Grants:Project/Yorg/Wiki Loves Africa 2019/Final

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This Project Grant report has been submitted by the grantee, and is currently being reviewed by WMF staff. You may add comments, responses, or questions to this report's discussion page.

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]


c:Commons:Wiki Loves Africa is a photo contest organized since 2014 in Africa. It aims to solve the following problems

  • low amount of visual, contemporary coverage of Africa on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects
  • low visibility and understanding of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects in Africa
  • low figures of participation to Wikimedia projects from Africa

A photo contest means... winners. And we wanted winners to receive gifts as it

  • provide visibility before and during the contest and help sustain good participation figures
  • support photographers in Africa and invite them to provide free images to the world
  • do outreach as we celebrate the winners (social media buzz, certificates they can put on walls, stickers they can stick on their equipment...)

Our problem is that actually providing the gifts to winners required

  • some administrative support such as bank account and a stable postal address
  • reliable centralized management for accuracy (to avoid overlapping of action and payements for example)
  • traceability, financial and legal backup

Proposition : we proposed that the activities related to WLA 2019 international prizes be handled through Yorg.

Outcome : to make short... we did it :)

Project Goals[edit]

The three goals were

  • Increase visibility of Wiki Loves Africa 2019 before, during and after the contest by providing good prizes
  • Increase quality of participation with a good rewarding system for the winners
  • Bring trust in the drive as prize management will be coordinated


  • There was no significant increase of visibility of WLA thanks to prizes before the contest... because the grant was approved whilst the contest was already ongoing. So the person who managed the social media communication in particular did not dare insist on the monetary prize in case it would not be approved. And any initial communication about the contest tried to stay low profile on that point just in case. Please also check-out Grants:Project/Rapid/Islahaddow/WLA 2019 Pre-Contest Communications/Report to see what Isla did before the contest launched.
  • Now, to be honest, I do not have any figures that permit me to say that having proposed prizes and delivered them actually had a measurable impact on visibility/quality/trust ;) But it probably did !

Project Impact[edit]


I had only one target all international winners have successfully been contacted and received their gifts

11/14 winners successfully contacted
11/11 winners got their certificate
10/11 winners got their goodies package
5/5 top winners received their money prizes

---> target reached


I actually exchanged many emails with some of the winners. It carried interest to me for what would have been otherwise a rather tedious process (packing goodies... shipping them... tracking courrier...). I asked some of the winners the stories behind their pictures and I really enjoyed their explanations. Some of those were further published on some website. Checkout

Most winners ended up quite talkative and I hope our exchanges brought a certain degree of humanity to Wikipedia, casting a different light on our projects, helping them getting aware of the community behind the projects. I think that really got some of them excited with the process. I am fairly certain that most of the top 15 this year will participate again next year.

Amongst the winners, only one was a rather regular wikipedian, member of a UG. He volunteered to be part of the international team for 2020.
Another winner, from Egypt, volunteered as well. I think she could greatly help us reached out to more arabic speakers as she seems to be pretty active on social media networks.
Yet two other winners asked to be put in touch with their local user groups and asked me to keep them informed about next year contest because they want to participate again.

Overview of WLA over 5 years[edit]

Poster displayed at Wikimania in Stockholm
Poster displayed at the Wikiconvention francophone in Bruxells
WLA outcomes presented at Wikimania

Wiki Loves Africa has achieved much over 5 years:

  • 48,466 images donated by 6213 submitters
  • Wiki Loves Africa images were viewed 15,9 million times per month (March/April 2019);
  • Wiki Loves Africa images have been viewed : 225,7 million times altogether (up to April 2019);
  • Wikimedia Communities in 23 African countries have hosted over 225 participation and training events;
  • The competition attracted high levels of new contributors – over 80% for each year;
  • A Wiki Loves Africa prize-winning image was included in The Journeys Through Our Fragile Heritage exhibition at UNESCO, Paris; and
  • Wiki Loves Africa’s ISA tool is a pilot project for Structured Data on Wikimedia Commons.

In 2019, best image selection[edit]

In 2019, the theme selected was "Play". 8 879 great pictures have been collected in slightly more than 4 weeks. See some stats. During the contest, many local events also took place.

