Grants:Conference/Wikimedia User Group Nigeria/WikiIndaba Conference 2019/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Conference Grant approved in FY 2019-20 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wiki Indaba Conference 2019

General overview[edit]


The WikiIndaba conference 2019 took place in Abuja, Nigeria from 8 to 10 November 2019. This conference was hosted and organized by Wikimedia Nigeria Foundation (WNF) and funded by the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF). The 2019 conference was the fourth edition of Wiki Indaba conference organized with support from Wikimedia Foundation. It’s a conference for capacity building and development, skills acquisition, leadership training, knowledge sharing to foster the growth of Wikimedia projects in Africa. The first edition of the Wiki-Indaba Conference was held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2014 by Wikimedia ZA, while the 2018 edition was held in Tunis, Tunisia by Wikimedia TN Usergroup. The 2017 and 2018 Wiki Indaba reports were thoroughly reviewed and the conference was improved in 2019. The scholarship was improved and adjusted to accommodate more females participants (>40%).

Organizing team[edit]

Team User Names
WMF Liaison Olaniyan Olushola
Logistics Runcie Chidebe, Kayode Yussuf
Conference Program Sam Oyeyele, Olaniyan Olushola, 2 WISCOM members, WMF Liaison, 3 community members
Scholarships Organizers (Olaniyan Olushola, Olatunde Isaac, Ayokunle Odedere), WISCOM members (Felix Nartey, Reda Kerbouche), WMF Liaison, community members (David Richfield, Sami Mlouhi, Alangi Derick, Kipala,Ahmed Mohi El din)
Communications Kayode Yussuf, Mrs. Florence Onuegbu (News Agency of Nigeria), Jemilat Abudulai
Volunteer Coordinators User:Agbalagba

Scholarship award[edit]

Wiki Indaba Conference 2019

Scholarships were awarded to 50 participants from more than 20 countries. The scholarship was improved and adjusted to accommodate more females participants (>40%). A committee, Scholarship Review Committee (SRC) of nine (9) members drawn from Wiki Indaba Steering Committee, the host, Wikimedia Nigeria Foundation, and the African Wikimedians Community was constituted. The scholarship committee was chaired by Isaac Olatunde and included User:HandsomeBoy, David Richfield, User:Sami Mlouhi, User:Alangi Derick, Ingo Koll, Ahmed Mohi El din, Felix Nartey and Reda Kerbouche

To ensure transparency in the review process, WikiIndaba Steering Committee representatives were nominated by WISCOM, and Community appointed members were selected following a call for volunteering in the committee. The scholarship application was opened from May - July 2019 and applicants were notified of the status of their application in August 2019. Travel support documents were issued to successful applicants in September 2019.

The committee, however, did not record any grievance or concerns from members of the community as the process was transparent.


Excellent perfomance

This year the conference was well-organized. The logistics team comprising of Runcie Chidebe and Kayode Yussuf was responsible for managing the conference logistics. The tasks focus on securing a good venue, hotel accommodation, travel, conference catering, communication, and volunteer management. The team was focused and determined to ensure that the conference program was smooth and interesting for participants. The team invested a lot of time and effort into improving the participant management processes. We had three major challenges. They were faced with the challenge of getting decent hotel accommodation for participants. The twin bed was recommended by the WMF and the Wiki Indaba Steering Committee. Twin bedrooms are not popular in Nigeria, hence they are difficult to get. We spent several days persuading the hotel management to get a twin bed for the conference. After much effort, the management eventually bought more beds, but it was very challenging. Security concern was one of the reasons the conference was earlier postponed so the team hired additional security personnel to escort participants from the airport to the hotel and back to the airport during departure.

Dealing with the effect of late approval of the visa application was challenging to the team as that tremendously affected the travel booking process. Although the team coped with these challenges, the stress could have been avoided and a lot of time could have been saved if the scholarship list had been approved earlier and travel documents issued on time.

The logistics team worked in collaboration with our communications team to manage communications with participants, embassies, Wikimedia Foundation, and partners. They handle requests, complains and answered questions related to visa applications and other related questions from participants. While Hikrz Travels was hired to handle travel bookings.

The logistics team was also faced with the challenge of wifi instability at the conference venue. The hotel management assured us of a stable internet in hotel rooms but not at the conference venue. We decided to get a more stable internet at the conference venue. The team contacted a local internet service provider and finalized arrangements. Unfortunately, we could not pay them on time to do the installation as the fiscal sponsor failed to wire the fund but rather insisted on bringing the cash to the venue. The payment was made on 7th November 2019, the evening before the conference. Thus, the Agency's engineer came on the morning of Day 1 and they did not have enough time to test-run the internet network.

