Education/News/January 2019/WikiChallenge Ecoles d'Afrique 2019

The WikiChallenge Ecoles d'Afrique is back


Author: Florence Devouard/Anthere

Participating children in 2017 in Madagascar


After a successful first round in school year 2017-2018, the WikiChallenge Ecoles d'Afrique writing contest is back.

WikiChallenge African Schools is a multi-national 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.

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 [1].

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.

The contest was quite successfully first run in 2017-2018. It took place in primary schools over two months in late 2017 in Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, and Tunisia. It was run by anthere 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 supported by local facilitators, selected by Orange.

In 2019, the contest is extended to 7 countries (Senegal, Niger, Cameroun joined) and will launch January 7th. 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.

Tags:Education, Offline, WikiFundi, Vikidia, Writing contest, French speaking Africa