Grants:Project/Wikimedia Nigeria Foundation Inc./Grassroot Language Documentation in Nigerian for Wikipedia and its sister projects/Final

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Welcome to this project's final report! This report shares the outcomes, impact and learnings from the grantee's project.

Part 1: The Project[edit]


Out of over 500 languages in Nigeria, this phase of the project has completed the documenting and publishing of over 50 freely licensed audiovisuals files documenting oral history of languages and dialects in Nigeria.In addition, over 150 audiovisuals were used on Wikipedia across all languages. The project featured during the International Day of the Indigenous languages 2021 and Black History Month.

Project Goals[edit]

This project is designed to achieve four main goals:

  • To freely document the brief oral history of indigenous languages in Nigeria.
Over 50 freely licensed oral history of Nigerian indigenous languages were documented.
  • To Increase contents on Wikimedia Commons
The content mentioned above were uploaded to commons.
  • Promote the use of indigenous languages audiovisuals on relevant Wikipedia articles
The audiovisuals were promoted on over 150 relevant Wikipedia articles.
  • To bridge contents gap on Wikimedia projects.
The project was able to bridge content about the representation of indigenous African languages on over 150 relevant wikipedia.

Secondary Goals

  • To recruit new editors and up-skill the existing Wikimedians.
We worked with the Yoruba Wikimedia community, and at least three experienced members recruited to the community because of this project.
  1. Oludegun
  2. User:Ei'eke
  3. User:Zend2020
  4. Agbalaba
  5. T Cells
  6. Olaniyan Olushola

  • Building capacity of new and existing volunteers
  1. The above user names were taught and introduced to how audiovisuals can be used to improve Wikipedia pages.
  • To bridge the gap between languages experts and and other language-based local Wikimedia community.
The project team interfaced with Language experts such as
  • Create awareness and promote contents around indigenous language on Wikipedia.

Project Impact[edit]

Important: The Wikimedia Foundation is no longer collecting Global Metrics for Project Grants. We are currently updating our pages to remove legacy references, but please ignore any that you encounter until we finish.


  1. In the first column of the table below, please copy and paste the measures you selected to help you evaluate your project's success (see the Project Impact section of your proposal). Please use one row for each measure. If you set a numeric target for the measure, please include the number.
  2. In the second column, describe your project's actual results. If you set a numeric target for the measure, please report numerically in this column. Otherwise, write a brief sentence summarizing your output or outcome for this measure.
  3. In the third column, you have the option to provide further explanation as needed. You may also add additional explanation below this table.
Planned measure of success
(include numeric target, if applicable)
Actual result Explanation
if at least 50 audiovisuals of these languages are documented and uploaded to Wikimedia Commons 52 audiovisuals were produced but only 48 audiovisuals were uploaded to commons There errors in using the video2commons platform to upload the remaining 5 languages to commons. Ipokia


if at least 40 audiovisuals of these languages are used on Wikipedia articles where they are required The audio visual were used in more than 10 language Wikipedia and over 150 language related Wikipedia pages. See the link to the language counts here
if at least 3 edit-a-thon will be organised where the produced audiovisuals content will be used on relevant Wikipedia pages 3 Edit-a-thons were organised During the edit-a-thons, over 150 wikipedia pages were improved with the produced contents. See here
if at least 20 people participate in the edit-a-thon and if at least 7 of the participants are new editors to upload videos Less than 10 people participated in the edit-a-thon. The number was reduced by the organisers to be able to manage the volume of volunteers that can upload the videos to commons to avoid complications of license on commons.
if at least 20 people participate in the edit-a-thon and if at least 7 of the participants are new editors and are trained trained on how to upload videos and audios to Wikimedia Commons and how to re-use them on Wikipedia articles 3 new but experienced Wikipedians were introduced to Yoruba Wikipedia and trained on how to upload videos to commons using the videos2commons tools see their names ....
  1. Oludegun
  2. User:Ei'eke
  3. User:Zend2020
if we work with at least a Yoruba language expert with a Ph.D in Yoruba language and the Yoruba Wikimedians User Group. We recruited Dayo Akanmu (Ph.D) and Densu Peters, a Yoruba expert as part of the team members and we worked with Agbalaba, one of the leaders of the group]]
We will promote some of the audiovisuals produced on social media to promote these languages. Facebook and Twitter ad would be used. The videos were promoted on twitter and facebook concurrently.
At least five people would participate in the audiovisual production and at least 20 people will participate in the edit-a-thons and at least one relevant Wikimedia affiliates communality and at least one mission-aligned organization would participate. The following user names contributed immensely to the project: Oludegun </>User:Ei'eke</>User:Zend2020</> T Cells</>Agbalagba. The peoject was executed in partnership with the Yoruba Wikimedia User Group.
new and some existing editors would be trained and at least 10 new editors would register an account. No new user registered an account for the project Having observed the complexity behind the licensing of the contents in this project, the organizer decided to restrict this task to only the experienced Wikimedians from the Yoruba community.


