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Activities and lessons learned



#Wikivillages of Cameroon
With their remarkable biodiversity and cultural heritage, the villages of Cameroon are home to 47.79% of the country’s population. Cameroon has more than 13,000 villages, which are essential to a comprehensive sustainable development plan. In May 2016, only 36 of them had an English Wikipedia article and 80 had French Wikipedia articles.

From May 20 to November 20, 2016, Agripo (Agriculteurs Professionnels du Cameroun), headquartered in Tayap (Nyong-et-Kéllé), organized #Wikivillages du Cameroun. #Wikivillages du Cameroun was an encyclopedic contest with writing, photography, and Wikipedia publishing on the theme of Cameroon’s villages, and was undertaken with the support of the Wikimedia Foundation and an anonymous grant from an Alsatian parishioner. The purpose of this contest was to share more documented information on the history, geography, culture, economy and way of life of each village, and to help people learn about and increase their awareness of the wealth of their heritage and land, as well as the challenges these villages face.

Wikivillages of Cameroon is Agripo’s first Wikipedia initiative to run a contest involving articles, photography and Wikipedia publication in an effort to raise awareness of rural development. This initiative was undertaken by a local and independent structure, not affiliated to the country’s “user group”.
Activities carried out
  • Before the contest, a team of 3 volunteers worked on preparation, specifically:
    • To reorganize the articles on villages that already existed, by subdivision and by region
    • To enter the village names on the subdivision pages
    • To design and publish online a bilingual platform (French/English) for the contest. This Plateform of 3,257 bytes was viewed 17,245 times during the contest, with an average of 2,827 views per month.
  • During the contest
    • Active communication and efforts to raise public awareness were undertaken. The means of communication used for the contest were as follows:
      • Constant activity on social media to boost online communication. The contest-related publications on social media had reached tens of thousands of people, including 48,348 who viewed the contest announcement. The French-language contest page on Wikimedia Commons was one of the most popular pages throughout the contest period.
  • A strong media coverage on television, radio, print media, online press and web promotional material. Two press releases were distributed to more than 1,000 people in the Agripo database and more than 30 press articles about the initiative were published. An overview of the media coverage is available online:
  • Agripo also presented the contest in Limbe on June 30, 2016 at the PNDP (Programme National de Développement Participatif) methodology workshop and participated in a Wikipedia workshop in Douala on September 10, 2016.
  • Agripo directly supported about 20 contributors as needed.
  • After the contest:
  • An international and independent jury (made up of both Wikipedians and non-Wikipedians) selected the winners. The five members of the jury were :
  • Jacqueline Louviot (president of the jury), researcher in Information and Communications Sciences, Senior Lecturer at the University of Nancy, and Wikiprojects contributor for over ten years.
  • Laura Guien, professional journalist and AGRIPO representative
  • Donatien Kangah, web consultant and president of the Wikimedia Community Ivory Coast Users
  • Silvia Muíña Moirón, professional photographer from Spain, specializing in issues of rural development, particularly in Cameroon.
  • Leila Njee, researcher for International Research Institute on Food Policy (IFPRI) with a degree in Public Policy and Economics
  • All prizes were published and awarded.
  • An online and anonymous survey was carried out, in which 75% of respondents declared they were very satisfied.
  • At the end of the project:
    • A community initiative called Wiki-agripo was launched to build on existing contributions and reinforce the momentum that has been triggered.

Lessons learned

What worked well?

The project has been a success. Although there were fewer contributors than we had hoped, the main objective, to increase the amount of content, was achieved. This result is based on:

