Nigeria, with a population of more than 200 million people, is unarguably the largest nation in Africa. It was a colony of the British empire and got its independence in 1960. In 1986, it acquired the current status of 36 states + Federal Character Territory (Abuja). It’s one of the most diverse nations with over 500+ indigenous languages, representing 25% of the entire country in Africa. There are over 300 ethnic groups across the length and breadth of the land.
The New Readers program has been an essential part of growing the WMF’s understanding of the gaps we need to fill in awareness and use of the Wikimedia projects in Emerging Markets. In the WMF’s New Awareness research conducted in Nigeria in 2016, less than 77% of Nigerians are aware of Wikipedia and its sister projects. The idea behind this research gave birth to the Wikimedia Nigeria Fan Club at the University of Ibadan, the first tertiary institution in Nigeria and the premier edition of the project. Later in the year, we had another fan club at the Nigeria Institute of Journalism in Lagos. Today, there are over 6 Wikimedia Nigeria Fan Clubs in Nigeria. Other institutions are in the pipeline for the project and coordinated by the community in charge of community resources within the Wikimedia User Group Nigeria.
The entity behind this project and many others are the Wikimedia User Group, Nigeria (WUGN), an affiliate of the Wikimedia Foundation recognised by the Affiliations Committee in September 2015 to introduce Wikimedia and its sister projects to Nigeria. It was the premier Wikimedia affiliate in the country. Subsequently, there are recognitions of other language-based Wikimedia User groups like; Igbo Wikimedians User Group, Hausa WIkimedians User Group, Yoruba Wikimedians User Group, Gungbe Wikimedians User Group, Tyap Wikimedians User Group. The Wikimedia UG Nigeria started its operation in Nigeria with three members, all residing in Lagos. By 2022, the group user base is now 400+ domiciling in over 80% of states in Nigeria.
The group received Wikimedia Community Support Grant in 2022 after 6+ years of recognition to promote various missioned aligned programs in Nigeria. Its Community Support Funds is an integral part of the annual program designed by Wikimedia User Group Nigeria to support Nigerian mission-aligned organization, individual members of the Wikimedia User Group Nigeria, fan clubs, and organised groups contributing to any Wikimedia projects such as Wikipedia, Wikidata or Wikimedia Commons etc.– to manage projects throughout the year with a budget of $100 up to $500. The Application opens on the 1st of May 2022! The grant focuses on Campaigns, e.g. Wiki Loves, 1 Lib 1Ref, e.t.c and micro-grants.
The grant is administered through an independent committee of community members from different walks of life in Nigeria’s three user groups. Every month, the Grant applications are submitted from the 1st-15th, while the reviewing is from the 16th -the 25th of every month. The administration of the grants started in May 2022 with only five applicants. As of September, twenty applicants applied for the scheme from all states. However, the program could only fund a maximum of five campaign grants and two community grants, as agreed in the Annual Plan Grant (APG). In the 2023 APG, the team intends to increase the support.
Recently, the group will celebrate its 7th anniversary in September 2022. Within this short time, the group has worked with 100+ local and international partners to promote Wikipedia and its sister projects in Nigeria.