The platform

12 December 2017

Sikana is a NGO willing to fight poverty by sharing knowledge.

Its idea comes from a simple observation: the countries called "poor" have a lot of resources at their disposal. But they often lack knowledge about how to use those resources, in order to make their environment safer and more enjoyable to live.

Sikana (phonetics of the Hindi word "सिखाना", meaning "Learn" and "Teach"), wishes to address this by inspiring people to act. It shows people that changing their world is possible by learning a few simple skills.

This movement gave birth to an international community which collects practical knowledge from experts around the globe, and makes it accessible for everyone through pedagogical content (video, pedagogical sheets, infographics, ...).

As a developer at Sikana, I'm working on the online platform which broadcasts those videos, and allows volunteers to help conceive and translate the content.

Therefore, the platform is divided in two parts:

  • which is the pedagogical platform, today available in 10 languages.
  • which is the collaborative translating platform for volunteers., the pedagogical platform

The pedagogical platform is available in 10 languages, and its content is organized in 6 categories: Cooking, Art, DIY, Nature, Health, and Sport.

A wide range of topics is treated: "Learn how to save a life", "Discover renewable energy", "Learn Yoga", "Furniture restoration", or even "Grow an organic garden".

Each of those topics are detailed in a pedagogical program, which is segmented in chapters, and contains videos, infographics, or other educational resources.

These programs are conceived in partnership with other associations (Red Cross, Electricians Without Borders, Emmaüs, etc.) who bring us their knowledge and expertise.

All this content is freely accessible, in streaming or free download, under Creative Commons license.

Factory, the collaborative platform

In order to translate all this content in 10 languages, Sikana is relying on its community of volunteers who uses the tool Factory.

There, one can find a website translation tool, a video scripts translation tool, together with a subtitling translation tool.

For now, the translations are reviewed and validated by an intern team, but we hope to improve the platform enough so this work gets done by the volunteers as well.


As I wrote above, Sikana's content is freely available on, but also on other streaming platforms such as YouTube, NetEase, Pear video, etc.

It is cumulating, at the time I'm writing those lines, more than 31 millions views across all those platforms.

The content is as well used on the field by several associations:

The Red Cross is using our program "Learn how to save a life" in its training centers and in its first aid app, Emmaüs teaches furniture restoration with our videos, sport teachers in national French schools use our videos to demonstrate technical gestures, ...

Finally, with videos available in free downloading on the website, we are not even aware of all the initiatives using our content around the world. Sometimes we are surprized by getting a thankful mail from a school in China, Africa, South America, ...

This article was typed while listening to "Kabuki" from Teho & TRan.