Grants talk:PEG/Africa Centre/Wiki Loves Africa 2015/Report

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Hi Anthere and Islahaddow. Thank you so much for this detailed, informative, and high quality grant report. We realize reporting takes a lot of effort and appreciate all the learning gleaned from this report. It sounds like you were able to integrate a lot of the lessons learned from the inaugural year of Wiki Loves Africa, make organizational improvements, and succeed in reaching your goals. We are looking forward to our discussion coming up next week about the contest and plans for next year. In the meantime, please see our questions/comments below.

Alex, and team, thank you for your questions - we have answered those listed below the questions you posed (although this might have thrown the numbering out). The answers are from both Anthere and I! Islahaddow (talk) 15:38, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
  1. Thank you for linking to the local project proposals and providing quotes from the teams about their experience (as well as the survey spreadsheet). It's really useful to hear what they found supportive and what was challenging.
It is interesting and important for us too!
  1. It's exciting to read that so many local events were organized by the countries that had project funding. It's interesting to note that the number of events did not necessarily correspond to number of photos uploaded or in use (with the exception of Ivory Coast in terms of the relatively large number of photos uploaded and large number of events). This leads us to wonder about how to better asses the impact of this project on the local communities. If we look purely at the number of photos and the relatively low use rates (~4% on average per country), it's easy to critique the contest as lower value than other similar contests. BUT (and that's a big big "but"), we understand there is a very significant value in having a continental contest such as Wiki Love Africa in terms of the energy, motivation, community-building, skill-building, and networking that it supports. What we would like to explore with you and others involved is how to better surface those stories and contextualize the contest with the more qualitative outcomes. We'd like to talk with you more in length about this, especially as we look to continuing the project in the future.
We are aware that the usage is particularly low, but this is due to a number of factors; mainly relating to the lack of articles on these subjects and the need for a writing contest post-WLAf to encourage people to add content and cover the subjects raised by each theme. Although we have tried to encourage this during the contest, quite rightly the focus has been on gathering images. And, as you know, it calls for a completely different set of skills that need to be developed. A follow up writing contest (early the following year, say around March) could be a way forward - but, this is a different project.
For example, in the survey, the Cameroon team replied to the question about motivation, "Yes. They worked on collaborative projects after the various edit-a-thons". We'd love to learn more about this. What kind of projects? Who participated? Are they continuing to be involved and collaborate outside of the contest time?
Cameroon held an exhibition of the top images at the Institut Francais
The contest made it possible to birth theWikivillages du Cameroun project.
Ji-elle (French but interested in Africa projects) was helping categorise images. She ran into images provided in Wiki Loves Africa 2014 and contacted the uploader. Ran into user:Elns. Started chatting with her. Both came back to me with ideas around projects. I put them into contact with Wikimedia France (it did not work out well) and Cameroun active members. The contest is ongoing, and Georges is helping them. This generated some media reaction recently. Such as this example.
WikiVillages du Cameroun would NOT have happened if Ji-Elle had not been working on categorization of images of WLA 2014 and WLA 2015.
And another response around the success of WLA was, "new partnerships and collaboration, new contributors and better organization for our user group." What partnerships? How are they engaging new contributors? We realize this takes even more digging into, but it's valuable information. We are looking forward to talking with you (and perhaps bringing in other folks from the communications and learning & evaluation team) to help us think the best way to surface this information.
Following WLA, the Nigeria team started to build and created a writing contest
Following WLA, we started Wiki Loves Women. We had already planned to get on track with Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. With WLA, we saw the emergence of the Nigeria group and were very happy (and we are still happy) to see them get involved in WLW. They do a fabulous job. [1] and [2]. We only got to really know them with WLA.
WLA 2015 was also the opportunity to meet Georges and really get him up to speed.
Here is another example .... of what the Ghana team is doing at the moment [3] They do well generally to organize events. They manage rather well to set up partnerships with small orgs.
The difficulties are on the side of setting up partnerships with big orgs. Money management. Marketing products and travel costs. They are learning tools on the fly (metrics, wikidata, etc.) and this is tough. Licences and OTRS are also a hard path to follow.