Looking back over your whole project, what did you achieve? Tell us the story of your achievements, your results, your outcomes. Focus on inspiring moments, tough challenges, interesting anecdotes or anything that highlights the outcomes of your project. Imagine that you are sharing with a friend about the achievements that matter most to you in your project.

  • This should not be a list of what you did. You will be asked to provide that later in the Methods and Activities section.
  • Consider your original goals as you write your project's story, but don't let them limit you. Your project may have important outcomes you weren't expecting. Please focus on the impact that you believe matters most.

The Grassroot language documentation in Nigeria was born from the fact that there is an urgent need to preserve indigenous languages in Nigeria from going to extinction. Unlike most African nations, Nigeria is the most diverse country with the largest population and number of languages. There are over 2000 languages in Africa, while Nigeria has over 500 indigenous languages spoken by its citizens. This accounted for 25% of the entire languages in the continent. Unfortunately, the country didn't have a language policy to support the growth of its indigenous language. The three most popular languages supported by the education system in the country are Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo while the rest were relegated by the use of English, the official language. The major native languages, in terms of population, are Hausa (over 49 million when including second-language, or L2, speakers), Yoruba (over 42 million including L2 speakers), Igbo (over 30 million, including L2 speakers). Language is one of the core values of people and the identity of any nation. It's been established by the United Nation that “every two weeks, at least one indigenous language vanishes, leading to two language extinctions each month”. Essentially, this is a problem facing small languages with little or no documentation. There are several indigenous languages in Nigeria that are neither taught in schools nor written down. These endangered languages lack any tangible preservation, documentation and may soon vanish as predicted by the United Nation. English is the official language spoken in Nigeria; however, there are over 520 languages and dialects in different parts of the country. The country is divided into 6 Geo-political zones; South-West, South-South, South-East, North Central, North West and North East, for administration. Essentially, there are three major languages spoken, written and taught in schools in Nigeria, while speakers of these languages are dominants in their respective zones e.g. South-West; Yoruba, South-East; Igbo, North-Central; Yoruba and Hausa; North-West; Hausa, North-East; Hausa. This project intends to operate a scalable plan starting with languages and dialects from the South-West; Yoruba. This project aims at preserving, documenting and digitization of oral history of Nigerian indigenous languages and making them available under an open license for the improvement of existing and new articles on Wikipedia and its sister projects. So, our curiosity on language documentation started when Daniel ( Wikitongues) interviewed Shola Olaniyan in 2019 at Wikimania held in Cape Town, South Africa on the native languages in his country. After the interview, Shola, Isaac and Daniel then thought of the idea of preserving the languages through documentation of oral interviews of native speakers of those languages. Our plan was to start the project with the preservation of the endangered languages by making high-quality audiovisual content where the native speakers of the selected languages would use their language to tell their stories. Right from the word go, we've decided to work on creating an impactful project without leaving any stones in turn. So, we thought of creating a very comprehensive list of the languages and dialects in the country. This was achieved by a wide consultation with language enthusiasts, scholars, indigenes and the various Languages. Considering the challenges to access data and the internet in Africa and the desire to make the video appeal to the target audience, the videos were made in a short length (the longest length is 5 mins.).

