WikiChallenge African Schools, a writing contest in Digital Schools!

WikiChallenge African Schools by the Orange Foundation is a writing contest in 8 African countries. It teaches digital school pupils, in particular, how to contribute to Wikipedia in a fun and interesting way. A real opportunity for these students, who lack books and internet access.

Currently, only 25% of edits to Wikipedia articles about the sub-Saharan region are made by local contributors. With this in mind, the WikiChallenge African Schools will help to create a new generation of contributors on the African continent, while enriching the online encyclopaedia.

The writing contest is a fun way for teachers to integrate digital literacy skills and pride in, and knowledge of, their community into the school’s curriculum. WikiChallenge African Schools provides this web-based education experience by encouraging schools to write encyclopedic articles about subjects within their immediate surroundings that, once finished, will be added to Vikidia.

Vikidia is the little sister of Wikipedia. It is an encyclopedia made with a wiki, that provides key concepts to younger readers. Although the language is aimed at 8–13 year olds there is no age limit to those who wish to contribute.

The writing theme is open ... but the contest strongly suggests that participating schools create articles about a subject that is close to the school and its community: its city, its village, a geographical point of interest (mountain, river, national park, etc.), a museum located nearby, or a curiosity. The pupils must use a writing style that is suitable for encyclopedic publication.

The Writing Prizes will be awarded at an international level and national level. There are three prizes that will be awarded to three winning institutions. Each prize will consists of school equipment (school bags, notebooks, dictionaries, computer etc.) to a combined total value of €4000. Prizes will be awarded to winning institutions at a ceremony in the spring of 2018. In all cases, all schools that take part will receive a diploma of participation.

The WikiChallenge African Schools contest: where, who and when?

The contest is aimed at primary schools and pupils aged 9 to 11 that are part of the Orange Foundation Digital Schools network in Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, and Tunisia.

The contest runs from the 1st October to the 30th November 2017, with the resulting articles being integrated into Vikidia over December 2017.

WikiFundi: the contest’s resource

A key to the success of the contest is the offline WikiFundi platform that mimics the experience of editing Wikipedia and other Mediawiki-based platforms. WikiFundi enables teachers, pupils, wikipedian communities and NGOs to learn how to edit Wikipedia and contribute knowledge when internet access fails or is not available at all. It enables individuals, groups and communities to work on articles collaboratively. Once completed on WikiFundi and when connected to the internet, these articles can be uploaded to Wikipedia or Vikidia.

WikiChallenge African Schools and the WikiFundi platform and the documentation for both projects is licenced under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

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