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Report accepted
This report for a Project Grant approved in FY 2017-18 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • To read the approved grant submission describing the plan for this project, please visit Grants:Project/Yorg/Wiki Loves Africa 2017.
  • You may still review or add to the discussion about this report on its talk page.
  • You are welcome to email projectgrants(_AT_)wikimedia.org at any time if you have questions or concerns about this report.

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]


Wiki Loves Africa held its forth competition during October and November 2017 on the theme People At Work. There were two additional photo essay prize sub-categories: Women at Work and Rare, Fading or Threatened Traditional Craft, Style or Way of Working. For contributors, there was a professional social media campaign (with social media support from UNESCO's Unite4Heritage project), a "call-to-action" video, and a new website http://www.wikilovesafrica.net. There was also the usual amazing local calls to action and events held by local organising team. As a result, this year, there was an unprecedented response in both contributions and contributors (doubling and tripling respectively) over the previous year's numbers.

From the organising side of things, the continental/project team provided international competition structure and support. The local organising teams were given two options for engagement - either via a rapid grant, or via direct support from the continental team. Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Mali, and Tunisia all successfully applied for rapid grants. Uganda and Tanzania remained supported by the continental team, and an effort was made to create and support new teams in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Ethiopia with no success (for a variety of reasons).

The winning photographs and media were announced at WikiIndaba in Tunisia and an exhibition of the four years was held both at WikiIndaba and Wikimania Cape Town in July.

All-in-all the project was an unbridled success - especially in the quality of submissions, the introduction of the photo-essays and the sense of control the local teams had over the rapid grant applications.

Project Goals[edit]

In general, the Wiki Loves Africa annual competition's goals and intentions are to:

  1. Draw attention to, and increase the coverage of, content relating to Africa on the Wikimedia projects.
    • There were over 3 million pageviews across the various languages of the main Wiki Loves Africa page on Commons from September 2017 to April 2018.
    • We also believe that the universality of the theme was an important driver in the growth of contributions. Many people took pride in representing their work spaces and in celebrating the particular crafts of friends and colleagues. This celebration of self and local environment made it much easier for people to see the value and possibility of contributing to Commons.
    • The social media campaign and the work of the local teams, led to more than double the entries over the previous years. In addition, some of the posts for the social media campaign introduced readers to different aspects of the impact of Wikipedia on local communities, and why this is important.
  2. Introduce the benefits of, and ability to, contribute to Wikimedia Common to new communities.
    • With a 66% increase in number of contributors successfully submitting entries to the competition, many new Commonists were added as a result of the project. Seasoned and amateur photographers were drawn to the photo essay elements - allowing a more nuanced visual journey. Additionally, "call-to-action" notices that were sent out to some of the photography schools and groups also highlighted Commons as an option, if they didn't actually enter themselves.
  3. Support new volunteer communities as they work together around an important local project.
    • A new volunteer community in Mali came on board as a result of this project. This was a wonderful addition to the nine official countries that participated. The other countries that were intended to be added (Ethiopia, Malawi and Zimbabwe) all encountered a variety of different issues - from country "coup-that-is-not-a-coup" to complete silence. These issues are discussed in more detail further in the report.
  4. Reward people for contributing the right kind of material to Wikimedia projects.
    • There was an increase in prize categories from 4 categories in previous years to 6 this year. The additional categories focused on photo essays, which by its very nature encourages more conceptual and visual thought and planning into the capturing process. The entries to the photo essay categories were of amazing quality. We are very excited by this development as it also adds immeasurably to the relevant Wikipedia articles.
    • The organisers made a conscious decision to celebrate video contributions in this year. The winning video contributions were of excellent quality. It was also a way of ensuring that other filmmakers and audiophiles could see there was a chance of winning prizes in this unavoidably photography-dominated competition.
    • Despite the increase in the quantity of entries, overall the quality of the contributions also increased. The judges found it difficult to choose among so many images.
  5. Engender pride in local heritages, traditions, cultures and communities across Africa.
    • The enthusiasm with which this year's theme was embraced shows a deep level of pride in self (this is my job, or my environment or my friend/family).
    • With the addition of a sub-prize category (Photo Essay Prizes : Rare, Fading or Threatened Traditional Craft, Style or Way of Working) this enabled people to celebrate crafts or ways of working that are not only under threat, but are also culturally specific and important.
    • Several of the local teams held prize-giving events which additionally raised the local relevance of this Wikipedia-based international project to local communities.

