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Grants:PEG/Wikimedia Levant/WikiArabia 2016 Conference/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Project and Event grant approved in FY Pending has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
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WikiArabia Logo

Project status[edit]

Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?
Is your project completed?

Activities and lessons learned[edit]


WikiArabia 2016 was the 2nd yearly conference in the Arab region, where the first was held in 2015 in Tunisia. The conference was held in Amman Jordan on April 24-26, 2016; and on April 28 in Ramallah. The conference was organized and coordinated by the Wikimedia Levant User Group. The conference was a great chance for the Arab wikipedians/wikimedians to gather, share experience and work closely with participants from WMF and experienced participants in certain areas from other chapters and user groups.

Day 0 (April 23, 2016 Social)[edit]

Participants started arriving at the airport, and were greeted there by the travel team. Participants were then transported to the hotel and were greeted by the organizing team. Dinner was served, and participants had a chance to socialize with one another.

Day 1 (April 24, 2016)[edit]

  • Mervat Salman gave the opening speech welcoming the 60 or so participants, followed by an overview of the Wikimedians of the Levant User group by Nidhal Jarrar.
  • Tighe Flanagan gave a speech on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation, and a prerecorded video message by Katherine Maher and Katie Love was shown.
  • Hamed Gamaoun of the Tunisian Wikimedians User Group presented the results of last year's WikiArabia 2015 in Monastir, Tunisia.
  • Jack Rabah of the Wikimedia Foundation and Mossab Banat of the Wikimedians of the Levant then talked about using partnerships to increase Wikimedia's reach in the global south, and showcased Wikipedia Zero.
  • Yassine Tounsi (Wikimedia TN) and Kacie Harold (WMF) talked about requesting grants from the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • Farah Mustaklem facilitated a panel discussion by representatives of the Arab Wikimedia User groups (Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Levant, Iraq, and Morocco).
  • Ginevra Sanvitale of Wikimedia Italia presented about organizational growth, and the management of a Wikimedia chapter.
  • After lunch, breakout sessions were held, with one track focusing on the state of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, and the other on the technical aspects, and the open source movement.
Track 1
  • Attitudes towards different Arabic dialect versions of Wikipedia by Reem al-Kashif (Egyptian Wikimedians)
  • Suggested Tools and Techniques for Beginners by Ibrahim Elaidy (Egyptian Wikimedians)
  • Gaps between Arabic Wikipedia and Other Arabic Projects by Mounir Touzri (Tunisian Wikimedians)
  • Live Data by Wafaa Shohdy
Track 2
  • OTRS by Ziyad Al-Sufyani
  • AutoWiki Browser by Shabib Al-Subay'i
  • Free Software for Free Communities by Nizar Kerkeni (C-Libre, Tunisia)
  • Internet Rights and Wikipedia by Mohammad Tarakiyee (Jordan Open Source Society)
  • Creative Commons by Issa Mahasneh (Jordan Open Source Society)

Day 2 (April 25, 2016)[edit]

  • Day 2 started with one common session by Tighe Flanagan and Kacie Harold from WMF; they discussed SMART Program Planning. This is a beneficial session specially that many of the attendees were from universities, and what was presented would help them plan their initiatives.
  • Amanda Bittaker spent the second hour presenting the Evaluation Tool and Strategies. This was also important for people to learn how to evaluate their initiatives, programs and work.
  • Ravan Al-Taie and Walaa Abdelmonem presented a report about the "Wiki Loves Women" award, which they had launched right after Wikimania 2015 in Mexico City. They presented the results of the first round, and a discussion was open for feedback and ideas for enhancements.
  • Bassim Flaifel and Mervat Salman briefly discussed the importance of featured content (articles and images) and highlighted the related difficulties and challenges.
  • After the first break, Emmanuel Engelhart introduced the Kiwix tool, which is new to many participants, and explained how it surfs on Wikipedia Without Free Internet Access!
  • AS we believe in the importance of boosting the medical content in Arabic, we shed light on the Wiki-medicine initiatives in Saudi Arabia (Musab Ash-Sharif and Ziyad Ar-Rajhi) and Jordan (Bil-Arabi) for about two hours. It's been concluded that we have some promising work being done at universities and awareness about the important role of students have increased rapidly.
  • Wikipedia belongs in education, that's another belief, so we designated the rest of the day for education, started with Dr. Khaled Al-Shehari from Oman, who spoke about "Using Wikipedia in Teaching Translation Between Durham and Muscat Universities". This opened discussions with other participants who teach at universities in Jordan and Egypt. Followed by Tighe Flanagan who delivered a Global Overview of Wikipedia in Education.
  • Then Farah Mustaklem introduced the achievements of the program launched in Birzeit University in Palestine as an example of a unique program, and this was the first time in the Arab countries the education program is launched in the Faculty of science.
  • Finally, Dr. Rami Tarawneh talked about Wikipedia Education Program and other Educational Initiatives