After the image submission time was over, the images were reviewed and best images were selected by an international jury. It should be noted that several countries also select national best images, but those process are independent from the selection at the international level. This differs from most of the other Wiki Loves campaigns and is due to the fact WLA is open to all African countries, including countries where there are no wikimedian groups actively involved in the process.

The very best images were identified and collected here : c:Category:Best images from Wiki Loves Africa 2019.

During the first part of the project grant, the top 5 winners were contacted. Contact was fairly easy in 4 cases. The 5th case required a real hunt, both on Internet and on the ground, with several people involved. Ultimately, every top winner was identified, contacted and answered ! In a second part, I reached out to the top 16 winners. Some of them could not be contacted (no valid email address and a non-specific username)

Promotion of winners[edit]

Information was collected from winners, including stories to establish the context of the photo shoot, to feed communication on the contest.

Running an ISA Campaign on WLA 2019 image batch[edit]

ISA Campaign #39, running over Wiki Loves Africa PLAY

It is not directly related to this project grant, but somewhat an indirect side effect. We decided to run an ISA campaign related to Wiki Loves Africa 2019, so that images would be better described on Wikimedia Commons. The campaign in ongoing, but already gives very good results with 35624 contributions provided as of 25th of November, since campaign creation on 8th of November 2019.


I have been working on a Qualtrix based survey Wiki Loves Africa 2019/Survey. It is not a direct measure of the success of this specific grant. But it measures the ongoing support of the project from local groups and organizers.
Methods and summary are described in the meta page linked above. Full results are available in this document : File:Wiki Loves Africa 2019 Survey.pdf.

Some figures...

  • There were 51 recorded answers.
  • No answer was mandatory. Some of the participants did not answer to all questions; In particular, two participants answered "no" to the first question (have you participated to WLA before) and then did not answer any of the other questions.
  • Also, some questions were only asked depending on the previous answers of the participants. For example, if the participant did not check the fact he or she was a UserGroup member, then no further questions were asked related to the UserGroup... this explains why there are different count of answers to all questions
  • There is no significant impact on answers based on gender.
  • There is no significant impact on answers based on language preference.

To the question how much do you agree or disagree that Wiki Loves Africa should take place in 2020,

  • 73% of answers were strongly agree (27 responses),
  • 13.5% are somewhat agree (5 responses),
  • 10.8% are neither agree nor disagree (5 responses), and
  • 2,7% are strongly disagree (1 response)

There was only one case of a participant who strongly disagreed that WLA should take place next year (= it should not take place). Of course that was interesting to better understand why, so it was investigated further. It is to note that this person is a member of a UG, he-she commented that I am new to Wikipedia, so i am still learning and discovering what is happening, put Neither agree nor disagree on most early questions regarding previous WLA editions, indicated he-she had no idea whether his-her UserGroup had been involved in organizing WLA in the past, and concluded that he-she wanted to get involved as an organizer in 2020.

The person who suggested African women who are unsung heroes as next year theme is a male (or claimed to be).

Methods and activities[edit]

  1. After Jury finalized winners, top 16 contacted (16 winning pictures. 14 winners). 11 winners responded.
  2. Winners info was collected to wire the money and send the certificates and the goodies
  3. Goodies to purchase were listed. Purchased. Documents printed
  4. Collected stories from winners
  5. Money prizes successfully sent to the top 5 winnners
  6. Clean-up categories for winners and winning pictures. Announcement page
  7. Goodies and appreciation shown to our jury organizer lead during Wikimania :)
  8. Wikimedia Groups in Algeria, Cameroon and Egypt were contacted and offered to physically meet with winners, to have the opportunity for a little ceremony where they would not only give the certificates and goodies from WLA, but also to promote their own UG. 3 accepted. Goodies were accordingly transported to Wikimania then to the Wikiconvention francophone conference to be delivered to UG. Most goodies actually came back to France due to member of UG not attending the conferences (due to VISA issues mostly). In the end, goodies were delivered for the Egyptian winners to the Egyptian chapter. So it looks like in the end, most goodies and certificates will be sent by postal email anyway...
  9. Wiki Loves Africa poster was produced and displayed during Wikimania Stockholm as well as during the wikiconvention francophone in Bruxells.
  10. Discussion was held during Wikimania over the future of Wiki Loves Africa during the African meet-up. Decision was made to organize a survey to record interest and/or support to the photo contest, and to finalize the choice of theme if relevant.
  11. Send certificates and goodies. The package included in general a I edit Wikipedia from Africa, various leaflets, Wiki Loves Women bookmarks, various stickers, 'Wiki Loves Africa badges, a wikipedia pen, a couple of branded gadgets etc. The top winners also got WLA branded batteries. There were a few differences between packages, depending on whether the winner was already an active wikipedian, or a complete newbie. Egyptian winners (2) receive part of their gifts from the postoffice, and part from Wikimedia Egypt (I used the Wikimania post office...)
  12. Posted or got posted news related to winners such as on Wikimedia France website