In general, we had a smooth logistical operation with the support and expertise of WMF staff and other Wikimedia User groups in Nigeria including the Igbo Wikimedians User Group, Yoruba Wikimedians User Group, and Hausa Wikimedians User Group. We are satisfied with the organization of the conference and the feedback received from participants shows clearly that the event was successful. We believed that the logistics team should be strengthened for the next Wiki Indaba in Uganda.

General overview of activities of logistics coordinators[edit]

Area Task (summarized) end outcome
Cost management Create budget plan Complied
Process invoices, expenses tracking and cost control
Set up actual cost overview
Create invoices from vendors to the fiscal sponsor
Location management Conference venue research and negotiation Complied
Conference venue
Check technical & equipment as well as catering needs
Catering contracting
Wifi for conference venue
Create room plans & schedules
Set up / Dismantlement
Manage location and catering team on-site
Hotel Management Hotel research and quotations solicitation" Complied
Hotel negotiations
Hotel contracting
Hotel reservation for participants
Participant Management Set up concept and create registration form Complied
Checking and managing incoming emails
Adding participants on meta
Communicating with participants
Visa Management, creating and sending invitation letters
Participants support, registration on-site
Communication Management Creation and maintenance of meta page Complied
Sending information and updates via mail to participants
Creation and administration of mailing list
Respond to individual needs and requirements of participants and other stakeholders
Create documents for on- site usage (signage, conference guide etc.)
Social Event Location scouting Complied
Location booking
Brainstorming and preparing social activities
On-site management of participants and service providers



The Program Committee received 63 submissions and a total of 38 submissions were accepted. The program was coordinated by Sam Oyeyele. The program committee designed the appropriate theme for the conference, through elaborate discussions and meetings. The committee also designed the submission process for the conference and assessed these submissions according to carefully selected criteria, based on the agreed theme. The 2019 WikiIndaba Conference Program consisted of a healthy mix of lectures, workshops, tutorials, panels, and roundtables. Furthermore, for the first time in WikiIndaba, the program schedule allowed for people to organize their community meetups. This allowance turned out to be well utilized by participants.


Panel Session: State of African Wikis: What Are The Challenges Facing African Language Wikipedias? Any Potential Solutions?
Asaf Bartov leading a session on Beyond the basics: Intermediate Wikidata tools
Session on the Wikimedia movement strategy 2030
Meetup at Wiki Indaba 2019
Georges Fodouo preparing to present a session on how to promote local languages with Lingua Libre and Wiktionary
Results of ISA Contest at Wiki Indaba 2019

Close to 40 formal sessions (presentations, panels, workshops, etc.) were presented by African Wikimedia volunteers, Wikimedia Foundation staff, and more. One participant said "This is the only conference I have seen full participation by attendees"