  • Overall quality of the Cameroon portal has improved. This wonderful experience put the Cameroon portal in the spotlight. The Cameroon portal has moved up from 13th place in Africa on November 20, 2016, with 2,453 articles, to 6th place today, with more than 5,426 articles. More than 95% of those are new articles written by contributors engaged through the Wikivillage initiative. New articles on Cameroon such as the one entitled Accident ferroviaire d'Éséka with 22,587 bytes have been viewed more than 14,000 times. This type of article has been greatly enhanced by the variety of related articles and information on Cameroon (infobox, map, road, photo, etc.). Less documented countries lack this wealth of information. While the methodological approach may sometimes seem tedious, detailed strategies are clearly successful in improving national portals in Africa: threads of information on places, roads, endemic biodiversity, etc., allow for greater information.
  • Excellent visibility in the media, particularly thanks to high-profile media outlets such as RFI and Vox Africa.
  • Strong collaboration between an experienced Wikipedia user (Ji-Elle) and a grassroots organisation with a motivated and committed network (platform management, regular oversight, and jury work). An experienced contributor in this emerging community raised awareness, trained new contributors and shared their knowledge and energy, which enabled the creation of a large number of articles.
  • Effective networking with a few experienced Wikipedians who supported the initiative by producing maps, creating portals, distributing information and demonstrating patience with new contest contributors. The articles on Cameroon’s villages are no longer automatically deleted.
  • Certain people were vital to the completion of this project. Involvement of new contributors, including 89% of first-time contributors, but in particular a major support, like Tayap2016 who contributed significantly and have published more than 1,944 articles so far, has given an undeniable boost in growth to the Cameroon portal. This level of involvement also strengthened the prospects for long-term growth, as a dozen new contributors have got involved so far, bringing the total number of contributors to 46.
  • The ready to use toolkits were also helpful in enabling most of the contributors to learn about the process online.
  • Enthusiasm has been generated for writing similar articles on other African countries such as Mozambique and Central African Republic (CAR), which demonstrates scaling-up dynamic. The process was also shared with a new contributor from Burkina Faso.
  • Optimal and targeted use of financial resources. Based on the funds used, the cost was about $0.62 US per article– not counting the thousands of articles generated indirectly over the course of the year– the lowest production cost ever, for any linguistic community, contrary to the arguments put forward by the GAC members. The results achieved are exceptionally high. In less than one year, the Cameroon portal collected more articles from new contributors than in 15 years of Wikipedia activity. Moreover, with regard to the skepticism of many GAC members who refused to support the initiative, one Wikipedia user praised its high value (ratio: results vs. cost) in these terms: “The creation of new articles at a steady rate is very good news. I would also like to point out that the creation of the 5,165,000 articles in Wikipedia in English involved a cost of $232 million US to Wikimedia, that is to say at a production cost of about 45 dollars US per article. The expenses planned for 2014-2015 amounted to $58.5 million US for a single year.” Therefore, this initiative can also offer an opportunity to challenge the GAC and the approaches of well-known Wikipedia group users to consider other ways of functioning with new forms of collaboration.
  • Generation of numerous, useful navigation templates.
What didn't work?
  • Finding information proved to be complicated for the villages because fewer than 300 Cameroonian villages have a monograph (mostly not available online). Therefore, participants had to collect pieces of available information on Cameroon’s villages. It was a difficult task for beginners.
  • Limited financial resources. Efforts based on volunteer work and carried out during free-time cannot have the same results as work that is supported financially. With a motivated group, the organization team worked hard for one year to get people interested and involved. This project required heavy involvement of permanent staff. The significant labour cost was supported by our organization.
  • Absence of a wide variety of contributors, mainly experienced Wikipedians. Some contributed significantly more than others as regards the number of articles produced, which skewed the contribution average.
  • Difficulty in engaging people through a contest, even if it was well publicized. The primary key to engagement was proximity.
  • Low percentage of high-quality articles, due to the sparse documentation on the villages, as well as the rudimentary Wikipedian skills of contributors.
  • Wasted time and energy in email exchanges with potential contributors who failed to produce any articles (more than 80% of people who expressed an interest and sent multiple emails did not publish an article).
  • Translation issues because the contest was bilingual. Translation was time-consuming.
  • 'Doubts on new contributors concerning the credibility of Wikipedia', but above all, the sense of superiority held by French contributors who review and evaluate all the contributions through the prism of their own country (France), even though the French language is merely a tool for expression and a vehicle for thought. One country should not be able to exercise unilateral hegemony over the review and evaluation of other countries’ encyclopedic content. It is important to ensure that the collaborative governance of content production does not replicate an outdated colonial system.
  • People’s lack of availability to volunteer for less concrete or visible activities in the field.
What would you do differently if you planned a similar project?
  • There is just a handful of volunteers, giving a distorted impression of the overall average contribution. In the future, it would be more efficient for our association to invest in a team of engaged contributors who would get involved based on their focus of interest, and to make better use of human and financial resources in terms of impact and results.
  • Communication could focus on specific groups of actors, such as photographers or students.
  • Efforts could be led by a team selected for its motivation and with a specific strategy, such as launching a system of rotation that could add diversity.
  • Greater focus on mobilizing people who will be engaged in the project.
  • Organize training sessions or publish training tutorials on how to write articles
  • By multiplying initiatives such as this, it will be possible to achieve more significant results in the short term than when giving work to people who are unknown to the team.

