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Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Alliances Fund/Promoting Open Knowledge practices in African Libraries through WikiData/Final Report

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Final Learning Report

Report Status: Accepted

Due date: 2023-11-30T00:00:00Z

Funding program: Wikimedia Alliances Fund

Report type: Final

Application Midpoint Learning Report

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General information


This form is for organizations, groups, or individuals receiving Wikimedia Community Funds or Wikimedia Alliances Funds to report on their final results.

  • Name of Organization: African Library and Information Associations and Institutions
  • Title of Proposal: Promoting Open Knowledge practices in African Libraries through WikiData
  • Amount awarded: 72030 USD, 450600 GHS
  • Amount spent: 754411 GHS

Part 1 Understanding your work


1. Briefly describe how your proposed activities and strategies were implemented.

Consultations took place widely across the Wikimedia movement to pinpoint veritable avenues for achieving the project's objectives of training librarians and allied professionals on how to open up and link knowledge on Wikidata using the collections and resources in their institutions. This was also meant to create more visibility for the library and archives collections as well as promote the usability by all of these information resources. A team of four Wikimedians was contracted to develop and design a customized bilingual (English and French)course for African librarians and other professionals in the African Library and information science sector. The content which is in 5 modules was localized to aid understanding. The course was widely communicated.The course delivery and related communication was done through multiple channels - learner to content, facilitator to learner and learner to learner and all were done with a view of ensuring accessibility not just on laptops but also on mobile devices. Recorded live sessions were made available for those who had internet challenges. The Learning circle model was deployed to assist participants deepen their learning experiences through engaging with one another .

2. Were there any strategies or approaches that you felt were effective in achieving your goals?

Seeking to understand how to effectively achieve the objectives of the project by consulting widely in the Wikimedia movement and WMF assisted us immensely. We were able to tap into ideas and strategies from those who know better and that gave us clear directions on how to proceed. The consultations enabled us to choose a team of 4 African Wikimedians from 4 different countries for content development instead of a person. This led to the creation of content that had local contexts for African library and information sector as well as address diversities of language and culture even within Africa. Furthermore, during those consultations, we were advised to consider the Learning circle model and have small groups where the participants can dissect and digest the learning materials as Wikidata is more technical when compared to Wikipedia. The approach gave participants opportunities to ask questions and raise issues on points where they found it difficult to understand. They sought to find answers to among themselves and this appeared to enhance learning.

3. Would you say that your project had any innovations? Are there things that you did very differently than you have seen them done by others?

Seeking help from within the Wikimedia movement on how to approach and successfully execute an already approved project was a novel approach that assisted us to tap fully into residual and tacit knowledge within the movement. It opened our eyes to possibilities and helped us to be flexible in executing the project for maximum impact. This approach also made room for questions to be framed from our perspectives, asked, reframed according to the perspectives of the people consulted and then probable answers received. Also, while the use of office hours is the norm within the Wikimedia movement, the use of Learning circles for small groups or large groups training may be an innovation that needs to be studied more as it encouraged peer to peer learning and made participants be more engaging with the learning resources and their facilitators.

4. Please describe how different communities participated and/or were informed about your work.

AfLIA has extensive reach, and ability to mobilize participation from the African Library and information science sector and this played out in recruiting participants for the project. AfLIA's traditional communication channels were used to disseminate information about the project right from the time the grant was received to when the call for registration opened - https://web.aflia.net/aflia-receives-a-grant-for-promoting-open-knowledge-practices-in-african-libraries-through-wikidata/

This enabled the African Library and information sector to be aware of the project and to jump in when the doors opened for participation.

The project drew English speaking participants from Botswana, (Northern) Cameroon, Egypt, The Gambia, Ghana, Germany, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. There were French speaking participants from  Benin, (Southern) Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote D'Ivoire, Morocco, Senegal, and Togo.

The communications channels created for the African Librarians Week on WhatsApp andTelegram were deployed in disseminating information about the project and the course. Communications support was also received from the User Groups in Uganda and DR Congo who spread the news about the project within their communities.