Day 3 (April 26, 2016)[edit]

Day 3 was the workshops day. So the day started with two parallel sessions, Amanda Bittaker and Kacie Harold taught us The ABC-D of Storytelling, most of the attendees were students, and that session isn't only helpful in wikipedia-related work, but also in all life aspects, specially at schools. At the same time, Osama Khaled ran the bot workshop, which was attended by experienced wikipedians who wanted to learn about programming bots.

  • WikiData also got some attention, Helmi Hamdi conducted a short but beneficial workshop about editing wikiData and presented the tools used for that. This session was attended by all, as 90% knew a little about Wikidata.
  • Another session was conducted about wikidata later on that day by Katie Filbert who introduced advanced tools.
  • two technical sessions were conducted by Andre Klapper from WMF who introduced everyone to the Wikimedia Tech. work and presented Phabricator and its uses.
  • Finally, the last lecture was about GLAM, and to engage other people in Glam project, this lecture was conducted in the Jordan Museum, after a tour of the museum. The lecture was given by Emmanuel Englhart.

Day 4 (April 27, 2016 Social )[edit]

After the conclusion of the conference, the Jordan Tourism Board sponsored a trip for the participants to the rose city of Petra.

WikiArabia Tech Meetup, Ramallah (April 30, 2016)[edit]

  • In continuation to the WikiArabia conference, a four hour technical session was held in Ramallah, and attended by about 30 Palestinian enthusiasts, as well as representatives from the Wikimedia Foundation and volunteers from the tech community.

Lessons learned[edit]

What worked well?
  • Open discussions
  • interaction during the sessions, the desire to do more caused some sessions to extend way beyond the designated time
  • Technical sessions were received positively. Many participants were eager to learn about the technical side of Wikimedia projects. The bot workshop was evaluated one of the best sessions the conference included.
  • Although some sessions were replaced at the last moment due to unplanned absence of some speakers, the alternative sessions/speakers were beneficial and went on just well.
What didn't work?
  • The program was too tight, some sessions had to be ended abruptly, some sessions would have benefited from more time allotted to them
  • Weak internet connection affected the workshops.
  • Due to the different interest of attendees, some felt disengaged in some session.
  • Language barrier affected a bit.

What would you do differently if you planned a similar project?
  • With such a number of veteran users and administrators, it is a shame that we were not able to hold prolonged policy sessions, to review and draft policies, prioritize what needs to be worked on, etc.
  • Better time control
  • more hands-on workshops (may be also an editathon), less theoretical sessions
  • Invite more active participants who positively ran programs and initiated unique ideas that can inspire other participants.

Outcomes and impact[edit]


Provide the original project goal here.
  • Gather as many Arab Users/effective people together to discuss the challenges, opportunities of enhancements and new ideas face to face.
  • Develop and strengthen collaboration among Arab user groups, especially that most of them are new. Support common projects and share experiences.
  • Strengthen the relationships and collaboration among the WMF, Wikimedians and Arab wikipedians. It’s been noticed that Arab wikipedians are not strongly engaged with the Wikimedia projects and programs; may be the most noticeable interaction is through the education program, yet it needs more.
  • Provide support for local and regional initiatives that may affect and be affected by Arabic Wikipedia; encourage them to merge their work with Wikipedia and other projects.
  • Sharing past experiences about GLAM, WLM, Wikipedia's education program and other regional activities, in order to expand them into new Middle eastern countries as well as further developing them in the countries where they are already employed.
Did you achieve your project goal? How do you know your goal was achieved? Please answer in 1 - 2 short paragraphs.
  • The goals of the conference were achieved for the most part. ِAs many as 70 participants, many of which are among the most active community members, had the chance to get together to discuss the challenges to the Arabic Wikipedia and its sister projects, and to come up with ideas for improving them.
  • The ArabicWiki community is being better recognized worldwide and within the WMF. Many users now participate in the international events with courage to deliver presentations and communicate with others. Good relations, participation and engagement have been noticed in this regard.