Accepted Submissions Presenters
African Studies in Wikimedia projects Ursula Oberst
African Women in Media: Visibility Project Olubamidele Ogunleye
Anti-harassment: latest news from the Trust & Safety team Samuel Guebo, and Christel Steigenberger from T&S WMF
Beyond the basics: Intermediate Wikidata tools Asaf Bartov
Creative Commons Licenses: an asset for the work, the author and the user Sami Mlouhi
Digital Security for Wikimedians|Digital Security for Wikimedians|Digital Security for Wikimedians Samuel Guebo, Christel Steigenberger, Derick Alangi
Fostering a Wikimedia Community in Guinea-Bissau Paulo Santos Perneta (DarwIn)
Grants and Resources Offered By the Wikimedia Foundation Chen Almog
Ideas to strengthen local African content Anass Sedrati
ISA Tool Florence Devouard
les sans pagEs Méditerranée Florence Devouard
MediaWiki 101: Getting indoctrinated into MediaWiki development (plus fettle a real MW bug)l Derick N. Alangi (Alangi_Derick)
Movement Strategy: Building Strategy Collaboratively Tanveer Hasan, and Douglas SSebaggala
OpenStreetMap 101: The Wikipedia of Maps Enock Seth Nyamador
Promote local languages with Lingua Libre and Wiktionary Georges Fodouop
Promoting African Creative Content on Wikis Through Creative Commons Licensing Chris Teck Orthoriti
Promoting Commons Images with a Twitter Bot (WM-Emoji-Twitter-Bot) Rosalie Perside
Querying Wikidata with SPARQL for Absolute Beginnersl Asaf Bartov
Restitution and Return of African Cultural Heritage: a role for Wikimedians? Dumisani Ndubane
Retention model (VSDR-d3 v1.0 model) for Volunteer Software Developer Derick Alangi
Showcasing How Far We Have Come as a Community in Nigeria (Closed Meetup) Wikimedia Nigeria Community
State of African Wikis Dumisani Ndubane
State of African Wikis: What Are The Challenges Facing African Language Wikipedias? Any Potential Solutions? Sam Oyeyele, Dumisani Ndubane, Isaac Olatunde, Bobby, Zita Ursula, Isaac Chabota
The AfroCine Project: Bridging the African Content Gap Through Pop Culture Sam (User:Jamie Tubers)
What is ART+FEMINISM? Mohammed Sadat Abdulai (User:Masssly); Walaa Abdel Manaem (User:ولاء)
Wikimedia 2030 - Strategy Meetup Tanveer Hasan,Anass Sedrati,Douglas Ssebaggala
Wikimedia Space, a new platform for support and collaboration Quim Gil - Qgil-WMF
Wikipedia Education Program: What can be done differently in the African perspective. Edith Violet
Working together with UNESCO - preserving African heritage Gereon Kalkuhl (User:Gereon K.)
Closing the Gender Gap across Africa Florence Devouard, Isla Haddow-Flood and Erina Mukuta (both absent)
WikiChallenge Ecoles d'Afrique Florence Devouard,

ISA Tool Contest[edit]

Fawaz receiving a gift as the winner of the ISA campaign

An ISA tool contest was organized by Anthere during the conference, with the intent to improve the image description of photos related to Abuja. ISA is a multilingual, mobile-first tool, that makes it easy for people to add micro-contributions in the form of structured data (descriptions, captions, tags, etc.) to images that have been contributed to Wikimedia Commons. During this Abuja campaign, 1291 contributions were made on 531 images. The first participant, Fawaz, won an Isa branded mug, offered under great applause during Saturday night dinner.

Social events[edit]

Excellent result

Networking and socializing is one of the core values of Wiki Indaba Conference. Two social events were organized for participants: Tour and special dinner. The tour was organized by Wikimedia Nigeria Foundation in collaboration with Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation and Tour Nigeria. Participants visited Shehu Musa Yar'adua Centre, located at One Memorial Drive in Abuja’s Central Business District. Yar’Adua Centre is a hub for social and civic engagements in Nigeria. There is a museum at the center that documents the life of Late Shehu Musa Yar'adua, a former presidential candidate who died two and a half years later in Abakaliki Prison. One of the participants described the tour as "Memorable and mind-blowing". Participants took various photographs at the center and climbed the bridge used to immortalized the late military personnel. We also visited Abuja Art and Craft Village situated behind the Musa Yar’adua Centre. It is a popular destination for art enthusiasts, a notable place to see and buy local art crafts in Nigeria. Some participants visited the Abuja National Mosque, Anglican Church of Nigeria, Zuma Rock, Jabi Boat Club, and the Jabi lake. A special dinner was held on the final day of the conference and various Nigerian cuisines and other Continental foods were served. The Igbo User Group entertained participants with local dance to Igbo music.

Although we planned to have a mini-party at the Jabi Boat Club, the management of the boat club was unresponsive after the second meeting with them. So, we couldn't have the party as planned. In general, the social events were interesting and from our own experience and feedback from participants, it was very successful

Project goal and measures of success[edit]

This section should reference the project goals and measures of success described in the approved grant submission. See your grant proposal to review the goals and metrics listed in the approved submission.

Project goal[edit]

Provide the project goal here.

Our specific goals for the conference are to:

  1. Provide a platform for learning, capacity building and sharing of experiences and ideas on how to kick-start partnership projects
  2. Share knowledge among Wikimedia affiliates in Africa organizational development.
  3. Provide opportunities for training for chapters and user groups in African about program management, grants making and reporting
  4. Support meetups for thematic work in the health care, cultural, and educational/academic sector.
  5. Community management and leadership

The secondary goals of the event are:

  1. Create long-term networking and partnering opportunities with organizations from the cultural and educational sector (e.g. GLAM, universities, etc.) in the African region to build on the existing momentum and to achieve sustainability beyond the conference.
  2. Provide opportunities for face-to-face rapport-building connections between existing Wikimedia volunteers and community members to strengthening personal relationships between the participants and to improve the community health of the Wikimedia movement.