5. Documentation of your impact. Please use the two spaces below to share files and links that help tell your story and impact. This can be documentation that shows your results through testimonies, videos, sound files, images (photos and infographics, etc.) social media posts, dashboards, etc.

  • Upload Documents and Files
  • Here is an additional field to type in URLs.
1. The abridged course structure and recordings associated with the live sessions are available on the program’s dedicated meta page : https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Aflia_Wikidata_Project_Cohort_2/Course_Structure
2. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Aflia_Wikidata_Project/Course
3. https://outreachdashboard.wmflabs.org/courses/African_Libraries_and_Information_Associations_and_Institutions/Formation_Wikidata_Cohorte_2_par_Aflia_(Ao%C3%BBt_2023)
4. https://outreachdashboard.wmflabs.org/courses/African_Libraries_and_Information_Associations_and_Institutions/AfLIA_Wikidata_Project_-_French/

6. To what extent do you agree with the following statements regarding the work carried out with the support of this Fund? You can choose “not applicable” if your work does not relate to these goals.

Our efforts during the Fund period have helped to...
A. Bring in participants from underrepresented groups Agree
B. Create a more inclusive and connected culture in our community Agree
C. Develop content about underrepresented topics/groups Strongly agree
D. Develop content from underrepresented perspectives Strongly agree
E. Encourage the retention of editors Neither agree nor disagree
F. Encourage the retention of organizers Neither agree nor disagree
G. Increased participants' feelings of belonging and connection to the movement. Agree

7. Is there anything else you would like to share about how your efforts helped to bring in participants and/or build out content, particularly for underrepresented groups?

African libraries, archives and museums used the opportunity offered by the training to begin to understand the potentials of open knowledge practices and linked data. They have actually started to include their hitherto 'unseen' collections on Wikidata. These are still early days as we see the culture of doing that take firm roots within the African library and information science sector.

Part 2: Your main learning


8. In your application, you outlined your learning priorities. What did you learn about these areas during this period?

The monitoring, evaluation and learning activities started with gathering baseline data, monitoring the live sessions and the dashboards, engaging with the participants in their WhatsApp groups and concluded with the end survey. The MEL activities enabled us to see how opening up knowledge for the common good can take root deeply among the academia and researchers in Africa through libraries and allied institutions who already provide information services to their user communities. The monitoring confirmed our learning from the first project about participation in online courses.That led us to admit 574 participants though we had a target of training only 200 people. Internet challenges and family and work pressures led to the inability to complete the course or loss of interest.

9. Did anything unexpected or surprising happen when implementing your activities?

There was some push back from participants when it came to creating scholarly profiles through Scholia. This was rather surprising as that is similar to what they do as they assist academics and researches to have profiles on Google Scholar, Academia and ResearchGate among others. They did not imagine that such 'academic' functions are available on Wikidata!

10. How do you hope to use this learning? For instance, do you have any new priorities, ideas for activities, or goals for the future?

The project gave us insights on how Wikimedia tools and projects can be integrated into daily routines in the African library and information science sector. This is an area AfLIA would want to intensively explore as we believe it will lead to editor and organizer retention within the aforementioned sector and grow the Wikimedia movement in Africa. Also, it would probably lead to more sources for African wikimedians that they can use for citations as the collections in the sectors are made more visible and accessible. Furthermore, AfLIA would want to see the creation of external identifiers for legal deposit collections in African National libraries that could be linked to Wikidata. This could answer our questions on why authority control templates on articles or items about Africa only link such to the databases of libraries outside of the continent. Importantly, moving along these directions will firmly establish Wikidata as a tool that is compulsory for the academia and researchers to interact with either as editors or as users.

11. If you were sitting with a friend to tell them one thing about your work during this fund, what would it be (think of inspiring or fascinating moments, tough challenges, interesting anecdotes, or anything that feels important to you)?

