WikiChallenge Ecoles d'Afrique/en
Presentation of the writing contest
The WikiChallenge Ecoles d'Afrique (WikiChallenge African Schools) is a multi-national writing contest that creates a fun way for students (9-13) to learn how knowledge is built by contributing to Vikidia, the little sister of Wikipedia dedicated to children aged 8-15 years. It operated during the school year in 2017-2018, 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.
What is really specific about the contest ? All of the participating schools are in French speaking Africa and most of them are... offline ! To be fair, some even have issues with electricity access. Many of those kids have never heard of Wikipedia, if only because they have never been online .
The contest challenges schools to compete by writing Vikidia articles about something of importance in their area. Due to their poor or missing internet connectivity, they can use the WikiFundi platform to share knowledge about their unique city, town, village or suburb, a local landmark or a notable individual. The competition is a fun introduction to writing Vikidia articles, a content that can be transferred and will add information about Africa to Wikipedia. It also provides young Africans with an opportunity to learn more about their communities, cultures, role models and environments.
Benefits for the kids
The contest encouraged students to work together to create an article about their area. This could be an article about their village, suburb, notable person or a local historic or geographic feature. The contest was designed to provide students with hands-on experience in collating information and working collaboratively to contribute knowledge to one of the world’s most powerful information platforms. The contest was meant to specifically:
- Train students in how to write an encyclopédique article on a wiki;
- Give students key digital skills that includes, but is not limited to, navigating an editing environment that mimics Wikipedia’s online version, and researching and citing correct sources;
- Provide media skills with regards to constructing articles, using categories, and taking photographs or creating other media to fully illustrate the article they submit to the contest.
- Contribute articles about Africa by Africans to Vikidia and Wikipedia, thus broadening the coverage of Africa.
- Main page of the contest (in French): https://fr.vikidia.org/wiki/Projet:WikiChallenge_Ecoles_d%27Afrique. This page hosts all texts written last year by the kids as well as images submitted.
- There is also a Facebook page dedicated to the contest: https://www.facebook.com/ConcourswikiChallengeEcolesdAfrique/
- Finally, many of the images related to the context have been hosted on Wikimedia Commons : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:WikiChallenge_African_Schools
Education, Offline, WikiFundi, Vikidia, Writing contest, French speaking Africa
The contest in 2017-2018
The contest was quite successfully first run in 2017-2018. It took place in primary schools over two months in late 2017 in 4 francophone African countries, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, and Tunisia. It was run by anthere (Florence) from Wiki In Africa, in partnership with Orange Foundation. The schools were equipped with tablets and resources (including WikiFundi) by Orange Foundation. The local activity was run by local facilitators supported online by Florence or by wikimedians, such as Afek, member of Wikimedia Tunisia. Some local groups also partially followed Wikimedia France WikiMooc. The aim of the project was to enhance each school’s ability to learn about Vikidia (and ultimately Wikipedia) and contribute content offline. Content produced by the kids has been integrated into Vikidia (a 8-13 kids encyclopedia) once completed offline (by the schools and writers). The articles have been judged once online. Activities in the schools were followed on the Facebook page anytime possible.
In 2018, there were 6 winning schools.
Winning articles by country were:
- the Fria alumina plant by the students of Primary School Sabendè in Guinea
- Antsoheribory Island by the students of EPP Fanantenana - Mahajanga in Madagascar
- Public holidays in Tunisia by students of ESKHIRA - Tastour in Tunisia
- Medina Fort by students of CSHFOS 1stCycle - Kayes in Mali
The special Jury Prizes were:
- Saharan popular games by students of BECHNI - Gebel, Tunisia
- The government of the children and the marriage in Mali by the students of Yanfolila 1st cycle "A" - Yanfolila, Mali
To go further
The contest in 2018-2019
In 2019 the contest was extended to 7 countries (Senegal, Niger, Cameroun joined). To be more effective, we also organized two face-to-face two days long training sessions, that took place in November 2018 in Dakar and Tunis. The goal was to provide more practical and contextual information to Orange Foundation facilitators (with regards to Vikidia, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, WikiFundi, free licences etc.). The training sessions were organized by Anthere, with the local support of Afek91 from Wikimedia Tunisia in Tunis, and Geugeor from Cameroun in Dakar. Both were also seconded by facilitators from previous years, in particular Bsghaier (Tunisia facilitator in 2017) and Nfana (who was a facilitator in 2017 and now launched Wikimedia Mali !). All 7 facilitators are now getting in contact with the schools. Whenever possible, we put the Orange facilitators in touch with wikipedians active locally for cross benefits.
To go further
- Article in Wikimedia Education Newsletter January 2019
- Poster presentation at Wikimania Stockholm
- Presentation during Wikimania
- Article publié sur le blog de Wikimedia France
- Article in Wikimedia Education Newsletter Septembre 2019
- WikiIndaba Nov 2019
The contest in 2019-2020
In 2020, the context was extended to 8 countries (Tunisie, Mali, Cameroun, Madagascar, Sénégal, Guinée, Côte d'Ivoire, RdC) and 100+ schools. Most of the facilitators remained the same but two groups were brand new (Côte d'Ivoire and RdC). We decided to provide online training early 2020 to the two new facilitating groups, then to all meet face to face in June in Jordan for training and experience sharing. Well... COVID-19 made us change our plans quite a bit... the contest was suspended for 3 months and the article submission deadline moved to end of July, in hope that some of the schools will be open and able to participate fully to the program. The all-hands meet-up was naturally cancelled.
People and structures involved
- Wiki in Africa for the general organisation
- Orange Foundation (Financial support to the project, Promotion and communication, Operational support during the Writing Contest for schools involved in Orange Digital Schools Network)
- Wikimedia CH (Financial administration of the project, Liaison for the organisation of the hackathon session and financial support, Communication) in 2017-2018
- Yorg (Fiscal sponsor in 2018-2019)
- Florence Devouard (organiser)
- Afek91 trainer from Wikimedia Tunisia
- Geugeor (trainer and facilitator from Cameroun)
- Bsghaier (Tunisia facilitator)
- Nfana (Mali facilitator)
- Joo (médiateur Madagascar)
- Amadou Ibrahim (médiateur Niger)
- Tafsir Fall (médiateur Sénégal)
- kmed79 (M médiateur Guinée)
The project proposal, its documentation and its outcomes are under a CC BY SA 4.0 licence.