This is actually hardly a report, more a collection of elements I want to keep track of and share if anyone might find that interesting.
Overall, WikiIndaba conference 2019 was a very good community conference. I enjoyed it very much. I thought it was well organized and I generally agree with the excellent final report of the organizing team. As such, I do not think very useful to go back to some of the elements mentioned or maybe just in passing...
That was the second time I went to Nigeria. First time was over 10 years ago. In truth, 10 years ago, it was a very rough experience (I would easily put it in my top 3 worst travelling experience). So the team had a challenge here... reconciliation with travelling to Nigeria.
In truth, not everything was perfect. The most difficult part was AGAIN getting the visa. This requires travelling to Paris to request and collect (I was helped by wikipedians living there) the visa, quite a LOT of insistance at the embassy, lot's of documentation to provide, payement for the VISA. This was stressful and time consuming. Also requires doctor visit, vaccine and treatment.
However, the travel was rather smooth. The team had beautifully arranged arrival and departure so I felt 100% safe at the airport.
Most surprisingly, I was hardly sick during the stay, and not at all upon return (contrariwise to Wikiindaba in Ghana and in Tunisia...)
The stay was short, but I was able to play the tourist for a day. I was recommended to get a internet package and to use Uber. And that's what I did... hop-ing between places in Abuja, I could visit a park, an art gallery, a market, several buildings, in a few hours, with no hassle, for a tiny cost, and full confort. I particularly enjoyed the visit to the Mosque, which did not go without a bit of adventure.
That small day visit was followed by an excellent conference. So all together, my second stay in Abuja, though very short, was great.
During the conference proper, I attended several presentations and had private discussions with quite many people. I have in particular been interested by the anti-harassment and digital security sessions, which I hope to see also presented in other conferences. The state of the African wikis presentation and panel and the restitution of cultural heritage also very interesting to me. I was able to reflect how much we had evolved since the very first wikiindaba, with so much input from the African community now. Most of the participants were involved in one presentation or another, making it a truly self-constructed event.
- I gave a presentation of les sans pagEs Méditerranée
- I facilitated a panel about the gender gap WikiIndaba conference 2019/Submissions/Closing the Gender Gap across Africa (I was not supposed to facilitate it... but facilitator could not join...)
- I presented the ISA Tool
- and I presented the WikiIndaba conference 2019/Submissions/WikiChallenge Ecoles d'Afrique
This said... as always, the most valuable part of the conference were renewing the contacts with known people, and making new friends, and fixing disagreements, and discussing ongoing issues, and discussing future collaborations, and etc. As usual, I was more in the corridors and meeting space than in the conference room itself. Whilst in the corridor... I co-organized a sort of photo shooting of women ;)
I also organized a little ISA contest about Abuja, which worked well and delivered an ISA mug to its winner, Fawaz : https://tools.wmflabs.org/isa/campaigns/40
Ah and as usual, I did the "mule", bringing in lots of goodies, leaflets, small gifts from Wikimedia France to local teams as it is more reliable than using postal services... as well as raspberry PIs for the future WikiChallenge Benin... or newest version of WikiFundi on a hard drive for easier download.
What was was not so great
- Getting that visa... and some people missing due to visa issues
- Internet connexion (but I have come to not expect good internet connexion in wikimedia conferences, so I am never disappointed and sometimes nicely surprised)
- Sharing the same bed with another attendee (not twin beds in the same room... but same bed). This is a bit beyond my confort zone, though I made a new friend ;)
- leaving on Saturday night to reduce costs (next flights too expensive)
- no red lanyards at the opening desk and the participant badges were... with no name (only a number...)
What was really cool
- I felt safe
- The team was honestly really good, caring, focused, dedicated
- for once... so many women !
- active participants, leading their own future
- food and dinner party
- Fawaz smile when announced winner of the ISA contest
- the tour organized by the team
- program designed clearly, with an orientation to leadership training
So much dedication...