Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Alliances Fund/Bollum Language Revitalization Project

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statusNot funded
Bollum Language Revitalization Project
We will travel to Samu, produce and print the Bollum learning book, and hold trainings and informational workshops with community members and in 10 schools. We expect to see Bollum and the learning of Bollum to once again become an essential and common practice in Samu Chiefdom. We expect the rising generation of children in the area to achieve speaking proficiency in Bollum and to be made aware of the importance and necessity of using Bollum and teaching Bollum to their children going forward.
start date2024-01-01
end date2027-12-31
budget (local currency)53000 USD
budget (USD)53000 USD
grant typeMission-aligned organization
organization typeNon profit organisation
funding regionunknown region
decision fiscal year2022-23
funding program roundundefined round
applicant(s)• N/A
organization (if applicable)• Society for Indigenous Languages, Communities, and Cultures of Sierra Leone

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Applicant information[edit]

A. Organization type

Mission-aligned organization

B. Organization name

Society for Indigenous Languages, Communities, and Cultures of Sierra Leone

E. Do you have an account on a Wikimedia project?


E1. Please provide the main Wikimedia Username (required) and Usernames of people related to this proposal.


G. Have you received grants from the Wikimedia Foundation before?

Did not apply previously

H. Have you received grants from any non-wiki organization before?

H1. Which organization(s) did you receive grants from?
H2. Please state the size of these grants from the following options.
H3. What type of organization (s) did you receive grants from?
H4. What percentage of your program budget do other funders contribute to?

1. Do you have a fiscal sponsor?


1a. Fiscal organization name.


2. Are you legally registered?


3. What type of organization are you?

Non profit organisation

4. What is your organization or group's mission and how does it align with the Wikimedia movement?

SILCC assists the people of Sierra Leone through holistic education, cultural empowerment, and programs that promote cultural and linguistic preservation, community and environmental rights, and research. SILCC prioritizes direct, face-to-face, and grassroots engagement with communities. We align with Wikimedia's movement because language education is important to the preservation of knowledge and culture. We also aim to empower underrepresented communities.

5. If you would like, please share any websites or social media accounts that your group or organization has. (optional)

Grant proposal[edit]

6. Please state the title of your proposal.

Bollum Language Revitalization Project

9. Where will this proposal be implemented?

Sierra Leone

10. Indicate if it is a local, international, or regional proposal and if it involves several countries?


10a. If you have answered international, please write the country names and any other information that is useful for understanding your proposal.

Samu is a remote chiefdom in Northern Sierra Leone. This is where the indigenous language Bollum was spoken but is now disappearing from use, and this is the area that our project will be implemented with Bollum community support.

10b. Are there any specific sub-regions or areas where your proposal will be implemented?


11. What is the challenge or problem you are addressing and why is this important?

According to UNESCO, the Bollum language is severely endangered. Because Samu, where Bollum is spoken, is a remote chiefdom, the area is only accessible by a three- hour motorcycle ride on dirt roads. Supplies and resources are extremely limited and current efforts to preserve the endangered language are virtually non-existent. We will address the disappearance of Bollum by intervening in multiple areas of the community. We have an opportunity to work with community stakeholders, village elders, and local schools to launch multiple types of interventions to preserve the language. Community members and community leadership are extremely supportive and eager to help us do the work to preserve and revitalize Bollum.

12. What is the main objective of your proposal? Please state why you think partnering with Wikimedia Movement helps to achieve this objective?

We will travel to Samu, produce and print the Bollum learning book, and hold trainings and informational workshops with community members and in 10 schools. We expect to see Bollum and the learning of Bollum to once again become an essential and common practice in Samu Chiefdom. We expect the rising generation of children in the area to achieve speaking proficiency in Bollum and to be made aware of the importance and necessity of using Bollum and teaching Bollum to their children going forward.

13. Describe your main strategies to achieve this objective?

Our deliverables include:

The production of an accessible and free of cost Bollum language learning book to be used in local schools and in community workshops. A series of meetings held with community stakeholders and village elders to garner feedback and ideas on how best to preserve the language. The training of at least 15 to 20 teachers and community members on the best techniques and practices for teaching Bollum. Lastly, we seek to achieve basic speaking proficiency in Bollum of at least 300 children/adult women.

These deliverables will be possible due to strategies such as being community led, utilizing community elders as teachers, garnering the support of the chief, utilizing resources on Bollum by Dr. Childs, creating and printing free learning books, and providing free education to remove barriers. We will also include women in our planning and they will be key to helping children learn.

14. Are you running any in-person events or activities?


15. Please state if your proposal aims to work to bridge any of the identified content knowledge gaps?

Content Gender gap, Language, Important Topics (topics considered to be of impact or important in the specific context), Cultural background, ethnicity, religion, racial, Socioeconomic Status, Age (regency) , Geography

16. Please state if your proposal includes any of these areas or thematic focus.

Education, Advocacy, Culture, heritage or GLAM , Diversity

17. Will your work focus on involving participants from any underrepresented communities? Select all categories that apply.

Gender Identity, Geographic , Ethnic/racial/religious or cultural background, Linguistic / Language, Socioeconomic status, Age

18. Please tell us more about your target participants.

Our target participants will include Bollum community members who are in many respects cut off from support due to the remote nature of their chiefdom. By reintroducing the Bollum language, we hope to work along side community members and the local Chief to revitalize the language and culture. Our target participants include school age children and adult women who may regularly be cutoff from such learning. We believe educating adults with a focus on women will assist in children learning the language as women are the main caretakers in Sierra Leone.

