This is Wiki In Africa's application for an annual plan grant of $71,985 over 12 months. This covers a grant period from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020. The plan is to move Wiki In Africa into an annual cycle of integrated, programmatic development and community support, and to move away from insecure project funding cycles. This grant application doesn't cover the full amount of activities planned by Wiki In Africa over the 2020 year, but it does ensure that main projects continue and a solid foundation is set for towards an appropriate growth model, where new and established interventions and programmes to develop at an appropriate scale.
Global access for all to open knowledge that reflects the diverse cultures, biodiversities, peoples, and histories of the African continent with the same depth and breadth as other knowledges.
Wiki In Africa is a non-profit voluntary association that is based in South Africa. It is a financial and legal structure that operates global initiatives in support of the WikiAfrica movement. The WikiAfrica movement is a collective of interventions that supports the aims and development of the Wikimedia movement and community across the geographical space of Africa. Amongst the current WikiAfrica interventions driven by Wiki In Africa are Wiki Loves Africa, Wiki Loves Women, WikiFundi, WikiChallenge Ecoles d'Afrique, etc.
The association's objective is to empower and engage citizens of Africa and its diaspora to collect, develop and contribute educational and relevant content that relates to the theme of Africa under a free license, and to engage in global knowledge systems by encouraging access to, awareness of, and support for open knowledge, the open movement and the Wikimedia projects, by working in collaboration with like-minded organisations.
Wiki In Africa is a legal entity that is focused on meta organising. It has absolutely NO intention of working above, instead of, or replacing any national user group. The purpose of Wiki In Africa is to create resources that support the work of individuals as well as existing and future Wikimedia Volunteer teams and Usergroups, and to create cross-continental projects and opportunities that consistently collaborate with them. It does not, in any way, replace any of the work that individuals, teams and UserGroups do on the ground. Its aims are to inform, encourage, support and embolden people, groups and organisations to get involved.
It also should be outlined that all programmatic activity of Wiki in Africa is being done in collaboration with at least one (but more often, several) Wikimedia organizations, and in most cases also involve external partners. Our activity usually does not include on-the-ground elements such as organizing edit-a-thons or training sessions, but rather consist in leading global initiatives which others can join or implement with activities on the ground in the way they want to and can.
There are a number of objectives for Wiki In Africa across 2020. These range from the synergistic development and scaling of existing programmes, the research and development of a new educational intervention, consolidating processes to integrate community and expert advice, and establishing organisational consistency and stability.
Wiki In Africa was legally established in 2017, however, the principals of the organisation have been working collaboratively since 2014 with the Activate Africa drive for WikiAfrica, which saw the launch of Wiki Loves Africa and a WIR-model community project, Kumusha Takes Wiki. Wiki In Africa was established to ensure a legal structure in order for the work across Africa to continue, however, its life as an organisation has relied on short-term project funding, which has led to considerable stress and insecurity that have had negative impacts on the natural progression of the programmes it runs.
At the core of the plan up to and throughout 2020 is to stabilise and expand this work by ensuring proactive (and not reactive) programmatic development. Part of this plan involves securing and establishing vital input and collaboration from the Wikimedia community, the development of Advisory Panels for Wiki In Africa projects, and ongoing visibility and advocacy efforts.
Diversity and Content Contribution (including Capacity Building and Community Development)
Wiki Loves Africa
stage: advanced - 2020 will be the 6th edition
Wiki Loves Africa 2020
Wiki Loves Africa 5 years poster
m:Wiki Loves Africa (WLAf) is an annual photo contest that takes place annually and is run across the African continent. Wiki Loves Africa encourages the ‘crowd’ contribution of local knowledge of heritage and communal cultures by entering media (photographs, video and audio) about their environment onto Wikimedia Commons for use on Wikimedia projects.
Wiki Loves Africa particularly encourages participants to contribute media that illustrates a specific theme for that year. Each year the theme changes. Themes are chosen from topics that are universal, visually rich and culturally specific, for example, markets, rites of passage, festivals, public art, cuisine, natural history, urbanity, daily life, notable persons, etc.. In 2014 the theme was Cuisine. In 2015 the theme was Cultural Fashion and Adornment. The theme for 2016 was Dance and Music. 2017 was People at Work and 2019 was Play!