Professionals in the library and information science sector are mostly set in the way they carry out their official duties as these routines have become the standardized ways of classifying and cataloguing information resources and items. Teaching them new routines is challenging when one considers their age range. Interestingly, once they grasp the new routines, they have the power to institute changes of routines within their libraries and most importantly they can influence policies on open knowledge practices within their wider institutions and communities. This can be viewed as being critical to the Wikimedia movement in Africa that is mostly peopled by the younger generation who are many in number and very enthusiastic but may not have the reach and influence to drive policy changes

12. Please share resources that would be useful to share with other Wikimedia organizations so that they can learn from, adapt or build upon your work. For instance, guides, training material, presentations, work processes, or any other material the team has created to document and transfer knowledge about your work and can be useful for others. Please share any specific resources that you are creating, adapting/contextualizing in ways that are unique to your context (i.e. training material).

  • Upload Documents and Files
  • Here is an additional field to type in URLs.
1. FRENCH Wikidata training materials - https://web.aflia.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/AfLIA-Wikidata-Online-Course-FR.zip
2. ENGLISH Wikidata training materials- https://web.aflia.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/AfLIA-Wikidata-Online-Course-ENGL.zip
3. Cohort 2 graduation recording - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yqm0J1UrULQ
4. Cohort 2 inauguration recording - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDUvBuJ_NJ0
5. Cohort 1 graduation recording - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2Vby3NwucY

Part 3: Metrics


13a. Open and additional metrics data

Open Metrics
Open Metrics Description Target Results Comments Methodology
Additional Metrics
Additional Metrics Description Target Results Comments Methodology
Number of editors that continue to participate/retained after activities N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Number of organizers that continue to participate/retained after activities N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Number of strategic partnerships that contribute to longer term growth, diversity and sustainability N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Feedback from participants on effective strategies for attracting and retaining contributors N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Diversity of participants brought in by grantees N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Number of people reached through social media publications N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Number of activities developed N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Number of volunteer hours N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

13b. Additional core metrics data.

Core Metrics Summary
Core metrics Description Target Results Comments Methodology
Number of participants The project will train at least 200 African library and information professionals. The participants will be from at least 20 African countries. We project that a number of these participants will be returning participants who primarily participated in the Wikipedia in African Libraries project (WikiAfLibs) project. These cohorts have demonstrated significant interest in expanding knowledge and deepening understanding of Wikimedia projects for the purposes of career development and effective library service delivery to their user communities (patrons). The returning participants may not be necessarily new to participating in Wikimedia events however, for most of them, this will be the first time they will be taken through a coordinated in-depth training on Wikidata, as a resource, its applicability and relevance to librarians or libraries in Africa. The project will encourage and ensure significant participation by females. By estimation, we are targeting a 40-60% male-female gender distribution of the participants.

Returning participants: 70-100 participants New participants: 70-100 participants Female participants - About 120 Male participants - About 80

200 392 English Cohort 1: 206 participants

English Cohort 2: 82 participants French Cohort 1: 25 participants French Cohort 2: 41 participants Pre-conference training: 38 participants The majority of participants were employed (87.3%), with 8% being students. Among them, 74.8% were librarians or library staff, primarily from academic institutions, while

6.7% were lecturers or educators, and an additional 6.7% were archivists. Another 11.8%

represented diverse professions such as researchers, ICT managers, data specialists, and lawyers.

Baseline survey and end of course evaluation were used to collect the above data. Also, the dashboards gave the actual figures of the participants.
Number of editors The project expects to produce at least 200 editors who will create and improve contents on Wikidata. The editors will be from about 20 African countries. Following the findings and learnings from the Wikipedia in African Libraries (WikiAfLIbs) project, we project that a good number of people who participated will constitute the bulk of returning editors. It is however important to highlight that even though the returning editors may not be necessarily new to contributing on Wikimedia projects, for most of them, this will be the first time they will be taken through a coordinated in-depth training on Wikidata, as a resource, its applicability and relevance to librarians or libraries in Africa. Further, the majority of participants will, for the first time, gain the knowledge and skills to specifically contribute to Wikidata through this project. The project is also targeting a 40-60% male-female gender distribution of the number of editors to be developed.