Global Metrics[edit]

Metric Achieved outcome Explanation
1. # of active editors involved 34 Not all of the attendees were editors, but some were active in commons or in other related projects.
2. # of new editors no less than 7, some were old inactive Some of the participants worked on getting new editors like in the medicine faculty in Saudi Arabia for example, but we can't count a specific number. We also don't have metrics on the participants of Ramallah workshop
3. # of individuals involved 70 editors, admins, students, university teachers, technicians, and organizers.
4. # of new images/media added to Wikimedia articles/pages hundreds of images were uploaded in commons related to the conference and related events.
5. # of articles added or improved on Wikimedia projects Due to the updated rules of Wiki Loves Women award, better participation have been achieved. Also, enhancing the medical content have improved, specially that no less than 6 participants where medical students who are active editors at the same time. they participated effectively with the Wikimedicine team to produce the free mobile application which was released in early August.
6. Absolute value of bytes added to or deleted from Wikimedia projects Great achievements in wikidata. with better awareness of what wikidata is used for, editors are taking better care of filling the data in No numbers available
Learning question
Did your work increase the motivation of contributors, and how do you know?
The conference definitely increased the motivation of contributors... Some inactive contributors became active again, some students who were only engaged with their local groups started to engage with the entire community (e.g. Univ. of Jordan students), others started initiatives. articipants are still in contact up to the moment of writing this report on social media. we still discuss improvements and challenges, and refer to many of the discussions that occurred in the conference, such as practicing operating a bot.


Reporting and documentation of expenditures[edit]


Did you send documentation of all expenses paid with grant funds to grants at wikimedia dot org, according to the guidelines here? Answer "Yes" or "No".


Number Item description Unit Quantity Cost per unit JD /USD Total cost USD/JD Notes
1. Travel costs & visas 16,598.10 JOD/ 23,711.58 USD
1.1 Flights booked through travel agent 14,196 JOD/ 20,280 USD Includes 1,010 JOD / 1442.86 USD in non-refunded cancelled flights
1.2 Reimbursement for travel not booked through agent 1,826.10 JOD / 2,608.72 USD Some participants had to purchase their own tickets and get reimbursed, or traveled by land
1.3 Visas 576 JOD / 822.86 USD Includes correspondence with embassies and foreign ministries
2. Accommodation 4,785 JOD/ 6,835.71 USD
2.1 Hotel Accommodation 4,785 JOD/ 6,835.71 USD Total cost 7,177.50 JOD / 10,253.57 USD , remainder paid by sponsor
3. Venue and meals 5,479 JOD/ 7,827.14 USD
3.1 Conference halls + hotel meals 3,890 JOD/ 5,557.14 USD Total cost 5,835 JOD / 8,335.71 USD, remainder paid by sponsor
3.2 Meals outside the hotel 274 JOD / 391.43 USD
3.3 Photography & Videography
hard drive
per day
per unit
100 JOD
100 USD
370 JOD/ 528.57 USD
3.4 Museum Excursions 945 JOD / 1350 USD Subsidized rates for Wasfi Al-Tal Museum and Jordan Museum (500 USD and 850 USD respectively)
4. Printed materials 4,505 JOD/ 6,435.73 USD
4.1 Printed Materials 4,505 JOD/ 6,435.73 USD Includes cost of blank paper, pens, folios, name badges, hoodies, banners, and printing costs
5. Additional expenses 8,351.85 JOD/ 11,931.21 USD
5.1 Insurance per person 35 $25 612.50 JOD/ 875 USD
5.2 Hotel incidentals 39.35 JOD / 56.21 USD
5.3 TAX 7,700 JOD / 11,000 USD
TOTAL 39,718.95 JOD/ 56,741.37 USD

Remaining funds[edit]

Are there any grant funds remaining? 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.)
If funds are remaining they must be returned to WMF, reallocated to mission-aligned activities, or applied to another approved grant.