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Grants:Conference/Wikimedia Community Ghana/WikiIndaba Conference 2016/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Conference Grant approved in FY 2016-17 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Background information[edit]


The mission of Wiki Indaba is to strengthen the existence of Wikipedia and its sister projects on the African Continent through the collaboration of local communities. A serious discussion will take place to analyse the situation, exchange ideas, set a strategy, and find ways of support and cooperate in advancing this cause.This will also be used to foster ties between Africans on the African Continent and in the Diaspora who invariably contribute to promoting African contents.

Wiki Indaba was a 3 day conference held in Accra, Ghana. The conference had to separate venues for conferencing and accommodation, specifically Fiesta Royale Hotel and Urbano hotel respectively. It was a gathering of African Wikimedians and other open knowledge volunteers who are aligned to the Wikimedia mission.

Access to mobile devices is on the increase in Africa and is expected to intensify in the next few years, increasing Africa's online presence in order to take advantage of this projected growth, is crucial. This conference was seen as an important opportunity to establish and strengthen Wikipedia and the Wikimedia structures in Africa.

The Purpose of the Conference[edit]

The purpose of the conference was to foster growth of the movement goals and to forge collaborations and partnerships in moving the agenda of the Wikimedia Foundation in Africa. The Theme for the Conference was  "Building sustainable wikimedia communities for the benefit of Africa"

The focus of the Conference were:

Increasing Participation/Community Engagement

  1. Increase the visibility of continental projects and other thematic Wikimedia projects.
  2. Active editors who are or may not be members of their country's community may after the conference.
  3. Encourage or spark the interest of countries that do not have existing communities or affiliation status.

Increasing Quality of Volunteers

  1. Participants will build capacity to increase the quality of Wikimedia Projects in their respective countries.
  2. Onboarding and educating community leaders whose skills will be enhanced to do a better outreach


There conference hosted 52 participants in all, 48 of these were from different User Groups, the WMF and from the Open Community.There were three volunteers drawn from the Ghanaian Organizing Community. Out of these, 28 had full scholarships  14 participants received partial scholarships. There were 3 volunteers drawn from the community to help in the Conference. One participant from Cameroon could not attend due to health issues. In all participants came from over 16 countries across four continents.


Did you meet your goals? The goal of Wiki Indaba was to empower Wikimedians in order to enrich the quality and quantity of content of African projects and share awareness about Wikipedia and the Wikimedia movement in general. Through the creation of a regional network, local communities and groups that may later evolve as user groups or chapters. We believe that we achieved these goals at the conference through the following;

