Wiki Loves Women/Focus Group/Results and best practices 2023

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.

The second working session of the Focus Group in 2021.

Launched in June 2021, the Focus Coaching programme comprises 14 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. 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.



The 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 took place 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)

The Focus Group members

The Wiki Loves Women Focus Group was initially formed in 2021 and consisted of 12 women representing 8 African countries ( Botswana, Nigeria, Sudan, South Africa, Zimbabwae, Kenya, Cameroun and Rwanda) and France. In 2022, the group welcomed two new members from South Africa and Tunisia, expanding its membership. As of the 2023 program, the WLW Focus Group further grew with the addition of 4 new members, making it a more diverse and inclusive community.

Wiki Loves Women's Focus Group activities in 2023

  • A monthly thematic working session with the group (private recording for group members).
  • Ongoing Telegram group for discussion.
  • More than 5 #SheSaid Office hours in french, arabic and english.
  • Application for Rapid Grant to host the #SheSaid drive from Oct-Dec 2023.
  • The Tell Us About Her ISA campaign which resulted 2076 images being described by 28, who posted 43835 descriptions.

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

Date What? Coordinator Topic / Guest Explanation / Links Images
December 2022 - January 2023 Offline Activity Afek Feedback survey The members answered to the annual feedback survey in purpose to improve the activities of the Focus Group.
  • 100% of the members want to continue the experience.
  • 77.8% of the members want to expand the group.
  • On a scale of 1 to 5, 77.8% of the members rated 5 to the value and interest of the working sessions.

Looking forward 2023, the members would like to cover the following topics: Governance issues - developing from volunteer group to an entity. Grants & reports Community engagement issues Community organising and keeping meta pages updated Use the translation system to get organizing pages in several languages How to start a user group? Gender equality and steps to ensure that our programs at community level are gender sensitive

Some statistics from the survey
February 1st, 2023 Working Session New year plan During the first working session, the Focus Group members shared their aspirations for the new year and their plans for personal growth. They also identified areas where they might need support from each other to achieve their goals as Focus Group members and as wikimedians. To facilitate this discussion, we used a Jamboard to explore the following topics:
  • Goals as a Focus Group member in 2023
  • Skills they would like to have (Personal development)
  • Things to do get out of the comfort zone (More of like challenging ourselves)
  • Reflect on last year what are the things we can improve about the Focus Group Programme from last year.
The jamboard
February 8th, 2023 Office Hour Clementine The Africa Environment Initiative During the Ofice Hour, Clementine presented the Africa Knowledge Initiative focusing on:
  • The context of the project
  • The activities
  • The Micro-funding
  • The topics

Link to the presentation

Clementine presenting the Africa Environment Initiative
February 22nd, 2023 Working Session Welcoming the new members During the working session, the members welcomed the new members suggested by themselves. The session included three parts:
  • An Icebreaker: the new and old members presented themselves.
  • A prsentation about the WLW Focus Group, the activities and the leadership prorgam.
  • A presentation about the Africa Environment initiative.

The new members who joined us are:


A group photo of the new and old members
March 2nd, 2023 Office Hour During the office hour the members discussed the activities of the Africa Environment Day and the Launch of the ISA Tell Us About Her : Women on the Frontline Climate campaign. Wiki Loves Women is celebrating women throughout March 2023 with a *Tell Us About Her* drive. The drive is aimed at improving the visibility of women in climate change as well as their works on Wikimedia projects.
One of our social media visuals
March 9th, 2023 Office Hour The members had a presentation about the ISA tool mainly focusing on:
Afek presenting the ISA tool
March 22nd, 2023 Working Session #SheSaid Climate workshop During the working session, the members had a pesentation by Carol about the #SheSaid campaign as one of the most important projects that the members work on. During the second part of the session, the members had a practical workshop with Florence.
Carol presenting the #SheSaid campaign
April 19th, 2023 Working Session
  • Use the translation system to organize pages in several languages
  • Florence
During the working session, the members had a pesentation by Florence about the translation system mainly focusing on:
  • Translating Wiki pages in terms of interface (setting up project or organization pages on meta and WikiCommons and other projects)
Florence presenting the translation system
May 17th, 2023 Working Session Under the guidance of Isla, the Focus Group members engaged in a discussion centered around governance issues. The main focus of the discussion revolved around two key points:
  • Sharing and Reviewing Plans: During the discussion, each member had the opportunity to talk about their individual plans for the year. This allowed for a collaborative effort to identify areas where mutual support and assistance could be provided among the members. By understanding each other's goals and initiatives, they aimed to create a supportive environment within the group.
  • Interests in Governance: Another crucial aspect of the discussion was exploring the specific aspects of governance that each member was interested in. This provided valuable insights into the diverse interests and expertise within the Focus Group, enabling them to tailor their discussions and activities to address these interests effectively.

