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 utilization 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, an emerging content marketplace, is poised to revolutionize the African creative community. With an extensive collection of over 30,000 curated stock content from 3,000 African creators, it empowers local artists, preserves their work, and fosters cultural representation. Retna’s commitment to the open-source movement also drives its partnership with Wikimedia/Wikipedia, inspiring and nurturing a new generation of African creatives. Through this collaboration, Retna plays a crucial role in documenting and showcasing Africa’s beauty, enriching the appreciation of the continent’s heritage for future generations. Moreover, brands and businesses benefit by maintaining global brand standards while supporting and promoting African talent internationally.

The partnership kicks off in July with the signing of an MOU by the two organizations at the new Office of Wikimedia Nigeria in Lagos; in attendance are 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. Participation in the ongoing Wiki Loves Earth 2023 stands as the first point of call in the partnership, where the contribution of quality content fosters campaign awareness within Ratna’s networks and facilitates the necessary support for campaign participants.

Interested participants must submit their freely licensed content before the 31st of July, 2023, via a special link on Retna’s website- to win amazing prizes.

Another perspective to the partnership is the potential to streamline up to 30,000 freely licensed photos across various themes by professional photographers in Retna’s Network with Wikimedia Commons for storytelling, improve the visibility of African content online, and promote open knowledge to boost structural data components of each image.

Also, the partnership will train the Nigerian creative writers’ community on how to contribute to Wikipedia and encourage them to use the quality images contributed by this partnership to improve articles on Wikipedia.

The collaboration also considers and advocates to draw the attention of the Nigerian Government to create an enabling environment to make Government works that have passed its copyright lifespan available in the public domain for public use. The approach will make quality historical content available to improve the content about Nigeria online and for research purposes.

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