  • Having a total of 52 delegates attend the conference. This was an increment from the projected 45 participants due to the addition of some local volunteers.
  • At least 45 participants were trained as opposed to 40 participants we had earlier projected. These were from 16 different across 3 continents. *All participants were trained on how to edit Wiki Data and exposed to how to contribute to some continental GLAM projects.
  • We had over 10 participants who led workshops as trainers or were speakers on different topics.
  • We identified common issues and challenges contributors across the continent faced and proffered some collective solutions.
  • We created a commons strategy to advance the goals of the movement on the continent.
  • We agreed and announced Tunisia as the host nation of Indaba in 2018, which gives ample time to ensure success and providing a going concern.
  • Participants learnt from some best practices that were applied in some Chapters and Usregroups.
  • Collaborative relationships and partnerships were established by different User Groups and Chapters.
  • Active Wikimedians were encouraged to spark up community activities that will leave a trickling effect on their local communities.
Proposed Measures Achieved Measures
Ensure the participation of about 40 participants from more than 10 different countries in the region. We had 52 participants from 16 countries
Train at least 30 active members on how to contribute to other Wikimedia Projects (Wikidata, Wikisource, GLAM, etc). We trained more than 30 participants on more than 6 other wikimedia projects
Train at least 30 participants on how to use project management and measuring tools (Phabricator, Wikimetrics, etc). More than 30 participants were trained on at least one of these tools
At least 10 attendees will participate as speakers or workshop trainers but every participant will contribute to the diversity of the Conference by sharing their experience. We had 10 participants volunteer as speakers, facilitators, etc.
Find solutions to the common issues of been a contributor from Africa (internet accessibility & cost, harassment, language input not standardized, volunteer burnout, etc.). There were several plenary and breakout sessions on common issues in Africa.
Create a common strategy concretized by a working plan of activities and campaigns; such as Wiki Loves Africa and Wiki Loves Monuments. These were primarily achieved as campaigns such as WLW, WLM, WLAf, etc were discussed to better plan for this in the coming year.
Establish collaborative relationships between the affiliates and active Wikimedians throughout the African Continent. This has worked greatly and increases cross regional collaborations to be showcased in the outcomes section of this report.
Encourage active Wikimedians to spark up communities that could in the long term spring affiliates. We are aware of at least one user group which will be announced before the end of the year and many others inspired. Eg: Tanzania, Togo, etc.
Exchange best practices of promoting Wikimedia projects on the African Continent. This was greatly discussed and lots of advice came through from experienced Wikimedians.
Produce insightful resources (presentations) that could be used even after the conference to guide our next steps. Presentations have been made available in the photo category on commons shared in the pictures section of this report.
Plan for the next Wiki Indaba, in 2018. Wiki Indaba 2018 host country was announced and a team to support announced.
Set goals for the participation of Africans in Wikimania Canada 2017 Trainings on how to write good scholarship applications were hosted and Africa has a record number of awarded scholarships this year.


Please share a brief update about the status projects, important discussions, or outcomes from the capacity building that took place at the event.


  • Projects on Slavery and Heritage: At the Conference, relationships were built and conversations continued. During WMCON 17 after Wiki Indaba 17, some participants from WikiIndaba from 3 countries representing 2 continents came up with an idea to host a project with the aforementioned name. Plans are far advance to hold this project soon.
  • Mailing list: Through awareness at the conference we have had more people within the African region subscribe to the African Wikimedians Mailing list.
  • African Developer Group: Two participants (representing Ghana and Cameroon) of Indaba conceived an idea of having a group to nurture, train and recruit more volunteer developers for the Foundation. Talks began and currently a group has been approved by the foundation to organize the first ever developers training in Africa.
  • Planning Wikimedia Botswana: The participant from the Batswana community has after Indaba shown tremendous improvement or the impact of the conference on him. The community in Botswana which was inactive, is suddenly active and hosting several events and applying for Rapid Grants. The team is currently in talks with one of the telcos to roll out a possible Wikipedia Zero program.


  • Letters to Katherine (L2K): This is a series of letter, intended to share requests & issues about Africa with the Executive Director of the Foundation and the entire movement. The idea was conceived by the organising team and first implemented at the 2017 Indaba. The first edition was handed to Katherine at the Wikimedia Conference in Berlin and has sparked a culture of sharing our sentiments in the Wikimedia Movement. Groups like the Iberoconf and a few others in the movement have replicated similar letters to the ED. You can read the first issue of the letter here.
  • Kiwix: Wiki Indaba created the platform to educate more on Kiwix and its usefulness for Africa.
  • WikiFundi: Wiki Indaba created the platform for launch of the offline Wikipedia ‘’Wiki Fundi’’to be launched to a wide range of community members.

Capacity building:

  • There has been some increase in the contributions on Wikidata from Africa following the 3-hour intro to Wikidata workshop
  • 10 WikiIndaba participants were awarded scholarships to Wikimania 2017
  • Two participants in the New Readers and Project Planning workshops used Rapid Grants to do awareness building projects in Nigeria and Botswana.


Conferences and events do not always go according to plan. Sharing what you learned can help you and others plan similar projects in the future. Help the movement learn from your experience by answering the following questions:

All though the Conference went well, we believe it could have been excellent if some issues were solved. We believe these lessons learned will help subsequent conferences to be excellent.