Through this open and collaborative discussion, the Focus Group members sought to strengthen their understanding of governance issues, enhance cooperation, and promote a more effective and inclusive approach to their work within the Wikimedia and Open movements.

Group photo
June 21st, 2023 Working Session
  • Community engagement issues
  • All
The Focus Group members had a working session, during which they discussed the community engagement issues. The main topics they focused on areː
  • Which channels do you use to communicate with your community?
  • How do you make your community discoverable?
  • What are your objectives for community engagement and what do you hope to accomplish through it?
  • How can we develop an understanding of engagement terminology and avoid using jargon when interacting with the community?
  • How can we cultivate a greater level of comfort when facing challenges, conflicts, and differing opinions, and actively engage with them?
Some answers of the questions discussed
July 26th, 2023 Working Session During a working session, Florence conducted a presentation for the Focus Group members on the subject of grants and reports. The topic was divided into seven partsː
  1. Target of the report (main audience)
  2. What does the main stakeholder need it for?
  3. Talk about pre-documentation stored prior
  4. Related to the structure
  5. Will be about writing itself
  6. Beautifying the report
  7. Publishing
August 28th & 30th, 2023 Working Session The WLW Focus Group members recently conducted two productive working sessions dedicated to grants. The first session, conducted in English by Florence, focused on the intricacies of submitting grant applications to the Wikimedia Foundation, providing valuable insights and guidance for the application process. The second session, conducted in French by Pascal Radigue, centered around the process of seeking micro-financing from Wikifranca, offering members a comprehensive understanding of how to request financial support for their initiatives. These sessions reflect the group's commitment to fostering a multilingual and inclusive approach to grant opportunities within the Wikimedia community.
October 12th, 13th, 14th, 17th, 31st 2023 Training Sessions How to edit Wikiquote in 3 languages During the month of October, the dedicated members of the WLW Focus Group participated in a total of five public training sessions conducted in three different languages: Arabic, French, and English. Among these sessions, one was expertly led by our fellow member, Minette.

These training sessions had a primary objective: to empower and equip group members with the knowledge and skills necessary to enhance their contributions and leadership in organizing the #SheSaid campaign within their respective countries. These efforts reflect the group's commitment to fostering collaboration and promoting gender equity across linguistic and cultural boundaries.

Florence presenting the SheSaid campaign
October 25th, 2023 Working Session During this working session, Rachel provided a presentation on strategies for effectively promoting projects on social media to enhance their visibility and significance. The main focus was on selecting the appropriate social media platforms, developing an effective content strategy, maintaining consistency in posting, engaging with the audience, and monitoring key metrics. Additionally, members received training on using the "Later" tool to schedule posts.
Rachel presenting
November 29th, 2023 Working Session In the working session, Ciell covered key aspects of central notice banners, emphasizing:
  1. Definition and purpose of a central notice banner.
  2. Guidelines associated with central notice banners.
  3. Procedures for requesting a central notice banner.

In the latter part of the session, participants engaged in a hands-on exercise related to requesting a central notice for the Wiki Loves Unicorn contest.

Ciell presenting
December 13th, 2023 Party
  • End of the year party
  • All
End of the year party: the Focus Group members hosted a party where they celebrated another year together and played games.
A group photo

Wiki Loves Women's Focus Group at Conferences in 2023

At Wikimania Singapore 2023

Wikimania 2023

WikiIndaba 2023, Moroco

WikiConvention 2023, Ivory Coast

WikiWomenCamp 2023, India

Wiki Loves Women's Focus Group Coverage


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

SheSaid 2023 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 new Rapid Grant system for funding to plan and host a series of community based events around the programme.

SheSaid Grant Applications




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 Article Views Commons Uploads
TOTALS 5 8 2,381 2,673 6,798 143 4,143,550 167,792 1,120
SheSaid 2023 in Tunisia Afek91 SheSaid 2023 in Tunisia SheSaid 2023 In Tunisia 1 8 11 24 4 2,550 32 41
Wiki Loves Women 2023 in Rwanda Cnyirahabihirwe123 SheSaid 2023 in Rwanda Wiki Loves Women - Events in Rwanda 1 547 790 2,340 32 221,000 149,000 82
SheSaid in Botswana Kolobetsoo SheSaid 2023 in Botswana SheSaid Campaign Botswana 1 449 458 834 31 170,000 3,660 11
SheSaid 2023 in Cameroon Serieminou SheSaid 2023 in Cameroon Wikimedia Events in Cameroon 3 57 74 200 30 100,000 1,500 573
SheSaid 2023 in Nigeria Tochiprecious Shesaid 2023 in the Igbo Community SheSaid Nigeria 2 1,320 1,340 3,400 46 3,650,000 13,600 413