An important element of design, which makes Wiki Loves Africa differ from other WLX projects (such as Wiki Loves Monuments or Wiki Loves Earth), is that it is open for participation across the whole continent (and beyond) rather than only in targeted or participating countries.
Practically speaking, WLM or WLE are organised in specific countries by local teams, which mean the contest does not take place in countries where there are no organizing teams. The list of participating countries differ every year, with new countries joining and others leaving, depending on the existence and willingness of local organizing teams on the ground. For example, WLM took place in 55 countries in 2017, and 48 countries in 2019. For WLM, the primary goal is to highlight the heritage sites of the participating countries, with the goal to collect awesome pictures of them. The amount of work to provide by local teams is quite important, and must start with establishing lists of monuments to illustrate. In many cases, the local teams are supported by local chapters, some of whom have dedicated, paid staff (eg, in France, the contest is largely organized by Wikimedia France staff). Generally speaking, the pictures are more often uploaded by already established contributors to the Wikimedia projects.
WLA is designed differently, for slightly different results. When we launched it in 2014, the gap in photographic content about Africa on Wikimedia Commons was huge. But so was participation. We also hardly had any African Usergroups. In most countries, the wikipedians were only a handful, sometimes only one known person, sometimes no one. When there are only 1-2 wikipedians in a country, it is quite difficult to organize activities from scratch. As WMF also demonstrated, the awareness of the Wikimedia brand (and the Wikipedia brand as well for that matter) in Africa was extremely limited. As a consequence, our goal in launching Wiki Loves Africa was just about getting awesome pictures. It was also about:
providing a general framework that tiny local groups could use to run local activities that would not be too demanding and in the process, get more informed about, and involved in, our ecosystem,
raising local awareness about Wikipedia, Commons, free licences,
facilitating recruitment of editors,
training new participants in different ways of contributing,
and finally about getting pictures to illustrate articles.
Local groups can address the contest in the way they want, with the level of involvement they desire (and can handle). If it is only organizing one afternoon event, then so be it. Many former participants report they learned new skills from their participation.
But the contest also takes place in countries with no team whatsoever, and since WLA launched in 2014 we have seen the exciting emergence of new wikipedians across Africa. In the past six years, some tiny groups grew up to become strong and solid Usergroups with lots of members and partners, and some isolated individuals are now part of a small team. And some countries with absolutely no one now host known wikipedians. Over the course of 5 years, over 220 events were organized!
Part of the tasks of the central organizing team have been to foster the emergence of new groups and help them walk the path to become informed members of our community. There ia a strong synergy between associations to run Wiki Loves Africa. WLA has been run by Wiki in Africa at the global level, but could not be possible without the involvement and partnership with dozen of others, in particular, the Wikimedia UserGroups in Africa. The project also got some support from Wikimedia France, Wikimedia CH, Wikimedia Foundation, Orange Foundation, Ynternet.org, Unesco, Goethe Institute and several others locally. Other tasks may involve the embodiment of the WLA drive, with practice sharing and coordination with the other WLX (Recent example during Wikimania).
But there are still areas where we know of very, very few or no wikipedians at all. Accordingly, our desire is to continue Wiki Loves Africa. So do others: a survey was conducted in September 2019 about the future of Wiki Loves Africa. The community has been overwhelmingly supportive of the contest continuing, with 86% respondents in favour of Wiki Loves Africa 2020.
Last, the Wiki in Africa team does not wish the Wiki Loves Africa contest to be a stand-a-alone project that simply happens over 2 months, and then lies dormant the rest of the year. We want it to be the starting point for various activities throughout the year, to maintain the energy levels from the community and optimize the outcomes of the contest. Examples of side-elements in the past include:
a real and consistent effort was made to increase the reuse of best images in Wikipedia articles (on African-related articles but also on general articles so as to fight bias). The team also explored new ways to use and improve tools developed by others (Trying to expand the Glamify tool). According to Alex Stinton, WLA reuse percentage is considered high compared to other WLX campaigns;
a consistent effort has been made to present the contest and its outcome (poster, leaflets, photo exhibition) at various wikimedia and non-wikimedia conferences for increased visibility of our brands (Wiki Loves Africa celebrated 5 years at the CC Summit 2019 in Lisbon);
a tool, ISA (see below) was developed to increase the structured data associated with the images collected through the contest, as well as organization of small challenges towards the end of 2019;
Wiki Loves Africa has been consistently funded by Wikimedia Foundation in the past. However, since the last edition, we have been confronted by the challenge of fitting into the Project Grant Funding Cycle, due to its changes in structure and its reduction to a now annual occurrence. Last year, we had to patch funding together by piling up several smaller radip grant requests so that the budget would be met. This inefficient process added considerable work not only on Wiki in Africa, but also on the Wikimedia Foundation grant team which had to study and then manage several requests, not counting general confusion for the grant committee.
