Grants talk:PEG/Frank Dugasseh/Offline Wikipedia Rollout in Ghana

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Evaluation by the GAC[edit]

GAC members who support this request[edit]

GAC members who oppose this request[edit]

GAC members who abstain from voting/comment[edit]

GAC comments[edit]

Learning from other similar experiences[edit]

Hi :) I was wondering if you had any contact with people involved in Afripedia and/or Wiki Africa, which are similar experiences ? I'm in contact with several people who were in these projects (Wikimédia France staff & board for Afripedia, Guillaume Gourçat and Florence Devouard for WikiAfrica) and could give you contact information if needed :) Léna (talk) 16:58, 30 December 2014 (UTC)

Comments MADe[edit]

Welcome Ghana! Your budget table is difficult to follow. Even so, I have some remarks:

  • What explains the 1700$ budget for food? In Ghana you buy a lot with that
The amount covers three days of providing breakfast, lunch, snacks and water for volunteers and staff of the schools who are going to benefit from the Wikipedia roll-out. 5 Volunteers are going to be trained for two days where they will be provided with, lunch, snacks and bottled water 45 representatives from beneficiary schools will also undergo a day’s training on Wikipedia, the Rollout and other issues. They shall be provided with breakfast, snacks, lunch and bottled water. --Frank Dugasseh
  • From my experience in South Africa I would consider the total transport cost very high (12350$). It is also mixed with 'per diem' for the volunteers. Please clarify how you get to this amounts, and seperate with the per diem
The educational institutions to benefit from the Wikipedia Roll out are spread across the Upper West Region of Ghana. The 36 schools cover 9 out of the 11 districts in the region with accessibility challenges. The Team shall virtually criss-cross the region to reach out to schools.The districts and number of schools are Wa Municipality -13, Wa West District=2, Jirapa/Lambusie=5, Nadowli District=5 Sisala East=3, Lawra=4, Nandom=3, Wa East=1
It must be noted that the Upper West region is one of the poorest regions in Ghana and has a huge challenge with road infrastructure.
At least a volunteer must use two vehicles before he gets to a beneficiary school since the schools are extremely wide apart. Others will have to use motorbikes and other means of transport to visit the schools.
In some of the communities, if it is not a market day, it becomes difficult to access. In some cases a vehicle has be hired to visit these schools and the budget captures these possibilities.
The figures quoted in the budget are fares been charged by public transport providers. Since there are limited number of vehicles plying these routes coupled with bad nature of road, transport owners factor these costs in the fares they charge.
Out of the 3309.62 km of roads, only few are tarred making transportation very difficult
The safety of our volunteers is also of paramount concern and it was good reason we chose transport fares that will provide utmost safety and some level of comforts of our volunteers.
The per diem is going to cover breakfast, lunch, super, water and accommodation for the volunteers. Its anticipated that volunteers may not complete installations due to the number of schools they are allocated to in every district or any other challenge such as power outage. Below is a breakdown of funds meant for per diem. Breakfast-$2, Lunch-$4, Accommodation-$4, Water-$2,Super=$3 --Frank Dugasseh
  • Besides 5400$ per diem, does the budget contain wages or payments for the organisators (eg. 'project managment costs')? This is not bad per se, but should be clarified.
The budget does not include any project management cost. All services and logistics that will be provided by the Management team will be their contribution towards making students in the Upper West Region have access to the Wikipedia offline. --Frank Dugasseh

On a higher level:

  • the proposal should be detailed more. You'll need to reply to the big question: 'why do we need to give you $600 per school just to give them an USB stick'?
Please the budget for the USB stick is $75 and not $600. -- Freank Dugasseh
There was no discussions with Wikimedia Ghana User Group. But when the proposal was uploaded I have had a member of Wikimedia Ghana who has written to me and expressed the interest to work with us. I was guided to write this proposal by Abbas Mahmood, who distributed offline Wikipedia in his country Kenya. --Frank Dugasseh


