Four schools in Africa have just been recognised by the jury of the Wiki Challenge African Schools contest aimed at the Orange Foundation Digital Schools. An unusual initiative that has allowed children at schools without internet access to publish online for the 1st time - and also allows internet users from across the world to discover cultures as told by the children who experience them.
Using digital to share culture with the world
For 2 months, 45 schools and hundreds of students from Guinea, Madagascar, Mali and Tunisia took part in this online writing contest. They shared their culture and daily lives, which are often poorly represented in printed or online encyclopaedias. Their text, photos and drawings present their environment, which is unfamiliar to the rest of the world and rarely recognised in media. The Wikifundi software allowed these students from schools without internet access to create offline articles and then download them on the site to publish them online.
The texts are published on Vikidia, an online encyclopaedia for 8-13 year old children.
The winning schools
Each of the 4 African countries taking part saw one of its schools rewarded with a prize of €2,000. Two other schools also received a prize of €1,000 for their efforts and imagination. These prizes will help schools to purchase computer hardware.
In Guinea, Sambendé school won first prize for its article on the Fria aluminium plant, which revealed the interesting economic history of the town.
In Madagascar, the article on the island of Antsoheribory won over the jury, notably thanks to the creative illustrations which were highly appreciated.
The Malagasy school teacher told us: “This is a surprise for me, I am touched and proud. It is an opportunity for the students and it will help them to improve.”
For the Tunisian students, an article on Tunisian celebrations from Eskhira school in Tastour was popular - the very comprehensive article helped readers to discover Tunisian culture.
The article on the Saharan games from Bechni-Gebel school was noted for its unusual content.
And finally, in Mali it was Kayes school that was rewarded for its article on the children’s government and marriage at Yanfolila school.