The Dagbani Wikimedians User Group has successfully organized Wikidata’s 10th anniversary with its sister communities in Tamale, Ghana. The event brought together some members of the Dagbani Wikimedia, the Gurene Wikimedia, and the Moore Wikimedia communities in one place for the first time to celebrate the 10th birthday of Wikidata in Tamale.
Wikidata is one of the Wikimedia Foundation’s multilingual projects that everyone collaboratively edits. Like any other Wikimedia project, such as Wikipedia, it is a common source of open data that anyone else can use under the CC0 public domain license. “Wikidata is a wiki that runs on the MediaWiki software and the Wikibase set of knowledge graph MediaWiki extensions.”
Wikidata went live on October 29, 2012, and has since become one of the most important projects of the Wikimedia Foundation. Turned ten years old in October 2022, and after bringing new energy into the open source system, there are various celebrations across different parts of the world where people are brought together to appreciate the achievements of their communities and also to talk about Wikidata to the rest of the world to get more people to contribute to it. These get-togethers and birthday events take several forms in different parts of the world, such as meetups, workshops, discussions, live streams, and editing campaigns. It is a new effort to provide a database of knowledge that can be read and edited by humans and machines alike.
The Tamale version of the celebration by the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group and its two sister communities was a combination of the meetup, workshop, discussions, and editing campaign in three parts. The first part involved the participants from all three communities, numbering over 80, embarking on a mini float with a team of scouts following and directing traffic so participants could walk freely in one of the principal streets of Tamale, the northern regional capital of Ghana. The float was in the form of a health walk from the event center about 5 kilometers away and back. The walk started at 6:00 a.m. and ended at 8:00 a.m. It was fun and meant to prepare, energize, and make participants stay fit and active for the remaining planned activities of the event for the day, as well as to announce and create awareness among the public about the anniversary. After the mini-float, the Executive Director of the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group, Sadik Shahadu, led participants to do some stretching exercises before taking some rest and preparing for the other planned activities.
In the second part of the celebration, participants, targeted mainly at newbies or community members with little knowledge, were taken through an overview of Wikidata, basic Wikidata editing skills, and an introduction to some tools via toolforge.org that they can use to edit with ease and in a more fun way. This was to get participants to understand and appreciate Wikidata, how it is done, what it does, and why it is worth celebrating. The facilitator, Dnshitobo, after showing participants how to edit on Wikidata, tasked each participant to create at least one item and add labels, descriptions, and statements. The other team members and community leads went around to assist participants who had some challenges during the process. The session ended at 3:00 pm, and participants could not hide their joy and said that Wikidata deserved celebration.
The last part was the celebration of the birthday with a cake cutting, playing indoor games, and dinner. The Executive Director, Sadik, led the cake-cutting amidst birthday songs and cheers. Some of the indoor games played were a singing competition between one representative from each of the three language communities, a pick-and-act competition among the communities, and a chair dance competition. The final round of the celebration was the party or dinner, where participants were served different local dishes and drinks.
The Executive Director, Shahadu Sadik, the Program Coordinator, Yussif Abdul Rasheed, and the Communications Manager, Mohammed Awal Alhassan, as well as some participants, granted interviews to Saganity TV, a satellite television station that was around to cover the event for both their English and local language news bulletins.
Sadik noted that the event exceeded his expectations and that the credit first goes to the Wikimedia Foundation for funding the event and to the team for their immense contribution of ideas that ensured a super exciting event from the beginning to the end. The program coordinator also expressed his sincere appreciation to the three community members, especially those who traveled several miles from other regions across Ghana to participate in the event. He congratulated everyone for the show of commitment and passion that made the event a success. The communications manager, for his part, recounted the activities of the event from beginning to end. He noted that the job is always easier to execute when there is a team of selfless and committed people who work with more good hands. He also thanked everyone for their various contributions to the event’s success.
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