The uncertainty around being funded or not funded generates a lot of stress to the team (both the core and country-based teams). For the Wiki In Africa team, there is as additional workload when attempting to find other funding sources to ensure the contest will happen every year (over 15 grant requests were made in 2018 to external parties, unsuccessfully). Ultimately, it also means that Wiki in Africa has to actually pay for expenses in advance, without certainty to be supported. Last year, the funding of prizes for winners was only approved as the contest was already launched (which impacted on the effective draw of the communications). It is unclear what would have happened is funding had not been approved.
Contrariwise to some other big WLX projects, the contest is not being operationally supported by any staff, neither globally, nor locally at the moment. And in spite of a bigger international team in 2019, the workload AND the mental charge is too heavy to be managed fully by volunteers.
Last, there is a real benefit for tracking data related to participation (eg, which events organized where) or reuse, and documenting in detail the program years after years (, ). Due to no funding in 2019, the documentation will only be partial. In any program, there are activities that require precision, consistency and completeness, some of which may not be appealing enough for volunteers to take them in charge.
International Organisation Committee and Community Input
In order to develop the skills set of community members at the meta organisation level, the team has decided to formally establish an International Organisation Committee (IOC). This is less an advisory committee and more an operational committee to take charge of various important operations and actions for the project. We intend to expand an existing embryonic group. We will, in addition, continue to get input about the theme and meta-project direction through community feedback throughout the pre- and post-competition process.
General project objectives for WiA
Increase the amount of visual, contemporary coverage of Africa on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects,
Increase visibility and understanding of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects in Africa,
Increase figures of participation to Wikimedia projects from Africa, and
Have fun and do that all with as many Usergroups and external partners as possible!
Key Wiki Loves Africa activities through 2020
Pre-contest set up
Communication management (before, during, after)
Social media driving
Coaching, mentorship and support for local groups
Criteria, approach and creation of international organisational committee event (around WikiIndaba)
Goals for success in 2020
The contest takes place in the first quarter of 2020 on the agreed theme of Transport
At least 10 local teams get actively involved in the competition (measurable by activities)
At least 10k images submitted in 2020
Reuse on Wikimedia projects of at least 10% after a year (12 months)
An International Committee to direct the actions and activities of Wiki Loves Africa for 2020 and beyond is established.
A survey is conducted amongst team organizers, showing high levels of satisfaction with the contest
At least two post-contest events, on-line drive or activities to extend the theme
Research experiment with Civil Servant held during the year
Documentation of best practices is done
A final report is published for the general public
Gender Equity (including Diversity, Capacity Building and Community Development)
Wiki Loves Women
stage: established - evolving
Wiki Loves Women (WLW)
Wiki Loves Women poster
Gender inequality is rife across Africa. Although much progress has been made to address these inequalities in the workplace and within society, there remains a systemic bias towards profiling women, especially with regards to information, news and knowledge sources, both online and offline. There are significant numbers of notable women who have shaped the past of African societies, there are innovative African female businesswomen who help to drive Africa’s many economies (formal and informal), and there are everyday realities that women and female children must face due to their gender. These stories need to sit alongside the ones of their male counterparts. Very few of these subjects can be found online, far fewer on the world’s largest knowledge repositories, such as Wikipedia.
To counter this obvious need, WikiAfrica launched Wiki Loves Women in 2016. Wiki Loves Women's focus is on bridging two significant gaps on Wikimedia projects – women and Africa – both in terms of content about these subjects and in terms of participation by people from these groups.
From January 2016-April 2017, the Wiki Loves Women conducted a proof of concept project in four countries (Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria) in Africa, with accompanying interventions online and offline, through the support of the Goethe-Institut. A huge side benefit of the WLW project has been the fostering of tight links between the African wikimedia community and the Goethe Institute. Our partners for this first iteration were Ghana, Nigeria, and Cote d'Ivoire UserGroups, as well as Georges from Cameroun (the Cameroun UG was created during the course of the WLW project).
