Leveraging on the potency of Africa’s youth in bridging the Africa Knowledge Gap on Wikipedia
For a long time, Wikipedia has had a knowledge gap in African related content. The fact that there are more articles about Paris on Wikipedia than on the whole continent of Africa is quite concerning. Africa is said to be the most linguistically diverse continent on the planet, with over 2000 active languages. These languages, however, are gradually fading into history. According to a 2018 report by UNESCO, over 300 African languages are endangered, with more than 52 already extinct. Wikipedia has emerged as one of the most effective tools for preserving and slowing the dissipating of these languages. Despite this opportunity, it is estimated that there are not more than 100,000 articles written in any single African language Wiki.
The gaps are evident with the current demographics of Wikipedia contributors all pointing to the fact that there is a systematic bias in the knowledge that is being produced on the site.
The challenges accounting for this gap are enormous, spanning from lack of awareness and low capacity-building opportunities, leading to low contribution from the continent.
The fact that so many young people make up the population of Africa is a thrilling opportunity for us. Africa is thought to have the youngest population in the world, with more than 400 million people between the ages of 15 and 35. There is no doubt that this is reflected in the African Wikimedia communities, where young people under the age of 35 make up about 80% of the community’s population, particularly in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, Zambia, and Somalia.
In commemoration of the Africa Youth Day celebration, Open Foundation West Africa had the honor of being the implementing partner of this year’s Africa Youth Day Campaign, where we engaged communities and youth in Ghana to build their capacity and improve the existing narrative on Wikipedia through the Africa Knowledge Initiative (AKI) together with Wiki Vibrance Project.
As part of the campaign, we organized a four-week virtual training program to provide young people the opportunity to develop their skills on Wikimedia projects like Wikipedia and translate wiki tools. To top it all off, we held two in-person workshops in Accra and Tamale, recognizing the benefits of in-person training while not disputing the fact that virtual training is also a vital approach to reaching participants in our training programs. The events were a huge success thanks to our collaborations with other Wikimedia groups in Ghana, such as Wikimedia Ghana Usergroup, Global Open Initiative Foundation (GOIF), Fanti Wikimedia group, and support from Sadik Shahadu of the Dagbani Wikimedia Usergroup. We sincerely appreciate their unwavering support for this course. New members were enrolled in our community WhatsApp groups to ensure continued support. Some of the thoughts that were shared around the campaign included;
“Africa youth month campaign allowed participants to learn how to translate articles from English into Dagbani on the Wikipedia space. Learning how to write in the local dialect was important, it help save history and articles from being lost once they have been written on Wikipedia space”.User:Nyamemawa famanyame
It’s of great pleasure to attend “The Africa Youth Month” campaign event, the facilitation was detailed and I was able to learn in a different style. More importantly, new editors were introduced to the campaign and I was really impressed with the passion, commitment they’ve showed.User:Elkay20
The Africa Youth Month campaign event was a great opportunity to learn from and connect with young people from across the continent. I was impressed by the level of engagement and enthusiasm at the event, and I think it’s important to involve young people in the decision-making process in order to drive change and progress.Subsequently, I hope to be part of other great initiatives.User:Sunkanmi12
“The information from the trainers was well assimilated and participants were fired up to make contributions to bridge the knowledge gap about Africa. Overall, the Africa Knowledge theme resonated very well with all who were present.”User:Gkbediako
I believe that with the Africa Union coming on board through the Africa Knowledge Initiative, we are on our way to achieving greater impact as a continent in bridging the Africa Knowledge gap online. This campaign has ignited a sense of urgency and the need for us to leverage our collective strength and efforts as Africans toward this goal.User:Ruby D-Brown
It was à productive training session, learnt and unlearn everything about Wikipedia and glad to be an editorUser:Sharonne123
I learnt alot on how to edit an article which was really relevant to me because I was able to edit using simple sentences and words as the subtitle with the original source.User:Ewurabenamoore
It was important to me because I was able to create my account. My experience, I actually learned more things about Wikipedia English and the DagbaniUser:Musah Mariam
Why I think the Africa youth month camping was important? Not withstanding the human network derived from the workshop, and through this, we the youth have been educated on how to document African historical events in our own mother languages. the program help me in person to understand more features of Wikipedia platform. It have also educated me on how to edit and public a story and beyond. Usefulness of Wikipedia wasn’t left out.User:Them4brc
The Africa Youth Day Ghana campaign has a contest aspect that allows participants to win wonderful gift vouchers! The contest continues to run till Dec 15th 2022 and we encourage participants to join the AYM Campaign dashboard to help bridge the content gap.
Criteria for Selection/Point System
The point award system is as follows:
- 5 points: Creating an article with a minimum of 4000 bytes (4000 characters)
- 3 points: Creating an article with a minimum of 1500 bytes (1500 characters)
- 1 point: Creating a new Wiki Data item
- 1 point: Uploading and using the relevant photo on a Wikipedia article
- 1 point: Using an existing photo from Wikimedia Commons
NB: Use the character counter tool to check the number of bytes or characters of content added to your article(s).
Are you struggling to find topics to write about?
- List of suggested articles for translation!
- New Articles List
- How to translate an article on Wikipedia
- How to edit Wikipedia articles
- How to create a Wikipedia article
- Africa Union Fact Book
Award for Writing Contest
- 800 GHC Gift Voucher – Overall Winner
- 600 GHC Gift Voucher – 2nd winner
- 400 GHC Gift Voucher – 3rd Winner
- Souvenirs – 4th to 10th Winners
Follow us on social media
Twitter : @ofwafrica
What is AKI?
Africa Knowledge Initiative (AKI) is an initiative with a focus on closing the knowledge and content gap that exists on the internet about Africa, leveraging Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. AKI has decided to kick off its activities using three AU holidays; Africa Youth day – on 1st Nov 2022, Environment/Wangari Maathai day 3rd Mar 2023, and Africa day 25th May 2023.
What is Africa Youth Day
The Africa Youth Day (AYD) 2022, celebrated as one of the African Union (AU) holidays aims to engage African Wikimedia youth and the entire African Wikimedia community in activities that will contribute to content related to this year’s Africa Youth Day theme “Breaking the Barriers to Meaningful Youth Participation and Inclusion in Advocacy”.
What is Wiki Vibrance?
Wiki Vibrance Project is a youth-focused initiative in the movement that acknowledges and supports young Wikimedians through community engagement activities to create synergies, share knowledge and build capacities to contribute to the content of selected thematic drives across Wikimedia projects.
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