Commons:Wiki Loves Africa 2016/Results and best practices

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This page gives a description of how Wiki Loves Africa 2016 was organised, the outcomes, and some of the important lessons we drew.

See also


The contest is organized for the third year.
In 2014, we (Isla and Anthere) thought an interesting way to get people from within Africa interested in contributing to Wikipedia would be to hold a continental photo contest and to support the small volunteer groups in some countries so that they could help foster participation. In 2016, we submitted a request for a PEG grant to the WMF, which was approved in summer 2016. We (Isla and Anthere) are the main organisers at the global level. Several wikipedians came to help online (to set up the website, the pages on commons, to help on translation, work on the design, site notice set up, to be jury, categorize pictures etc.). On top of this, local teams in Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Tunisia, Tanzania, Uganda, Egypt and Zimbabwe organised local events to drive contribution (training days, photo hunt parties, mass upload sessions, press conferences, etc.).

Whilst the contest is open to everyone, our grant request included a small amount of financial support for 10 local countries to organise events. Those countries were chosen after

  1. Countries teams expressed their desire to participation
  2. Number of countries was approved by WMF (10 countries)
  3. Submission of program plan and budget by each candidate team

The contest was communicated through a Facebook account, a twitter account, the blogs of Wikimedia France and Wikimedia Foundation, 2 press releases, local blogs, via the African Wikimedians mailing list and, of course, on the Wikimedia projects. A site notice was displayed on top of pages of all Wikimedia projects for all African countries during the two months of the competition. Photos were only accepted during the two months of December and January.

A jury of 6 people (3 wikimedians, 3 non-wikimedians) made a short list of the best pictures at the global level, then selecte 3 winners. The top images from the jury short list was then submitted to the community for the selection of another price. The organizers also boldly selected their favorite picture. Winners were contacted and received prizes. Some local groups also organized a national contest with local winners.


The theme was chosen by the community to give volunteers and entrants a focus around a subject that is universal, but culturally specific. The theme for 2016 was Dance and Music.


All pictures are listed there: Category:Images from Wiki Loves Africa 2016
Quality images : Category:Quality images from Wiki Loves Africa 2016
Winning pictures : Commons:Wiki Loves Africa 2016/Winners
765 people participated. Query from Mounir
Stats Baglama2
Events: see here for details.
Communication venues and material:

Lessons from last year[edit]

What we learned[edit]

Every year we learn new things. Things we do well, things we could better and stuff that should just be taken out altogether. Below are a rundown of what we learnt this year.

What worked well (or, at least, better than last year)[edit]

  • social media communication Most teams now are well installed on social medias, with significant activity, audience and editorial activity, making social media powerful means to relay the information toward already sensitized people.
  • Jury tool and jury engagement : the jury tool was an issue the two previous years. This year we adopted the new tool Montage was adopted this year. There were a few, small teething issues with the interface and backend functionality, but it was a much better tool for the jury. Members of the jury were encouraged to give feedback about the usability of the tool, and some of them provided excellent feedback for improvements.
  • Release of funds : this was done in a timely manner. (The only issue was Zimbabwe which had to do with the banking system and the availability of the person receiving the money.)
  • Shipping of gifts : we gave up sending from the Wikimedia shop as we did previous years (material lost, shipping slow, orders cancelled etc.). We gave up sending from Amazon as we did previous years (does not deliver everywhere...). We sent direct gifts (a power pack), money and online annual subscription to software. Note : re: online annual subscription to software - one of the winners asked that it be cancelled as he already had a subscription. The money was western unioned to him and was “allegedly” used to upgrade his existing subscription.
  • Site notices/ banner : Initially there was an issue when we discovered that the visibility of the banner had been reduce to minimum after the first week (and without telling us). We discussed the problem with Seddon at the WMF, who worked with us to greatly improve the effectiveness of the banner which brought good results and a lesser reader fatigue.
  • Categorization of images : this became a real point of concern; however this was largely fixed due to a bot (CivBot) built by the team member African Hope
  • Team input : there was more input from the team with elements outside of the events, etc. Some of the team members volunteered to help solve some of the project's global issues (one example was the development of bots to fix the categorizing issue). The ability to discuss the project at Wiki Indaba
  • Outreach : In Cameroon, the relationship with professional photographers brought about real results. We would like to work closer with this element for 2017.
  • Partnership and other collaborations : the relationship with Goethe-Institut. The input of the Wiki Loves Women teams

That did not work so well[edit]