Based on outcomes and lessons from 2016-2017, we relaunched Wiki Love Women in 2018 in Tanzania and Uganda. Our partners were Wikimedia TZ and Wikimedia UG. This second iteration has now come to an end. It should be noted that the WLW project still continues in some of the initial countries from the first iteration (some with name changes). Wiki Loves Women in Cote d'Ivoire is now WikiMousso and quite active (based on our appreciation of Wikimedia Community User Group Côte d'Ivoire/2020).
The Gender Gap Ecosystem
WLW is not a "campaign". it is a programme and a team of people. It seems important to outline and explain the place of WLW in the Wikimedia ecosystem.
The gender gap is a well-known issue in our community and fostered the creation of several formal or informal groups trying to close that gap. Amongst well-known active groups, we might cite Women in Red, WikiDonne, les sans pagEs, but also Afrocrowd and Noircir Wikipedia. Those groups are not in competition generally, they are complementary, which explains it is quite frequent that a Wikipedian belongs to more than one group. Beside linguistic differences, the outcome focus of those groups is sometimes slightly different (for example Women in Red mostly focuses on biographies whilst les sans pagEs members extend their work to "issues"). Their target participants may also differ (some groups explicitly welcome men and women alike, whilst other groups will tend to restrict participation to women only). The values focus that are common in the collective also differs (some groups focus on women only, whilst others will adopt a strong stance toward LGBTQ issues). In short... it is a vast and complex ecosystem, that reflects different aspects of feminism and provides space for everyone (men, women, non-binary) to join.
Most of those organizations happily collaborate in actions (campaigns). A rather famous campaign is the WikiGap, another one is Art + Feminism, yet others are HerStory or Wiki4Women. The groups listed above sometimes participate in one or several of those actions. Wiki Loves Women teams have organized Art and Feminism events in the past. Last year, Wiki Loves Women Uganda team held the WikiGap event in Kampala. WLW also got involved in the Afro-Cine month organized by Sam from Nigeria with a Women Occupation WikiData drive. In short, it is important to outline that WLW works in full collaboration with other gender-gap focused Wikimedia entities (Women in Red or Les sans pagEs for example) and participates in international drives (such as WikiGap or 1Lib1Ref in Uganda) As a project, it has also inspired the Wiki Loves Women India project, that is completely independent of Wiki In Africa.
This also reflects during Wikimedia events, where the Wiki Loves Women team frequently organizes round tables related to Gender Gap in Africa for example, inviting other gender-gap groups to join in and present themselves and their actions (Recent example of such panel during Wikimania).
Rationale of 2019-2020 evolution
The operating context of WLW has evolved quite a lot since 2016. Several African countries where we launched used to have small, loosely coordinated teams. One of WLW goals was capacity building. We wanted to provide local teams with a focus, a general operating platform, get them to discover and master some skills and tools, but also help with ideas, network, financial support, and best practices, so that local teams could develop their own activities and their organization in the way that made sense to them and was locally suitable. Based on those 6 countries, our experience is that the process to lead to autonomy works. All those countries now feature active and well-developed teams. Some have continued WLW through regular activity as it was done in the pilot project (such as in Cameroun), others have implemented their own independent WLW program (such as Nigeria with their radio interviews), yet others retained the activities but renamed them to better fit their context (such as Wikimousso in Ivory Coast). Most of them regularly participate in global drives such as Art + Feminism or WikiGap. It should be equally noted that this program allowed bonding between community members of several countries, with more opportunities for sharing and collaborating on projects. So overall, we consider the program was useful in particular in term of Wikimedia promotion and brand visibility in those countries, and in terms of capacity building for the teams.
We note that today, there are several other small groups or individuals interested in working on gender gap issues, and who would benefit from joining a global framework where they would get direct support to help them kickstart a Wiki Loves Women programme. Our team is always willing to share tools, best practices, stories, advice, benevolent feedback, and our knowledge of the wiki movement. In such a way that over 2020, we feel it is important to retain that experience and ensure that it feeds back into the project by establishing an advisory committee made up of individuals that have been the core leads in the 6 countries in which WIki Loves Women has already operated; the committee’s function is to support and validate the ongoing direction of the project.
