Commons:Wiki Loves Africa 2021/FAQ

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Wiki Loves Africa 2021

WIKI LOVES AFRICA 2021 Frequently Asked Questions
The photo contest around Africa

What is Wiki Loves Africa?

Wiki Loves Africa (WLA) is a public annual photo contest where people across Africa can contribute media (photographs, video and sound files) about their environment on Wikimedia Commons for use on Wikipedia and other project websites of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wiki Loves Africa particularly encourages participants to contribute media that illustrate a specific theme for that year. Each year the theme changes and focuses on any universal, visually rich and culturally specific topic, such as Cuisine (2014), Cultural Fashion and Adornment (2015), Music and Dance (2016), People at Work (2017), Play! (2019) and Africa on the Move! (2020).

The theme for the 2021 photo contest is Health +Wellness. This theme encompasses a host of approaches and is intentionally open to interpretation. See the theme page for more details and ideas.

The project is a one-month competition which will happen between 15th February and 30th April 2021.

The project will be run (digitally) across the entire continent. However, some specific events (training, communication etc.) will be held in some countries with national teams. The project will select the best media at the continental level, with prizes as deemed appropriate. Local organisers will host events, but also might select winners from the entries at a national level (they also might not). See Commons:Wiki Loves Africa 2021/Local events for more information.

How does COVID affect the contest

The majority of the events will take place online, however in some cases where in-person activities are deemed safe by their governments, these will occur. Do not attend in-person events or take photographs anywhere without a mask.

Please note that while the threat of contracting COVID-19 is still present globally, the Wiki Loves Africa organisers encourages people who wish to take photographs to exercise EXTREME CAUTION. Always wear a mask. And please consider using images from your archive or as you go about your daily practices. Please do not place yourself (or any person with you) at risk or in danger. #staysafe.

What happens to the photos or media after they are uploaded?

All images or media that are used on Wikipedia are uploaded to a website called Commons. This is a large and wonderful database of images, audio, and video files. All those media files are published under free licences – this means that they are free to be re-used by anyone as long as they say who authored the photograph or media and keep them free (under the same licence). For more information on Wikimedia Commons' licence policy, read here.

Who's behind it?

Wiki Loves Africa is organised by Wiki In Africa with the Wikimedia community's local Wikimedia user groups. The competition was conceptualised by Florence Devouard and Isla Haddow-Flood as a fun and engaging way to rebalance the lack of visual representations and relevant content that exists about Africa on Wikipedia. In 2016, 2017 and 2019, the competition was supported by; and in 2014 and 2015 it was supported by the Africa Centre. It is funded by the Wikimedia Foundation with logistical support by local partners in individual countries.

The 2021 edition is managed by this team.

How do I get involved?

It's really simple and easy, and fun! You may participate in two main ways:

  • You can participate to the contest itself! Grab your camera (or any relevant device) and shoot pictures or a video clip or a sound file. Upload!
  • Be part of a local event! In this case, please check out Local events.
  • If you want to organise your own events (please do!), check out m:Wiki Loves Africa 2021 and let us know what you are doing!

What are the technical requirements for the pictures?

There aren't any general technical requirements for the pictures. All self-taken photos that fulfilled the other basic rules and filled in the Wikimedia Commons scope will be accepted into the contest. As the main goal of Wiki Loves Africa is to collect as many pictures that can be used on Wikipedia as possible. Quality pictures are essential to the success of your entry and the competition. For tips and trick in how to take a good quality image for Commons, take a look at these guidelines:

What software will be used to upload pictures?

We use the UploadWizard simplified by a special Wiki Loves Africa overlay.

Pictures can be uploaded using other tools (e.g. Commonist, but as this requires further knowledge of wiki markup and Wikimedia Commons itself). Or go ahead with Commons:Pattypan.

To upload images, please use this link.

How could I illustrate the theme of Health + Wellness?

Trust your experience and imagination and you will find plenty of ideas: health professionals, medical or health structures and vehicles, medical and health laboratories, diagnostic centres, pathology labs, traditional health practitioners, wellness practices and coaches, teachers, the elements that make up healthy living - water, hygienic practices, exercise, sport. There is just so much to chose from ....! For more ideas, head over to the theme page.

How should I tag the images?

All images uploaded via the upload wizard will be put in the Category:Images from Wiki Loves Africa 2021. If you do not use the upload wizard, please add the template {{Wiki Loves Africa 2021}} to the tags so that we can identify the image as part of the contest.

Why should I select my country in the upload wizard?