19. Do you have plans to work with other Wikimedia communities, groups or affiliates in your country, or in other countries, to implement this proposal?


19a. If yes, please tell us about these connections online and offline and how you have let Wikimedia communities know about this proposal.


19b. If no, please tell us the reasons why it has not been possible to make these connections.

We are a fairly new organization and are still working to build connections. We would gladly work with other Wikimedia communities, groups or affiliates if we find others that share our vision/mission.

20. Will you be working with other external non-Wikimedian partners to implement this proposal?


20a. If yes, please describe these partnerships.


20a. If yes, indicate sharing of resources from these partners (in kind support, grants, donations, payments).


21. Please tell us how your organization is structured.

SILCC is a grassroots organization with no hierarchy in authority. Members include Project Coordinator and community member, Gibrilla Kamara; Grant/Communications Specialist Jessica McDermott; Linguist, Dr. Brian McDermott; Project Coordinator and Sociologist, Dr. Joshua McDermott; Krio Translator/Linguist Kristy Peltz. Samu's Chief is a supporter of the project and he already provided us with an office space in the area. Ten selected local elders in the community who still speak the language will be the teachers of Bollum in the 10 project schools, making this a community ran and supported project. Workshops will be coordinated by Gibrilla and led again by elders who speak Bollum.

22. Do you have the team that is needed to implement this proposal?

Joshua and Gibrilla conducted preliminary research in the Samu Chiefdom over the month of August, meeting with local leaders, elders, and school children/teachers. Brian has been conducting research on Dr. Childs, a scholar who studied Bollum, and he will also assist with creating the language curriculum with the local community as he is a linguist. Jessica, with Gibrilla's support, will be focused on grant requirements and logging expenses. Kristy will be available for translation needs and support. The ten selected elders will be trained and deliver the Bollum lessons. Gibrilla will act as the main project coodrinator and work with the elders and Brian to create the Bollum teaching book and plan community workshops and trainings for the elders.

23. Please state if your organization or group has a Strategic Plan that can help us further understand your proposal. You can also upload it here.  


Learning, Sharing, and Evaluation[edit]

24. What do you hope to learn from this proposal?

We would like to learn more about the implementation challenges of working in such a remote region of Sierra Leone. We would like to see how receptive learners are to the language depending on age/gender. We are curious to see if the reintroduction of teaching Bollum in the ten Chiefdom schools has any effects on other local areas to implement similar programs to save other indigenous languages. We want to learn how best to support other communities efforts to promote their culture and languages.

Our goal is to achieve basic speaking proficiency in Bollum of at least 300 children/adult women.

Core Metrics[edit]

25. Enter a description of the metric and a number in the target field. If the metric does not apply to you, enter N/A for not applicable.

Core Metrics Summary
Core metrics Description Target
Number of participants Our target participants are children in the Moribaya Section of the Samu Chiefdom, the home of the last remaining Bullom speakers. Our metric will include increasing the proficiency of our participants in speaking and reading Bullom and their ability to pass basic proficiency tests in the language via their primary schools. 300
Number of editors We will have five primary editors who will be responsible for documenting and recording our project, the officers from SILCC. 5
Number of organizers We will have two coordinators, five trainers who will teach teachers best practices for teaching the language and help to write and design the language curriculum and the bullom language book, and aim to teach ten teachers to teach students in the local primary schools. 17
Number of new content contributions per Wikimedia project
Wikimedia Project Description Target
Wikimedia Commons We will upload documentation and videos of speakers and knowledge holders of Bullom and Bullom culture 100

25a. If for some reason your proposal will not measure these core metrics please provide an explanation. (optional)


26. What other information will you be collecting to learn about the impact of your work? (optional)

We will be collecting information from local schools on the progress and test scores of students in their language proficiency.

27. What tools would you use to measure each metric selected?

Number of activities developed i.e. the number of teachers we have trained and who have implemented our language curriculum into the classroom

28. How do you hope to share these results so that others can learn from them?

Create a video of our experience, Share results on social media, Share results with our communities, I would like to receive support from the Foundation to discover how I can share my learning

Financial Proposal[edit]

29. What is the amount you are requesting from WMF? Please provide this amount in your local currency.

53000 USD

30. What is this amount in US Currency (to the best of your knowledge)?

53000 USD

31. & 32. Please provide a budget for the amount of funding requested.

33. What do you do to make sure there is a good management of funds?

We have a system of audits and multiple organizational guides in place to ensure good management of funds. Namely, we have a bank account which provides real time updates to all officers of SILCC whenever money is deposited or withdrawn. All usage of funds requires a receipt and unanimous agreement among SILCC officers that the usage is appropriate.

34. How will you contribute towards creating a supportive environment for participants using the UCOC and Friendly Space Policy?

We believe that creating an accessible, inclusive, and democratic space for our work is imperative to our success in reviving the Bullom language. This means that no one will be denied participation to our program or to our database because of their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, etc.

35. Please use this optional space to upload any documents that you feel are important for further understanding your proposal.

Other public document(s):

Final message[edit]

By submitting your proposal/funding request you agree that you are in agreement with the Application Privacy Statement, WMF Friendly Space Policy and the Universal Code of Conduct.

36. We/I have read the Application Privacy Statement, WMF Friendly Space Policy and Universal Code of Conduct.