Open Knowledge Curriculum (OKC)

The Open Knowledge Curriculum is an exciting and participatory way to introduce 21st Century skills and digital practices to school children

Photo of Isla Haddow-Flood
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  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Isla Haddow-Flood

Initiative's representative date of birth

6 March 1972

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • South Africa

Where are you making a difference?

OKC (a Wiki In Africa project) is an addition to high school and adult education across Africa.

Website or social media url(s)

When was your organisation founded?


Focus areas

  • Helping people adapt to technologies of the future
  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce

Project Stage

  • Pilot (have done first proof of concept)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $50k - $100k

Organisation Type

  • Non-profit / NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

OKC is the logical progression of the work done by the principals of Wiki In Africa since 2016. In 2016, WikiFundi ( was launched. WikiFundi is an offline solution that provides a digital environment where students learn to edit Wikipedia. It also hosts open-source, offline resources (such as Wikipedia, Wiktionary, etc.) and training materials. Once WikiFundi was launched it became apparent that direct intervention is required to ensure WikiFundi is used by teachers in schools. WikiChallenge Ecoles d'Afrique and WikiAfrica Schools were created for this reason. With these, we realised that the scope and needs are much deeper; rather than short interventions, a wider programme needs to be integrated into the schools' system.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

To attain UNESCO's SDGs in Africa we must bridge the digital divide. The upcoming generation of information age job seekers must think critically, work in teams, look at and solve problems creatively, communicate across media, learn and adapt to ever-changing technologies, and engage with a flood of conflicting information. This loaded skillset is being taught in Western countries; but across Africa, the school systems are struggling to cope.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The Open Knowledge Curriculum (OKC) creates a new school subject that introduces online knowledge systems, imparts vital skillsets and encourages participation. The multiple layers of the OKC provide an experiential, ethical introduction to the information age that aligns with UNESCO’s Open Education Resources (OER) Recommendation and SDGs, in a way that is tailored to the multiple contexts across Africa’s education landscape. It trains and supports teachers in delivering a fun, applied, engaging, safeguarded curriculum, and promotes sharing and dialogue between students. The OKC will cover: * How knowledge is created: where it is drawn from and what can be trusted (geographies of knowledge, knowledge imbalances, etc.); * How to work with knowledge: across a range of platforms, knowledge vs. social media, assessing validity, copyright, plagiarism, citable sources, fake news, etc.; * How to contribute knowledge: to Wikipedia and other Open projects (citizen journalism, ethics and neutrality, sources, via Global Voices, Open Street Maps, Creative Commons, etc.); * How to disseminate knowledge: via community blogging and vlogging; schools magazines/newspapers.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

The OKC will integrate key digital literacy and critical thinking skills into a school subject for learners to successfully navigate global knowledge and information systems, and how to contribute appropriately. Presently, students are trained in ICT and focus on how-to-operate, not on what-or-how-to-contribute; they certainly are not taught the benefits of 'Open'. Also, there exist many resources that explain and train people in the Open Movement, but they are aimed at adults. They are not available in a curated, integrated programme that develops the knowledge of participants from no knowledge to advanced, effective and practical action. The OKC will allow students to leave school with 'open' as an educated choice.

(Instructions for questions 5 and 6, no answer required) Please only answer the question (5 - “employability” or 6 - “financial capability”) that applies to your organization’s topic of work (see below for definitions)


5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

To hold information-age jobs, students need to be flexible and resilient, to take the initiative and lead when necessary, and to produce something new, useful, valuable and authentic to themselves, and their communities. To do this effectively their education should show the net citizen benefits of working with the licences and practices of the Open Movement. The OKC provides a meaningful deep dive into the knowledge the students consume online, whilst imparting vital skill sets that range from digital literacy, analytical thought and writing skills (that include research and citations) to choosing the correct copyright for the context, capturing community voices, and content creation and dissemination. Additionally, the content currently on global knowledge systems and online media pitifully under-represents the interests, achievements, cultures and peoples of Africa.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

