Wiki Loves Women/Focus Group/Results and best practices 2021

The Wiki Loves Women Focus Coaching programme is a practical, action-oriented, mentored online training programme that provides skills and knowledge transfer. It has been specifically designed to support community leaders as they create gender-equity programmes and drives within the Wikimedia and Open movements. The Focus Coaching programme provides ideas, guidance, skills transfer and mentorship as each Focus Group Member plans a gender-equity programme within their community, and gathers the resources and skills to implement this programme.

Launched in June 2021, the Focus Coaching programme comprises 12 women from across Africa (and southern France) who are committed to a monthly working session of training packed with knowledge to build the skills of the focus group to be community leaders with the digital, community and diverse knowledge of the Wikimedia projects. Since the launch, the Focus Group Members have learned how to apply for rapid grants, build their Wikimedia profiles, plan and prepare for events, conduct a successful event series around a specific focus, and collate the documentation to report on and celebrate their community's contributions.



The Focus Group programme is a programme that transpired under the Wiki Loves Women a project led by Isla Haddow-Flood, Florence Devouard and Candy Khohliwe. The Focus Coaching programme is part of a multilayered strategy to ensure that gender-equity is at the heart of open movement community programmes across the continent. The new strategy is aimed at providing volunteers from within the open movement and aligned organisations the skills and knowledge to make these programmes sustainable and successful. Hence to develop these women skills we had them partake in the #SheSaid Campaign annual campaign which also ran in October 2021, the #SheSaid Campaign online drive was established in 2020 to improve the visibility of female leaders by creating new or improving already existing Wikiquote entries.



Focus Group is a skills transfer and also to raise awareness of and action to counter the lack of representation of women generally, and more specifically on online platforms such as Wikipedia (or Wikiquote). Focused on transferring vital skills towards women and men – digital, technical, researching, writing and leadership – that allow them to access information in order to make up their own minds within their cultural specificity. The group will operate through training, mentoring, online learning, peer-to-peer support.

The first goal of the Focus Group members is to raise awareness by organising local community participation in the #SheSaid drive. When the #SheSaid Campaign launched in October 2021 the Focus Group Members and their communities participated and added Wikiquote entries of influential people women from their countries and beyond.

To develop the Focus Group members skills they had to undergo training consisting of the following aspects;

  • Coached training,
  • Monthly working sessions focused topics ranging from gender equity in the open movement to leadership skills, partnership development and editing on Wikiquote and well as adding images on Commons, etc
  • Peer-to-peer support through discussion, both formally and ad-hoc on a dedicated Telegram channel,
  • Participation in the train-the-trainer programs designed to build gender-equity program within the Wikimedia communities, e.g Wiki Women in Red
  • Informal monthly meetings to discuss issues, share skills and workshop ideas, mostly office hours.
  • Improve their public speaking and be engaged to participate in conferences like Wikimania and Wiki Indaba.

Focus Group Members (in alphabetical order);


Wiki Loves Women's Focus Group activities in 2021

  • A monthly thematic working session with the group (private recording for group members).
  • Bi-monthly office hours on Thursdays web have hosted about 8 informal office hours.
  • Ongoing Telegram group for discussion.
  • Application for Rapid Grant to host #SheSaid drive from Oct-Dec 2021.

Below is a table consisting of the monthly working sessions topics and overview discussions we did;

Date Monthly Working Session Topic Explanation / Links Images

June 2021 Launching WLW Focus Group and how to submit a grant to WMF The Wiki Loves Women project has launched its Focus Group coaching programme with 12 female members from Botswana, Cameroon, France, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan and Zimbabwe. The Focus Group Members initiative kickstarted in June by hosting the first ever working session on June 2nd 2021, Focus Group team Meta page
July 2021 Building a profile page on the wiki Explain the benefits (prefs, inboxes, contributions,permissions uploads, inbox and notifications), Refering document : Wiki Loves Women Mooc/Building your own profile

August 2021 Events organising and planning Planning your aspects to consider; (Building a team, securing a location, theme, project, material, events structure and communications )

September 2021 Events organising and planning, Event preparation and Communications during the event Mainly focusing on the processes and arrangements required to be done to carry out a successful event * The check list - Wiki Loves Women Event Toolkit

October 2021 Reporting Recording the important stats such as, what are the expectations from reporting, impact done or providing the stats of the work done.Importance of updating and recording what a community does, possibly create a Meta page where a record of activities are recorded which helps for identifying active communities and possible collaborations with other communities.
November 2021 Continuation working session on Reporting to WMF and the community The new Community Fund portal , *Metrics:
December 2021 Christmas party On the Dec 15th the Focus Group members hosted a Christmas party where the hosted fun activities, guessing games and also reflected on the year and how the Focus Group Programme was.
WLW Focus Group Members Christmas party

Wiki Loves Women's Focus Group at Wiki Virtual Conferences in 2021


The Focus group was involved in a few virtual conferences to share and network with other communities as well to help them improve on their public speaking. In August 2021 one of the Focus group members, Candy made a lighting presentation at Wikimania' first virtual conference introducing the Wiki Loves Women Focus Group Programme its aims and goals to bridge the gap on increasing visibility of women online. As well as share the launch of the #SheSaid Campaign which commenced in October 2021 mainly focused on female leaders by creating new or improving already existing Wikiquote entries.