Funds approval came a bit late

  • The time we had from the approval of funds to organizing this conference was really close and affected us in so many ways, such as the time of receiving funds, renegotiating deals because vendors weren't sure we would show up, prices of ticket shot up because bookings were closed, caused inconvenient flight bookings because of availability times of airlines, last minute change because vendors had given up on us due to no commitments, etc.
  • What can be done: Now we have a dedicated conference grant team so I suppose this will solve the problem, or perhaps being timely or just having a conference gran committee to help with the awarding process.

Transfer of funds

  • The transfer of funds quite delayed because of the approval time, this affected the organization team in effecting some payments pre and post conference.
  • What can be done: The process of sending funds at certain times only from the WMF should be looked at and make available a process for emergencies.

Breaking up funds

  • Funds were sent in tranches which made payments awkward since the funds available at any particular time had to be used for part payments. This method is mostly useful to check progress of a project and to be sure an organisation is able to manage such funds, however it didn’t work really well for us for the following reasons:
    • Due to late approvals, there shouldn’t have been payments in tranches because we were already behind time.
    • Vendor’s had not been assured because we hadn’t made commitments and were skeptical about them working with us.
    • We had to invest a lot of time and money in travelling to and from vendor's places of work to reassure them of payments.
    • Payments to be made directly to vendors came in quite late and require a lot of work even after the conference.
  • What can be done: In the midst of all these we had some good things to hold on to, because we had researched into a lot of places over a period of about a year before the conference, we had built relationships with these vendors over time as they saw us almost every time and were a bit relaxed whenever we gave them the assurance. So building a relationship with your prospective vendor is key to the success of your conference because you become friends outside your work and they are willing to do more than they will do for ordinary clients. We were also able to soak in pressure from vendors who gave up on us in the last minutes of organising because we had plan alternatives should a vendor fail.

Inconsequential costs.

  • These were due to the fact that the funding was approved late. This affected flight booking and other stuff and invariably we had to pay for people having to arrive earlier for the conference or having to stay later than the proposed departure because of difficulty in securing flight schedules close to the event date.
  • What can be done: Grant must be sent far ahead of time so that organizers can do effective advance planning to save them from incurring such costs.

Enough time for sessions

  • The Conference was very packed and speakers or trainers had to rush through their sessions and presentations in order to give a chance for other sessions. This mainly resulted because we couldn’t have a full third day because of funding limitations and most participants had to leave later that evening.
  • What can be done: This can be checked by reducing the program content or making room for days to ensure a fine pace to achieve each program goals.

Apathy from the community

  • Community members were not really forthcoming with suggestions to help build the conference. Community members had to be prompted umpteen times in order to make contributions.
  • What can be done: Once Wiki Indaba becomes institutionalized like Wikimania, community members will always look forward to it hence play their parts in making the conference a success.

Limited time outside programs and venues

  • There were limited or no time outside events and activities for socialization because the timetable was jam packed but mainly because we only had a half day on the last day.
  • What can be done: Could be corrected if days are made 3 full days or content of the program reduced to ensure no over packed activities.

Financial documentation[edit]

This section describes the grant's use of funds

Budget table

Please list all project expenses in a table here, with descriptions. Review the instructions here. These expenses should be listed in the same format as the budget table in your approved submission so that anyone reading this report may be able to easily compare budgeted vs. actual expenses.

Budget Received $38,232.91
Ticketing 0 21486.74 21486.74
Conference Venue 7815 690 8505.00 WMF paid the majority of the bill to the conference venue directly
Accomodation 6623 1464.28 8087.28 WMF paid part of the hotel bill directly
Dinner Day 1 0 1148.39 1148.39
Dinner Day 2 0 1111.63 1111.63
Dinner Day 3 0 1438.37 1438.37
Dinner Day 4 0 114.25 114.25
Bank charges 0 312.01 312.01
Reimbursements 0 1018.47 1018.47 (Please give more details)
Other expenses 0 7290.85 7290.85 (Please give more details)
Totals: $14,438 $36,074.99 $50,512.99
Balance $2,157.92
Summary of funding

Total project budget (from your approved grant submission):


Total amount spent on this project (this total should be the total calculated from the table above):


Total amount of WMF grant funds spent on this project:


Are there additional sources of revenue that funded any part of this project? List them here.

