Africa Day is a special occasion that unites us as Africans, reminding us of our shared history, struggles, and triumphs. It’s a day to celebrate the diversity, resilience, and potential that exists within our borders.
The Kwara Experience!
Bukola James led the Africa Day Campaign 2023 in Kwara, Nigeria, with micro funding from Open Foundation West Africa and valuable assistance from experienced facilitators like Barakat Adegboye, Miracle James, Blessing Linason, and Rhoda James. The main theme of this year’s campaign which is celebrated on the 25th of May annually was tagged “Acceleration of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) implementation” with Organisers given the opportunity to select from the suggested topics curated for the Campaign. Specifically the primary objective of the local implementation in Kwara was to “recruit and train Nigerians in creating and improving content about Nigeria and Nigerians on Wikipedia, Wikidata, and Wikimedia Commons focused on some of the related topics of the theme. This content encompassed articles, images, videos, and other media that effectively showcased the rich cultural diversity, historical significance, natural resources, and contemporary achievements of Nigeria.
The campaign specifically focused on creating content related to Nigerian cuisines, infrastructure, tourism, and notable companies, among other subjects in Nigeria. By doing so, the campaign meticulously documented the stories of Nigeria while also emphasising the advantages of free trade. These selected topics harmoniously aligned with the overarching mission of the campaign, which aimed to foster a deeper comprehension of Africa, its people, diverse cultures, and cherished heritage.
This campaign aimed to accurately represent Nigeria’s diverse and significant heritage, along with its current advancements, on Wikimedia platforms. It aimed to achieve two major goals:
- Promoting Nigerian content on Wikimedia platforms: this involves actively encouraging Nigerians, organisations, and institutions to contribute their knowledge, expertise, and resources to Wikimedia projects. This was accomplished through the blended training sessions organised to educate and empower them to contribute effectively to Wikimedia projects.
- Enhancing the visibility of Nigerian’s historical and contemporary contributions to the African continent and the world: the campaign aimed to boost Nigeria’s visibility on Wikimedia platforms by showcasing its rich cultural heritage, including ethnic diversity, languages, food, tourist attractions, and visual arts. Thereby, closing existing biases and gaps in representation while highlighting Nigeria’s historical significance and achievements in different fields.
Steps Developed to Achieve the Project Goals
- Planning (May 15th – May 25th, 2023): This began with a series of activities, to identify the main approaches needed to achieve the changes that would be developed and delivered during the program. We identified two strategies to adopt for our deliverables which were;
- Two online sessions
- One physical session
During our planning stage, we also carried out other activities such as drafting proposals, receiving funds, creating e-flyers and sharing them on various social media platforms to call for participants, creating the campaign metapage and outreach dashboard, creating online platforms to connect with participants, fixing the date and time for all the sessions among others.
- Implementation (May 25th – June 20th, 2023):
This project adopted the blended mode of implementation: We had two online training sessions that was followed by a physical session.
- The first online training session was held on the 25th of May, 2023 to introduce the campaign and train participant on how to contribute, using Wikipedia, Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons with provision for data reimbursement, and one-on-one support. Participants’ contributions were diligently monitored on the dashboard and daily updates were sent to the various campaign communication channels to encourage participants.
- The second online session (follow-up) was held on the 4th of June, 2023 to check on the participants’ contributions and also discuss their challenges so as to proffer solutions to them.
- The physical training session was held on the 10th of June, 2023. This session provided participants with an in-person training experience and an opportunity to discuss the theme of the campaign. At the end of the in-person session participants were provided with a food menu of Nigerian cuisine.
- Evaluation (June 20th – June 30th, 2023):
This stage covers the preparation and submission of the project report.
We were able to gather that:
- 80% of the participants were already familiar with Wikipedia and its sister projects but could not expand articles, add correct citations, create a detailed Wikidata item or add images with the correct descriptions and captions to Wikimedia Commons. Hence, the training specifically exposed participants to other ways of improving content on Wikipedia aside from adding citations to existing articles, and how to upload media files on WikiCommons, and improve data quality on Wikidata.