The project involves people with unique skills and experience on language documentation, we have collated their thoughts, experience and involvement around project below:

  • Olaniyan Olushola

It was a rare experience to work as the project manager of the maiden edition of the oral language history documentation in Nigeria. We were propelled by the volume of our languages that are exposed to endangerment and its consequences on the upcoming generation if we allowed it to happen. We decided to hit the ground running by involving the actual speaker of each language in the documentation. This step required the team to travel to villages and remote places where the target audience could be found. Our trip covered over 1,000kms to complete these tasks. We also understood the challenges with security and the state of roads in Nigeria. Our concern is how we could achieve the goal of the project rather than the risks around the project and it pays off at the end of the project. We are glad to involve one of the shining lights in the film documentary in Nigeria in the person of Babatunde Oladimeji in the project. His involvement helps to connect many of the dignitaries that were used in the project and even places as well. One of the major highlights of the project was when it was featured by the WMF’s communication team during the International Day of the Indigenous language in 2021 on all its social media handles. As of now, the languages are now available in over 200 languages on Wikipedia.

  • Daniel
  • Babatunde Oladimeji

The grassroots documentation project is a very necessary endeavor, especially at this time in the existence of the country Nigeria. Considering Nigeria's cultural diversity, it's key that the documentation of its grassroots languages start right now. Indigenous languages are key to the very existence of different regions and peoples of Nigeria, some of these languages have existed for centuries and they have become a way of life. The dwindling impact and effects of the the languages are fast eroding the socioeconomic buoyancy of these communities. For example some names of certain items like food eba in Yoruba Language will become endangered soon because of the pidgin substitute 'garri'. In Yoruba Indigenous parlance if eba as a word disappears the economic activity Surrounding it will likely disappear too then the farmers, producers of garri and food vendors who specialize in the production of eba will look for other jobs. This may happen through the fact that the popularity of 'eba' as an item will wane as soon as its name disappears thereby ruining the economic activity attached to it leading to job losses. Its important that these languages are encouraged, documented and reintroduced to the first language (L1) speakers. Also important is the issue of cultural identity. It's paramount that the cultural pride of each community be preserved and encouraged in furthering development derived from within. Cultural identity partly stems from an understanding of the indigenous history of the peoples and this can only be preserved through documentation.

  • Isaac Olatunde

This is one of the most fascinating, interesting and challenging projects I have co-implemented. From the design to implementation, every aspect of this project is thought-provoking, interesting and involves critical thinking. We wanted to do something different from what is common in literature. Most oral history documentation is done in larger languages with less diversity and interest in small languages. We wanted to solve two key problems: We wanted to make available contents that preserve indigenous languages and archive new areas of knowledge that would be very valuable for the unborn generation. We were aiming at contents that would be useful for illustrating Wikipedia articles and realistically useful for educational purposes outside of Wikipedia. We want to preserve the oral history of indigenous people in their local language or dialect. The field work was very challenging as we had to travel to villages and most of these villages were not easily accessible or motorable. Our COVID-19 Risk Analysis was really helpful in mitigating the risk of exposure and spreading of COVID-19 by team members and participants. This is a high-impact project that should be sustained.

  • Mikaeel Adesina

Language itself is a cumbersome aspect of human life and digitizing these natural gifts of nature is another headache on its own. Oral history is an amazing project that is really exploring this difficult aspect of human life. The project isn’t only preserving the under-represented languages/dialects of Nigeria which is the most populous nation in Africa, but also preserving the culture, customs and norms embedded in these language communities for the yet unborn generations. Digitizing these numerous languages and making them available to native speakers both at home and in diaspora is a key to preserving these dear heritages from extinction. I think this is a fantastic method for celebrating natural gifts. As a Production Manager, I must confess, it wasn’t an easy task planning for this massive project, as it was hectic and time consuming as well; ranging from logistics, accommodation and others. But to my surprise, I found them enjoyable from the beginning to the end. The crew made all efforts to display professionalism all through, and that was awesome! I look forward to the sustainability of this project due to its high impact on the native languages and digital knowledge, and being a part of projects like this in the near future.

  • Tunde Asaolu


If you used surveys to evaluate the success of your project, please provide a link(s) in this section, then briefly summarize your survey results in your own words. Include three interesting outputs or outcomes that the survey revealed.

  1. Survey to evaluate and understand whether the project is a high-impact work that shpuld be sustained. The survey report suggeted that the project is a high-impact work.
  2. The evaluation report and the key findings can be found here


Is there another way you would prefer to communicate the actual results of your project, as you understand them? You can do that here!

Methods and activities[edit]

Please provide a list of the main methods and activities through which you completed your project.

