Grants:PEG/Yorg/Wiki Loves Africa 2017/Nov report

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Wiki Loves Africa 2017 Mid Term Report

Project status[edit]

Are things proceeding along schedule ?


Is your project completed?


Activities and lessons learned[edit]

The theme and first results[edit]

The competition was launched on Oct 1, to last till Nov 30th.

The theme this year is People at Work. It actually proves to be an awesome theme. At half way through the contest and we had already collected more images than previous years (we are now over the 10,000 mark!). Each year, the overall quality has also improved and this year the submissions are clearly of far higher quality than last year (in terms of resolution, set-up, interest) even though we still have a fair load of pictures obviously made with low quality phones or saved at very low resolution. Overall, we are proud of the batch of entries !

  • The photographs entered to the competition can be viewed here: c:Category:Images from Wiki Loves Africa 2017 (on 21st November 10,374 pictures contributed by 1933 people so far - this has more than doubled the amount of people usually contributing to the event).
  • An on-going selection of good images is categorized here : c:Category:Images from Wiki Loves Africa 2017 Selection (those are not necessarily great quality, but images that attracted our attention, were intriguing, and could be used on the social media during the on-going campaign)

Photo essays[edit]

This year, we also launched the concept of photo-essays where participants are invited to provide collections of photos that told a story, or sequence of events. See here : c:Commons:Wiki Loves Africa 2017/photo essay.
Originally, this was meant to be mostly advertised via the UserGroups to professional photographers and photographic associations. Practically though ... it seems that several people have been inspired by the concept. Whilst the photo essay prizes only apply to two sub categories ("women at work" and "rare and endangered crafts and skills"), those entries that can be identified as photo-essays range across several themes. Once identified, the photos have been and will be collected together on a separate page and displayed there with some comments. This is also a good opportunity to reach out to participants, to show them what we did with their pictures (example : c:Commons:Wiki Loves Africa 2017/photo essay/Shariffa a woman from Mafia Island)

Local Teams[edit]

To be part of the contest the volunteer groups in each country submitted proposals for their involvement, either directly to the Wikimedia Foundation Rapid Grants, or to the Wiki Loves Africa team.

Rapid Grant Teams[edit]

These teams submitted separate applications for Rapid Grants via the WMF. We are particularly pleased that the teams are excited to be part of the project under this more self-determining experience. We are also delighted that the team in Mali has joined. This is particularly exciting as Mali has not been featured previously.

The teams that asked for funding from the Wikimedia Foundation this year are Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Mali, and Tunisia. In addition to owing some money left over from last year, Egypt also submitted a funding request to the Rapid Grants team. The amounts granted to these teams by the Rapid Grant committee totaled USD113,420.50. (The amount for Algeria was divided between WLM and WLA, and only half the amount for this grant has been calculated as a consequence).

We were very heartened to see that most of the UGs applications were being led by other members of the Usergroup teams and not the people that have run Wiki Loves Africa activities in previous years. This is seen as a vital growth point for the teams as it has allowed for important skills transfer to happen and for wider ownership of the process among the groups. We were also very excited to see a new team from Mali successfully applying for the money from the WMF. Their involvement is off the back of the WikiChallenge African Schools that is currently taking part in four countries in Africa.

We would like it noted that many UG made their funding requests a bit late and that due to staffing issues, the Wikimedia Foundation had not been able to deal with the request within 2 weeks. In at least one case (Nigeria), the money that was approved in early October by WMF had still not be received by the 8th of November. This impaired the participation of the UG NG to the contest (which was very disheartening).

We have asked the teams to say a little bit about what they are doing as a courtesy to the project, however (of course), they will be reporting directly back to the WMF Rapid Grants team.

Local seeded teams[edit]

Part of the agreement with the WMF was that the continental teams continue to support those smaller teams through the project grant. We originally proposed direct funding to 5 countries : Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's activities unfortunately could not be implemented (the budget has not been spent).

Below are reports from each of the local teams (we asked them to write a small mid-report here. Any report missing is due to the team not answering our request)


Main team

Focus as a team

  • Introducing new people to the competition especially photographers
  • Spreading information about the competition via our groups of photographers that we worked with last year in WLA and other competitions, use of social media and introducing WLA as we attend other events.
  • Uploading photos as much as we can.

Events you held
Tanzania has conducted two events,

  1. Introduction to Wiki Loves Africa 2017, theme, prizes and how to upload photos, where uploading began on our first event.
  2. Upload event, pretty informal, we had some of the photographers over breakfast and had a Skype call with the ones out of Dar es Salaam to help them upload.

Where these happened and who (and how many) were involved

  1. Introduction of Wiki Loves Africa 2017| 11 photographers attended
  2. Upload breakfast event | 5 photographers attended

What you are still going to do

  1. We shall have a Grand Finale Event on the 30th of November
  2. We shall have one more Skype meeting with photographers who are out of Dar es Salaam.

The link to your team / event photos and event pages
We have everything on our social media pages as follows:


Main team

Focus as a team

  • Introducing new people to the competition especially photographers
  • Spreading information about the competition via social media and public spaces using fliers and posters
  • Getting people familiar with editing Wikipedia via adding photos to it

Events you held
So far we have had 2 events;

  1. Introduction of Wiki Loves Africa to Universal Institute of Graphics & Technology 
  2. Wiki Loves Africa Launch and Upload Event

Where these happened and who (and how many) were involved

  1. Introduction of Wiki Loves Africa to Universal Institute of Graphics & Technology on the 20th October | We had 7 people that attended
  2. Wiki Loves Africa Launch and Upload Event that took place on the 28th October at the Goethe-Zentrum | We had 10 people that attended

What you are still going to do

  1. We are planning for a Grand Finale Event at the end of this month November
  2. Also, planning to involve Students from Makerere University from the faculty of Art specifically those offering Photography as a Course Unit

The link to your team / event photos and event pages
We have every thing on our social media pages as follows:


Communications and driving public participation[edit]

The contest was communicated through:

  • a Facebook account: 6,040 likes (it was 4,612 at the end of previous WLA campaign)
  • a Twitter account: 840 tweets (699 at the end of last year), 851 followers (666 at the end of last year)
  • new: an Instagram account: 17 posts, 115 followers (this is very new and still has to get into its stride)
  • Pages on Wikimedia Commons : Wiki Loves Africa 2017
  • Pages on Meta : Wiki Loves Africa
  • A site notice was displayed on top of pages of all Wikimedia projects for all African countries during the two months of the competition (with the help of Romaine as previous years, and re-cycling the banners crafted last year).