Returning editors on Wikidata: 50-100 editors New editors on Wikidata: 100 - 150 editors Female editors - About 120 Male editors - About 80

200 392 The Library and information science field in Africa is mostly dominated by females. This largely played out in the project.

Also, the course transformed library and information science professionals with little or no prior knowledge about Wikidata, its applications, and benefits into intermediate and advanced users of Wikidata. A direct outcome of this training is evident in the 2023 African Library Week, which saw the highest level of contributions on Wikidata since the introduction of the continental campaign in 2020, as part of the global 1Lib1Ref initiative.

Pre and post training surveys and evaluations were carried out and one of the primary findings was the number of librarians and other professionals in the sector who can ably contribute to Wikidata.

The AfLibWk 2023 dashboard also shows this - https://outreachdashboard.wmflabs.org/courses/AfLIA/African_Librarians_Week_2023_-_AfLibWk_4.0_1Lib1Ref_(May_2023)

Number of organizers The project will involve development of education content, training and organization of outreach activities and workshops. As part of the course, participants will be assigned to at least 20 project groups (made up of 10 members each) and tasked to organize at least 20 Wikidata edit-athons, as mini-projects. The project groups will be expected to champion the planning and mobilization of new contributors for participation during the edit-athons.

For each edit-athon, the project envisages 1 project team for planning, publicity and recruitment of trainers, 2 coordinators (Course Managers), 2 resource persons who will provide training. The coordinator will provide the needed advisory and supervisory role for the edit-athon, including an oversight responsibility for all the campaigns that will be set up on the Wikimedia Outreach Dashboard. The project implementation committee will also offer the needed support, as and when needed. The edit-athons will be hybrid events involving virtual and in-person training sessions. AfLIA, through the grant will facilitate the logistical, human and financial resource support for organizing these outreaches. Concerning training, the project also hopes to involve not less than 5 Wikimedians, besides the course manager, to serve as guest speakers/trainers to handle selected topics within the course to be developed. The project implementation committee together with the Course Manager will organize the proposed pre-conference workshop. Speaking sessions will include at least 2 renowned African Wikimedians well versed in Wikidata.

50 38 Thirty eight unique editors were recruited at the pre-conference. The dashboard created for the pre-conference workshop - https://outreachdashboard.wmflabs.org/courses/African_Library_and_Information_Associations_and_Institutions/AfLIA_Preconference_Wikidata_Workshop_(Monday_22_May_2023)
Number of new content contributions per Wikimedia project
Wikimedia Project Description Target Results Comments Methodology
Wikidata The project ultimately seeks to build a pool of African library and information professionals who will contribute to and improve content on Wikidata, especially contents related to Africa. By the end of the project, we estimate that approximately 1000 new items would have been created whereas 1300 existing items would have been improved (measured as total edits). Statistics on the number of new content contributions will be obtained via the overall dashboard that will be created to track contributions of course participants as well as other contributors during the proposed edit-athons. 2300 2591 2591 items were created The dashboards for Cohort 1 and 2 for English and French Speaking particioants, the preconference dasg=hboard as well a she African Librarians Week 4.0 dashboard.

14. Were there any metrics in your proposal that you could not collect or that you had to change?


15. If you have any difficulties collecting data to measure your results, please describe and add any recommendations on how to address them in the future.


16. Use this space to link or upload any additional documents that would be useful to understand your data collection (e.g., dashboards, surveys you have carried out, communications material, training material, etc).