Behind the scene event of Sepeteri episode

Setup and research[edit]

  1. Our team identified the problems that we desire to solve around language documentation. It requires; list of the endangered languages, solutions to be adopted and the communal impact of the project on Wikimedia communities and the focused wikimedia projects eg Wikipedia and its sister projects
  2. We carried out community-wide research about the group,and individuals or organisation that might have executed a similar project in the past.
  3. We scheduled meetings with mission aligned groups, individuals to understand challenges, opportunities, knowledge gaps, required skills to execute the project.
  4. We created a metadata for each recording session. Because of people's privacy, we wont share the metadata, here. It is available on request.
  5. Build a repository of endangered languages with a focus on the existing content gap.
  6. We developed a standard elicitation protocol in conjunction with the team from Wikitongue for interviews of the featured native speakers who participated in the production.
  7. We held a virtual meeting with the Wikitongue team and the head of and the video production crew as part of the kick-off meeting to discuss our plans and establish the main elements of the language documentation.
    Virtual meeting with Daniel of Wikitongue+ Tunde Oladimeji, Producer/director of the production
  8. Content are divided into two categories; subtitled in English and non-subtitled. The content subtitled in English were used only on English Wikipedia while the non-subtitled videos were used on other languages except English Wikipedia.
  9. We created a gallery for all the final production.
  10. We created a landing page as one-stop to learn about the project by the entire community.
  11. We created caption for each content and we ensure that captions were translated into different languages where the content will be used.
  12. The translation were done by announcements on various translation mailing list, social media and through our friends who are native speakers of the focused languages in other communities.
  13. We worked with the Wikidata community in Nigeria to collate data about all the articles that were featured on various Wikipedia for our edit-a-thon.

Project resources[edit]

Please provide links to all public, online documents and other artifacts that you created during the course of this project. Even if you have linked to them elsewhere in this report, this section serves as a centralized archive for everything you created during your project. Examples include: meeting notes, participant lists, photos or graphics uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, template messages sent to participants, wiki pages, social media (Facebook groups, Twitter accounts), datasets, surveys, questionnaires, code repositories... If possible, include a brief summary with each link.

  1. Template-Meta data: The template collates and warehouse viable data on each episode of the video recording.
  2. Project landing page Nigerian Language Oral History Documentation Project: The platform manages the output of the project for people that might want to learn about the project.
  3. Project timeline
  4. COVID-19 risk analysis
  5. Blackmagic Cinema Camera
  6. Survey
  7. The evaluation report

Catalogue of oral histories of Nigerian languages by its native speakers (subtitled in English)[edit]

Catalogue of oral histories of Nigerian languages by its native speakers (non-subtitled)[edit]


The best thing about trying something new is that you learn from it. We want to follow in your footsteps and learn along with you, and we want to know that you took enough risks in your project to have learned something really interesting! Think about what recommendations you have for others who may follow in your footsteps, and use the below sections to describe what worked and what didn’t.

What worked well[edit]

What did you try that was successful and you'd recommend others do? To help spread successful strategies so that they can be of use to others in the movement, rather than writing lots of text here, we'd like you to share your finding in the form of a link to a learning pattern.

  • Our leaning pattern is here

What didn’t work[edit]

What did you try that you learned didn't work? What would you think about doing differently in the future? Please list these as short bullet points.

  • The New Normal and the COVID19 pandemic; The emergence of COVID19 changes our original ways of doing business and interacting with people globally. For example, the act of handwashing, face-masking, sanitizing, social distancing are new to us and have negatively impacted the estimated time required to shoot an episode of a video. Although, the project has incorporated some of these red flags in our original plans.
  • There are no sample cases where the Needs and Guides for documenting languages in Africa can be found. For example, we required the expertise of the team @ Wikitongues and the production crew to develop a customized Elicitation Protocols to help during the interview sessions for this project.
  • We visited places like villages and remote places where the indigenous speakers of the focused languages leave. It therefore requires involvement in a long trip before we could a befitting speaker for each language.
  • For effective time management, We expect to forward to the post-production team for sound editing, colour mixing and other post-production related activities at the end of each day via the internet. Unfortunately, most of the remote places where the productions were done do not have internet.
  • Challenges in securing the service of an indigene that will be willing to speak a language and also understand the history of the language and its people.
  • One of the key goals of the project is to use the produced content on related Wikipedia pages. Unfortunately,some of the articles do not have Wikipedia pages.