Did you achieve your project goal? How do you know your goal was achieved?

Yes, we believed we achieved our project goals based on our reflections during and after the conference, and the feedback from participants (see our evaluation feedback), facilitators, affiliates and partners, we think we achieved this goal for Wiki Indaba 2019. We think the conference has been improved.

Measures of success[edit]

List the measures of success exactly as provided in the approved grant submission, and evaluate your project according to each measure listed there.
General assessment 70% excellent, 40% good
Extra-ordinary result
Excellent result
Measure (as proposed in the grant) Results Compliance
93.1% of participants agreed that the conference provided a platform for learning, capacity building and sharing of experiences and ideas on how to kick-start partnership projects 93.1 % in total agreement Complied
89.7% of participants agreed that the conference provided a platform for sharing knowledge among Wikimedia affiliates in Africa's organizational development. 89.7 % in total agreement Complied
62.1% of participants agreed that the conference provided opportunities for training for chapters and user groups in African about program management, grants making and reporting 62.1% in total agreement Complied
65.5% of participants agreed that the conference provided a platform for Community management and leadership training 65.5 % in total agreement Complied
48.3% of participants agreed that the conference supported meetups for thematic work in the health care, cultural, and educational/academic sector. 48.3 % in total agreement Complied
79.3% of participants agreed that the conference program was well-structured. 79.3 % in total) Complied
96.6% of participants were satisfied with pre-conference communication. 69 % very satisfied + 27.6 % fairly satisfied (= 96.6 % in total) Complied
96.6% of participants were satisfied with the conference location, Abuja 86.2% very satisfied + 10.3% fairly satisfied (= 96.6 % in total) Complied
79.3% of participants were very satisfied with conference accommodation 37.9% very satisfied + 41.4% fairly satisfied (= 79.3 % in total) Complied
96.5% of participants were very satisfied with the conference social event 72.4% very satisfied + 24.1% fairly satisfied (= 96.5 % in total) Complied
100% of participants were satisfied with the organization team support 89.7% very satisfied + 10.3 % fairly satisfied (= 100 % in total) Complied
79.3% of participants agreed that the program was well structured 79.3% in total Complied
100% of participants were satisfied with the conference logistics 62.1 very satisfied + 34.4% fairly satisfied (100% in total) Complied
93.1% of participants were satisfied with the conference catering 62.1 very satisfied + 31% fairly satisfied (93.1% in total) Complied
More than 60 people participate from more than 15 different countries in the region 63 people participate Complied
At least 30 active members were trained on how to contribute to other Wikimedia Projects More than 40 people were trained Complied
At least 20 attendees participated as speakers or workshop trainers and every participant contributed to the diversity of the Conference by sharing their experience. Over 30 attendees participated as speakers Complied

  Next Steps

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

Activities during the conference 2 months after the conference 6 months after the conference
Strategic Discussions:

Were any significant issues your community discussed at the conference?

We had about 30 formal sessions, several issues about the African Wikimedia community were raised and discussed. Some of the issues discussed included:
  • Wikimedia safety and harassment issues
  • Ideas to strengthen local African content
  • Restitution and Return of African Cultural Heritage
  • State of African Wikis
  • New editor retention
  • Wikimedia movement strategy.
  • Closing the Gender Gap across Africa
Capacity Development: Please list capacity building sessions or workshops. We had about 6 Capacity building sessions and at least an average of 15 people participated per training. Although, internet stability was an issue during training. If we are to have the training again, we will ensure that the internet is installed at the training venue, test-run before training Some of these sessions include
  • Retention model (VSDR-d3 v1.0 model) for Volunteer Software Developer
  • Querying Wikidata with SPARQL for Absolute Beginners
  • ISA Tool
  • MediaWiki 101: Getting indoctrinated into MediaWiki development (plus fettle a real MW bug)l
  • Beyond the basics: Intermediate Wikidata tools
Projects or Working Groups:

What are the most important projects that were started or improved during the conference?

African Language Wikipedias Working Group was established to support Africa language Wikipedias.

The group objective includes the following;

  1. Promote African language Wikipedia
  2. Recruitment of volunteer native speakers for African language Wikipedia
  3. Develop strategies to retain and manage existing volunteers
  4. Promote the use of Africa language Wikipedia


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:

  • What worked well at the event?

