WikiChallenge Ecoles d’Afrique - 5 years

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Presentation of the education project[edit]

The WikiChallenge African Schools is a writing competition. It is a competition dedicated to pupils aged 8-13 and which takes place in several French-speaking African countries such as Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Tunisia, Madagascar, Mali, Niger and Senegal.

The objective is to learn how knowledge is constituted by contributing through the Vikidia platform, the Wikipedia for children. Pupils from participating schools are invited to write encyclopedic articles on a subject relating to their immediate environment. The competition is open to organizations that are part of the network of Orange Digital Schools and using digital material (tablet, raspberry pi etc.) provided by Orange Foundation, offline resources provided by Kiwix and WikiFundi, a platform of Wiki editing in offline mode. Indeed, one of the peculiarities of these schools is… that most of them are not not connected to the Internet! [1] Their participation therefore implies the presence of an on-site digital facilitator (and possibly the help of Wikimedians and Vikidians) responsible for training, facilitating and ultimately collecting the content produced by the students. The articles submitted by the children are all published on the Vikidia encyclopedia, less known to the general public than its big sister Wikipedia. Better known in educational circles, Vikidia has been developing for 12 years on principles similar to those of the well-known encyclopedia, but aimed at a younger audience, 8-13 year olds. It is distributed in the same way as Wikipedia, under the same license, and is open to the participation of young and old, according to rules co-constructed by the community of editors.

The competition fits into the pedagogical and educational framework. A teacher or school staff as a team can supervise and support it, with the local support of the Orange Foundation or of Wikipedians. The theme of writing is free...but it is strongly suggested to create an article concerning the environment close to the school: its city, its village, a geographical point of interest, a museum located nearby or a local curiosity. The writing style should be suitable for an encyclopedic publication.

The key elements of the competition:

  • improve teachers' ability to learn, understand, contribute and foster contribution to Wikipedia (and other Wikimedia projects) within their school;
  • illustrated article published on Vikidia, about the village of each school (or about the city, neighborhood, local industry or geographic feature nearby), a rite, a recipe etc.;
  • a friendly, inclusive and transdisciplinary project, generating satisfaction for the participants;


Education, Offline, WikiFundi, Vikidia, Writing competition, Francophonie, Africa

Project impact[edit]

The project is a training and writing program designed for schools. It is targeted at the education community towards using wiki platforms to acquire and share knowledge to develop skills of the youth and of their teachers.

What are the benefits ?

  1. The program help the kids to gain new skills, such as digital skills (using technology), collaborative writing, knowledge sharing, or information searching. It is hoped that this project will participate in helping the students grow up as informed and active e-citizens.
  2. The project team provide training the trainers activities, hence bringing new skills to the teachers as well.
  3. The project result in the production and publication of information about Africa on the Internet, under a free license, for use by the greater public (and in particular for the young people. This participate to the visibility of Africa on the Internet, and bring a feeling of pride to under-represented and poorly-served communities
  4. Finally, the winning schools receive a prize between 1000 to 5000 euros, a dedicated amount to improve the school and the quality of the studying environment of hundreds of children.

The project uses, but to mention a few:

  • Vikidia: the children encyclopedia. Whilst not a wikimedia project, this is an active project in our ecosystem.
  • Wikimedia Commons : The kids contribute pictures (and possibly videos) onto Wikimedia Commons
  • WikiFundi: the schools have access to an offline operational platform including the use of raspberry Pis, Wikifundi and Kiwix resources.

Photo gallery[edit]

Best practices and lessons[edit]

What works well
  • The partnership involving Orange Foundation (with the network of schools, the official local approval in the education sector, the funds for the prizes, the digital material...), Wiki in Africa (coordination), wikipedians and vikidians (editorial support, training and facilitation)
What could be improved
  • The number of schools involved stays limited. This is due to lack of Human Resources mostly (not enough time for facilitators), amplified by the fact many of the schools in the Digital Program are in rural areas, all over the countries. Costs of travel between the schools may be a big factor as well in some countries.