  • Upload Documents and Files
  • Here is an additional field to type in URLs.
1. Pre and post Wikidata training Questionnaire FRENCH - https://web.aflia.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Pre-and-post-Wikidata-training-Questionnaire-FRENCH.pdf
2. Pre and post training Wikidata Questionnaire ENGLISH - https://web.aflia.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Pre-and-post-training-Wikidata-Questionnaire-ENGLISH.pdf
3. Form deployed on SurveyMonkey [English] - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WikidataCourse
4. Form deployed on SurveyMonkey [French] - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WkidataCoursFR
5. https://outreachdashboard.wmflabs.org/courses/African_Library_and_Information_Associations_and_Institutions/AfLIA_Wikidata_Project_-_English
6. https://outreachdashboard.wmflabs.org/courses/African_Library_and_Information_Associations_and_Institutions/AfLIA_Wikidata_Project_-_English_Cohort_2_(July_-_October)/
7. https://outreachdashboard.wmflabs.org/courses/African_Libraries_and_Information_Associations_and_Institutions/AfLIA_Wikidata_Project_-_French/
8. Preconference Editathon Outreach Dashboard - https://outreachdashboard.wmflabs.org/courses/African_Library_and_Information_Associations_and_Institutions/AfLIA_Preconference_Wikidata_Workshop_(Monday_22_May_2023)

Part 4: Organizational capacities & partnerships


17. Organizational Capacity

Organizational capacity dimension
A. Financial capacity and management This capacity has grown but it should be further developed
B. Conflict management or transformation This capacity has grown but it should be further developed
C. Leadership (i.e growing in potential leaders, leadership that fit organizational needs and values) This capacity has grown but it should be further developed
D. Partnership building This capacity is low, and we should prioritise developing it
E. Strategic planning This capacity has grown but it should be further developed
F. Program design, implementation, and management This capacity is low, and we should prioritise developing it
G. Scoping and testing new approaches, innovation This capacity is low, and we should prioritise developing it
H. Recruiting new contributors (volunteer) This capacity has grown but it should be further developed
I. Support and growth path for different types of contributors (volunteers) This capacity is low, and we should prioritise developing it
J. Governance This capacity has grown but it should be further developed
K. Communications, marketing, and social media This capacity has grown but it should be further developed
L. Staffing - hiring, monitoring, supporting in the areas needed for program implementation and sustainability This capacity has grown but it should be further developed
M. On-wiki technical skills This capacity is low, and we should prioritise developing it
N. Accessing and using data This capacity has grown but it should be further developed
O. Evaluating and learning from our work This capacity has grown but it should be further developed
P. Communicating and sharing what we learn with our peers and other stakeholders This capacity has grown but it should be further developed
Considering topics of impact for implementation within the movement
Retention of librarians within the wikimedia movement in order to grow the sector's contributions to the movement

17a. Which of the following factors most helped you to build capacities? Please pick a MAXIMUM of the three most relevant factors.

Formal training provided by a Wikimedia Movement organizing group (i.e., Affiliates, Grantees, Regional or Thematic Hub, etc.), Formal training provided from outside the Wikimedia Movement, Peer to peer learning with other community members in conferences/events

17b. Which of the following factors hindered your ability to build capacities? Please pick a MAXIMUM of the three most relevant factors.

Lack of knowledge of available capacity building opportunities, Lack of staff time to participate in capacity building/training, Barriers to access training because of connectivity or equipment

18. Is there anything else you would like to share about how your organizational capacity has grown, and areas where you require support?


19. Partnerships over the funding period.

Over the fund period...
A. We built strategic partnerships with other institutions or groups that will help us grow in the medium term (3 year time frame) Agree
B. The partnerships we built with other institutions or groups helped to bring in more contributors from underrepresented groups Agree
C. The partnerships we built with other institutions or groups helped to build out more content on underrepresented topics/groups Agree

19a. Which of the following factors most helped you to build partnerships? Please pick a MAXIMUM of the three most relevant factors.

Permanent staff outreach, Volunteers from our communities, Partners proactive interest

19b. Which of the following factors hindered your ability to build partnerships? Please pick a MAXIMUM of the three most relevant factors.

Lack of knowledge or capacities to reach out to strategic partners

20. Please share your learning about strategies to build partnerships with other institutions and groups and any other learning about working with partners?

Clearly communicating and facilitating a robust understanding of partner's goals and activities for particular projects or programs is necessary for building and maintaining workable partnerships.

Part 5: Sense of belonging and collaboration


21. What would it mean for your organization to feel a sense of belonging to the Wikimedia or free knowledge movement?

Understanding how the strategic plans of the Wikimedia movement align with AfLIA's picture of the type of services African library and allied institutions should provide will give a greater sense of belonging.

