Kisra maker.jpeg
A Sudanese woman demonstrates how to make kisra, a traditional bread or porridge in Sudan and South Sudan. Photo by Mohamed Elfatih Hamadien, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

For many reasons, coverage of African topics on many Wikimedia sites, including the various Wikipedias, lags behind other continents. One project is aiming to change that by encouraging people on the African continent to donate their images, videos, and audio to Wikipedia.

Florence Devouard (Anthere) and Isla Haddow-Flood (Islahaddow) are the organizers of Wiki Loves Africa, a program that uses competitive and thematic aspects to entice individuals to donate to the Wikimedia Commons. “We needed a fun way to show how rich, different, and delicious Africa is beyond the depressing headlines,” they said. They mean “delicious” literally—last year’s theme was cuisine. They were able to obtain over 6000 images from 873 participants in 49 countries, including the stunning photo above of a Sudanese woman making the traditional and popular kisra bread.

Wiki Loves Africa’s theme changes every year to cover a universal, visually rich, and culturally specific topic like markets, rites of passage, festivals, public art, and urbanity. 2015’s iteration focuses on cultural fashions from across the African continent. Florence and Isla note that “entrants can submit media that represents fashion as defined by local cultural influences which can be determined by cloth, styles, ways of wrapping and hanging, etc. This theme also includes adornment like culturally-influenced jewelry, make-up, hairstyles, body markings, cloths and woven materials.”

The contest runs through the end of November, and the top prize is a Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4. Entries are accepted from all over the world as long as they demonstrate some aspect of Africa’s diverse cultural fashions, and you can participate by:

Wiki Loves Africa is funded by the Wikimedia Foundation, through a grant of US$22,760, and a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

Find out more

Florence Devouard and Isla Haddow-Flood, Wikipedians
Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate, Wikimedia Foundation

In brief:

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Third place: the Alpine ibex (Capra ibex), or Steinbock, in an Austrian national park in the Hohe Tauern mountain range. Photo by Bernd Thaller, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Wiki Loves
Earth: The winners of the 2015 Wiki Loves Earth contest have been announced. The third place winner can be seen above.
Monuments: The This Month in GLAM newsletter reports that Italy’s Wiki Loves Monuments was a rousing success: 947 participants who took 12,740 photographs of 5,149 monuments—a generic term used for places of cultural heritage that exist all over the world. These results were obtained in part through cooperating with hundreds of public institutions at the state and local levels. The winning photos from Germany and Pakistan have been published as well.
NSA case dismissed: The Wikimedia Foundation’s (WMF) legal case against the US National Security Agency has been dismissed. The WMF’s legal team wrote in a blog post that they “respectfully disagree with the Court’s decision to dismiss” and “expect to appeal” the decision.
Princess of Asturias: Wikipedia’s global reach was recognized this week by the prestigious Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, an honor Wikipedia now shares with luminaries like the World Health Organization and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Lila Tretikov, the WMF’s Executive Director, said that “On Wikipedia, knowledge knows no borders. An image of a butterfly one photographer takes in an Indian forest helps editors around the world write articles on the species in their language, so half a billion people from every corner of the globe will learn about a rare species. This award honors the people that make Wikipedia possible.”
WikiConference USA: The English Wikipedia’s Signpost reported on the major keynote speeches at this year’s annual gathering for US Wikimedians. The article was republished by the US National Archives and Record Administration’s blog.
Wikipedia in education: The German Wikipedia’s Kurier reports on an educational initiative between Wikimedians and the University of Vienna that features a 70/30 female-male ratio.
Wikimedia reports
Quarterly report: The WMF’s report for the first quarter of the 2015–16 fiscal year has been published.
Quarterly reviews: Last quarter’s quarterly reviews of WMF departments have been published. These reviews aim to “ensure accountability and create an opportunity for course corrections and resourcing adjustments in consultation with a team working on a specific Wikimedia Foundation initiative.”
Wiki Ed: The Wiki Education Foundation’s September report has been published. The foundation has 74 instructors this term, the most ever, with 133 courses and over 2000 students.

Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate, Wikimedia Foundation

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