The Kusaal Wikimedia Community, with support from the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group, held a one-day workshop at the Ajumako Campus of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) on Saturday, July 1, 2023. This event was the first ever in-person training to be held by the Kusaal Wikimedia Community for its members. The participants, numbering 47, were students studying Kusaal at the Gur-Gonja Department of the Faculty of Languages at the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) Ajumako campus. Mr. Samuel Asitanga, a teaching assistant at the Kursaal Unit of the department, coordinated the organization of the participants and logistics for the workshop.
The workshop was facilitated by Musah Fuseini, co-lead for the Kusaal Wikimedia Community. Mr. Musah took the participants through introduction to Wikipedia and its sister projects. He also took them through how to create their Wikipedia user accounts and how to create articles on the Kusaal Wikipedia incubator. At the end of the event, about 40 participants had created their user accounts and made attempts at creating articles for the first time.
The Kusaal Wikimedia Community, established in November 2022, started the Kusaal Wikipedia incubator in January 2023. The community hopes to transition out of the incubator into a fully fledged, live Wikipedia by the end of 2023. Recruiting more editors and building their capacities at this moment is, therefore, timely and strategic as far as achieving this ambition is concerned. The majority of the participants were new to Wikipedia, with just a few (less than ten) having some knowledge about it.
There wasn’t enough time to cover much as the students had other meetings and other engagements to attend to for the day (Saturday). Aside from this, the facilitator had to take his time to explain things since most of the participants were new to Wikipedia. It is therefore hoped that the training will be held for two days next time so that much can be covered.
The team leads for the Kusaal Wikimedia Community created a list of articles for participants to try their hands on by creating and improving them. This provided the opportunity for participants to practice the knowledge and skills acquired at the training. A dedicated WhatsApp platform was also created for them, where they reach out to team leads and their colleagues with challenges they encounter as they edit. A dashboard was also created to track the contributions of participants, which revealed that all the participants made attempts at creating new articles and improving on existing ones.
At the end of the training, about forty participants had created their user accounts and made attempts at creating articles. Within one week after the training, about 20 articles were created by the participants.
The Way Forward
The team plans on holding its second in-person workshop at Binduri in the Upper East Region of Ghana with the aim of recruiting more editors and building their capacities to edit on Kusaal Wikipedia incubator. This one is targeted at volunteers within and around the Kusaug land; Binduri happens to be at a central location of these communities,hence the choice. This would offer an opportunity for members of the Kusaal Wikimedia Community in the Kusaal speaking area to have an in-person Wikpedia workshop for the first time.
The team intends to hold a biweekly online training to take these volunteer editors through how to contribute quality articles to Kusaal Wikipedia. This will offer an opportunity for team leaders to engage with community members, understand their challenges, and address them.
In conclusion, the workshop offered an opportunity to creating awareness among the students about Wikipedia and its sister projects and the role Wikpidia could play in digitizing the Kusaal language and making knowledge freely accessible to Kusaal speaking people.
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