ANIC is looking for ideas that will transform the way that African media work. This means that your idea should offer significant and tangible improvements to existing tools or techniques, or should propose new ways for African journalists to gather news, tell stories, engage with audiences, or sustain media organisations.
Ideas that have the potential to be replicated or that could scale continentally will have an advantage.
Boost, by hundreds of millions, the number of Africans reading Wikipedia on mobile devices.
We’re unique! Wikipedia, already one of Africa’s most popular information sources for breaking news and encyclopedic information, will grow substantially by reaching more Africans via mobile devices.
We aim to reach the 500 million Africans who access the Internet exclusively through mobile devices. For many Africans, the data charges for accessing articles on mobile phones is prohibitively expensive. Wikimedia is partnering with African mobile operators to allow African mobile users to access Wikipedia without incurring data charges.
The world’s greatest collaborative information source, Wikipedia, which is in 37 African languages, has a proven track record of accomplishment and reach in Africa. This year, we began partnering with the mobile operator Orange to give more than 50 million users in 20 African countries free mobile access to Wikipedia. We hope to triple the number of WIkipedia Zero beneficiaries in the next year. We’re also developing ways that allow Africans with low-end features phones to access Wikipedia’s over 21 million articles via J2ME applications and through SMS.
The Wikimedia Foundation has staff around the world devoted to our mobile, educational and outreach effort in Africa. Our global team, based in San Francisco, focuses on developing the technology for Wikipedia Zero and our other mobile features (J2ME applications and SMS capability) that make it easier for low-income readers to access WIkipedia. Our outreach team is based in Egypt and they work to grow the number of readers and improve African language content. Wikimedia’s Executive Director is Sue Gardner. A seasoned journalist, Gardner was formerly head of CBC.ca, the website for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Last September, the Wikimedia Foundation did a major upgrade of our mobile gateway (http://m.wikipedia.org/), which is now powered by the MobileFrontend MediaWiki extension to better serve “mobile only” Internet users. Also in the last eight months, we’ve improved our language scripts to better serve non-English languages such as Shona, Wolof, Zulu, Somali and Swahili — and mobile page views in these languages have increased dramatically. We have also begun work on Wikipedia Zero, our J2ME application, and our SMS initiative.
We are committed to our mobile project for the long term and will ensure its future funding. The Wikimedia Foundation has built a stable fundraising base. We garner 75 percent of our funding from readers, and 25 percent from foundations and other large benefactors.