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Grants:Project/Yorg/Wiki Loves Africa 2017/Midpoint

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Report accepted
This midpoint 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 midpoint report! This report shares progress and learning from the grantee's first 3 months.



In a few short sentences or bullet points, give the main highlights of what happened with your project so far.

  • The competition was launched on 1st Oct and ran until the 30th Nov 2017.
  • The theme this year is 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 (on 18th December 17,816 pictures contributed by 2481 people).
  • An on-going selection of good images is categorized here : c:Category:Images from Wiki Loves Africa 2017 Selection (those are not necessarily great quality, but images that attracted our attention, were intriguing, and could be used on the social media during the on-going campaign)
  • photos essais 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
  • It was very enjoyable to all parties !

More details on what has been achieved can be found in the November report here.

Methods and activities


How have you setup your project, and what work has been completed so far?

Describe how you've setup your experiment or pilot, sharing your key focuses so far and including links to any background research or past learning that has guided your decisions. List and describe the activities you've undertaken as part of your project to this point.

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 could apply 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 essais:
  • that depict Women at Work, and
  • that depict Rare, Fading or Threatened Traditional Craft, Style or Way of Working

Midpoint outcomes


What are the results of your project or any experiments you’ve worked on so far?

Please discuss anything you have created or changed (organized, built, grown, etc) as a result of your project to date.

The outcomes and actions of the project so far are detailed below.

The theme and first results


The competition was launched on 1st Oct and ended on the 30th November. The theme for 2017 is People at Work, which was an awesome theme and saw the figures almost triple on previous years. Each year, the overall quality has also improved and this year the submissions are clearly of far higher quality than last year (in terms of resolution, set-up, interest) even though we still have a fair load of pictures obviously made with low quality phones or saved at very low resolution. Overall, we are proud of the batch of entries !

Photo essays


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

  1. Shariffa a woman from Mafia Island
  2. Zanzibar seaweeds
  3. The making of thatch in Nigeria
  4. Ivorian Women in Mining Industry
  5. traditional palm oil processing in rural Guinea
  6. Artisan Bottier in Cameroun
  7. le Dernier Saunier d'Algérie
  8. Palm Leaves Weaving in Egypt
  9. Woman Processing cow skin in Douala Cameroon
  10. Fabrication artisanale de marmites au Cameroun
  11. Work in Benin
  12. Pêche traditionnelle à Palmeira
  13. Working hand
  14. Glass in Swaziland
  15. The buka in Nigeria

Local Teams


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

Rapid Grant Teams


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

The teams that asked for funding from the Wikimedia Foundation this year are Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Mali, and Tunisia. In addition to owing some money left over from last year, Egypt also submitted a funding request to the Rapid Grants team. The amounts granted to these teams by the Rapid Grant committee totaled USD 13,420.37. (The amount for Algeria was divided between WLM and WLA, and only half the amount for this grant has been calculated as a consequence).

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

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

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

Local seeded teams


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

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


Main team

Focus as a team

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

Events you held
Tanzania has conducted two events,

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

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

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

What you are still going to do

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

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


Main team

Focus as a team

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

Events you held
So far we have had 2 events;

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

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

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

What you are still going to do

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

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


No response as yet.


No response as yet.

Communications and driving public participation




The contest was communicated through:

  • a Facebook account: 6,552 followers (it was 4,612 at the end of previous WLA campaign)
  • a Twitter account: 858 tweets (699 at the end of last year), 903 followers (666 at the end of last year)
  • new: an Instagram account: 24 posts, 297 followers (this is very new and still has to get into its stride)
  • Pages on Wikimedia Commons : Wiki Loves Africa 2017
  • Pages on Meta : Wiki Loves Africa
  • A site notice was displayed on top of pages of all Wikimedia projects for all African countries during the two months of the competition (with the help of Romaine as previous years, and recycling the banners crafted last year with Joseph).

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

The WikiAfrica newsletter feature story sent to 3153 English and 773 French members on the database. WikiAfrica newsletter can be read [in http://wikiinafrica.org/archive/the-multiples-stories-of-wikiafrica-over-2017.html English here] and in French here. Some of the continental media coverage can be found here: [1]

Communications material and swag


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

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

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

Social media campaign/s


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

Unesco partnership for communications

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

  • encouraging people to explore intangible heritage and share their images online,
  • supporting the creation of very high quality open access photographs that are free for everyone to reuse,
  • and spreading the Unite4Heritage message to a larger audience through Wikimedia View one tweet here (there were many more tweets from Unite4Heritage !).

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

Following the interest on Facebook, several people have expressed the interest of being organizers themselves (e.g. Swaziland, South Africa, Togo, Chad, Senegal). We invited them to join the Facebook group.

We succeeded to get back access to the website http://www.wikilovesafrica.org very recently. A basic website has been restored.

The Wiki Loves Africa launch video

Launch video

This year, we created a video for the launch - to create some excitement and to get the message across in a quick and engaging style that summed up the kinds of images we want. It was displayed on Facebook and twitter and is also hosted on Youtube (1016 views) so far. We had lots of fun doing it :) and of course, so many amazing images to choose from!!

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

Opening of a Facebook (private) group


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



Please take some time to update the table in your project finances page. Check that you’ve listed all approved and actual expenditures as instructed. If there are differences between the planned and actual use of funds, please use the column provided there to explain them.