22. How has your (for individual grantees) or your group/organization’s (for organizational grantees) sense of belonging to the Wikimedia or free knowledge movement changed over the fund period?

Increased significantly

23. If you would like to, please share why it has changed in this way.

We have gained insights into how Wikimedia tools and projects can be integrated into the normal workflow of libraries and archives and this has increased our sense of belonging to the movement. Also, AfLIA has progressively run projects with partners on open licensing and Open Educational REsources (OER). This fits into what the Wikimedia movement does thus engenders a higher sense of belonging.

24. How has your group/organization’s sense of personal investment in the Wikimedia or free knowledge movement changed over the fund period?

Increased significantly

25. If you would like to, please share why it has changed in this way.

The project opened our eyes to greater possibilities of the use of Wikidata in libraries and archives and AfLIA now understands the importance of bronging more information professionals in the Library sector into the movement.

26. Are there other movements besides the Wikimedia or free knowledge movement that play a central role in your motivation to contribute to Wikimedia projects? (for example, Black Lives Matter, Feminist movement, Climate Justice, or other activism spaces) If so, please describe it below.

AfLIA works on Open Educational Resources and Open Licensing with OER Africa, Neil Butcher and Associates and William and Flore Hewlett Foundation.

Supporting Peer Learning and Collaboration


We are interested in better supporting peer learning and collaboration in the movement.

27. Have you shared these results with Wikimedia affiliates or community members?


27a. Please describe how you have already shared them. Would you like to do more sharing, and if so how?

The outcomes form the project have been shared at Wikimania and WikiIndaba. We believe that more of what we have learned in running two Wikimedia projects for a large group of professionals across Africa can also be shared with user communities and other themay=tic groups within the movement.

28. How often do you currently share what you have learned with other Wikimedia Foundation grantees, and learn from them?

We do this rarely (less than twice a year)

29. How does your organization currently share mutual learning with other grantees?

We once held a meeting with other Alliance fund grantees set up by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Part 6: Financial reporting and compliance


30. Please state the total amount spent in your local currency.


31. Local currency type


32. Please report the funds received and spending in the currency of your fund.

  • Upload Documents, Templates, and Files.
  • Report funds received and spent, if template not used.

33. If you have not already done so in your budget report, please provide information on changes in the budget in relation to your original proposal.

1. Curriculum Development Consultant Budget Line: According to the original budget the project was supposed to hire one Consultant to help develop a curriculum for the Wikidata course. Following project implementation realities, we realized that it was prudent to engage a team of two to effectively perform that task for the project. As a result the estimated budget for the Consultant was overspent.

2. Awards and Prizes Budget Line: This budget was used to finance part of the deficit on Wikidata pre-conference workshop/ editathon in Accra-Ghana in May 2023, since the original budgeted amount could not adequately cater for the feeding and refreshment of the in-person participants that attended the event.
3. Food and Refreshments for Attendees Budget Line: Total number of actual in-person participants at the pre- conference workshop/ editathon significantly exceeded what the original budget could support (the event was over-subscribed).

34. Do you have any unspent funds from the Fund?

34a. Please list the amount and currency you did not use and explain why.


34b. What are you planning to do with the underspent funds?


34c. Please provide details of hope to spend these funds.


35. Are you in compliance with the terms outlined in the fund agreement?

As required in the fund agreement, please report any deviations from your fund proposal here. Note that, among other things, any changes must be consistent with our WMF mission, must be for charitable purposes as defined in the grant agreement, and must otherwise comply with the grant agreement.

36. Are you in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations as outlined in the grant agreement?


37. Are you in compliance with provisions of the United States Internal Revenue Code (“Code”), and with relevant tax laws and regulations restricting the use of the Funds as outlined in the grant agreement? In summary, this is to confirm that the funds were used in alignment with the WMF mission and for charitable/nonprofit/educational purposes.


38. If you have additional recommendations or reflections that don’t fit into the above sections, please write them here.