However, we also noticed that doing 8-12 months-long projects with regular monthly activities can be quite a time and energy-consuming process for small teams, as they can not rely on many volunteers to share the workload. We also realised that there are many gender-equality groups and organisations across Africa (outside the Wikimedia ecosystem) who would be interested in hosting a Wiki Loves Women event or programme for their own members - however, due to the small number of Wikimedians across Africa, there are not always Wikimedia volunteers to support this enthusiasm. Lastly, we acknowledged that many of these new potential organizers (Wikimedians and gender-equality activists alike) would not be familiar with the Wikimedia ecosystem and finding their way to getting rapid grants is complicated. We have noticed that recently, some of the Wikimedians, the French-speaking ones, have been reoriented to the micro-funding system run by Wikimedia France. Which may be a solution, but raises a lot of issues as well (regarding documentation, African costs, money transfer, political perception, etc.)
Accordingly, we wanted to propose an alternative: a micro-financing system for (Wikimedia) gender-gap projects in Africa. We acknowledge that the APG funding committee has questions regarding the review process, committee selection, and efforts to combat review bias, all of which are understandable and completely fair. We also acknowledge that the Wikimedia Foundation does not have the capability to fund such a micro-grant programme at this stage, nor to fund any effort to seek external funding for it, and prefers to refrain from engaging in such a perspective until the 2030 strategy process is finalized. In short, we do realize that in spite of our enthusiasm :) we are possibly stepping out of the committee and WMF comfort zone and prefer to drop that proposition (for the time being). We nevertheless maintain our interest in this option and will create opportunities to further explore the topic over 2020.
As a consequence of this change in tactic, our proposition for Wiki Loves Women during 2020 is the following: to run a brand new campaign named “#SheSaid”.
In a nutshell: #SheSaid will focus the community on compiling and uploading quotes from notable women that are then added to Wikiquote. It will primarily be an online campaign, but it has the capacity for local usergroups and volunteers to host local quote-a-thons ;) with local gender-focused partners.
We would like that campaign to be:
an opportunity to collect relevant content about women, to be made available on our projects;
highlight the need to ensure that notable women are represented as experts in their fields, in the same way men are;
ease newcomers into becoming involved in Wikimedia projects through smaller, bite-sized contributions such as verified quotes and WikiData entries;
put a spotlight on a project (Wikiquote) which is not so frequently considered by our community;
provide another element through which WikiData information can be added;
allow the focus to be on African communities, however provide the framework for a global campaign;
introduce newcomers to a Wikimedia-based space where they can participate that is less aggressive or less complicated (Wikiquote is a more friendly and easy-going than Wikipedia); and
create the opportunity to work on content gender gap data through a different lense than is currently done now.
The work on Wiki Loves Women as a meta project will continue. The team will concentrate on the following elements:
Host a campaign on Wikiquote (and all that entails, on-Wiki prep, social media and other campaigns, awareness around the need, etc.)
Join online global drives around content creation where relevant;
Approach groups and individuals interested in gender equality and willing to host events, in particular as part of the #SheSaid campaign, for which we will provide mentorship (including support to proceed through the WMF Rapid Grant system);
Establish a committee that is made up of individuals that were the core leads in the 6 countries in which Wiki Loves Women has already operated; the committee’s function is to provide input and support the ongoing direction of the project;
Work on the Wiki Loves Women Event Toolkit to support anyone wishing to host a Wiki Loves Women programme regardless of whether they are seeking financing or not;
Ensuring gender gap is included in the discourse at attended global events;
Explore tools development in partnership with tech / dev actors to work together to improve the assessment on-wiki tools and make them more relevant and effective (we are currently in discussion with Envel Le Hir and Max Klein for the improvement and maybe the merging of their respective tools, Denelezh and WHGI Index)
General objectives for WLW during 2020
Creation of a new campaign for Wiki Loves Women to foster creation of content and stimulate gender-gap related activities in Africa and beyond,
Increase visibility and understanding of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects in Africa,
Better quality/quantify content about the gender-gap in Africa on Wikimedia projects,
Increase figures of participation to Wikimedia projects from Africa, in particular, female participation, and
Support the emergence of new active groups in Africa that will join the ecosystem.
