Education/News/September 2019/WikiChallenge Ecoles d'Afrique 2019 is over

WikiChallenge Ecoles d'Afrique 2019 update

Author: Anthere (Florence Devouard)

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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, and then in school year 2018-2019 in French speaking Africa. We celebrate the end of this second edition !

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. It should be also outlined that the writing contest is in French only. In

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 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 !). Whenever possible, we put the facilitators in touch with wikipedians active locally for cross benefits.

We just closed year 2019 and the outcomes were presented during Wikimania, with a presentation (in English) and with a poster (in French).
In 2019, 65 schools participated (33 last year) and produced 99 articles (40 last year) as well as submitted 600+ images on Wikimedia Commons ! We selected 7 schools to give them prizes. Local ceremonies to deliver those prizes and certificates will start soon.

The contest raised lot's of interest and joy ! All partners seem to be very happy with the outcome so we are currently discussing next edition !


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