1. Diversity of participants

WMF staff during one of the session

Wiki Indaba 2019 despite having a reduced number of participants when compares to Wiki Indaba 2018 has the most diverse mix of participants. This year we have participants from at least 23 countries and more female participants which constitutes more than 40% of the total participants. We also have the participation of WMF staff and other mission-aligned organizations. This diversity made the conference more interesting. In 2016 and 2018, Wiki Indaba conference recorded participation from 18 countries with less than 30% female participants. So, in terms of diversity, Wiki Indaba has improved significantly and this is the most diverse Wikimedia Conference since 2014. The diversity of participants is one of the things that worked well at the conference. Although WMF ED was not present, we had the participation of the Foundation's Chief of Operation (COO) and at least 10 WMF Staff members which show that WMF staff has recognized the importance of Wiki Indaba conference and the values of the African Wikimedia Community in the Wikimedia movement.

2. Partnership with external organizations that shares our value

Tour guides in readiness for Wiki Indaba Tour
Representstive of the host receiving a souvenir from Shehu Musa Ya'radua Foundation during a Wiki Indaba Tour

This year we had an incredible conference and a social event as a result of our partnership with organizations that shares our core values. Our partnership with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation was instrumental to the Wiki Indaba Tour. Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) was responsible for the cost of the tour. They also provided two buses to convey conference participants to tourist centers including the Shehu Musa Yar'dua Center. The tour was managed by the organization. This relieved the organizing team and our volunteers the stress of managing a tour and all costs associated with it. The tour made the conference more interesting, memorable and fun. Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation is a federal government Agency and their involvement in this year's conference shows that the government recognized the values of the Wikimedia movement in Nigeria. Thus, this worked so well for the conference.

3. Airport protocol service and police escort

African Studies session - Wiki Indaba 2019

One of the concerns raised during the deliberation on where to host the Wiki Indaba Conference in Nigeria is a security concern. In other to avoid putting conference participants on security risk, we hired airport protocol service with a police escort to convey participants from the airport to the conference venue. This worked well especially for participants whose flight arrived very late (12:30 AM, 1:00 AM). No single case of casualty or security issues was recorded by the organization team. Thus, participants had smooth travel from the airport to their hotel and back to the airport for departure to their respective countries.

4. Outsourcing of Travel booking & Hotels

Wiki Indaba 2019 - the last day 01

Travel booking is an essential operation that requires expertise. Thus, they were contracted to a competent Agency that managed the operation successfully. In collaboration with our communication team, they also manage communications with participants that have issues with the visa process. With our tight budget, the Agency was able to book flights for all conference participants successfully. This wouldn't have been very smooth if the Agency had not been contacted since the organizing team has little or no experience with travel bookings. So, the outsourcing of Travel booking & Hotels worked well for the conference.

5. Collaboration with Wikimedia affiliates in Nigeria

The organizing team collaborated with the three (3) other user groups in Nigeria namely; Yoruba Wikimedians User Group, Igbo Wikimedians User Group and Hausa Wikimedians User Group. These affiliates were very helpful at the conference venue. Some of their members worked closely with the Trust & Safety Team at WMF, management of the Conference Registration Desk, and Conference Help Desk. The Igbo Wikimedians User Group came with many souvenirs, which the group distributed to conference participants. They were supportive and readily available to help handle any task. This collaboration with other Wikimedia affiliates worked well for the conference this year and we recommend such collaboration for Uganda Wikimedia Community who are the host of Wiki Indaba in the year 2020.

6. Program sessions

Alangi Derick during a capacity building session on MediaWiki

As evident in our metrics and feedback from participants, the conference's program sessions worked very well. Before the approved and final official programs were published, we reviewed previous Wiki Indaba conference reports ( particularly the 2016 and 2018 report). We realized that in both past conferences, the programs were very packed and speakers or trainers had to rush through their sessions and presentations to give a chance for other sessions. According to both reports, the program had many activities and speakers did not adapt to the timeline they had. The program committee and the organization team ensured that speakers adapt to the time allocated for their presentation. This worked well for the conference.

  • What did not work so well?