Lessons learnt


Feedback survey

WLW Focus Group 2023 party

This feedback highlights significant personal and professional growth resulting from involvement in the Focus Group. Key takeaways include:

Specific impactː

  1. Stepping out of Comfort Zone: The individual has learned to venture beyond their comfort zone, acquiring new skills and approaches.
  2. Mentorship and Group Learning: The presence of mentors and group learning within Wikimedia has been instrumental in personal development.
  3. Leadership Role: The learnings have empowered the person to co-lead in their community.
  4. Specific Knowledge Gains: Topics such as "Governance issues," "Central Topic Banner," translation of wiki pages, and the use of various tools were highlighted as valuable learnings.
  5. Global Connectivity: Interactions with women from different parts of the world, each with diverse cultures and languages, contributed to personal growth and learning as a Wikipedia contributor.
  6. Solidarity and Support: The sense of solidarity among women in the focus group provided support, enabling the accomplishment of more ambitious goals without fear.
  7. Inspiration and Networking: Being part of the Wiki Loves Women Focus Group introduced the individual to inspiring people, fostering friendships, and expanding their network within the Wiki movement.
  8. Professional Application: The skills acquired, including planning, project writing, grant application, and personal development, have found practical applications in their professional work.

Community growthː

  1. Community Growth and Interaction: The "Give Her a Voice" theme has facilitated community interaction with profiles of different women, leading to collaborations and individuals working with these women.
  2. Communication and Leadership Skills: Participation in WLW has contributed to the development of communication skills within the community and enhanced leadership abilities.
  3. Knowledge Sharing: The individual actively shares knowledge gained in the Focus Group with colleagues and the broader community during training sessions, contributing to positive community growth.
  4. Continuous Learning and Sharing: Regularly learning new things, the individual shares this knowledge with new Wikipedians in their community, fostering a culture of continuous learning.
  5. Global Connectivity: The efforts made are aligned with the global Wikimedia community, demonstrating an eagerness to connect and collaborate globally.
  6. Event Impact: The Wangari Maathai celebration events were highlighted as impactful, going beyond traditional editing and providing a unique and enriching experience for the community.
  7. Empowerment and Skill Development: The WLW Focus Group has been a significant platform for personal and professional growth. It provided tools and skills, including writing grant applications and reports, and enhanced organizational abilities.
  8. Confidence Building: Leading the WLW project in Cameroon has boosted confidence, leading to increased involvement in the local Wiki community and a willingness to take on leadership and organizer roles for projects in the community.

Some inspiring quotes from the feedback survey

  • "This is a group of very special loving women who their skills and knowledge sharing are out of this world. Even though I wasn't very active because of my work I had the support and courage from the ladies in the focus group, to keep pushing, to keep learning and to keep going."
  • "More than anything else, It is my pleasure of belonging in the group of women/Girls from different countries , different background and shared the same goal, who can understand each other, sharing experience, opinions, and I enjoyed more the way everyone in the group is encouraged to share her opinions openly I enjoyed most different sessions, good trainers, I appreciate our team leaders especially Afeq, Nonny, they are very active, organized, team spirt ones."

What Worked Well

  • Benefits of External Trainers: Inviting external trainers proved to be highly beneficial for the focus group. These sessions, particularly the central notice banner session, played a pivotal role in imparting new skills and knowledge to the members.
  • Engagement through Member Involvement: Involving focus group members in hosting sessions emerged as a successful strategy for enhancing engagement. Members who took on hosting responsibilities not only contributed to the knowledge-sharing process but also fostered a sense of ownership and community within the group.

What did not work well

  • Varied Skill Levels: One of the challenges in the Wiki Loves Women focus group is the presence of diverse skill levels among its members. This diversity may lead to discrepancies in the pace of contribution and the understanding of some topicss.
  • Uneven Internet Connectivity: Another challenge is the disparity in internet connectivity across different countries represented in the focus group. In regions with less reliable internet access, members may face obstacles in effective participation.

2024 expectations


The future plans for the group includeː

  • The onboarding of new members.
  • Sustained involvement in working sessions with a specific focus on honing technical skills.
  • The initiation of a new project or campaign as an outcome of the group's three years of collaborative efforts.