We hope to continue this initiative and to eliminate the weaknesses mentioned above. To that end, we conducted a survey for the participants to help us improve a potential future activity.

Learning patterns


Outcomes and impact



Provide the original project goal here.
The main objectives of #Wikivillages, the pioneering African competition, were as follows:
  • To encourage sharing and disseminating of documented information on history, geography, culture, economy, lifestyle, heritage, and the richness of Cameroonian villages;
  • To diminish the digital isolation of Cameroonian villages and their communities;
  • To allow them to communicate via the internet about development issues and actions.

This competition was open to all. The only requirement was to write an original, encyclopedic article on the topic of a Cameroonian village, adhering to the writing regulations as outlined on Wikipedia.

The original measures of success for the Wikivillages du Cameroun were:
  • Minimum of 200 pages created from across the country
  • Minimum of 200 uploaders from across the country
  • Minimum of 5 media articles about integrating content into Wikipedia
  • Minimum 20 new users from Cameroon become active contributors within 9 months of the contest ending, (5 edits per month in any of the Wikimedia projects)
  • Minimum 10% reused on Wikimedia projects
Did you achieve your project goal? How do you know your goal was achieved? Please answer in 1 - 2 short paragraphs.

The competition was held on the expected dates. 1,367 articles and 568 images were uploaded by 36 registered users. The five-member jury chose 7 winners. The activities were conducted successfully.

The 36 contributors published 1,367 articles, around 37 articles per contributor, but the number of articles per contributor varied considerably and there were some high-level contributors with whom we hope to build an ongoing working relationship.

Wikivillages of Cameroon closed on November 20, 2016. As a preliminary result, we are happy to count

  • 1,367 articles created to date, mainly by Cameroonian contributors, with 1,354 articles in French and 13 in English.
Several original licence-free images for Portal:Bassa
  • Two portals created by a Cameroonian contributor who had never contributed before the contest was launched on May 20th.
  • Portal:Bassa with 586 articles
  • Portal:Plants of Cameroon with 157 articles
  • Several images, including more than 568 photos
  • Strong media coverage with over 30 articles
  • Thousands of GIS localizations with more than 72 maps
  • The international jury of five qualified experts selected five prizewinners, who were announced on January 20, 2017.
  • An unusually successful rate of file usage – 38.3% of uploaded images on 10 wiki mainspace pages – included two images used in Wikispecies and seven in Wikidata. This success is strongly linked to the fact that the competition encouraged initiative. Contributors focused on content as well as illustration of content.
Awards of Wikivillages_of_Cameroon
  • First Prize: 1,000,000 CFA francs ($1,610 US) : Balessing (Diange007)
  • Second Prize: 250,000 CFA francs : Boura-I (MBATAKA)
  • Third Prize: 200,000 CFA francs : Ebogo (Loicebode)
  • Fourth Prize: 150,000 CFA francs : Nkollo (Elisée Ndoumbe)
  • Fifth Prize: 100,000 CFA francs : Baloumgou (Hiobson)
  • Special Recognition (photography) was awarded to Mbahshie for steady, ongoing contributions
  • Special Recognition (tablet) was awarded to Perez Mekem for the best village photos uploaded to Wikimedia Commons