Countries of recipiendaries

  • 1 italian
  • 2 Egypt (+ 2 could not be contacted)
  • 1 Cameroon
  • 3 Ghana
  • 2 Algeria
  • 1 Ethiopia
  • 1 Kenya (coud not be contacted)
  • 1 Nigeria

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.

We now have a winner certificate template :

Otherwise, all outcomes may be found here : Category:Wiki Loves Africa 2019

It is not directly related to this grant, but here are some of the resources created this year

Last resource to be useful in the future ... I now have a qualtrix account set up :)


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]

Screenshot of a Certificate published by its winner
  • the fact the distribution was centralized by one person worked well
  • collecting stories and talking to winners worked well
  • Sending money to Africa is always a challenge but we made it rather well this year
  • Trying to involve local Usergroup in thanking winners publicly and locally (UG team members like it, winners like it as well)

What didn’t work[edit]

I would not say it did not work, but it is not working so well or at least was challenging :

  • Identification of winners (to be expected) was a bit complicated
  • Sending packages to African countries remain a challenge. It is costly... In spite of buying tracking... half of the collected packages are still written ongoing delivery in the tracking system (= tracking does not work well). Many addresses are po box... which may work or not.
  • one package never reached the recipiendary and is currently coming back to France. Recipiendary is aware of that, sad, but I will not try again. Since she lives in Algeria, maybe we can make for up a bit later. Algeria is one of those tough destinations...
  • at least 3 winners reported having to pay customs fees for their package. That being very irritating, I sent the last packages with a different (cheaper also) service, hoping that it would get invisible for the customs...
  • there was a mix-up with certificates... so to make things simpler, I sent back certificates to some of the recipiendaries. Usually they also got the digital version...
  • some of the goodies we had planned... took forever to be produced. Isla could not bring them to Wikimania... so those could not be given to the winners. So... produced... paid for... but not used yet.

In the end, it makes the whole process quite time-consuming. Still, I think it is worth it.

Other recommendations[edit]

  • Perhaps stick to certificates, stickers and leaflets in the future so that it fits into a regular envelop rather than a package and has more chance to reach its destination safely and without extra money asked from customs.
  • Relying even more on local UG to thank international winners

Next steps and opportunities[edit]

  • Wiki Loves Africa 2020, on the theme Transportation
  • Research with Civil Servant Team on mass messaging impact
  • Work on quality with Miriam Redi from WMF

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.

Expense Approved amount Actual funds spent Difference
Prizes to winners 3300 USD 3300 USD none
Goodies and certificates 1000 USD 860 USD Due to awareness regarding goodies and SDG goals, I have decided to cut down a bit on goodies.
Administrative 2000 USD 2000 USD
Financial costs / Shipping 700 USD 480 USD Shipping expenses and bank transfers finalized. Some shipping cheaper due to relying to wiki train and lower costs systems in an attempt to escape customs
Total 7000 dollars 6620 dollars 380 dollars


  • 1000 USD Marco Gualazzini
  • 500 USD Mohamed Hozyen Ahmed
  • 500 USD Mohammed Amri
  • 800 USD Summer Kamal
  • 500 USD Yvonne Ngahan Aymar

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.

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:

  • 380 dollars


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

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!