  • Engaging Zimbabwe : a whole collection of issues (mostly, unavoidable) prevented any events or media coverage relating to the contest from happen in a productive manner.
  • Timing : for 2016 it was decided to take place later in the year so as not to be in competition with Wiki Loves Monuments, however it collided with Christmas season and the long school holidays. This caused the momentum to be lost across the 2 months.
  • Translation (of main page or subpages) : this was an issue previous years. It remains an issue - team members seem reluctant to be involved in this essential part of the project. The negative result is that their participants do not really understand the theme, what they can win or understand the criteria for submission properly when they access the competition pages.
  • Local reporting (of events and documentation of expenses) : still very painful to do for some teams, though there is a general large increase in the quality of reporting every year. Some teams get it just right. Other teams are slower to respond or too short in their replies ...
  • Content : given the theme, we had hoped to get a lot more audio files and videos that we ended up with. The media section seems hard to get across to the participants.
  • Events : key music or dance events that would have been perfect to capture by local teams or photographers happened outside the dates of the contest, and pre-planning by the teams meant that these key events were not captured.

Feedback collected in WikiIndaba 2017[edit]


  • Track all participants and send them welcome/thank you messages
  • Set up a media accreditation system to facilitate access to events
  • Set up partnerships with professional photographers to facilitate access to events and collect high quality pictures
  • Increase communication with Wikimedia Commons administrators prior to challenge launch (to ease clean up process...)
  • Central team or the focus countries provide a curated list of articles that need images. To ensure that those were at least covered.
  • Doing a more concerted effort to reach a wider audience to vote on the community prize
  • Give prizes for good categorizing, tagging or descriptions.
  • Really trying hard to get the main page, landing page and upload wizard translated in more languages.
  • A Writing contest around the 100 top images. Which was a nice idea, but not particularly practical as the best shot images are not always the most encyclopedic. But we could have a prize for best use of image ?
  • How to encouraged editors to place image in articles after the upload. How could this be done ... a Leaflet? Suggestion in the uploading steps to make this happen ? Post a thank you email to each of the participants at the end of the contest and invite them to integrate their photo/s on the relevant site.
  • Is there an intermediate repository for images that we could use?


  • The project management to continue to be centralised as we are doing; the contest should not only be organised by whatever country wants to take part.
  • Increase the relevance and usage of the images; both on-wiki and off (suggestions include ... screen-savers, using Glamify, Exhibition, Wall; Posters; creating an on-wiki game, in the same vein as the Wikidata game).


  • Timeframe can be a challenge (contest does not occur during time when you can get to event/festivals)
  • A challenge is met with photos being tagged for deletion whilst within Commons rules


  • Awareness of copyright laws is limited in Africa. In many cases, USA laws are applied even when not appropriate.

Survey feedback[edit]

We asked the focus teams what changes they would like to see for future Wiki Loves Africa competitions. Their answers can be found here:Wiki Loves Africa 2016/Team survey

Directions of improvement for 2017[edit]

  1. Create a bot to send a welcome and thank you all participants with suggestions on what else they can do to get other people to see their photos. Track their future participation.
  2. Create a bot to assist with category clean-up of the images submitted.
  3. Set the theme earlier and inform possible teams so they can engage with their communities to catch local theme-relevant events, displays, or festivals that are not within the competition period.
  4. Creation of a generic leaflet for teams to facilitate the outreach work of the team and enable a short introduction of the Competition to local partners, funders, etc.
  5. Improvement of the site notice system with the help of the WMF’s advancement team
  6. Increasing the scale of the communication around the voting on the Community prize
  7. Inclusion of a country-based reward or “Country Cup” for the highest percentage of reused images submitted by a country (the 2017 competition will announce the 2016 images used)
  8. Initiate and increase communication with Wikimedia Commons administrators prior to competition’s launch.
  9. Support local teams with:
  • Orient the local team on “how to set up a media accreditation system to facilitate access to events” (based on the experience of other chapters),
  • Encourage stronger relationships with professional photographers and photographic communities to facilitate access to events and collect high quality pictures,
  • Encourage local teams to investigate festivals and events prior to the competition (theme-dependent),
  • Encourage the local teams to provide a curated “wish-list” of subjects that could be covered by the theme, and existing articles that require images (to ensure that these are at least covered),
  • Encourage local teams to translate the main page, landing page and upload wizard translated into local languages, and
  • Encourage local teams to come up with local strategies to making the images useful within the Wikimedia projects.

Community feedback[edit]

Please feel free to drop comments, criticism, suggestions etc.