New emphasis that were specifically aimed at in 2017, included:

  • Pre-selected theme and extension of the contest's effectiveness
    • This proved to be an unbridled success - to present a simple theme; and provide several alternative sub-categories made it very easy for potential competitors to understand the competition and see how it was relevant for them.
  • A formal process to collaborate closer with professional photographer clubs:
    • Photo essays were used as a way to entice and galvanised photographers. There was a lot more impact than we thought and people spontaneously jumped in to the challenge. Since this process, John Cummings has tried to create a system that allows easier contribution of photo essay using a template or wizard.
    • We started discussions photographic groups in Cameroon.
    • We have been approached by the Structured Data on Commons team at the WMF as one of their possible trial projects for early 2019.

Project Impact[edit]


Planned measure of success
(include numeric target, if applicable)
Actual result Explanation
General: A growth of 10% in the number of media entries in 2017 compared to 2016 57% increase in contributions of media (18,294 entries in 2017 over 7,844 entries in 2016)
General: An increase of 10% in the number of uploaders in 2017 compared to 2016 a 66.2% increase (2,473 people in 2017 over 836 people in 2016)
General: At least 5 experienced Wikimedia communities successfully apply for Rapid Grants to be part of the contest 8 experienced communities successfully applied for rapid grants Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Mali and Tunisia.
General: Reuse on Wikimedia projects of at least 10% after a year not yet time At 6.68% in August 2018 (using GLAMorous) currently with a total of 2,187 images used (1,211 as distinct images used)
Continental team: A grant request is accepted successfully, a results and best practices document compiled, and a report is submitted. successful on all three counts Results and best practices: Results and best practices
Continental team: Evaluation planning prior to contest done, in collaboration with the WMF done. This was done in collaboration with the WMF team
Continental team: Minimum of 4 countries to join the contest as NTs 5 teams joined, however only 2 ended up as operational We had great success with Uganda and Tanzania. Efforts to get Zimbabwe up-and-running again were thwarted by internal political unrest and upheaval. The leaders of the efforts in Ethiopia and Malawi stopped communicating after the money was received by them. Strenuous efforts to communicate with them has been to nothing.
Continental team: Develop documentation of best practices to support volunteer involvement where it seems useful to support, based on realities of context, driven by needs of participants Ongoing recording of results and best practices, c:Commons:Wiki Loves Africa 2017/documentation and m:Talk:Wiki Loves Africa 2017/Communications elements
Continental team: The prizes are handed out before end of May 2018, with a possible exception for travel-related prizes. Prizes were announced in March. Monetary prizes were sent well within the time.
Continental team: A sound local expenses reporting system has been set up, allowing timely tracking of budgeted versus documented for each NT and public reporting at the end of the project. This was set up and is operation. Links to the tracking are below in the financial section.
Continental team: At least one online post event meant to extend the theme A long-term Glamify online "call to action" is planned to launch with a specific push for two weeks over late September. Details to follow in early September. Initial details here: Glamify Call to Action
Continental team: A survey is conducted among NTs, showing high levels of satisfaction with the continental project team (average of ~4 on a five-point Lickert scale)


Wiki Loves Africa 2017 was the forth edition of the competition. It took place over October and November 2017 under the theme of People at Work. In addition to the main prize categories, the continental/project team initiated two additional photo essay prize sub-categories: Women at Work and Rare, Fading or Threatened Traditional Craft, Style or Way of Working. The project is now complete and was highly successful! There is a lot of enthusiasm for this project, we hope it finds the funding to continue.