- Article listings and the use of the direct link to participants’ special contributions through the Outreach dashboard served as the most effective metrics for gauging the campaign’s success.
- There is a need to identify the content gaps, the availability of information resources, and the appropriate participants to bridge the gap to effectively improve content gaps in Wikipedia and its sister project.
- Giving participants immediate feedback and individualised guidance enhances their community participation which boosts their editing efforts and maintains their presence in numerous Wikimedia projects.
- Based on the edits recorded, the project met the expectations.
Challenges and Recommendations
- Most of the participants were unfamiliar with the topic of impact and this slowed down our campaign at some points. We had to engage them in several one-on-one sessions before they became acquainted with the campaign theme and contribute meaningfully. We hope to build our next campaign upon these learnings.
- We had many cases of blocked IP addresses and this led to reduced enthusiasm and contributions from some of these participants and as a solution shared links to IPBE form with them. We recommend that the foundation proffer a long and sustainable solution to this repeated problem.
Recordings and Photos
Bukola James (Lead): is the Community Coordinator for CodeforAfrica (CfA) Wikimedia in Residence (WiRs) Initiatives. She is an aspiring academic librarian and a certified Wikipedian in African Libraries with a passion for free knowledge. She is also a certified Content Organiser of Wiki projects and certified trainer of the Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom program as well as the founder of the Wikimedia Fan Club at Kwara State University, Nigeria. She has led several GLAM-Wiki projects and campaigns in Nigeria such as Wikidata for Libraries and Librarians in Nigeria, WikiGLAM Awareness for Librarians in Kwara and Lagos, WikiLovesLibrariesNigeria, 1lib1ref Kwara 2022, WikiLovesMonuments among others. Currently, she serves as the Special Advisor on the Wikipedia and Education User Group.
Barakat Adegboye (Facilitator): Barakat, a Wikimedia volunteer from Nigeria, has gained extensive experience as a facilitator and editor in various Wikimedia projects. Some of these projects include Wiki loves SDGs, WikiGLAM, 1lib1ref, Wikidata for Libraries and Librarians in Nigeria, Wikidata for Novels and Novelists in Nigeria, WikiLovesLibraries, Promoting Nigerian Books and Authors, Celtic Knot Kwara, and more. Barakat has also served as a facilitator for Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom programs in Kwara, Nigeria, for teachers and secondary school students. As the General Secretary of the University of Ilorin Wikimedia Fan Club, Barakat, a trained educator, is passionate about learning, sharing knowledge, and has gained valuable experience through her contributions to these projects and others over the past two years.
Rhoda James (Facilitator): is an experienced Wikimedian, who has participated in various Wikimedia projects (as a facilitator as well as an editor) namely; Some of these projects include Wiki loves SDGs, WikiGLAM, 1lib1ref, Wikidata for Libraries and Librarians in Nigeria, Wikidata for Novels and Novelists in Nigeria, WikiLovesLibraries, Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom for Secondary School students, Promoting Nigerian Books and Authors, Celtic Knot Kwara, and more.
Linason Blessing (Facilitator): Blessing is an experienced Wikibrarian and has participated in various Wikimedia projects such as WikiLoveAfrica, WPWP, Wikidata (Media personalities in Nigeria), Winner of WPWP Kwara and Wikidata Media personality in Nigeria, WikiGLAM Awareness for Libraries and Librarians in Kwara, Wikidata for Libraries and Librarians in Nigeria, 1lib1ref 2022 Kwara, etc. She led the Wikipedia awareness for Library and Information Science Students in Nigeria and was a facilitator for the first Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom in Nigeria. She is the Co-Founder of the Kwara State University Fan Club.
Miracle James: Miracle James is an experienced Wikimedian and member of the Wikimedia user group Nigeria who has participated in several Wikipedia projects as a volunteer, she also led the Wikipedia awareness in Offa community and has facilitated several Wikimedia projects.
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