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The WikiPack Africa Project is a WikiAfrica project launched in 2016. It amalgamates:

  • the coding of a software environment, WikiFundi
  • the creation of action packs for use by local Wikimedia chapters, user groups or isolated individuals in Africa, and
  • a Wikipedia Writing Contest to be run in African Schools.

It will roll out in two phases :

  • Phase 1 involves the creation of the WikiPack Africa. WikiPack Africa is a digital kit located via a local network device (Raspberry PI). The local network device provides access to an off-line editing platform that mimics Wikipedia, and provides related materials and additional OER resources. The WikiPack Africa will both facilitate the outreach work of Wikimedia chapters, User Group and individuals, and encourage the growth of digital skills and content contribution by teachers and students across Africa.
  • The Wikipedia Writing Contest (Phase 2) will use the WikiPack Africa to facilitate an entertaining, powerful, collaborative and interactive content creation competition between schools in Sénégal, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinée, Niger, Tunisia, Madagascar, and Cameroon.

The project has been conceptualised and conceived by Florence Devouard and Isla Haddow-Flood.
The project is run in partnership with Wikimedia CH and the Orange Foundation and is primarily implemented by Florence, Isla and Emmanuel Engelhart. It is implemented from May 2016 until summer 2017.
The project proposal, its documentation and its outcomes are under a CC BY SA 4.0 licence.

WikiPack Africa : introduction to the WikiPackEdit

What it isEdit

A WikiPack Africa is an action pack containing devices, material and content to facilitate the outreach work done by local Wikimedia chapters, local Wikimedia User Groups and isolated individuals in African countries. The pack allows for ongoing training and contribution even when technology, access and electricity outages fail or are not available at all.

Phase 1 of the Project involves the development and creation of the WikiPack Africa. This phase includes creating an off-line editing environment that mimics the Wikipedia called WikiFundi, user guides, resources and additional educational material to be accessed via a Raspberry PI.

WikiFundi, the offline editing environment, is to be used in the training of Wikipedians and the development of articles by groups.

In addition, to WikiFundi, the Raspberry PI will also be loaded with off-line copies of Wikipedia, select WikiBooks, Wiktionary and a resource pack that will assist with and support contribution to Wikipedia. Other outreach and reading resources will also be part of the packs. All digital resources and the application platform will be made available under a free licence.

When delivered, the WikiPack Africa comprise a Raspberry PI and some offline materials (posters, leaflets, pull-up banner, tee-shirts, etc.). The WikiPack will be delivered to several Wikimedia User Groups located in Africa. A Call for Interest was made to identify which groups receive the Packs (8 countries will be covered as part of the pilot launch).

Who is it for?Edit

The WikiPack Africa empowers volunteer communities to grow as Wikimedia organisations and paves the way for a self-reliant future. It is primarily meant for individuals and groups wanting to implement outreach projects and:

  • work with galleries, libraries, archives and museums to bring cultural content online;
  • work with education partners to get educators and students contribute or better understand Wikimedia projects;
  • more generally, organise edit-a-thons, photo hunts, workshops, press conferences, etc. to promote Wikimedia projects.

What does each pack contain?Edit

Each WikiPack is intended for a group of Wikimedia volunteers and/or an active Wikipedian in Residence in a country. Each pack contains :

  • Hardware : one Raspberry PI server for offline access to content helpful for the Wikimedian groups. In the pilot phase, we plan to equip 8 groups in Africa.
  • Software: Offline versions of Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikiversity ...
  • WikiFundi: An offline “basic” editable mediawiki website, modelled like Wikipedia, for the off-line editorial practice that can be uploaded too or copied onto the relevant Wikimedia project. This software does not exist at the moment and will additionally be made available to everyone on an online platform.
  • Digital content : Curated multimedia content: video and written tutorials, guideline articles and toolkits, educational content, general toolkits, how-to’s, etc.. The digital content will be made available for all on an online platform.
  • Non digital content : Marketing and communication materials: posters, badges, stickers, banners, etc.