How the competition was received by competitors

Both the general theme and the sub-categories, as well as the call for photo essays seemed to inspire people to enter in far greater numbers than they have previously with a 57% increase in entries and 66% increase in contributions. Additionally 88% of the entrants registered after the competition had begun (according to the stats page, the returning photographers seem to settle at around 20% of entrants. The lower number for 12% this year is due to the massive upswing in number of entries).

The increase in contributions can be attributed to a number of elements. There was a concerted social media campaign that informed people about the need behind the competition and encouraged people to contribute. There was additional support from UNESCO's Unite4Heritage project. All communications were clear and concise backed by a fun "call-to-action" video that was created by the continental team and a new website at www.wikilovesafrica.net. There was the new Wiki Loves Africa Facebook group to communicate within organizing members. There was also the usual local calls to action and events held by local organising team.

As a result, this year there was an unprecedented response in both contributions (up 57%) and contributors (up 66%). A great way to see the reasons behind why people captured and chose to enter the subject matter they did can be found in Samir Elsharbaty's lovely article for the Wikimedia Blog that looked at The stories behind this year’s award-winning photographs from Wiki Loves Africa.

Quality over quantity has always been an issue for Wiki Loves Africa. This year, a concerted effort was made to appeal to professional, semi-professional, amateur and student photographers via an email to several photographic training courses and groups - such as The Mohamed Amin Foundation - and by enticing photographers with categories that can showcase their eye and allow them to tell their stories through their craft. The two sub-categories Women at Work and Rare, Fading or Threatened Traditional Craft, Style or Way of Working was seen - and succeeded - as a highly effective way of doing this. Although initially the process for submitting a series of photographs was not fluid (and required an enormous effort by Anthere chasing numerically consecutive images among the 18,000+ that were submitted and then displaying them with comments! John Cummings has since created a wizard template to improve the process - thanks John!), there were amazing stories and exceptional images submitted as photo essays. Some of these included multimedia to tell the story correctly.

After an international jury of photographers and Wikimedians deliberated using the Montage tool, the final winners were selected in March. The winning photographs and media were announced at WikiIndaba in Tunisia and an exhibition of the four years was held both at WikiIndaba and Wikimania Cape Town in July.

What the experience was like for the local teams

A map showing the distribution of countries that applied for Rapid Grants over support from within this grant.

On the organising side of things, before this grant was approved the WMF grant team and the continental/project team decided to adjust the structure of local team support, and allowing local teams the ability to manage their own grant application processes. In this way the continental/project team managed the international competition structure and support. The local organising teams were given two options for engagement - either via a rapid grant, or via direct support from the continental team. Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Mali, and Tunisia all successfully applied for rapid grants. Members of the Rapid Grant countries have reported that the transition was pretty smooth (although there was a delay in transferring the funds that impacted on Nigeria's initial activities in October).

Five countries were selected to be supported as part of this grant. Uganda and Tanzania organised social media campaigns and several on the ground events with financial and moral support from the continental team. A concerted effort was made to create and support new teams in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Ethiopia however this met with with no success (for a variety of reasons that are discussed in more detail further on in this report).

All-in-all the project was an unbridled success - especially in the quality of submissions, the introduction of the photo-essays and the sense of control the local teams had over the rapid grant applications. The project has made an exponential leap this year and it feels like we are finding traction with new audiences and communities across Africa. This can be seen in the 88% new sign up for contributors. We are also excited that the project has been shortlisted as a pilot project for the Structured Data on Commons project.


The community has been asked a poll as to whether they are keen to be involved in the next Wiki Loves Africa. There is an overwhelming vote towards being "100% cannot wait ... sign me up!". Track the responses ...