Perhaps the communications and learning & evaluation team should attend Wiki Indaba to learn from the Africa-based Wikipedians directly about what they need and what they have learnt?
  1. Last year, there was a lot of discussion about photo quality. This year, it's great to see that Florence and others worked on a book of photography guidelines and that it is being translated into English. Do you think the quality improved over last year? Are there other actions the organizing team could take or support to continue to improve quality?
Yes, quality clearly improved. Next steps for improvement are better categorizing and description in my opinion. But not sure exactly how to push that.
The other thing that we always encourage is that the local team works with local photographic groups and societies. When this is the case, there are clear leaps in quality. The photographers hold informal workshops and transfer skills with others, and of course, there is also the need for humans to compete.
  1. Thank you for listing all the folks that were especially helpful in organizing the project -- it's great for us to read how you engaged other people from around the world!
We could not do it without their help!
  1. It would be great to talk more about the Wiki Loves jury tool. Our understanding is that the Wiki Loves International organizing team will be doing some programming work on the tool, but what needs to be done to make it usable and maintained for everyone? I would suggest connecting with Ilario on what the plans are for improvements.
I had negotiated with Wikimedia France to admin/host it. But most of the administration issues have been fixed ! This should not be so much a problem this year.
  1. Please be sure to reach out to the WMF Fundraising team about the timing for the fundraising banners next year. If you need help contacting them, let us know.
I remember Florence being in touch with the Fundraising and the Wikimedia FR team last year, and there was still a clash - but we were also able to get some coverage. This year, we will hope to try with other territories to get the diaspora involved. Will see what is possible.
  1. We understand the split payment process was better for accountability, but tricky for local teams. Do you have a suggestion to better manage this in the future?
Split is possible, but both splits should come earlier. We are actually getting worried because the teams need to have the first bunch of money as early as possible so that they can anticipate events, get the marketing material ready and buy any other elements.
We are changing strategy with regards to accountability. We propose Elisabeth to track and centrally record all expenses, and mention whether those are documented or not and in which category they stand. This central reporting sheet will be made available (to the community and WMF of course), which we hope could have two consequences 1) comparison of the teams one next to the other (and perhaps realization of possible mis-allocations) and 2) more visibility for WMF of which teams take things seriously and which do not…
  1. In terms of challenges faced by the local teams, can the organizing team give more support or guidance on how to market/communicate about the contest? In terms of limited finances and sponsorship for national campaigns, did local organizers specify what they would use the extra funds for? They mention travel as a constraint, but would like to learn more how an increased travel budget (or other line items) would be helpful.
Our press releases have really little impact. That is frustrating. Any support to improve that would be much appreciated.
When local teams organized local press conferences, it seemed to have more impact in the press.
With several projects now done, we realize the cost of marketing stuff is much higher than we expected.
Many of these countries are literally vast and by not travelling to some, it leaves out the diversity of cultures we are trying to collate, but also creates lost opportunities for people to be exposed to Wikipedia and the ability to contribute to Wikipedia. Some are also strategic (for example hosting an event in the administrative capitals e.g. Abuja, allows for more media attention).
From a purely logistical issue, in some countries, the main participants do not live in the capital (example Georges in Cameroon).
  1. In regards to the challenge of not having enough trained local Wikipedians, what skills specifically would be useful to grow? It may be helpful to support training events leading up to the contest in future. For example, a type of train-the-trainers workshop.
the means to do mass upload of pictures would be fabulous;
wikidata (but then... dont we all need that ? :)) - at least the basics.
Mentorships with experienced Wikipedians around leveraging the content already held within organisations (i.e. the GLAM community)
  1. Since your 2016 application is under a different organization, please return the remaining funds according to the instructions provided here.
The Africa Centre holds the remaining funds. Isla no longer works at the Africa Centre and has no control over repayment of the money from this project. The best people to contact for this is tannerm@intekom.co.za and etheln@africacentre.net. Isla will email them and cc you to nudge payment.

Again, thank you for this report and we are looking forward to continuing the discussion. Cheers, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 04:56, 23 July 2016 (UTC)

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