Some of the 17 local organising teams involved in the 2021 contest are offering national prizes. If you do not list your country, your image will not be entered into the country contest, even though it will go forward for the international pool.

What additional information is needed?

Precise location is particularly valuable on Wikimedia projects, so that the pictures can be used effectively in the right place. More and more cameras and smartphones now come with GPS built in, but do not worry if your equipment does not have it: you can add the location manually to the caption. The most essential information needed is the name of the country where the picture was taken, but any further geographical details are most welcome : village, city, district, region, etc.

A short description of each photo is also necessary. Other users may know little about your country, so here is a great opportunity to share your knowledge: please tell them what it is all about.

Where will special activities take place?

We hope that local events will take place in several countries. Typically, there are ten to fifteen focus countries that will host events to present Wikimedia Commons, and organise photo hunt parties or mass-upload sessions.

Click here to get more information on the local events.

How can I contact you ?

Please drop a message on the talk page: Commons:Wiki Loves Africa/Help desk.

Otherwise... contact us on Facebook :)

How could you be contacted ?

Giving out your e-mail address is optional, but highly recommended. It is not revealed when other users contact you, but it may be very useful: the many volunteers who will have to check, organize and insert your pictures may not always be familiar with your language (other than English) or cultural specificities. In such cases they could email you to sort out a possible issue.

Moreover, if you are eligible for a prize, how otherwise could we tell you the good news?

Who are Wiki Loves Africa supporters and funders?

Wiki Loves Africa is organised by Wiki In Africa to support the WikiAfrica movement, and is funded by the Wikimedia Foundation. There are a group of African Wikimedia Chapters and Usergroups that also join the effort!

What are the rules of the contest?

There are just a few simple rules to participate to Wiki Loves Africa photographic contest (you can find more detail here):

Acceptable files

Wikimedia uses Creative Commons licences. Find out more about these licences in this video.
  • Participants must register on Wikimedia Commons, and enable e-mail, to be eligible for prizes.
  • All photos or media entered in the competition should be taken by the person submitting the entry. They can be either self-uploaded or uploaded during a registered mass upload session; the only exceptions are those from an archive collection which has provided permission or images are in the Public domainpublic domain.
  • Upload is done from 15th February to 15th April 2021 only. However, the media can have been created at any time; e.g. historic photographs can be entered as long as you own the copyright.
  • You must supply your entry under a free copyright licence, or release it to the public domain. The preferred licence used by the upload wizard is Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 CC-BY-SA 4.0;
  • If your uploaded image has copyright notices, watermarks, logos or other identifying information embedded into the image they will not accepted. Please ensure your images are clear of these elements.
  • All eligible pictures must be categorised under Wiki Loves Africa 2021. This is assigned during the upload process. The identification is done by adding the following category to the page description of the image: [[Category:Images from Wiki Loves Africa 2021]];

Not eligible files

  • Non-photographic works such as drawings or entirely computer-generated works.
  • Photographs that are already on Commons (i.e. re-uploading is not allowed).
  • As the images will be hosted on Wikimedia Commons, all entries must fall within the Commons scope. Any that do not will be disqualified and may be deleted without notice.
  • Any entries with watermarks or signatures embedded on the image or file will not be accepted.

Judging criteria

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes will be selected by a jury of international Wikipedians and professional photographers. The other prizes will be chosen by the two organisers. The jury will judge individual entries based on the following criteria (in no particular order):

  • Technical quality
  • Originality
  • Potential usefulness and overall value of the image (including its licensing) to the Wikimedia projects.

Jury composition may be found in Commons:Wiki Loves Africa 2021/Team. This will be announced in April 2021.


The international prizes are:

  • 1st prize: US$1000
  • 2nd prize: US$800
  • 3rd prize: US$500
  • Culturally-specific or traditional representations of health + wellness : US$500
  • Prize for best quality video: $500

Each winner might also receive a pack of branded goodies.

In addition, all top-15 winners of the international contest + the additional categories might receive branded goodies (postal services pending).

The small print

The international organisers of the Wiki Loves Africa competition (Wiki In Africa) reserve the right to modify these rules or to cancel the contest at their sole discretion, even after it has started. The organisers accept no responsibility for the provision by the sponsors of any prizes, nor of any liability whatsoever in respect of this contest. Neither the rules nor anything on these pages amount to an offer to create legally binding relations with any of the organisers. Members of the jury and local national organisers are not eligible to receive any awards (although they are otherwise welcome to contribute images).