Remaining funds

Are there any grant funds remaining?

Answer YES or NO.

Please list the total amount (specify currency) remaining here. (This is the amount you did not use, or the amount you still have after completing your grant.)

The grantee has requested that remaining funds be reallocated to an existing grant for GLAM Ghana. The request for reallocation has been approved, but final numbers need to be checked before the reallocation is finalized.
Remaining funds have been used or will be used for other approved mission-aligned activities. This use has been requested in writing and approved by WMF.
The funds remaining from this grant in the amount of US$487.92 were deducted from another grant payment for Grants:Project/Rapid/OFWA/Ashesi Education Program + Wiki Club Ashesi.

Anything else[edit]

Is there anything else you want to share about the conference or event?

Participant response

Generally participants were overwhelmed by the outcome of the conference and expressed their profound gratitude to the team for the organisation of the conference. They however showed a great deal of enthusiasm for future Indaba events. A summary of the outcomes have been included in the letter to Katherine.

Media coverage

The Conference was covered in the underlisted websites and blogs below.

Additional information on conference activities and social events[edit]

Conference program summary

Day 1

The first day kicked started with registration of participants and familiarization. This was followed by a welcome address and introduction of the Conference by the Organizing Team.

There were different breakout sessions and trainings that were earmarked for the day

Day 2

The second day continued with series of workshops, breakout sessions and different trainings.There was a session on Global reach and partnerships There were presentations for offline solutions such as Kiwix and Wiki fundi.

Day 3

The third and the last day of the Conference began with presentations by different projects and interventions going on on the continent and within the movement. This was followed by other trainings and breakout sessions. Then came a session for the future of Wiki Indaba. At this session, it was announced that the Tunisian Usergroup was going to host the next Wiki Indaba which was going to be held in Tunis, Tunisia. It was also discussed and agreed by consensus that a Continental Team was going to be formed to be in charge of the organization of the next Wiki Indaba.

The Conference was officially closed with a closing remark from the Organizing Team and vote of thanks for the first organizers of Wiki Indaba in South Africa in 2014.

A copy of the delegates guide is available with details of daily activities, read more here.

Social Events

Wiki Akwaaba Night (Goethe Institut) - Thursday 19 January, 2017[edit]

"Akwaaba" implies in the Akan language “Welcome”, It was a networking forum intended to connect participants of the conference with the wider open community Ghana and more especially welcome participants. It was  a night of African music, arts and dance. This was also used to promote the ongoing Wiki Loves Africa Campaign in Ghana to showcase Ghanaian music and dance.

The event took place at the Goethe Institut in Accra.

Wiki Night Out - Friday 20 January, 2017[edit]

As part of keeping the conference educative yet fun. We spent the night of Friday the 20th in the City of Accra at the Airport View Hotel. There were live performances from a band and the view from the rooftop was just amazing. There was a karaoke session where participants took to the stage to show their musical talents and prowess and also battled it on for supremacy in terms of which team or country could sing and dance best.

Dinner on the 21st

A dinner was held for participants at the Labadi Beach Hotel. This was followed with a localised social event at the beach, where participants socialized and had a lot of fun activities. It was organized to showcase our social cultural activities and share a little of our tradition with participants.

Touring Accra

On the last and final day of the Conference, participants were taken on a city tour of Accra where they were shown landmarks and historical sites in the city. A list of some of the places visited are;

  • Independence Square,
  • Jamestown
  • Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum
  • La Tante Marie Restaurant
  • The supreme court

The excursion was climaxed at the Accra Mall Shopping Center where participants had the opportunity to do some shopping.


Pictures and presentations from the conference can be found found here, Indaba in Pictures