  • Who will eventually take the sticks to the schools? This is an important choice, I really want to see somebody local to do this job MADe (talk) 21:02, 30 November 2014 (UTC)
All the volunteers involved (including myself) are local (based in Ghana). The volunteers are going to be selected from the districts where the beneficiary schools are. --Frank Dugasseh
Frank, thanks for the replies. How will the project run practically? You want to 'pre-visit' 60 schools, make a selection of interested schools, and later visit them again to give them the USB-stick together with a 2h training and a follow up visit. Is this a correct summary? When would you like to do it, what time of the year? MADe (talk) 19:33, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Hi MADe, Absolutely. The pre-visit is mandatory for the reason that you said (establishing interest) and secondly, most schools here don't have their contacts publicly (i.e. online) available, so we have to physically go to the schools and get their contacts. Once we have a list of confirmed schools (and their relevant contacts), we can then plan accordingly, and communicate with them on when to expect us for the actual deployment and training/tutorial. We plan to do it early next year, when schools re-open in January. Thanks, (answering on behalf of Frank) Abbasjnr (talk) 05:03, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Hey all, I refer to my original remarks. The project grant is difficult to understand. Don't forget, this is a budget of almost 20k$, you should really try to convince us! MADe (talk) 20:31, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Comments/Questions indexum[edit]

I will try to bring some input also to the discussion here. indexum

  • On a bigger scale the initiative is welcomed, but what I am missing is the total number of kids, teacher and other people who can benefit from this project. I think you should make an estimation of these numbers.
  • Another issue you have to think is the how you ensure the follow up of the project, Wikipedia is known for how fast is changing, how will you ensure that schools will get the last updates. You should think about a way to keep updating the Kiwix installations, but mailing DVDs every 3months to each of school with the latest WP updates. How will you ensure the long term sustainability of the project?
  • Also can you say what is with the budget line - Installation of offline Wikipedia for 4500 USD? I could understand the need of per diem for volunteers involved, but since its a project based on activism and participation the installation should be done pro bono, with no additional costs associated.
  • Another Q is related to - Educators and students training - there is no mention of this training in the brief project application - can you be more specific about it?? who will be the participants, when it will be done, what is the aim of this training??
  • Costs of USB stick and Hard drive: HD means external one. Can you be specific about this? Since notebooks already have hd, i think it makes more sense to buy more USB sticks with a bigger storage capacity, in order to support the Kiwix offline archive.

Comments by 3BRBS[edit]

Following the prior comments, I read the proposal and find hard to match the overall cost of the project with what is actually planned to be done. I divided the present amount requested by the number of schools and it tourned out, as very very rough estimate, that you are planning to spend USD 479 per school (which as a gross figure seems high for all the activities proposed). On the other hand, I understand the concern about doing a good job, so in the end, this led me to one question: Have you ever participated or organized an event for installation of Kiwix at this scale? This is important because maybe the scale (36 schools) is too ambitious for a first time. If you haven't done so before, I would advice to mount a pilot project first, with a reduced number of schools nearby the area you live, this way you will be able to create an example on how its done for other schools (to convince them easier), and reduce costs of transportation, allocation, etc. And you can, if you wish, enlarge the scale of the project, having gained experience on what went fine and what went wrong. Without experience on handling and managing a project of this scale, without specific experience on doing so before, the present application does not convince me, since many things could go wrong, be under or overestimated, and at such a big scale this could affect the overall success of the project.--3BRBS (talk) 13:00, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

WMF comments[edit]

Thank you for this ambitious proposal and your interest in bringing Wikipedia to secondary schools in Ghana. We appreciate your engagement in the discussion thus far and look forward to your response to the recently posed questions. However, we agree with the GAC member questions around project details, scope, expected impact, and the suggestion to conduct a pilot project first. Here are our main concerns, many of which are repeated from above:

  1. The main lesson learned from Abbasjnr's offline Wikipedia distribution project in Kenya is that without a Kiwix collection that contains customized content for the individual country, the project will not be successful. The Kiwix device they had contained 50,000 English Wikipedia articles of general interest and articles specific to the United Kingdom. It contained little to no articles about Kenya and was of little use to teachers. The fist step in conducting a project like this is to create an English Wikipedia subset customized with articles relevant to the Ghanaian curriculum. The technology is available to create this customized collection, but it takes work. The Kenyan team did create a customized list of articles after the project was over, but no one has done anything with the list since. Please read the report from Kenya for more details.
  2. Before you do the work to create a customized collection, we would recommend conducting a pilot, as 3BRBS mentioned above. This will give you the opportunity to understand what work, relationship-building, and follow-up is required to make this project successful in one school. We would suggest starting with the most accessible school in Accra (where not funds would be required), gather learnings and testimonials from teachers using the device, and then rethink how you would scale the project.
  3. If you decide to conduct a pilot, we would strongly recommend that you work with the experienced Wikimedians in Ghana, starting off by reaching out to the Ghanaian User Group. You will need experienced Wikimedians to support with training the teachers and it's in your best interest to get their support.
  4. If a pilot is successful and you are able to create a customized list of articles that will be useful for Ghanaian students and teachers, we are happy to discuss a revised grant request. We would also be happy to discuss other options for scaling this type of work, such as partnerships with the Ministry of Eduction or local education nonprofits.