Goals for success
Successfully run a gender-gap oriented campaign on wikiquote
Establish the advisory committee,
Resources development through the Event Toolkit; and adapt and develop a WLW Organiser's Guide,
Explore ways in which to improve and develop, in partnership with tech and dev actors, the on-wiki assessment tools to make them more relevant and effective.
WikiChallenge African Schools
stage: advanced - 3rd year
Open Knowledge Curriculum
stage: nascent - research and development
WikiChallenge African Schools
WikiChallenge poster 2019
The WikiChallenge Ecoles d'Afrique (WikiChallenge African Schools) is a multi-national writing contest that creates a fun way for students (9-13) to learn how knowledge is built by contributing to Vikidia, the little sister of Wikipedia dedicated to children aged 8-15 years. It operated during the school year in 2017-2018, and 2018-2019. It is run in French-speaking Africa and focuses on schools in poorly connected or non-connected areas. This contest utilises WikiFundi and is currently supported by Orange Foundation.
An important design element of the WikiChallenge is its rich partnership approach, which includes organisations within the Wikimedia ecosystem, as well as out of it. Some explanation...
The contest was first run successfully in 2017-2018. It took place in primary schools over two months in late 2017 in the 4 francophone African countries of Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, and Tunisia. It was run by User:Anthere (Florence) from Wiki In Africa, in partnership with Orange Foundation. The schools were equipped with tablets and resources (including WikiFundi) provided by Orange Foundation. The local activity was run by local facilitators supported online by Florence or by wikimedians, such as Afek (member of Wikimedia Tunisia). Some local groups also partially followed the Wikimedia France WikiMooc. The aim of the project was to enhance each school’s ability to learn about Vikidia (and ultimately Wikipedia) and to learn how to contribute content to an online platform using an offline tool. (Vikidia is actually not a Wikimedia project, but is run by the Vikidia Association.) During the contest, the content produced by the kids were integrated into an article that was completed offline (by the schools and writers). Once the article was complete, it was then transfered over to Vikidia. The articles were judged once online. Activities in the schools were documented on the Facebook page when possible.
In 2019, the contest was extended to 7 countries (Senegal, Niger, Cameroun joined). To be more effective, we also organized two face-to-face two-day training sessions that took place during November 2018 in Dakar and Tunis. The goal was to provide more practical and contextual information to local foundations facilitators (with regards to Vikidia, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, WikiFundi, free licences etc.). The training sessions were organized by Anthere (remotely), with the local support of Afek91 from Wikimedia Tunisia in Tunis, and Geugeor, a member of Wikimedia Cameroun, in Dakar. Both were also seconded by facilitators from previous years, in particular, Bsghaier (Tunisia facilitator in 2017) and Nfana (who was a facilitator in 2017 and has now launched Wikimedia Mali!). Whenever possible, we put the facilitators in touch with Wikipedians who are active locally for multiple mutual benefits.
This writing contest organisation, with multiple layers and partners, is the only way the project can scale. The synergy between the different organizations (Wiki in Africa, Wikimedia UGs, Vikidia Association, Orange Foundation, local foundations, local schools, etc.) is actually what allows it to work and makes it a success.
The WikiChallenge goals are to:
increase content about Africa,
help kids have a voice and be digitally educated,
train and recruit the future generation of Wikipedians ;)
in 2018, 4 countries involved, 33 schools, 40 articles written, 6 winning schools
in 2019, 7 countries involved, 65 schools, 99 articles written, 600+ photos submitted, 11 winning schools
What's next is currently under discussion with the Orange Foundation. It is likely to continue scaling, with the addition of a few additional countries, another face-to-face training and sharing meeting of all former and future local facilitators, and hopefully getting more schools involved. We also plan to add more partners to it, in particular, aimed at better connecting the Guinea Orange team with the Wikimedia Guinea UG this year. This program will be funded by Orange Foundation.
Explaining our projects during Wikimania 2019
We are listing this project here for two reasons.
The first is that it is a significant part of Wiki in Africa activity and one that fully uses other elements of the programatic activity of the association. For example, the WikiChallenge actually uses WikiFundi and usually runs in overlap with Wiki Loves Africa. It also benefits from the relationship we build with other Wikimedia organizations as part of Wiki Loves Women, weaving a real web of trust and interest that sustain our involvement. We also consider that we are helping training and recruiting future Wikipedians and this is why the WikiChallenge initiative is regularly relayed on Wikimedia channels (social media, blogs etc.)