Methods and activities[edit]


  • The competition was launched on 1st Oct and ran until the 30th Nov 2017.
  • The 2017 theme was People at Work which proved to be an awesome theme.
  • The photographs entered to the competition can be viewed here: c:Category:Images from Wiki Loves Africa 2017
  • 18,294 pictures and media were contributed by 2473 people from 55 countries (up from 49 in 2016) - (more statistics can be viewed here)
  • Photos essays on two specific sub-themes was a new concept launched in 2017 and raised a lot of interest not only from local teams but also from the general public
  • Local events happened in 9 countries across Africa run by amazing and tireless teams.
  • A local volunteer group in Mali (that had been part of WikiChallenge African Schools) joined for the very first time via a Rapid Grant application - this was very exciting!
  • The three main prizes were selected by an international jury selected the winners (in some countries using a first selection that had been chosen by the local team)
  • The jury used Montage to make the three round selection
  • All winners were announced (global and local got their prizes !)
  • Several photo exhibitions were held: Wiki Indaba in Tunis and Wikimania in Cape Town (and several locally)
  • Been shortlisted as a possible pilot project for the WMF's Structured Data on Commons development
  • Lots of interest (including by WMF staff), and use in communication (including by WMF staff)
  • It was very enjoyable to all parties !

Key elements[edit]

The project has been run along similar lines to the three previous years. This year, however there were a few additional elements that have been added:

  • Some of the participating countries applied for rapid grants that made them independent of this grant process.
  • The teams (both rapid grant and this grant) were coordinated with and readied to do their activities;
  • An entirely new country - Mali - joined the organised focus events side of the competition
  • The theme – People at Work – was chosen by the continental team
  • Entirely new additional elements were added to the prize categories, namely photos essays that depict:
  • Women at Work, and
  • Rare, Fading or Threatened Traditional Craft, Style or Way of Working

Local events[edit]

Many pictures and reports may be found here : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Wiki_Loves_Africa_2017_Events

We were directly funding and supporting 5 countries. Event reports may be found here

Events organised by local teams and media coverage


The contest was communicated through:

During the contest, other mentions by supporting Wikimedia entities included:

  • Information was sent out via the African Wikimedians mailing list [1].

Project wide communications gallery

Generic communications materials[edit]

This year we decided it would be good to create a stronger, universal brand that was not so year dependent. For this, we have developed the generic materials so elements like banners and stickers can be used year after year.

The project-wide social media campaign[edit]

The social media campaign was run by Rabbit In A Hat with targeted post boosts - this went some way to encouraging entries. An Instagram account was set up to expand the social media reach. There was a lot of engagement, especially on Facebook page. Although it is difficult to monitor direct impact on numbers (in comparison to all the other elements of this competition), the social media campaign managed to make a significant inroad into the increase in contributions. On the last competition post on the 30th November, for example, there were 6,959 reactions to one post alone.

The growth across the Social Media assets are as follows:

  • a Facebook page: 4,612 likes (2016 report) ==> 6,565 with 6,654 followers
  • new: a Facebook group: 182 members (created for 2017 organisers and local team members - entrance obviously hard to control ;))
  • a twitter account: 699 tweets, 666 followers (2016 report) ==> 914 tweets, 1,094 followers
  • new: an Instagram account: 24 posts • 339 followers

Unesco partnership[edit]

In January 2017, through the intervention of User:John_Cummings, UNESCO's Unite4Heritage campaign promoted Wiki Loves Africa 2016. Similar support was provided for 2017 as it is deemed that the Wiki Loves Africa competition supports the goals of Unite4Heritag

Local team adaptations of communication elements

Local teams were given access to all communications materials. They were also given complete freedom to develop and design their own visual language as long as they used the Wiki Loves Africa logo. Below are just a few of the examples of how the elements have been adapted and the kinds of ways they communicated on social media.