What we will do differently in the scenarios mentioned above[edit]

  • We will ensure the estimated time consumed by COVID19 protocols are factored into an average time to complete an episode of a video.
  • We need to expand our network and searches around the likely technical partners to support the project.
  • We will ensure the post-production crew travels with the core team to the field to avoid transmission of files by the internet at the end of each day. Although, this process might increase the operational cost of the project and go a long way to expedite the completion of the project life cycle.
  • We will identify and partner with Wikimedia affiliates that focus on languages to ease the challenges of translating the video captions.
  • Aside from the proposed content uploads, we will intensify efforts to identify articles with no Wikipedia pages.
  • We plan to make provision for give away to the proposed speakers of the indigenous languages as a means of motivating them.

Other recommendations[edit]

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

  • We recommend that other communities be encouraged to replicate this project.
  • We recommend that a stipend or small gift be provided for participants or interviewers in the future.

Next steps and opportunities[edit]

Are there opportunities for future growth of this project, or new areas you have uncovered in the course of this grant that could be fruitful for more exploration (either by yourself, or others)? What ideas or suggestions do you have for future projects based on the work you’ve completed? Please list these as short bullet points.

  • This edition serves as a pilot of the project, where 50 audiovisuals were produced out of over 500 languages. We, therefore, plan to continue with the production of videos of the remaining languages.
  • At the end of the production of the audiovisual, our next plan is to use Wikisource to document the texts of the output of the videos.
  • We plan to have a one-stop catalogue of all the audiovisual of all languages in Nigeria.

Part 2: The Grant[edit]


Actual spending[edit]

Please copy and paste the completed table from your project finances page. Check that you’ve listed the actual expenditures compared with what was originally planned. If there are differences between the planned and actual use of funds, please use the column provided to explain them.

Finances of Grassroot Grassroot Language Documentation in Nigerian for Wikipedia and its sister projects
Desription Category Planned Actual Difference Remarks
Project Manager Audiovisual production cost 6,400.00 6,400.00 -
Documentation Officer Audiovisual production cost 4,800.00 4,800.00 -
Producer/director Audiovisual production cost 8,000.00 8,000.00 -
Post Production Audiovisual production cost 5,000.00 5,000.00 -
Sub total Audiovisual production cost 24,200.00
Food Travel Logistics 1,248.00 1,208.00 40.00
Accomodation Travel Logistics 4,800.00 4,800.00 -
Bus hire Travel Logistics 9,600.00 9,550.00 50.00
Sub total Travel Logistics 15,648.00
Food Edit-athon 1,300.00 1,250.00 50.00
Event hall Edit-athon 1,060.00 1,060.00 -
Internet Edit-athon 212.00 212.00 -
Facemask Edit-athon 200.00 200.00 -
Video Promotion Edit-athon 800.00 800.00 -
Sub total Edit-athon 3,572.00
Contingency 1,000.00 1,000.00
Gift to indigenes Contingency 400.00 (400.00)
Phone calls for the team members Contingency 600.00 (600.00)
Sub total Contingency 1,000.00 1,000.00
Grand Total 44,420.00 44,280.00 140.00

Remaining funds[edit]

Do you have any unspent funds from the grant?

Please answer yes or no. If yes, list the amount you did not use and explain why.

  • Yes

If you have unspent funds, they must be returned to WMF. Please see the instructions for returning unspent funds and indicate here if this is still in progress, or if this is already completed:

  • We hope to continue the 2nd phase of this project soon,and with the expectation that it would be deducted from the approved budget of the upcoming project.


Did you send documentation of all expenses paid with grant funds to grantsadmin(_AT_), according to the guidelines here?

Please answer yes or no. If no, include an explanation.

  • Yes

Confirmation of project status[edit]

Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?

Please answer yes or no.

  • Yes

Is your project completed?

Please answer yes or no.

  • Yes, this phase of the project has been completed.

Grantee reflection[edit]

We’d love to hear any thoughts you have on what this project has meant to you, or how the experience of being a grantee has gone overall. Is there something that surprised you, or that you particularly enjoyed, or that you’ll do differently going forward as a result of the Project Grant experience? Please share it here!

Wikimedia User Group Nigeria and Nigerian indigenes whose languages were documented in the project were excited with the exposure and visibility the project gave them. Aside from the language documentation, the project helps to showcase the history and culture of indigenous people in Nigeria, especially during the International Day of the Indigenous Language in 2021.