On the 15th October 2021, Open Education Global announced the international winners of the Open Asset category in the annual Open Education Awards for Excellence.

For 10 years, the Open Education Awards for Excellence has celebrated the initiatives, projects, practices, materials, resources, and individuals that grow, expand and drive Open Education globally. This year the 16 award categories were announced every two weeks over 2 months and divided among four major groupings. New in 2021 was the introduction of the Open Infrastructure Award to highlight the importance of the wider ecosystem that facilitates access to and platforms for open education.

The Open Education Awards for Excellence Open Assets covers 4 awards categories to celebrate the tangible goods (usually digital) created to facilitate, host, distribute, or increase access to and use of Open Educational Resources.

The Open Infrastructure Award is to showcase excellence among a set of technologies that enables openness. It encompasses open source tools that enable the creation of open educational resources, their use in the educational context, their curation, improvement, and remixing, as well as sharing. The “infrastructure” is wider than just open-source software, though: it also includes open hardware used in education, open standards enabling interoperability, as well as other open technologies that are instrumental for open education.

Wiki In Africa’s offline platform, WikiFundi: A wiki platform to bridge the digital divide and teach information literacy and writing skills was one of three amazing technologies that were honored with this award.

“We find it really difficult to track the impact of WikiFundi, because it is, well, offline. To win the OEAward for Excellence from OEGlobal brings into the online light the importance of this platform for those people who cannot access the internet, even for a short period. This international validation is truly wonderful for us. We are looking to more people and institutions to use it now that is available in English, French and, in early 2022, Spanish!” Florence Devouard, co-lead of Wiki In Africa and WikiFundi manager.

WikiFundi is an open-source environment that provides a platform for an off-line editing interface that mimics Wikipedia’s‘ on-line’ editing experience. WikiFundi facilitates the teaching and consolidation of digital skills and content creation to occur where internet access does not exist or is too expensive, and electricity is unreliable. Available in English, French, and (in 2022) Spanish-language interfaces, the off-line platform also provides guides, examples and best practices, teaching plans, and a library of offline OERs (Wikipedia, Wikitionary, etc.). By using WikiFundi, individuals, groups, and communities can learn how to create and improve articles on a wiki and work collaboratively to build articles and any content they wish.

WikiFundi is a Wiki in Africa technology created to support the WikiAfrica movement. The platform was conceptualised and designed by Florence Devouard and Isla Haddow-Flood in 2017. It has been developed and expanded by Florence Devouard, Emmanuel Engelhard, Florent Kaisser, Renaud Gaudin and other members of the Wikimedia community. Its development has been funded by the Orange Foundation, the Wikimedia Foundation, and Wikimedia CH.

The other winners of the Open Infrastructure award were OpenETC, a collaboration of open educators at BCcampus, University of Northern British Columbia, Thompson Rivers University and Apereo Foundation (Canada), and OERF’s digital learning ecosystem from the OER Foundation (New Zealand).

Executive Director of OE Global, Paul Stacey, spoke about the importance of the winners:

“At a time when the Internet and learning technology platforms are increasingly closed and commodified, these three initiatives show what can happen when the underlying infrastructure associated with open education is itself open.”

Of course, we think that WikiFundi is groundbreaking, but it is still wonderful for it to be recognised!

Thank you OE Global Awards!!

Want to learn more about how children who are offline can learn digital skills, watch Florence’s presentation below!