1. Internet connection problems

Good internet connection is an integral part of Wikimedia events including workshops, edit-a-thon, and conferences. During capacity building sessions, it enables conference participants to experiment with what they were thought, work or edit projects directly. In conferences, especially Wikimedia conferences such as Wiki Indaba, participants need good internet connections to make video calls, one of such call is to inform their family about the status of their trip, they also need it to upload and download information or data. The organizing team was well aware of the importance of good internet connection, we made the necessary inquiry for WiFi and the cost implication of having separate wifi (within our budget) at the conference venue since the hotel could not guarantee a good connection at conference halls. Unfortunately, The company could not install the wifi, test-run it and get paid at a later day and our fiscal sponsor insisted on not sending money directly to the organizing team to make the payment.

Cash was brought a day before the conference and the payment was done that evening. The installation was done at the conference on the morning of the conference, so they don't have enough time to test-run the wifi and consequently, we had suboptimal internet connections throughout the conference days. This is regrettable!

2. Nigeria Visa policy

We received several complaints from participants during the visa application and there is at least one instance where the Chair, Olaniyan Olushola had to speak to a consular before a visa was granted. The complaints included not responsiveness to emails, calls, and miscommunication. So, many participants could not get a visa on time. This put our contracted booking agency in a position where they had to make some extremely difficult decisions. Although, our team predicted this occurrence and we tried to meet officials of Nigerian Foreign Affairs ministry at least two months before the conference but a decision about the conference date was not made on time. Thus, our meeting with the official was not possible.

In the future, the Wiki Indaba Conference hosts should involve the relevant government agency in their country during planning for the conference.

3. The challenge of finding the venue that suits the conference

Emna, Wikipedian of the Year 2019 taking dinner at Wiki Indaba 2019

We were faced with the challenge of finding the venue that suits the conference. Twin bedrooms were recommended by the WMF and the Wiki Indaba Steering Committee. A twin bedroom is not popular in Nigeria, so it was difficult to get a hotel that has a twin bedroom. We spent several days persuading the hotel management to get a twin bed for the conference. After much effort with the support of an Agency that helped with negotiation, the management eventually bought more beds, but it was very challenging and stressful. Based on this experience, we will recommend that the budget for accommodation should be prepared based on the host country's culture. Diversity is one of the core values of the Wikimedia movement. What works well in Europe, for example, doesn't necessarily work in Africa.

4. Fiscal sponsor

While having a fiscal sponsor to support a conference such as Wiki Indaba Conference, the roles and expectations need to be clearly defined. The host and fiscal sponsor need to understand these roles including the limitation of the fiscal sponsor and that of the host concerning finances. The Chair of Open West Africa Foundation (our fiscal sponsor) who administered the fund was a member of Wiki Indaba Steering Committee and Scholarship Review Committee. It was sometimes very difficult for the organizing team to identify whether some of his decisions were made in his capacity as a WISCOM member or as a fiscal sponsor.

The idea that a fiscal sponsor must pay cash to vendors for all item is incompatible with good financial management. Based on our own experience, this kind of idea should be strongly discouraged. Some funds may be wired directly to the conference organizer in as much as a receipt will be provided for any payment.

  • What would you do differently next time?

1. Working with attendees paying for themselves or funded by their affiliates

Scholarships are limited and WMF may not be able to fund all applicants. So, we realized that many applicants may want to pay for themselves or get funded by their affiliates. How do we manage this category of participants? Historically, Indaba has been a closed conference and not open to the public but there is a need to determine the status of eligible participants (African Wikimedians) who did not receive funding from WMF. Their status needs to be extensively discussed. Again, the organizing team is also going to face the challenges of managing a large number of participants. Next time, the organizing team should open a broad discussion on the status of this category of participants, so that the decision about their participation is timely determined.

2. Scholarship selection

African Wikimedia Community is increasingly developing and there is a need to have an open and fair selection process. The 2019 Scholarship Review Committee did amazingly well because of its tripartite (WISCOM, Host & Community). Based on our experience and reflections, we think the scholarship committee for Wiki Indaba Conference should follow this approach/model for future Indaba with the support and supervision of a WMF staff.

Financial Report[edit]

The conference was funded through Open Foundation West Africa in the capacity of a fiscal sponsor. The opportunity to support such a major conference for the continent was a priority and we exhibited urgency and support through each phase of execution. The experience to collaborate was intriguing and even though there was a lot of pressure due to timing situations we think it generally played out well.

