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Wikimedia+Education Conference 2019/Submissions/5 years sharing Kiwix, the off-line Wikipedia reader, in West Africa

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Submission no.
Title of the submission
5 years sharing Kiwix, the off-line Wikipedia reader, in West Africa

Author(s) of the submission
Gabriel Thullen (GastelEtzwane)
E-mail address
Country/place of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Wikimedia CH

Main theme
Type of session
  • Presentations (about a topic you have been working on, 20 min + 10 min q&a)
teachers, off-line Wikipedia, notspot, learners, advocates and activists
Length of session
30 min
Do you want to submit a paper for peer-reviewing?


The Kiwix program is a reader which displays a previously downloaded copy of Wikipedia for use in areas where there is little or no Internet coverage, in what the French call « zone blanche » (the article does not exist on the English Wikipedia). More than half of the World population have no access to the Internet, and in Africa it is more than 75 %. Of these, quite a few have never used it, not once. That is a situation that most of us, here in Europe, now have a hard time appreciating:

All of us here are aware the wealth of information available in Wikipedia, and how useful it is in Education. We can also suppose that this treasure trove of knowledge would be invaluable for those who do not have access to the Web. But if you do not know that something exists, will you miss it? How can we share our enthusiasm about Wikipedia in education with our fellow teachers if they cannot get to it? How can we convince them that the entire encyclopedia has been downloaded onto a tiny little Usb device? How can we prove to them that Wikipedia is a least as reliable as the old school books that they use every day?

Three trips were made to Senegal in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to share the Kiwix program with schools and educational facilities in Dakar, Thiès and other more remote areas of Senegal. Local volunteers continue to share the program, and one of them was able to attend the Wikiconvention Francophone 2018 in Grenoble. This conference will relate what has been learned, what works and what did not work, and there will be sufficient time for the audience to share their own experience in using off-line encyclopedias in schools.

How does your proposal add knowledge to the international community in Wikimedia and education?
  1. Learning about a successful grass-roots initiative aimed at spreading the use of off-line Wikipedia.
  2. Learning about introducing off-line Wikipedia to school teachers in remote areas with no internet access.
  3. Sharing the different experiences wikimedians have had with using off-line Wikipedia in schools
Who is the intended ideal audience for the topic?

Everyone who wants to bring off-line Wikipedia to schools that have no Internet access.

Slides or further information

Education/Newsletter/September 2016/West African schools will test Kiwix, the offline Wikipedia reader

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