Then, answer the following question here: Have you spent your funds according to plan so far? Please briefly describe any major changes to budget or expenditures that you anticipate for the second half of your project.

Current budget links:

All funds have been spent according to plan so far; with the following exceptions:

  • despite several tries to get Zimbabwe activated, this did not happen. This money remains with Yorg, unspent for now.
  • there were wild fluctuations in the euro/dollar rate. The Euro/dollar changed 20% from the moment the budget was approved to the moment the money was received, creating a budget hole (which we will fill with money from Zimbabwe, the very limited contingency etc. and cross fingers that the rates do not continue going into the same direction).

Receipts from the local teams expenses have been asked and are being processed.



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 are taking enough risks to learn something really interesting! Please use the below sections to describe what is working and what you plan to change for the second half of your project.

What are the challenges


What challenges or obstacles have you encountered? What will you do differently going forward? Please list these as short bullet points.

  • Engaging Zimbabwe : no better than last year ... but those guys are busy throwing up a revolution ! (i.e they might be justifiably distracted ;-))
  • Exchange rate fluctuations: fluctuating exchange rates are constant challenge in Africa, however considering the US/EUR exchange rate had been pretty stable for the last few years, we did not expect to see the wild fluctuation (20%) in October with its consequential impact on the project’s finances.
  • Translation (of main page or subpages) : this was an issue previous years. So this year... we more or less gave up trying to translate. Typical example is that we have not succeeded to get a translator-admin on commons to simply tag our pages for the translation system to work (update: finally got the marking on Nov 16!) . At some point... it is no use fighting when there is so much resistance. So the main page is translated in 3 languages. The other pages are in English. Sad but no one actually complained. To balance that, we try to really communicate on the other channels in two languages (Twitter, Facebook etc.)
  • Local country funding : there was a delay in the rapid grant teams receiving their funding (the Nigeria team did not get the funding from WMF until well into November - far too late for their activities to be effective).
  • Engaging individuals to help with global tasks. Getting better every year, but still limited.
  • 36 hours before the closing of the competition, the upload tunnel ceased to work (we have no idea why it happened. The upload tunnel was frozen at the right releases step). Unfortunately, Florence was travelling and had very limited internet access those days. Many people reported the issue (local teams, individuals on the wiki, on facebook, on twitter, by email...) but no one jumped in the bath to try to figure out what was going on. When Florence finally connected, she asked for help on Facebook and got some from Alangi, who had opened a fabricator task and followed it up. Some devs came to help and did a quick fix which solved the problem (relief !). Still, given that some local teams still had mass upload to do (which had been planned in the last two days of the contest), we did a soft-extent of the deadline of a couple of days (the banner was down, but we advertised the soft-extend on Facebook so that late uploaders could finalize).

What is working well


What have you found works best so far? 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.

  • the video: having a strong vibrant visual teaser that summed up the project with a call to participate helped to hook the imagination of the contributors.
  • the theme: People at Work was an enthusiastically received theme - it seemed to really fire the imagination
  • the photo essays: this idea was originally not embrassed by some members of the team, but the photographers loved it. You can see some of the photo essays that have been gathered so far here [c:Commons:Wiki Loves Africa 2017/photo essay] (of course, it did mean significant extra work for the team). (example : [3] or [4].
  • Social media communication : Most teams now are well installed on social medias, with significant activity, audience and editorial activity, making social media powerful means to relay the information toward already sensitized people. There was also a person dedicated to Social media messaging for the continental team - this was particularly successful this year !
  • Facebook WLA group : private group for the organizers (and interested wikimedians). It is making things way more smooth than using wiki page or mailing list
  • Release of funds : this was done in a timely manner for our org. (see the note above about the Nigeria rapid grant delay)
  • Landing page : the main page of the contest and the landing page for uploads were two different pages until last year. This year, we made things simpler by uniting the two pages (one less click...). We also reworked its design entirely, as well as the amount of information on the page so that the display of that landing page on cellphones be the best possible.
  • Site notices/banner : We recycled the banners made by Seddon last year (this improved the effectiveness of the banner which brought good results and a lesser reader fatigue); in addition, the banners have been up across Africa for the entire period of the contest. This has had a huge impact.
  • Team input : thanks to the setup of the Wiki Loves Africa Facebook group, there was more discussion and easier communication between all organizers this year.
  • Future countries : got a new seed in Mali with Nfana ! And several people said they wanted to be in there next year (we asked them to join the WLA facebook organizer groups to keep track of them and them from us). This was in particular the case for Tchat, Senegal, South Africa, and Togo.

Next steps and opportunities


What are the next steps and opportunities you’ll be focusing on for the second half of your project? Please list these as short bullet points. If you're considering applying for a 6-month renewal of this grant at the end of your project, please also mention this here.

  • finalising the judging process - continental and per country (as they wish)
  • liaising with jurors
  • liaising with prize winners
  • working with teams on integrating the images into relevant articles
  • sending out participation surveys and reports
  • collecting local expenses and reporting
  • final report and financial reconciliation

Grantee reflection


We’d love to hear any thoughts you have on how the experience of being an grantee has been so far. What is one thing that surprised you, or that you particularly enjoyed from the past 3 months?

We think we have covered all the challenges that we have encountered above. We are more than happy with the way the grant has worked out this year - and with the results of the teams and the competitions.