Progress towards targets and goals


Project metrics

Project metrics Target outcome Achieved outcome Explanation
Minimum of 200 pages created from across the country 1,367 articles (including 1,354 articles in French) Goal attained
Minimum of 200 uploaders from across the country 36 registered Wikipedians entered valid media and articles Goal not attained. Hundreds of users did contact us and many of them were registered, but the number of people who got involved by publishing at least one valid article was insufficient. It should also be noted that several articles were canceled directly after their creation, further reducing performance. This is due to the public targeted, which was primarily first-time contributors who were new to Wikipedia.
A minimum of 5 media articles about integrating content into Wikipedia 31 media articles including large-scale media such as RFI Goal attained
Minimum 20 new users from Cameroon become active contributors within 9 months of the contest ending, (5 edits per month in any of the Wikimedia projects) Limited data so far, however we have 10 new users actively working on articles on the plants and villages of Cameroon It is too early to report on this outcome. But one month after the contest, we are half-way to attaining this goal, with 10 new Wikipedians.
Minimum 10% reused on Wikimedia projects Reuse of 38.3% Images were reused in 10 wikiprojects (fr.wikipedia.org, en.wikipedia.org, www.wikidata.org, meta.wikimedia.org, de.wikipedia.org, ms.wikipedia.org, br.wikipedia.org, es.wikipedia.org, it.wikipedia.org, species.wikimedia.org)
A grant request is accepted successfully, and a report is produced as per the request $US 2,200 grant accepted, report written Grant accepted, report written
Survey conducted among national contributors, Surveyed, show high levels of satisfaction Survey conducted online. 75% rated as Excellent and Efficient, 25% as Good. Outcome achieved. 100% rated above average performance
A list of improvements is proposed for a subsequent initiative List included in this report Outcome achieved. List included in “What would you do differently” section of this report
The prizes are awarded and distributed before May 2017. The prizes were distributed before the end of February 2017. Outcome achieved.

Global Metrics


We are trying to understand the overall outcomes of the work being funded across our grantees. In addition to the measures of success for your specific program (in above section), please use the table below to let us know how your project contributed to the Global Metrics. We know that not all projects will have results for each type of metric, so feel free to put "0" where necessary.

  1. Next to each required metric, list the actual outcome achieved through this project.
  2. Where necessary, explain the context behind your outcome. For example, if you were funded for an edit-a-thon which resulted in 0 new images, your explanation might be "This project focused solely on participation and articles written/improved, the goal was not to collect images."

For more information and a sample, see Global Metrics.

Metric Achieved outcome Explanation
1. # of active editors involved 2 active users The project objective was to create content on villages with new users (not active users).
2. # of new editors 32 were newly registered users for the event More than 88% were new users
3. # of individuals involved 40 contributing users The organizing team consisted of 4 people
4a. # of new images/media added to Wikimedia articles/pages 218 unique images added to wiki mainspace pages An unusually successful rate of file usage: 38.3% of uploaded images on 10 wiki mainspace pages including 2 images used in Wikispecies and 7 in Wikidata
4b. # of new images/media uploaded to Wikimedia Commons (Optional) 568 Goal attained
5. # of articles added or improved on Wikimedia projects 1,367 articles Before the #Wikivillage initiative, 80 villages had an article. Thanks to the contest, the number has increased to 1,367 articles. There are now more than 2,280 new articles on villages, and almost all give source references and have a geographic location infobox.
6. Absolute value of bytes added to or deleted from Wikimedia projects 9,263,469 bytes 3,123,058 bytes for articles and 923,280,411 bytes for images
Learning question
Did your work increase the motivation of contributors, and how do you know?
Enough outreach was done during the project. Wikipedia is now better known, as we received more than 513 emails about how to publish. 32 new contributors created over 1300 new articles.



What impact did this project have on WMF's mission and the strategic priorities?

Option A: How did you increase participation in one or more Wikimedia projects?

This project gave new momentum to the Cameroon portal, with a collaborative pool of 22 motivated contributors who expressed their interest in supporting us in this initiative. In turn, they can also motivate other contributors and, together, transform the Cameroon portal on the subjects that are of absolute importance to us, such as the villages, plants, and the Bassa community. Furthermore, we have also noted additional anonymous contributions, as people occasionally write articles on subjects highlighted as important in our initiative. For example, Nkolofong

Option B: How did you improve quality on one or more Wikimedia projects?

The competition focused on the creation of new articles. We have a team of volunteers who work alongside the contributors to check the eligibility of their articles. Furthermore, 568 images were added, most covering subjects related to rural areas. These photos illustrate pre-existing articles. The effort put into achieving the required quality of these articles must be managed by focusing on the most committed contributors.

Option C: How did you increase the reach (readership) of one or more Wikimedia projects?

The project encouraged new editors to publish articles on Cameroonian villages that would interest development agents beyond the continent. These articles and uploaded photos provided an opportunity to link many articles together to enhance readers’ understanding of the content. The knowledge acquired has been used to contribute more effectively to Wikimedia projects through improved representation of an African country.



