Wikimedia Nigeria UG Partners Retna to tell African stories online with creative content

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On the 18th of July, 2023, the Wikimedia Nigeria User Group (WUGN), in collaboration with Retna, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a shared vision of fostering storytelling, amplifying the accessibility of African content online, and promoting open knowledge through the effective use of freely licensed photos.

Wikimedia User Group Nigeria is one of the over 170 affiliates of the Wikimedia Foundation (host of Wikipedia) across the globe. The group operates as a non-profit organization registered in Nigeria by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to promote the awareness of Wikipedia and its sister projects among Nigerian citizens, with operations across the country and tertiary institutions in Nigeria. They are composed of volunteers who collaborate on various activities to improve the availability and quality of free knowledge in their local languages and areas of interest. The group is further structured into “Networks and Fan Clubs” to engage its community in Nigeria. The Network is an informal group of open knowledge enthusiasts and advocates representing each state in Nigeria to learn about Wikipedia and its sister projects. At the same time, the Fan Clubs operate as registered and independent units in Nigerian tertiary institutions where undergraduates can gather from time to time to learn about Wikipedia and its sister projects. The organization is essential in fostering collaboration, sharing best practices, and supporting the growth of Wikimedia projects locally. They help spread the values of free knowledge, open access, and community engagement in different regions worldwide.

Retna is an emerging content marketplace with a collection of over 30,000 items of curated stock content from 3,000 African creators. It aims to transform the African creative community by preserving the work of local artists and empowering them to prioritise cultural representation. Retna’s commitment to the open-source movement hopes to inspire and nurture a new generation of African creatives. This commitment has driven its partnership with Wikimedia User Group Nigeria. Through this partnership, Retna will facilitate the documentation of Africa’s heritage to showcase the continent’s beauty to future generations, all while supporting and promoting African talent internationally.

The partnership kicks off in July with a convening of the two organizations at the new Office of Wikimedia Nigeria in Lagos, attended by Mr. Olaniyan Olushola (The Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of Wikimedia Nigeria Foundation), Mr. Isaac Olatunde, Secretary to the BOT and Mr. Ayokanmi Oyeyemi, the Program Director of the organization.

Wiki Loves Earth 2023 is the first campaign to utilise the partnership with Retna. To participate and have a chance of winning prizes, participants should submit their freely licensed content by July 31, 2023, through Retna’s website at

The partnership will potentially add up to 30,000 photos from Retna’s professional network to Wikimedia Commons, enriching open knowledge through storytelling, augmenting the structural data components of each image and enhancing the representation of African content online. Moreover, the partnership will educate Nigeria’s creative community on Wikipedia contributions. They’ll be encouraged to utilize the high-quality images from this initiative to enhance Wikipedia articles.

Lastly, there is an effort to urge the Nigerian Government to release public domain works, ensuring valuable historical content about Nigeria is accessible for online users and researchers.

Editor’s note: a change was made on Sept. 26, 2023, to add updated language.

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