Project resources[edit]


What worked well[edit]

  • The Photo-essays pilot. Initially Anthere wanted to set up a pilot to better involve the Cameroon photographic communities. This pilot involved the set-up of the photo-essay system. Then ... several other countries showed interest and it was decided to actually make that one-country pilot a full feature of the photo contest. Though it was not advertised much, it really raised attention and interest from many participants. I (Anthere) ended up with no specific "process to work with photographers" but with lot's of photo-essays, which meant a lot of clean-up work as the system was not set-up to welcome numerous photo-essays. Accordingly, we decided to give a prize for this category. After the contest, John Cummings came up with a template system to ease the workload and facilitate the participation of people. The photo-essay concept really kicked up and should be further explored as it is a good way to provide an interesting user-experience with quality information. Naturally, the photo-essay concept could be further extended to other Wiki Loves.
  • Local countries applying via Rapid Grant: this allowed for the continental team to focus more on strategic, extension and communications efforts, and not be tied down in managing financial and reporting requirements for the local teams (although, of course, this was still relevant with regards to Uganda and Tanzania). The local teams did not seem to mind the change in focus, and in some cases it allowed first time applicants to be introduced via a secure project to the WMF grants team and system. One case in point was Mali, who was an entirely new group that had been introduced to the Wikimedia community via m:WikiChallenge African Schools competition.
  • Professional social media campaign: the social media campaign was managed by an outside, South African-based professional agency on a reduced rate. Their (at the time) inexperience with the Wikimedia world gave them the same view point as the target market. As such they explored all the wording and messages that they would want and need to see - not what we think they should know. The simple messaging combined with boosted posts were very effective in bringing over 3 million page views to the competition page on Commons, and more than doubling the entries to the competition.
  • The video: This was an easy, visually rich way for us to communicate why the competition is important and how people can contribute. It added a layer of sophistication around the messaging and started off conversations at a more advanced level.

What didn’t work[edit]

  • Mixed currencies used across the project
    • The USD/ EUR/ CHF/ ZAR exchange rates fluctuated wildly, almost from the moment that the grant had been authorised. This impacted on the budget, especially at the beginning. Unfortunately, this is a problem that we cannot avoid, or consciously protect against - but it is good to raise it as an issue to always be aware of.
  • Seeding Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Malawi.
    • Zimbabwe never kicked in (money not spend). Hopefully recent political developments will help and Z. was involved in Spring 2018 in WikiGap
    • In Ethiopia and Malawi, the contacts took the money and never did anything. Names should be noted to avoid funding them again in the future : Mwizalero Nyirenda mwizaleronyirenda(_AT_)gmail.com and Nebiyu CC nebiyu.sultan(_AT_)cc.org.et. The first promised to report and to explain what he did, but then never followed up in spite of several reminders. The second never answered emails at all. Please put them on the black list (they have been reported to Rapid Grants by Anthere).

Other recommendations[edit]

  • Wiki Loves Africa should continue ... it works well ... it raises interest ... it brings in content ... it facilitate community development.
  • But contrariwise to WLM, it happens only in countries where there is no staff. None of the Africa based usergroups are on Simple APG or FDC and cannot therefore include it as an on-going project. There is only such much energy and time that volunteers can give.
  • Also: high page views figures in French and Arabic main page in spite of late translation (due to Commons Admin Translators slow to react and people not motivated to translate)--> we should really focus landing and FAQ pages in 3-4 languages and make it less English centric.

Next steps and opportunities[edit]

Next steps[edit]

  • Decision was taken to move contest time to Jan-Feb. Accordingly, next occurence should be in Jan-Feb 2019
  • Decision was made to have next theme be PLAY! The theme is expected to encompass all competitive, social and cultural activities that are grounded in enjoyment and recreation, and can cover all elements of play from sports to playground games, boardgames to theatre or theatrical or musical performances.
  • Rapid grant team confirmed local countries will be welcome to ask for funding for next WLA. Suggested a WLA rapid grant template could be created to facilitate the process.
  • Global team looked for funding elsewhere, but did not find it. Will look for funding until end of September. At which time will have to decide what to do.


