funds
1 Kiwix devices 2 19,926.95 1,857.59 14,220.00 1,185.00 One unit installed at Sekunjalo High School and one for demonstration purposes.
2 Mobile wifi hotspots 2 18,000.00 1,686.81 14,396.00 1,199.00
TOTAL BILL 37,926.95 3,544.4 28,616.00 2,384.67
Total amount requested from the Project and Event Grants program
Additional sources of revenue that may fund part of this project, and amounts funded
Additional notes
Findings from the accounting report done by Braude Gordon accountants on behalf of Wikimedia South Africa for Wikimedia Foundation.
All unspent money was written off when a budget short fall was identified by Wikimedia ZA and the Wikimedia Foundation was notified. The Wikimedia Foundation agreed to write-off unspent funds in this project on condition Wikimedia ZA hired an accountant to look into the cause of the budget shortfall. This investigation was completed by the firm Braude Gordon accountants in May 2016 which found the cause of the budget shortfall to be a shortfall in the amount of funds asked and planned for verses the amount actually received from WMF and a partner funder organisation (Open Society Foundation) for a previous project in 2014.

Remaining funds

Are there any grant funds remaining?
Answer YES or NO.
Details - an amount of R9,310.95 ($775.91) was unspent from the budget. However due to the budget short fall identified in 2014 an agreement was reached with the WMF to clear this amount to zero.
Please list the total amount (specify currency) remaining here. (This is the amount you did not use, or the amount you still have after completing your grant.)
No amount was left unspent
If funds are remaining they must be returned to WMF, reallocated to mission-aligned activities, or applied to another approved grant.
Please state here if you intend to return unused funds to WMF, submit a request for reallocation, or submit a new grant request, and then follow the instructions on your approved grant submission.