Grants talk:Project/WikiInAfrica/WikiFundi/Final

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Final Report acceptedEdit

Dear Anthere

Thank you for submitting this Final Report. I am accepting it below with the following comments:

  • Congratulations on getting all the bugs fixed or logged with Kiwix or MediaWiki folks.
  • Great idea to break up the software into smaller, modular packages. So great to see the big drop in size of SD card required. So important for accessibility.
    • Curious if you have plans to add Arabic, in addition to English and French, at some point?
  • You say that new resources were added to the different packages. Can you please add to your report an overview of what was added and why (or a link to somewhere else where this is described)? This can be a high level bulleted summary--no need to spend a lot of time on it.
  • I like the solution you came up with to compensate for the obstacles to creating tutorials. Making the software itself more user-friendly is likely to make a bigger difference than tutorials for many people (since many people aren't inclined to read tutorials). And the YouTube videos are also a great idea. I am curious about the choice to make the training video in Arabic, since it sounded like the new releases are in English and French. Is the Arabic training video focused on the older version of WikiFundi, or do you have plans to translate the new release into Arabic, too?
  • In reading about your work on your dissemination strategy, and the partnerships you have begin to groom, I find myself wishing to know more--especially since I am delayed in accepting this report, and so there may be further developments not reported here. Maybe we can set up a call to talk about this further? Also, can you tell me if anyone on staff at the Wikimedia Foundation has participated in your partnership development efforts (for example, sometimes staff from the Partnerships and Global Reach team participate in partnership development work to add support)?
  • Let me know if you feel satisfied with where your communication and outreach efforts stand at this point. In your report you mention you were still hoping to publish a blog post on the WMF blog, and a social media push. Since it's been a few months, this may be done. If it's not, let me know your plans. I can touch base with our Comms team about potential ways to support.
  • I am glad to hear about the ways you are integrating plans for WikiFundi into an integrated approach to thinking about offline software for the Wikimedia movement, through the User Group.
  • In regard to satisfaction with the user interface, at this point do you have any updates via feedback from those who have downloaded it/tested it since the submission of this report? To be clear, in asking this question, I'm not intending to make a project for you. I thought you might have information offhand that you could quickly share. If not, please say so rather than going to any burdensome effort.
  • Sorry about the impact to you in having a 6-month project take 11-months. It sounds like there were several aspects that were complicated (and more stressful, I imagine) than expected. Is there any feedback you can offer about how I or the WMF in general could be more supportive in situations like this? Can you see any way the grant proposal review process or mid-grant process could be improved upon in this respect? Do you have advice for prospective grantees about things like predicting how long things will take, tactics they can use to accurately predict how much contractors may cost (for software development, or otherwise), planning for fluctuating currency exchange rates?
  • In your report, you say, "Some of my original plans did not turn out to be so easy to implement, or so useful. So we replaced them by other outputs which seemed more appropriate." From my perspective, this is a total success. The intent is never for the proposal to tie you to the solution you had in mind at the beginning. Often, as learning develops in a project, better ideas come into play than the original ones, and for what it is worth, I love the adaptability and responsiveness of how you handled this problem.
  • Thanks for your clear list of methods and activities.

This was an interesting report to read. If you have time and would enjoy it, I would enjoy speaking with you about it if you can spare an hour--just for the sake of celebrating your successes and helping me to understand next steps.

Warm regards,

--Marti (WMF) (talk) 17:39, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

Hello Marti

Some answers below

Curious if you have plans to add Arabic, in addition to English and French, at some point?
Yes. Arabic is an idea. Portuguese as well. And some other folks suggested some African and some Indian languages. I think Arabic and Portuguese would be useful certainly. Here are the elements that would require to be updated.

  1. the media wiki interface (should not be complicated)
  2. the pages we put into WikiFundi software, some being written from scratch, some being curated content from wikipedia. We can do a quick hack with minimal translation. Or we can do a better job but this would require more than just a translator
  3. the sample articles I selected are both useful as examples and as basis to test the template extracting engine. Selecting articles should not be overly complicated. But checking if the right templates have been extracted is a bit more complex
  4. the ressources added to the package. Again can be a quick hack keeping only English. Or can be done better adding another language ressource.

In short, it can be done rapidly (but poor quality) or more slowly (more useful). In both cases, require tech times and native speaker time. I have been looking for funds for that (a little, not much). Did not work so far.
But I heard rumors that Kiwix might be working on that. So it might happen in the future.

You say that new resources were added to the different packages. Can you please add to your report an overview of what was added and why (or a link to somewhere else where this is described)? This can be a high level bulleted summary--no need to spend a lot of time on it.
Essentially, it is

  1. an update of the ressources added to the package (see the history [1]) --> added some documents. Remove outdated ones.
  2. update of the user guide if my memory is correct --> to reflect the changes in the software
  3. several videos to support people using a raspberry for the first time + the introductory video shoot by Isla
  4. we also updated the inside interface and navigation to make it way clearer and simpler than the first version

I like the solution you came up with to compensate for the obstacles to creating tutorials. Making the software itself more user-friendly is likely to make a bigger difference than tutorials for many people (since many people aren't inclined to read tutorials). And the YouTube videos are also a great idea. I am curious about the choice to make the training video in Arabic, since it sounded like the new releases are in English and French. Is the Arabic training video focused on the older version of WikiFundi, or do you have plans to translate the new release into Arabic, too?
I sized the opportunity... I was at WikiIndaba. I could get help to shoot a video. I have volunteers willing to be the actors. So I just jumped on the opportunity :)
The two people who helped are Sami and Afek. Sami presented WikiFundi in several places (in arabic I think). Afek is helping us on the WikiChallenge African Schools project that runs in Tunisia. So it really made sense.
I would love the plan of having it in Arabic as well. Not yet on my plate...