We tried to keenly adhere to the initial budget yet kept a flexible approach to ensuring adaptability of the situations on the ground. Due to our past experience with organising the conference, we also played an advisory role to ensure practical decision making. We ensured a proper balance in the use of funds, to ensure the majority of expenses reflected towards the project rather than for administrative purposes. About 11% of the total  funds spent were on administrative expenses whereas 89% focused on inputs into the conference.

Lessons Learned[edit]


Timing was a big issue as the decision on hosting delayed and caused delays in the receipt of funding for the project. The last tranche of funding  was so delayed that we had to pre-finance in anticipation of receiving the funds later. Funding should at all times be received at least two months in advance to the start date of execution.

Travel Agency Coordination[edit]

Travel agencies should at all times confirm bookings with participants as well as the funder/host to ensure cohesion on bookings to avoid the risk of having to make changes that can lead to additional costs. The should be transparency in prices to avoid any additional charges not accounted for and fiscal sponsor can make random checks for the booked tickets on the airlines website to confirm the prices quoted.

Hiring Accounting Staff[edit]

The hiring of a staff in charge of accounting played out extremely well in terms of allocation of capacity but the limitation in this negotiation was that the staff was hired for just 4 months (due to the end date of the grant agreement) and any work that came up after that had to be the direct responsibility of the fiscal sponsor. In future organizers must consider having such a person a few more weeks or month after the conference

Clarity on Expenses and Maintaining Budget Lines[edit]

Changes in budget lines and expenditures requested that are not accounted for in initial budgets are often a tricky situation to handle for fiscal sponsors and project owners. This can sometimes create a little bit of friction especially when the fiscal sponsor is also working keenly to stay within budget. In future all changes to initial budget plans should be routed through the grant officer for approval and the role of the fiscal sponsor should be clearly limited to mere cross checking amounts and value for money.

Managing Additional Funds[edit]

The issue of having additional funding is often exciting as it creates an opportunity to do more, however this should not create an appetite to spend out of the scope of the budget. In future a clear use of this funds should be stipulated to ensure usage of funds for its intended purpose.

Expenditure Breakdown[edit]

Grant Received (WMF) 74845.74
Sponsorship (Google) 10000
Total Cash In-Flow 84845.74
Project Expenses
Flights 31212.38
Accommodation 26625
Vat on Accommodation 2662.5
Travel Agent Service Charges 5783.74
Police Service 1500
Bus (conveying participants) 806
Wiki Night Out 1260
Internet (Backup) 1111.11
Visa Fees 344
Printing (Souvenirs, Badges, etc.) 1666.67
Stationery 40.53
Water 13.73
Miscellaneous (Feeding of late participant, Baggage Collection) 1064.58
Administrative Expenses
Courier (Sending Letter to Ministries) 30.81
Postage (Contract to WMF) 24.3
Project Management Fees (LOC) 3678.31
Hired Accounting Staff (OFWA) 1600
Phone Calls (OFWA) 230
Wire transfer charges 1129.5
LOC Travel (Search for Hotel) 246.69
Fiscal Sponsor + LOC Travel (Inspection) 889.01
Fiscal Sponsor Travel (Conference Days) 1266
Transportation to TV & Radio Stations (LOC) 24.65
Catridge/Printing of Receipts and Filling 100
Total Expenditures (Cash outflow) 83309.51
Balance 1536.23
Flight Refunds 2445 2445.00
Balance (After refunds) 3981.23

Funds Remaining[edit]

As portrayed in the income sheet above there is an overall unspent funds of $3,981.23

Remaining funds from this grant have been returned to WMF in the amount of US$3,886.42.


This section records all savings or financial gains made on items that will under normal circumstances be costed.

  • The services of a facilitator was solicited to design the African strategy session prior to the conference. This service would have cost $500 for 2 days however the services was rendered at no cost due to the negotiations of the fiscal sponsor.
  • The fiscal sponsor rendered its services at no extra cost, hence saving a total of $5,090.74 (at 5%. of total grant funds).

Resulting in a total savings of $5,590.74

Anything else[edit]

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

Wikimedia movement is fast-growing in Africa and we believe that the value gained from investing more resources into the conference was significant to the African community and appreciated. We are proud to achieve our ambitious goals. On this note, we want to thank the Wikimedia Foundation, Open West Africa Foundation, NTDC, Plus TV Africa and the African Wikimedia community for their support and contribution to the success of this conference.

We also want to congratulate the Uganda Wikimedia community who will host Wiki Indaba 2020. They are welcome to contact members of the organizing team for Wiki Indaba 2019 if they require any help.