The key element of the Wikipack : WikiFundiEdit

Phase 1 includes creating an off-line editing environment that mimics the Wikipedia called WikiFundi, user guides, resources and additional educational material to be accessed via a Raspberry PI.

WikiFundi, the offline editing environment, is to be used in the training of Wikipedians and the development of articles by groups.

What is being produced?Edit

An offline “basic” editable mediawiki website accessible via the Raspberry PI. The offline version mimics Wikipedia to allow for the addition of information and content in a similar environment to the online version. Once each article is completed, it can be copied onto the relevant Wikimedia project (there will be no automatic import of article, on purpose...).

Problem being solvedEdit

No access or poor access to Wikipedia due to connectivity issues.

Who are the beneficiaries ?Edit

Wikipedians across Africa (Wikimedia volunteers / Wikipedian in Residence and other Wiki project leads).

How will it be done ?Edit

User:Kelson, the lead person behind Kiwix, will provide the technical support. The software should be largely done in May-July, a timeline that includes the Kiwix Hackathon. The content (database) will be established over the months, directly onto Wikipedia so that everyone can participate (links to be added as soon as project pages are created...). The content gathering pages can be found for English here and for French here.

WikiChallenge African Schools : Example of a project set up with the Wikipack and WikiFundiEdit

As a motivation to use the materials that are part of the Wikipack Africa, we organized the WikiChallenge African Schools, an exciting Writing Contest during the school year in 2017-2018.

The Contest took place in Primary Schools in 4 francophone African countries (Mali, Madagascar, Guinea, Tunisia). It was organized in collaboration with local Foundation Orange groups, who were in direct contact with the participating schools. Local Foundation Orange groups were supported online by Florence or by wikimedians, such as members of Wikimedia Tunisia. Some local groups also partially followed Wikimedia France WikiMooc. The aim of the project was to enhance each school’s ability to learn about Vikidia (and ultimately Wikipedia) and contribute content offline. Content produced by the kids has been integrated into Vikidia (a 8-13 kids encyclopedia) once completed offline (by the schools and writers). The articles have been judged once online. Activities in the schools were followed on the Facebook page anytime possible.

There were 6 winning schools.
Winning articles by country were:

  • the Fria alumina plant by the students of Primary School Sabendè in Guinea
  • Antsoheribory Island by the students of EPP Fanantenana - Mahajanga in Madagascar
  • Public holidays in Tunisia by students of ESKHIRA - Tastour in Tunisia
  • Medina Fort by students of CSHFOS 1stCycle - Kayes in Mali

The special Jury Prizes were:

  • Saharan popular games by students of BECHNI - Gebel, Tunisia
  • The government of the children and the marriage in Mali by the students of Yanfolila 1st cycle "A" - Yanfolila, Mali

Benefits for the kids

The contest encouraged students to work together to create an article about their area. This could be an article about their village, suburb, notable person or a local historic or geographic feature. The contest was designed to provide students with hands-on experience in collating information and working collaboratively to contribute knowledge to one of the world’s most powerful information platforms. The contest was meant to specifically:

  • Train students in how to write an encyclopédique article on a wiki;
  • Give students key online skills that includes, but is not limited to, navigating an editing environment that mimics Wikipedia’s online version, and researching and citing correct sources;
  • Provide media skills with regards to constructing articles, using categories, and taking photographs or creating other media to fully illustrate the article they submit to the contest.
  • Contribute articles about Africa by Africans to Vikidia and Wikipedia, thus broadening the coverage of Africa.

We are hoping to run this contest again in 2018-2019 :)

To go further

People and structures involvedEdit


  • Orange Foundation (Financial support to the project, Promotion and communication, Operational support during the Wikipedia Writing Contest for schools involved in Orange Digital Schools Network)
  • Wikimedia CH (Financial administration of the project, Liaison for the organisation of the hackathon session and financial support, Communication)


Other links and resourcesEdit