This project is a collaboration between Wikimedians in Southeast Nigeria, the Department of Geography, and the Institute of Climate Change Studies, Energy, and Environment, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). Wikimedians in Southeast Nigeria are made up of Wikimedians in UNN and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, (UNIZIK). The project is a six-month project supported by the Wikimedia Foundation with a grant. The project involved the training of the students of the Department and Institute to document information on Deforestation in Nigeria in Wikipedia based on existing literature and to support them on field trips to deforestation sites in Nigeria to capture pictures to support their documentation.
This project arose out of a 9-week training organized by the Wikimedia Foundation for their outstanding project organizers which the project leader, Ngozi Osadebe attended. The training was aimed to equip the participants with the skill to identify areas of information gap on Climate change and sustainability in Wikimedia that are relevant to their society and collaborate with experts in the field to close the gap. 30 Wikimedia event organizers were selected globally by the Wikimedia Foundation to participate in the training. 17 participants completed the training successfully and were asked to apply for a grant to implement their learning.
Personally, the project leader identified Deforestation as one of the issues that is threatening Nigeria, and which has very little coverage in Wikimedia. Having identified an area of interest, she approached the Department of Geography through Professor Madu who identified Dr. Godson Asuoha as one of the experts on deforestation in the department. Dr Asuoha informed the Head of Department (HOD). The HOD was delighted about the project and suggested that to make our proposal much stronger and the project effectively implemented if approved, the University’s Institute of Climate Change Studies, Energy and the Environment should be made part of the project.
From January to March 2023, the trio (The project lead, representing Wikimedians in South East Nigeria, the Department of Geography, and the Institute of Climate Change Studies) wrote and rewrote the grant proposal after each stage of the review process. It was not easy but in the end, the proposal was successful and the grant sum was paid.
The project though started on April 24, 2023, took off officially in the University of Nigeria on May 22, 2023, with a training workshop organized for selected editors from the Department of Geography and Institute of Climate Change Studies, Energy and the Environment. The training workshop was anchored by users: Ngozi Osadebe, Beatrice Ewa, Ezimoo, Olugold, and Obuezie. On May 24, the project team paid a courtesy call to the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Charles A. Igwe to notify him officially of the project. After the courtesy call, the Vice Chancellor represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration, visited the training workshop venue where he declared the workshop open. Also, to create awareness for the program, there was a radio talk on Deforestation in Nigeria at the University radio station, Lion FM.
After the physical workshop, there were online workshops held on Mondays from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 5:00-6:00 p.m. on two consecutive occasions. A series of discussions featuring a step-by-step guide on how to contribute to Wikipedia goes on on the WhatsApp group platform. Another radio talk was held on August 21, 2023, on Deforestation in Africa at the University radio station.
Since the project was declared open, the participants have been contributing content to Wikimedia. A look at the project dashboard will show what the participants have been able to accomplish.
A report with demographic information can be found at the link below.
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