Thank you again for your proposal, ambition, and interest in providing better access to information for students in Ghana. We are happy to help you think through a pilot, without funding, for this first step. Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 17:32, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Thank you all for your comments.I will work on the pilot as suggested and will definitely need the support of you all.Frank Akowuge

RESPONSES I have already started engaging with potential schools to be used as the pilot. The schools for the pilot will include basic, first and second cycle educational institutions. Specialist educational institutions like the Wa School for the Deaf will be part of the pilot project. My Library (Wechiau Community Library) which provides both fixed and Bookmobile services for rural communities shall also be part of the pilot.

Please is there any suggestion on the number of educational institutions to be considered for the pilot?

I live in the Upper West Region which is in the Northern part of Ghana and about 12hours drive from Accra. Many children in the Upper West Region do not have access to reading materials and thus cannot read. Less than 9% of children in primary schools can read and 73.4 % of the population aged 15 years or older is not literate in any language. Teacher to pupil ratio of 1:80 is beyond the national average of 1:30. Sadly, approximately 43 working days are lost every academic year denying children contact hours.

Per Ghana Education Service standards, a child is required to have 3 textbooks but children in the region have less than 2 textbooks. To aggravate the situation, there are only 3 public libraries to serve over 1000 educational institutions. Research by the Wechiau Community Library which I (established) in the Wa West District indicates that less than 5% of children have access to reading materials. Yearly performance of pupils in National Examinations conducted by the West African Examination Council, has been abysmal with a pass rate of 33.95% which is below the national average of 52%.

As I get responses from Wikimedians across Ghana, schools for the pilot will be evenly spread across the country to have a representative sample and output. I have made efforts to contact Wikimedians in Ghana. My email to one of them has not been responded to yet but I am very positive to get Wikimedians in Ghana on board this project. As I meet and communicate with the Wikimedians, we will work on the customized English Wikipedia subset with articles relevant to the Ghanaian curriculum. How do I access the technology for customizing English Wikipedia with local content? Frank Akowuge

Hi Frank. Thanks for your response. From the statistics you provided, we understand there is definitely a need for more access to information. We would suggest starting with one school in your town as a pilot with the kiwix version that is currently available. After you've had the experience of working with teachers, gathering learnings, and measuring impact from the pilot, you can think about a customized version and expanding the project. There is some information about customizing a Kiwix collection on the Kiwix site, but I would suggest you contact the Kiwix team directly by email or on IRC (under "Contact Us"). I will also put you in touch with the Ghana User Group. I will change the status of the grant application to "withdrawn" until we've discussed the results of the pilot and revised the request. Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 21:30, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
Thank you very much Alex Wang (WMF), Frank has contacted me (a member of the WMUG) and we are currently looking at three major phases to ensure the sustainability of this project. I personally think this project has great prospects and with proper advice and guidance can contribute a lot to usage of the software and knowledge at large in our setting. I am currently working with him on this to get this underway, and we are looking at doing this in 3 imperative stages listed below:
  1. Pilot project to confirm the viability of this project.
  2. Creation of contents Ghanaians (people from our setting) can easily relate to.
  3. Deployment of the software on a scalar quantity
NB:Prospects may inform further decisions on a mass deployment.
We are currently working to schedule a physical/workable meeting since he his about 14 hours away, this will help us come out with a tentative grant request which will be surely updated on this grant page to reflect the way forward. Allow us to furnish all with details of the aforementioned stages in due time. Thanks Flixtey (talk) 19:31, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
Hi Alex, thank you for your responses. Will WMF fund the pilot? And if Frank gets a list of the topics/articles for localisation, will WMF fund the whole project? I'm asking this because getting the curriculum from the government can be a bureaucratic process, and getting the record straight that you will fund the full project if we can get a localized version would be an impetus for the volunteers Abbasjnr (talk) 07:25, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
Hi Abbasjnr. Thanks for your note. As discussed with Frank, we will see how a pilot in one school goes first before thinking about scaling and funding. I'm not sure you need the curriculum from the government to do a pilot. What we were thinking is using the current version of the offline Wikipedia to test how teachers/students use it in one school before putting in the work to tailor a collection to the Ghanian curriculum. Cheers, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 18:45, 31 January 2015 (UTC)