One of the major challenges facing a small language Wikipedia is low readership. Wikipedia, the world’s largest online free encyclopedia, exists in more than 300 languages but the most popular version is the English Wikipedia.
Wikipedia currently exists in the Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo languages but they are not yet popular among the readers of Wikipedia in Nigeria. The Yoruba Wikipedia community is experimenting with different approaches to create awareness for the Yoruba language Wikipedia.
In November 2020, I featured in Aajiirebi, a pre-recorded 30-minute educative and entertainment talk show being aired on Africa Magic Yoruba where I talked about the Yoruba Wikipedia. The show was broadcasted on the 15th of February 2021, and Yoruba Wikipedia has a total of 571,837 site-views on that day alone. That was the highest site-view per day we have ever experienced since Yoruba Wikipedia was created. This show that audio-visuals is a powerful tool for promoting readership.
In February 2021, with support from the WMF’s rapid grant we decided to experiment with a short video as a tool to promote the readership of the Yoruba language Wikipedia. The video featured Tunde Kelani, an award-winning Nigerian filmmaker and storyteller. Dr. Joke Muyiwa, a veteran Yoruba actress, and Tunde Oladimeji, a multi-talented film actor and indigenous documentary filmmaker, were also featured.
The video was promoted on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and over 67,000 viewers were recorded. We attached a form for viewers who might want to learn more about the Yoruba Wikipedia, how it works, and how they can contribute to it. A total of 25 viewers who are native speakers of the Yoruba language completed the form. We plan to organize a two-day training for these viewers. This suggests that videos could be invaluable tools for recruiting volunteers for a small language Wikipedia.
The production was very challenging, as we did not have enough funding to pay for the services of notable filmmakers who would feature in the video and we wanted a high-quality product. We turned to Tunde Oladimeji, a renowned actor and documentary filmmaker, to help with getting actors or respected filmmakers who could feature in the video.
In his response, he said: “Baba Tunde Kelani is one of the few people I have in mind, due to his passion for promoting knowledge in indigenous language”. He suggested that we contact Dr. Joke Muyiwa (Ph.D), a popular actress with an acting career spanning four decades, who featured in our AfroCuration video for COVID-19.
Oladimeji visited Tunde Kelani in his Abeokuta home where he discussed the idea and the script with him. TK was thrilled with the idea of promoting the Yoruba language in a digital encyclopedia and agreed to feature in the project. He proposed a date and the crew traveled back to Abeokuta for the shooting. Dr. Joke Muyiwa, on the other hand, had a very busy schedule and it took us a few days to agree on a specific date for the shooting. She actually had to cancel an appointment to make the shoot. It was truly an amazing experience working with a professional documentary filmmaker and notable actors in the Nigerian film industries.
Promotion on social media
The video was promoted on Facebook and Twitter but the amount budgeted for the video promotion was too small. From the promotion insight on Facebook and Twitter, the video reached a total of 218.28K but only a total of 68.6K people viewed the video. This audience figure may not result in large increase in site views. We will promote it again with a bigger budget to be able to measure its impact on the readership of Yoruba Wikipedia.
In the promotion, we added a form to collect personal information of viewers who may be interested in learning more about the Yoruba Wikipedia and how to contributing to it. A total of 25 people completed the form, and we plan to follow up with them, and organize a training for them in May 2021.
For more information and further information about this campaign, please visit the campaign project page. Let us know if there are ways you would like to support this campaign.