We organized the WikiChallenge African Schools, an exciting Writing Contest during the school year in 2017-2018. The Contest took place in Primary Schools in 4 francophone African countries (Mali, Madagascar, Guinea, Tunisia). This contest was reconducted in 2018-2019, taking into consideration the lessons learned from the first year.
Both years, the contest was organized in collaboration with local Foundation Orange groups, who were in direct contact with the participating schools. Local Foundation Orange groups were supported online by Florence Devouard or by wikimedians, such as members of Wikimedia Tunisia. Training sessions of facilitators were organized. The aim of the project was to enhance each school 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.
The contest encouraged participants to work together to create an article about their area. This could be an article about their village, suburb, notable person or a local historic or geographic feature. The contest was designed to provide students with hands-on experience in collating information and working collaboratively to contribute knowledge to one of the world's most powerful information platforms. The contest was meant to specifically:
- Train students in how to write an encyclopedic article on a wiki;
- Give students key online skills that includes, but is not limited to, navigating an editing environment that mimics Wikipedia's online version, and researching and citing correct sources;
- Provide media skills with regards to constructing articles, using categories, and taking photographs or creating other media to fully illustrate the article they submit to the contest.
- Contribute articles about Africa by Africans to Vikidia and Wikipedia, thus broadening the coverage of Africa.