The second is that we would like to do a spin-off of the WikiChallenge that would allow to include any French-speaking school in the program (well, focusing on French Africa). There are discussions ongoing to do that with Wikimedia Benin, perhaps with the support of Wikimedia CH (tbd). The choice of Benin to run that pilot is that 1) the Benin UG is interested to be involved, 2) WiA (through Anthere) is in discussion with a French agricultural school partnering with a Benin school, both of which want to run an education program based on Wikipedia/Vikidia. Of course, this is still very premature, but might rollout quickly... However, at the moment, the time spent exploring those synergies is voluntary and the costs associated with setting-up such partnerships (such as local travel) are directly paid by Anthere on a private basis.
2020 Objectives for WiA (for information)
Proceed with the contest in the school year 2019-2020 and beyond,
Promote the contest and its actions in the Wikimedia and Vikidia ecosystems, and
The Open Knowledge Curriculum is an initiative in the very early stages of development. At this stage, OKC is envisaged as a curriculum for educators across Africa (and beyond) to teach learners, through practical application, how global knowledge systems work, how content is created, and how they can contribute themselves and get their stories and cultures online. Although not yet defined, the curriculum is expected to include a teacher training programme, a lesson plan, teaching resources, and teaching guides that provide teachers with the ability and materials to immerse learners in a layered and thorough understanding of how global knowledge is captured, created, disseminated and used.
Not limited to just Wikipedia and Wikimedia contribution, the curriculum is expected to range from theory and global distribution of knowledge, open licences and access, to self contribution. The curriculum will be designed to be locally adaptable and include local or regional examples; including local knowledge sources and favourite or local social media platforms. It will be aimed at developing skills within developing countries (but not limited to them).
With regards to the Wikimedia movement, the Open Knowledge Curriculum is intended to:
raise understanding about how to read, use and contribute to Wikipedia, Wikimedia movement. It will also show where Wikimedia sits within the open movement and knowledge ecosystems;
provide a core understanding for students across Africa in how to use Wikipedia effectively,
ensure teachers and students know how to contribute to Wikipedia with respect for the movement's rules, but also with respect for their own cultures and traditions, and
work towards the ultimate provision of a considered, supported immersion programme for students to apply learnt 21st Century digital skills to global knowledge systems, through content production, licencing and copyright, etc. that ultimately results in online published material.
Activities currently planned for (but not limited to) the following:
Confirm the need for such a curriculum;
Investigate an alliance with a tertiary education programme to:
investigate curriculum styles, including investigating potential assimilation with national curriculums, and national and international educational organisational requirements (e.g. Cambridge Certificate or IB)
Map the existing educational ecosystem and curriculums/subjects that are pertinent to this subject matter;
Research possible members for an advisory panel for the development of the project;
Consult with experts to consider the impact or adaptation required across a variety of contexts, languages, packages, resources and time requirements;
Seek external funding and partnership opportunities for the project; and
Project conceptualisation (develop the concept note, statement of need, project plan, timeline and budget).
2020 Objectives for WiA
Create a database of a minimum of 20 national, regional and international potential partners and collaborators
Create a database of a minimum of 8 funding or grant organisations and opportunities, and
Finalise a project plan ready for submission to partners and funders.
Tech and Community Support
The tech projects have been developed by Wiki In Africa in order to better support community engagement and to ensure that some of the outcomes of each project are easier to achieve. In the case of WikiFundi, it was developed to facilitate outreach and education goals in places where access and data can be challenging. With regards to ISA this was developed to ensure that the images contributed each year to Wiki Loves Africa achieve their best potential placement on the Wikimedia projects through better labelling and descriptions.
stage: established - 4th year of operation
stage: launched in 2019
WikiFundi is a software that provides an off-line editing environment that mimics the Wikipedia environment. WikiFundi allows for training and contribution when technology, access and electricity outages fail or are not available at all. It enables individuals, groups and communities to learn how to edit Wikipedia, and to work on articles collaboratively. Once completed and connected to the internet, these articles can be uploaded to Wikipedia. The first release was in January 2017, with a first edition supported by Orange Foundation. The second release was during November 2018 and was supported by the Wikimedia Foundation.