During the contest, other venues for communication were also used, including:

The WikiAfrica newsletter feature story sent to 3153 English and 773 French members on the database. WikiAfrica newsletter can be read [in English here] and in French here. Some of the continental media coverage can be found here: [1]

Social media campaign/s:[edit]

This year there has been specific focus on getting the message across to many different spaces via a deliberate and concerted social media campaign - especially accompanied by the new video. The message has been very simple reiterations of the main points of the contest ... what it is, how you can enter, what you can win, what other people are doing. These posts have been boosted, along with reposting and retweeting the posts from the active WLA teams. The main focus has been about relaying the nuts and bolts of the competition with gorgeous photographs ... and this has had a huge impact in spreading the word.

Unesco partnership for communications

Through the intervention of User:John_Cummings, UNESCO's Unite4Heritage campaign promoted again Wiki Loves Africa 2017. This was because it was deemed that the Wiki Loves Africa competition supports the goals of Unite4Heritage through:

  • encouraging people to explore intangible heritage and share their images online,
  • supporting the creation of very high quality open access photographs that are free for everyone to reuse,
  • and spreading the Unite4Heritage message to a larger audience through Wikimedia.

View the tweet here.

Notes Our press releases were actually not as effective as previous years but we have had some press. Most importantly, the social media channels exploded. The #wikilovesafrica ([2]) on twitter is very active (with many mentions not coming from the UserGroups nor from us) and the Facebook page is receiving many comments and private requests. The amount of time spent managing the social media channel this year has greatly increased due to this increased interest. The interest is palpable and this is very pleasant.

Following the interest on Facebook, several people have expressed the interest of being organizers themselves (e.g. Swaziland, South Africa).

We succeeded to get back access to the website very recently. A basic website has been restored.

Communications material and swag

See more material (all material available in a dropbox).

The marketing material has been created and disseminated as usual (to all interested groups) in due time.

The general leaflet on Wiki Loves Africa has not been finalized yet. We figured out that we would rather wait the end of the contest to finish it, making it possible to report WLA history over 4 years rather than only 3.

The Wiki Loves Africa launch video

Launch video

This year, we created a video for the launch - to create some excitement and to get the message across in a quick and engaging style that summed up the kinds of images we want. It was displayed on Facebook and twitter and is also hosted on Youtube (900 views) so far. We had lots of fun doing it :) and of course, so many amazing images to choose from!!

The UserGroup Uganda also made a teaser video, available here.

Facebook group
In the previous years, we tried communication and discussions on the wiki and on the mailing list. This year, we decided to do it differently and created a closed Wiki Loves Africa group on Facebook. There are 127 people members of this group. As much as possible, we tried to keep it only with active wikipedians, to use it strictly for organizers discussions. Some random visitors probably got in by mistake (negative : we get a lot of request to get in by visitors who were interested in the contest, not organising events).

Lessons learned[edit]

What works well?
  • Social media communication : Most teams now are well installed on social medias, with significant activity, audience and editorial activity, making social media powerful means to relay the information toward already sensitized people. Particularly successful this year !
  • Facebook WLA group : private group for the organizers (and interested wikimedians). It is making things way more smooth
  • Release of funds : this was done in a timely manner for our org.
  • Landing page : the main page of the contest and the landing page for uploads were two different pages last year. This year, we made things simpler (one less click...) in uniting the two pages. We also reworked the design and information on the page so that the display on cellphones be the best possible.
  • Site notices/banner : We recycled the banners made by Seddon last year (this improved the effectiveness of the banner which brought good results and a lesser reader fatigue); in addition, the banners have been up across Africa for the entire period of the contest. This has had a huge impact.
  • Team input : thanks to the set up of the Wiki Loves Africa Facebook group, there was more discussion and easier communication between all organizers this year.
  • Participation : africans seem to love this year theme. Truly.
  • Mali : got a new seed in Mali with Nana !
What doesn't work so well?
  • Engaging Zimbabwe : no better than last year ... but those guys are busy throwing up a revolution ! (i.e they might be justifiably distracted ;-))
  • Translation (of main page or subpages) : this was an issue previous years. So this year... we more or less gave up trying to translate. Typical example is that we have not succeeded to get a translator-admin on commons to simply tag our pages for the translation system to work (update: finally got the marking on Nov 16!) . At some point... it is no use fighting when there is so much resistance. So the main page is translated in 3 languages. The other pages are in English. Sad but no one actually complained. To balance that, we try to really communicate on the other channels in two langages (Twitter, Facebook etc.)
  • Local country funding : at least Nigeria team did not get the funding from WMF until well into November.

Reporting and documentation of expenditures[edit]

No report provided yet, but we are on track with the original plan.

The two only elements to outline are

  • Zimbabwe did not join so budget not used
  • Euro/dollar changed 20% between the moment the budget was established and the moment the money was received, creating a budget hole (which we will fill with the Zimbabwe, the very limited contingency etc. and crossing fingers that the rates do not continue going into the same direction)