SuSanA Flickr photo database reaches 10,000 photos! - And has been transferred also to Wikimedia Commons (Wikipedia)


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SuSanA Flickr photo database reaches 10,000 photos! - And has been transferred also to Wikimedia Commons (Wikipedia)

Dear all,

Remember this milestone from last year when we announced the 10,000th photo uploaded to our SuSanA flickr photo database? (see here:

Meanwhile we are at nearly 11,000 photos but even more excitingly, our photos have also become part of Wikipedia's "Wikimedia Commons" * . This means they are easily accessible to other Wikipedia editors looking for images to illustrate their articles. It means for me as well when I want to include an image in a Wikipedia article (say a constructed wetland image), which we had once uploaded to our flickr database, I can insert it into an article with 2-3 mouse clicks, it's very convenient and fast.

It also means that other people may "stumble" across our photos without even looking for them. Photos in Wikimedia Commons are also found via Google image searches.

All photos in Wikimedia Commons are under the licence CC-BY (open access).

How was this possible? There is a Wikipedia editor under the name of Fae (Ashley Van Haeften,
Wikimedia Commons volunteer) who has set up a little software routine (called a "bot" in Wikipedia) which transferred all the photos (including all their attributes, descriptions, hyperlinks etc. across). That's really awesome and I am very grateful to Fae for his work on this bot!

Fae wrote about his (volunteer) work here in a blog post recently:

The title of his blog post is:
Sharing a million photographs

This is the first paragraph of the blog post:

Over the past three years, my volunteer time has been devoted to releasing free cultural and historical imagery on the Wikimedia Commons. My part-time hobby—relying on a cheap netbook and an old but trusty Macmini home desktop—has reached 1,000,000 diverse and high quality images for public reuse, carrying with it a massive long term educational impact. The milestone makes this a good moment to highlight a handful of interesting projects and gives an insight into the experience of being a Wikimedia Commons batch uploader, pointing to the methods used to help anyone interested in having a go.

And this is the paragraph where he explains our photos:

Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)

This upload is still ongoing: it runs a couple of times a year on request as more photographs are published on SuSanA’s Flickr account. Over 10,000 photographs have been released on Wikimedia Commons, with over 200 volunteers helping to categorize them. This partnership is a good example of how Wikimedia volunteers can work to the benefit of unrelated organizations, NGOs (non-governmental organizations), charities etc. at zero-cost, increase the educational value of Wikimedia Commons, and help illustrate health related Wikipedia articles. SuSanA is a loose network or alliance of organizations active in the field of sustainable sanitation. The photographs are for example showing how to build low-cost hygienic and sustainable toilet facilities in developing countries, ensuring that some of the poorest people in the world are safer from disease, have access to unpolluted water and recycle their excreta to create more fertile soil for farming.

I simply love it when work that we as SuSanA have done, can easily be recycled into a wider sphere where more people have access to it and become aware of the sanitation crisis and possible sustainable solutions!

Therefore, please keep contributing photos to our flickr photo database, now it's even more worthwhile than before: **

From there they will make their way into Wikimedia Commons. And from there - who knows - your photo might become famous by becoming part of a popular Wikipedia page!

Like the photo by Heike Hoffmann from Rotaria (Peru) which is used in the Wikipedia article on sanitation as the lead photo:

File Attachment:
Shower, double-vault UDDT and urinal by SuSanA Secretariat , on Flickr

Thanks to all those who have shared their photos in this way, thanks to the secretariat of SuSanA for maintaining this flickr database and thanks to James and Fae for making the connection with Wikipedia!


* What exactly is Wikimedia Commons, I hear you ask?

It's the place where people can store images and videos. It's
"a database of 27,244,861 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute" (yes, 27 million files!!)

Another explanation:

"Wikimedia Commons (or simply Commons) is an online repository of free-use images, sound, and other media files. It is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation."

For further information see:

** If you have sanitation-related photos to contribute to the collection please either send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or - if you have lots- request the login and password from the secretariat who can guide you on how to upload them yourself. Note that the photos must be completely open to share without any copyright restriction (this means licence type: CC-BY) and they should also have a title and description which is easy to set up in flickr. In fact, the more information is provided about a photo the more likely it is that someone else will find it useful and use it and therefore spread the information around.

The nice thing is also when other people use your photo, they must still acknowledge the source, i.e. mention your name if it was a photo that you took. - Obviously, the same thing applies the other way around, i.e. when you use a photo that you have downloaded from the flickr photo database you need to "give appropriate credit", i.e. name the photographer.
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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