Do What You Can’t
As of January 2021, the average medium-range Android phone’s storage capacity was 128 GB. This is enough to store the entirety of Wikipedia 6.3 million articles (87 GB), and then some.
Access to online content, on the other hand, plateaued for the first time. The COVID-19 pandemic continued to keep millions of people at home, including kids that couldn’t access online material because, well, they could not afford it.
This is where Kiwix can help. In West Africa. In the Himalayas. In the Middle East and countless other places, in 2021 we have made more content available to more people.
To our supporters,
To our doubters,
To this guy who told us in 2017 that offline access would be solved by satellites and balloons within 5 years,
This yearly annual report is for you.
Users, users everywhere!
Measuring offline audiences is notoriously hard.
Besides direct server connections, we asked every single organisation we work with to tell us how many people they served. Lateral distribution (people sharing Kiwix with their neighbours and friends) is therefore not accounted for.
Countries & Territories
The other wiki, but for a much more hands-on approach to things : this collection of how-to guides is now available in 19 languages thanks to support from the Endless Foundation.
Wikipedia for Schools
Wikipedia is great, but do schools really want their students fall through this rabbit hole of knowledge, starting at Algebra and ending up six clicks later at the 1954 rugby league world cup? A partnership with Arizona State University allows us to offer a selection of 10,000 hand-picked articles fit for school audiences.
Interplanetary File System
Work with Protocol Labs has allowed us to offer an updated and censorship-proof distributed version of Wikipedia in seven languages (ar, en, fa, my, ru, tr, zh), up from two previously.
The zimfarm has been updated to now include content in Zangskari (a Ladakhi language) and Dagbani (Northern Ghana).
Going viral in Peru
Among the many fine pieces of content that we re-distribute, a couple have made their way to a dedicated Android App. Basically the zim files are directly appended to the Kiwix backend, making easy to use apps (as opposite to the more generic Kiwix app, which works more like a library).
Wikivoyage and Wikimed come to mind, but also PhET, a suite of very simple chemistry and physics simulations that allow students to run visual experiments on their phone.
Turns out that because of COVID many kids ended up being stuck at home and unable to do lab work. What’s the alternative, then? Well simply download the PhET app and use it instead.
In Peru, downloads of the app suddendly skyrocketed to 8,000 new installations per day between March and May of this year, to about 230,000 active users by the end of the school year.
More 2021 milestones
Zim-tools is the Swiss-army knife for manipulating ZIM files. As a suite of command line tools, this new release is an important milestone in our global QA effort around ZIM files.
One year of effort, 15,000 lines of code changed (out of 23,000).
Hard to describe but if Kiwix were a car, Libzim would be the valve, turning gas into energy: search, indexing, browsing from one entry to the other are managed there.
As always, you can monitor our work and progress (or lack thereof) at metrics.kiwix.org
WISE Award and MIT Solve finalists
Recognition is always nice – Kiwix made it this year to the final shortlist of projects for two of the largest EdTech prizes in the world: the WISE awards from the Qatar Foundation, and MIT Solve (whose previous winners already included projects running Kiwix).
In both cases, Kiwix came out on top of several hundred other competitors.
Kiwix was also offered a fully-paid design sprint by the Canton of Vaud, Switzerland, where we are located.
Together with the Yverdon School of Engineering, we fully reconsidered the hotspot cardshop user experience. The new installer interface to be released as a result will have very little in common with the old one, as we revisited (and changed) most of our initial assumptions.
Our first post-Pandemic Hackathon took place in Lyon, France. Participants came from Switzerland, France, Mali and the UK, and met for 8 days of non-stop coding.
The full summary of goals and achievements can be found here.
Looking out to deliver these in 2022 and beyond.
Having more than 8,000 different zim files to manage in 100+ languages creates problem of its own. We will be rolling out a range of backend improvements to help speed up file management and QA checks.
Fully revamped cardshop UI to make it easier to create a bespoke hotspot. Fully dockerized as well, this should make it easier to bring more powerful content. OpenStreetmap offline anyone?
and much more…
Wikipedia subsets on demand, a new Android library, a new macOS version, Khan Academy… It’s all in our plans.
Just as much as 2020 was a very bad, not good year, 2021 saw us turn this around thanks to a slight increase in the absolute volume of grants, but also because we have been able to provide (paid) services to partners who use Kiwix to support their own programs.
Going forward this will help us make Kiwix sustainable, and in the short term the objective is to replenish our rainy-day fund that proved so helpful in weathering external shocks.
Full audited financials available here as well as auditors report.
|Sales of services||
Staff & Contractors
|Marketing (incl. goodies for volunteers)||
|IT and other charges||(18’989.-)|
|Profit (loss) for 2021, to be reallocated to 2022 budget||
All amounts in CHF. Kiwix is a registered not-for-profit with tax-exempt status.
Want to keep us going?
Kiwix is entirely free. As a nonprofit, open-source project, Kiwix wouldn’t be what it is without the support of users -and donors- like you.