The OKC will prepare students to: * Enhance their ‘human specialities’ skills: emotional intelligence, creativity, collaboration, sharing experiences, etc., * Integrate academic practices (writing, research, referencing, citation), * Navigate copyright, copyleft, public domain, ect, * Ethically and respectfully source and cite first-hand accounts, interviews, local cultures, experiences, * Have their knowledge both valued and found valuable by both a local and global audience, * Discern real news from fake news, * Proactively celebrate and share their histories, cultures, and interests

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

At the moment, nobody is addressing this problem in this manner. Students across the education systems of Africa are, during ICT classes, taught how to operate computers and, if they are lucky, how to write rudimentary code. Nobody in the secondary/adult education space is trying to approach the subject through content creation, and certainly not with an open outlook set as default. Within the Open Movement, Wikimedia groups across Africa (most of which we are already working with) and Mozilla volunteers occasionally have young adult-focused events, but not at secondary school-age learners.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

The project is still too early to consider impact. The idea for OKC itself emerged from a collaboratory workshop among education and information stakeholders in Cape Town in 2018. And there have been a further two workshops held about OKC at Wikimania Stockholm and Creative Commons Lisbon Summit (both in 2019). However, the statistics from one of our education projects WikiChallenge Ecoles d'Afrique could possibly show the lower level of impact we are expecting. Over 2 years, the contest engaged 65 schools in 7 countries to submit 139 articles and over 600 photographs to Vikidia, the smaller sister of Wikipedia. (Please note, WikiChallenge Ecoles d'Afrique is a writing contest in *primary* schools, not an ongoing curriculum programme.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

The project has been mapped to develop through a 3-phase, 4-year development plan with a 5-year on-going, support programme embedded within the workings of the implementing organisation Wiki In Africa. Funding will be required to initiate the four-year development plan, and thereafter the project is intended to require minimal updates to the curriculum as and when platforms evolve and new elements enter the landscape. The phases are currently scoped as: * Phase 1 (8 months): Needs assessment, mapping and project development * Phase 2 (16 months): Content creation and curriculum development * Phase 3 (24 months): Pilot testing, adaptation and expansion * Next steps (5 years): On-going support for the programme (pending further funding)

10. Team

Across the three phases: * The core team: Project conceptualisation and management (Anglophone); project management (Francophone); bi-lingual project education liaison. * Expert Advisory Board from across Africa Additional teams: * Phase 1: tertiary students (education); open movement volunteers and project facilitators * Phase 2: Curriculum development: curriculum consultants, curriculum design and development experts; content creators * Phase 3: schools liaisons per region.

Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)

  • Race
  • Nationality
  • Ethnic group
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Political belief

If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?

Wiki In Africa's projects across Africa are intentionally geared to ensuring that every person's access and rights are acknowledged and encouraged, whether this be through the celebration and acknowledgement of diversity across genders, cultures, identities or sexualities. Our other projects intentionally celebrate all of Africa's diversity via either culture ( or gender equity ( or access to education ( OKC is no different.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

Evaluation results

1 evaluation so far

1. OVERALL Evaluation:

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2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

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3. Does this entry have SOCIAL IMPACT?

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4. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

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6. FEEDBACK: Highlights

IMPACT POTENTIAL: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) – and you have a concrete plan for future impact. You have specific tools for measuring impact. - 100%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful solutions - 0%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work operationally and financially in the present and future; your plan is specific and you value sustainability. - 0%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You have a good plan on how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 100%

Other option - 0%

7. FEEDBACK: Areas for Improvement

IMPACT POTENTIAL: make sure to provide specific instances of your social impact (or how you plan to measure impact) – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, the main activities/products, and provide evidence of (or plan for) impact evaluation - 100%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: make sure to describe how your solution is unique and innovative – it is helpful to include the research you have done on past solutions and how your solution is different from (and/or builds upon) these. - 100%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 0%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: make sure you describe your plan for how to empower others to become changemakers through your programming, service, or product - 100%

WRITING STYLE. Try to be concise, descriptive, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

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