In reading about your work on your dissemination strategy, and the partnerships you have begin to groom, I find myself wishing to know more--especially since I am delayed in accepting this report, and so there may be further developments not reported here. Maybe we can set up a call to talk about this further? Also, can you tell me if anyone on staff at the Wikimedia Foundation has participated in your partnership development efforts (for example, sometimes staff from the Partnerships and Global Reach team participate in partnership development work to add support)?
None that I am aware of. Let's talk :)

Let me know if you feel satisfied with where your communication and outreach efforts stand at this point. In your report you mention you were still hoping to publish a blog post on the WMF blog, and a social media push. Since it's been a few months, this may be done. If it's not, let me know your plans. I can touch base with our Comms team about potential ways to support.
It is mostly Isla who took care of that, so I must confess that it is quite far away in time for me to remember exactly. I remember I participated once or twice to the wmf blog on the matter, such as in the offline series. I also had an article on the wikichallenge, which is the number1 use of the tool. I also try to give a lightning talk about WikiFundi in most community events I go to. And I carry my WikiFundi poster and leaflets with me :)
Still, I think most of our community is still unaware of that tool. Note that most of them actually would not care, they are connected... but clearly others could be interested. I believe many in the African community know about it.
I think the most difficult though has been to reach out to "outside" parties. But to be honest... who is going to use that tool without wikipedians support ? Hardly anyone. So I somewhat gave up raising awareness outside and I focus on raising awareness within the community, for folks who either have connectivity problems or for those who want to set up up an edu project.
I am also aware that Kiwix is promoting the tool.

In regard to satisfaction with the user interface, at this point do you have any updates via feedback from those who have downloaded it/tested it since the submission of this report? To be clear, in asking this question, I'm not intending to make a project for you. I thought you might have information offhand that you could quickly share. If not, please say so rather than going to any burdensome effort.
Most of those who have used it did so through education projects. I recently was contacted by a French agricultural school... which partner with a Benin high school... through a group of retired former agronomists. The agronomists found out about WikiFundi (I have no idea how they did...), decided to provide material to the school (computers, tablets, rasberry servers - this should be set up by January 2020). And contacted the agri school to set up learning projects for the students. Mentioned Wikipedia during the discussion. The agri school knew about me, contacted me and get me to meet that team. And this is during our discussion that I discovered that those people had actually downloaded wikifundi and put it on the raspberry. You know what... I felt damned proud. Very surprised as well... we are trying to set up something with Wikimedia Benin now ;)
I am disgressing... to answer your question... the only thing disturbing of the second version is that it is way more complicated to actually launch the application than it was before. It is due to the new platform used by Kiwix. There are big benefits to this one. But the connexion to the hotspot is tricky. Kiwix is aware of the issue. No clear solution for now. A bit unfortunate that it makes the user experience more complicated and some people trying and not succeeding are more likely to give up.
The changes made to the software itself and its internal navigation are good. Way better than there were. Also, in the first version, the access to the resources was a bit complicated. Now it is way cleaner and easier. I am happy with it and consider it done. I do not feel that it needs improvements.
The only thing being a problem is the access to the hotspot itself... this is not strictly speaking a wikifundi issue.

Sorry about the impact to you in having a 6-month project take 11-months. It sounds like there were several aspects that were complicated (and more stressful, I imagine) than expected. Is there any feedback you can offer about how I or the WMF in general could be more supportive in situations like this? Can you see any way the grant proposal review process or mid-grant process could be improved upon in this respect? Do you have advice for prospective grantees about things like predicting how long things will take, tactics they can use to accurately predict how much contractors may cost (for software development, or otherwise), planning for fluctuating currency exchange rates?
My main recommandation would be to always extend from the start the time you think it will take. If you think 6 months, make it at least a 9 months project... we always believe things will be done more quickly than they actually end up being. So extend the time from the start.
Fluctuation of currencies... I have no solution frankly. I always include a provision for unexpected expenses but when fluctuation varies widely... this is not sufficient.
There is ONE thing though to be super careful about. Make the request in your own currency. Not in dollars. I remember a grant request I made and I stupidly made it in dollars. So I took the rate at the moment I asked for the grant. By the time the grant was accepted, I lost over 10% of my budget. By the time the money got into the bank account, I had lost 20% of my budget. Project gets difficult from day 1 ! Whereas, if I had asked the grant in my currency, then I would have benefitted from 100% of my budget. So be careful about which currency you ask for.
Prediction of how much contractors are going to cost... tough tough question. The big problem in software development is that it is quite difficult to predict how much time a development will take. In particular when development is done with Agile methodology. And if way longer than initially planned... then there is a loss and money has to be found somewhere. So... either the developer absorbs the loss... or the project manager absorbs the loss. In the wikimedia world, developers are kings. So... There you go. The other thing is that when one make the grant request, he needs to be sure in which country the contractor will work. Because there is a huge gap in how much you will pay someone from Senegal compared to someone from Switzerland... so, make sure you already know who will do the work...
Can the WMF help on those ? Well, at least when the grantee stupidly asked the money in dollar... if the local currency went bonk... help with the loss.

Thank you for your questions Marti Anthere (talk) 01:04, 26 November 2019 (UTC)

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