The key point behind WikiFundi is why we worked on the software back in 2016. It is not the result of fertile brains after a long night drinking at Wikimania ;-). It came from the practical experiences we faced when running Kumusha Takes Wiki that were then reinforced by the first Wiki Loves Women program. Several times we ran into situations where the Internet connection failed whilst people were meeting to be trained to become Wikipedians. Everything would be ready to host a good training and edit-a-thon and at the last minute, it was wasted due to the Internet being missing or being too expensive. Data costs were also prohibitive and even if there was electricity, the institution where the training occurred did not have wifi or internet connectivity. As a result, WikiFundi was created to support and facilitate the success of other programs in the situation of bad connectivity or no internet access.
Since then, WikiFundi has been used in various circumstances and is currently distributed through Kiwix releases. A very practical use of wikiFundi at the moment is the WikiChallenge African Schools contest, as the schools involved in the writing contests are mostly "offline" and the software is made available on the tablets distributed to the schools. Other organisations sometimes ask for it as well.
The software platform is stable and could stay as is ...
However, there are some ongoing discussions to improve it in several possible directions. The most likely evolutions would be:
an export system to facilitate re-import of the content produced on the WikiFundi platform onto other MediaWiki based platforms (such as Wikipedia...). (Currently, users have to copy and paste from the Offline platform onto the online target platform.) This could be implemented in partnership with Kiwix and possibly be funded by Orange Foundation, but it is only in early discussion mode at the moment.
make the platform available in other languages (in particular Arabic and/or Portuguese). There is no technical difficulty involved, but this would require to find people willing to be involved to set up the system (it is not only translation...) and would require finding a funder (in particular to pay Kiwix to implement).
Those two evolutions may or may not happen. But the certainty is that they can only happen if someone put a bit of time and energy in it to happen and securing funding ...
Note: Florence is currently one of the two volunteer contacts of the Wikimedians for offline wikis UserGroup, which recently submitted its annual report. The WikiFund platform is well integrated into the offline Wikimedia activities and its dissemination is done in synergy with the Kiwix Association.
Brainstorm new features with the Kiwix team (synchronization ? export system ? translation in Arabic and/or Portuguese ?). Describe.
Promote the tool and foster new partnerships
Our two winners at the WikiConvention francophone during the ISA competition
ISA is a fun, multilingual, mobile-first 'micro contributions' tool, that makes it easy for (groups of inexperienced) people to add structured data to images on Wikimedia Commons. With ISA, one can choose a pre-defined set of images on Commons and then ask contributors to 'tag' these with multilingual structured metadata. Points are counted for each contribution, and therefore it is possible to organize 'tagging' or micro contributions competitions or challenges with ISA.
ISA was originally built to provide better multilingual and structured descriptions of Wiki Loves Africa images. But it is also developed to be useful to all of the Wiki Loves competitions, and eventually for all media files on Wikimedia Commons. The idea of the tool was again to support other programs. The idea born from a discussion/proposition with Sandra Fauconnier during Wikimania 2018 in Cap Town. We wanted to find a way to foster interest all around the year rather than only during the contest time and we wanted a way to improve the usability and interest of the images collected during the Wiki Loves Africa contest. Sandra, as part of the Structured Data team, approached us for a pilot project to facilitate the adoption and understanding of Structured Data on Commons. Our teams met on common ground and this resulted in a contractual agreement between WiA and WMF. We later contacted Eugene from Cameroon to make sure African developers would be involved in this project. We ultimately added Navino and Sean from Histropediato the team as technical mentor and interface designer (respectively). The result was an awesome team!
The coolest part of ISA is the possibility for project leaders to host small campaigns or competitions meant to improve a category or group of categories of images on Commons. As an example, one such competition was run during the Wikiconvention francophone over the image category Bruxels. During two days, the competition was joined by the convention participants, generating much fun. At the end of the 2 days competition, little gifts (sweets ...) were given to the winners to show recognition of their effort and appreciation. Another competition is currently held as part of WikiArabia: WikiArabia 2019/ISA Challenge. Similar competitions can be run by any wikipedian, anytime, from anywhere.
ISA is an integrated collaboration between Wiki In Africa, Histropedia and the Structured Data team on Commons project. It is a GLAM pilot for Structured Data on Wikimedia Commons. The software is being released in Q3 of 2019.
The only support asked for this tool is a minor budget to spend on leaflets, stickers, and little gifts for winners of the competitions we would manage during the year.