The Wiki Loves Women Focus Group was featured in 2021 prominent Wikimedia virtual conference that is the Wiki Indaba conference where we had a panel discussion made up of the Focus Group shared their journey as part of the WLW Focus group programme and their opinions on diversity and inclusion issues as well as the digital divide on gender online.

Wiki Loves Women's Focus Group Newsletters and communication materials


The following are the newsletters that have been published on the Wiki Loves Women website about the Focus Group activities ;

#SheSaid campaign bookmarks to encourage participation


To celebrate influential women the Focus Group members designed the below bookmarks to print share with their communities, below are a few sample of the bookmarks created.

SheSaid 2021 impact from the Focus Group activities


Wiki Loves Women's SheSaid is an annual drive that takes place on WikiQuote. At the onset of the programme, the Focus Group members committed to apply to the Rapid Grant system for funding to plan and host a series of community based events around the programme.

SheSaid Grant Applications


SheSaid event event activities




Collectively, the Wiki Loves Women Focus Group local activities contributed the following:

Dashboard links Focus Group member (alphabetical) Event page Commons Category Events held Pages Created Pages Edited Total Edits Editors Words Added References Added – #ref tags add (can include multiple refs to same source). Article Views Commons Uploads
TOTALS 28 1,400 3,308 12,438 143 3,566,030 1,425 4,707,320 905
Wiki Loves Women SheSaid Kenya Libraries Caroline Mwaura SheSaid Kenya Libraries Wiki Loves Women at Kenya Libraries 3 39 208 1,190 15 21,400 100 805,000 121
SheSaid Zimbabwe Mashonaland ChabbieCee SheSaid Zimbabwe-Mashonaland Wiki Loves Women Events- Zimbabwe 3 41 64 357 13 21,300 40 59,300 25
Wiki Loves Women 2021 in Rwanda Cnyirahabihirwe123 SheSaid Kigali-Rwanda Wiki Loves Women - Event in Rwanda 3 730 2,210 3,670 44 358,000 449 604,000 182
SheSaid Nairobi Faith Mwanyolo SheSaid Nairobi SheSaid 2021 in Nairobi 4 3 6 9 490 2 1,670 20
SheSaid Campaign Botswana Kolobetsoo SheSaid Botswana SheSaid Campaign Botswana 2 42 42 197 10 16,500 - 2,350 21
ola.mahadi SheSaid Sudan -
Wiki Loves Women in Cameroon 2021 Serieminou Wiki Loves Women 2021 in Cameroon Wikimedia Events in Cameroon 6 64 142 3,100 15 289,000 218 455,000 24
SheSaid Matebeleland Zimbabwe Sichelesile SheSaid Zimbabwe Matebeleland Campaign 2021 Campaign in Zimbabwe 5 25 51 298 16 9,340 31 350,000 29
SheSaid Nigeria 2021 Tochiprecious SheSaid Nigeria SheSaid Nigeria 2 459 588 3,620 21 2,850,000 585 2,430,000 483

Lessons learnt


What Worked Well

  • We developed a Focus Group Meta page which was a portal for the Focus Group Members, having information discussed in the monthly working sessions and office hours on Zoom calls and a place where the can locate training/ resourceful links about SheSaid Campaign and Wikiquote.
  • We had working session where we encouraged working in teams hence we supported each other through peer to peer mentoring, empowering and learning from one another.
  • Engagement and and representation of the Focus Group in conferences such as Wikimania and Wiki India to be more visible, network with other communities and develop public speaking skills.
  • Onboarding newbies to be part of the Focus Group Programme, showed how diverse and inclusive the group, especially starting a programme that involved at-least 12 women mainly from Africa, assisting them to get their rapid grants to activate the SheSaid campaign in their communities.
  • Medium of communication channels such as office hours/monthly working session and the Telegram group connected the Focus Group to engage and support each other whenever anyone needed assistance with their project.

What did not well

  • Need to strategise on how to better groom and enable the Focus Group to develop their public speaking.
  • Some Focus Group Members focused more on creating wikipedia articles about women which lead to less contribution to creating Wikiquote articles about women.
  • Different time zones at times was an issue to determine best time to host working sessions.