Wiki Loves Africa 2018 is on the shortlist to become a pilot project for Structured Data on Wikimedia Commons. In this project, Wiki Loves Africa will be one of the first, well-documented case studies adopting the new structured, linked open data technology that will enhance Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia's free repository, from early 2019.

Practically, the Wiki Loves Africa organizers will be mentored and supported by staff members from the Structured Data on Commons and Community Programs teams at the Wikimedia Foundation to enhance the submitted files of Wiki Loves Africa's 2019 and previous years' editions with structured, multilingual metadata, vastly improving findability and re-usability of the files. This process will be thoroughly documented, so that organizers of future (and similar) competitions will be able to replicate and build upon it.

Part 2: The Grant[edit]


Actual spending[edit]

Expense Approved amount Actual funds spent Difference
Co-project manager - FR 11,200.00 12,326 budgeted amount was in euros. Euros/Dollars changed a lot between the moment the grant was approved and the moment the money was spent
Co-project manager - ENG 7,000.00 7010
Administration 1500 1052 spent less due to less countries to follow up
Design, identity and communication 1,000.00 1,864 include some expenses that could be also documented as gifts
In country actions 5,000.00 3,760.00 no money spent on Zimbabwe, limited amount asked by Malawi
Continental prizes x 4 2,000.00 2,000.00
Prize winners printed and posted 200.00 93 Photo exhibition at Wikimania. Prize winners postage: power pack and beanie (not yet sent)
Thank you goodies and postage 200.00 168 Goodies have been produced just before Wikimania and are included in the communication row. Postage of beanies not yet done.
Money transfers 400.00 96.83 Still missing costs for final money transfer between WiA and Yorg
Contingency 713.00 0
Hosting cost 1,461.00 2,170.00
Total 30,673.00 30,536


The budget is basically balanced.

  • a bit more spent on management due to euro/dollars significant changes
  • a bit less spent on country action due to Zimbabwe missing in action and other countries asking a bit less than budgeted
  • communication is a bit higher than originally planned, but this is partly due to "goodies" and "postage" lines being included in communication rather than their own rows.
  • All communication elements were paid by Wiki in Africa, which received bulk money from Yorg. Expenses by WiA were in Rands. Payments by Yorg were in CHF. Initial grant was in Dollars.

There are a couple of small expenses not yet fully accounted, such as

  • Financial costs of last money transfer between Wiki in Africa and Yorg (the final transfert of 850 dollars has not been implemented yet)
  • Shipping of the goodies for the jury members (beanies) by WiA
  • Shipping of the goodies/prizes to the winners (the winners already received their main monetary prize from Yorg) : beanies and power bank by WiA

All this should be less than 50 dollars

Remaining funds[edit]

Do you have any unspent funds from the grant?  : No


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

No. Everything is provided in these links:

  1. Tracking budget document
  2. documentation
  3. Financial reporting sheet in the 5 local countries : access here
  4. Documentation of expenses in the 5 local countries : See the documentation here

Confirmation of project status[edit]

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

Is your project completed? Yes

Grantee reflection[edit]

We would like to thank the amazing teams across Africa who all make running the project year after year so amazing!! You guys rock!!

At the same time, the project could not operate without the amazing support from a variety of non-Africa based Wikimedians, these include (but is not limited to) the Jury members (several of which are not Wikimedians), Romaine, Seddon, John Cummings, Lodewijk, Stephen LaPorte and other Montage developers, as well as African Hope and Bachounda.

We could also not do this without the support of the WMF and especially the grants team - thank you Marti and Janice!!

Please note: We hate to finish on a worrying note, but we have not found any solutions to fund next WLA. We are very sad. We are super motivated to continue the work, we think it is important and we love it. We need help. Help please ?