Diayo Kuete Brice Hervé, First prize: “It was with great joy that I received the result of the competition. My face lit up upon seeing the list of prize winners. It was with much emotion that I read the result because it became clear to me that not only have I officially put Balessing on the world map through Wikivillages, but I have also been chosen among such a hard-working group of participants to receive this award. I would like to thank the whole team who initiated this competition, because, to tell the truth, although I was born in Balessing, there were many things I didn’t know about my land. But now I can say that I have learned so much, and surely the Balessing diaspora around the world has, too. I now realize, too, the diversity of the villages, the rites and traditions which are in abundance in our country. Thank you and I wish you all well!

Donatien Kangah, jury member: “It is a great achievement to have succeeded in documenting all these African communities. The impact is already noticeable by the level of enthusiasm generated by this contest throughout Africa and the world. We will see more, thanks to the awareness that it has increased, the initiatives it has already generated, and the use that humanity will make of this data today and tomorrow.”

Laura Guien, jury member: “Through these articles, including those still furthest from completion, we see a deep desire to document, transmit, and advance knowledge. Origins, traditions, village activity: even if the editing guidelines are not always scrupulously obeyed, these prized elements of the History of the country can exist and, with the help of the community of contributors, be sourced and archived. This experience confirms that Wikipedia can be a formidable tool for constructing the living memory of Africa.”



The number of pages and categories has more than doubled. Before the #Wikivillage initiative, 80 villages had an article. There are now over 2,215 new village articles, almost all with source references and geographic location infoboxes. In addition, there are more than 568 uploaded images, 72 maps of subdivisions, about 235 navigation templates created and 2 new portals with 741 extra articles. In addition, the portal of Cameroon written in French benefited from this momentum, growing from 2,453 to more than 5,340 articles, including significant progress made on issues such as energy, languages, media, spirituality and cuisine. The distribution shows a significant increase in the number of articles in all regions, with a clear clustering in the Central and Littoral regions. The number of articles created was very high despite a limited number of contributors, thanks to the supportive involvement of the association that organized the initiative to increase the production of articles. The clustering in these regions is therefore linked to their geographical proximity to the headquarters of this association. Additional action is needed to encourage a rise in the quality of the articles created.

Results of Pool

A survey was carried out, in which 75% of respondents said they were very satisfied. The hope of winning a prize was a primary motivator among participants. However, in terms of human and financial commitment, which were substantial for the organizing association, another such initiative could not take place in the same way. The necessary resources are not available.

Having said that, to sustain the momentum, three new initiatives which focus on contributors with strong potential have been implemented. These initiatives, taking a different form, could function on the basis of “performance grants” as a way to continue supporting the publication of articles on the villages and plants of Cameroon, and the Bassa community.

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.
Number Category Item description Unit Number of units Actual cost per unit Actual total Budgeted total Currency Notes
1 Project Staffing Community manager Work months (part time) 6 67.083 402.50 2,218 USD Cost of AGRIPO staff members dedicated to the project not included
2 Communication Internet bills Monthly bill 6 20.125 120.75 2,429 USD Only costs for internet access. Phone communication and design identity not included
3 Prizes 7 prizes ( 5 money and 2 gift ) Prizes 7 1,610 to 79.22 2,903.95 4,225 USD The cost of the 7 prizes are different. So there is not a similar cost per unit
4 Additional elements Transport for project activities Car tickets 8 9.66 77.28 3,380 USD Only transportation cost. Bank fees and cost of participation in external events as Limbe not included. Ceremony event was cancelled due to limited funding. Jury cost was supported by jury members.
Total 3,582.09 12,040 USD The project required substantial human and financial efforts supported by other Agripo projects.
NB: Grant was received in XAF and all expenses are paid in XAF (local currency in Cameroon). The exchange rate applied is XAF 1 US$ = 621.046595 XAF

Total project budget (from your approved grant submission)
$US 2,200
Total amount requested from WMF (from your approved grant submission, this total will be the same as the total project budget if PEG is your only funding source)
$US 2,200
Total amount spent on this project
$US 3,504.89
Total amount of Project and Event grant funds spent on this project
$US 2,200
Are there additional sources that funded any part of this project? List them here.
Private donation = $US 1,068.65
Funding from AGRIPO = $US 236,24

Remaining funds

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