Technical Community Spotlight: African Wikimedia Technical Community (AWTC)

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In this inaugural edition of our Technical Community Spotlight, we’re excited to showcase the incredible efforts and achievements of the African Wikimedia Technical Community

The African Wikimedia Technical Community(AWTC) is a dynamic group dedicated to welcoming individuals with a wide range of technical skills, such as programming, design, localization, documentation, and testing, to contribute to Wikimedia technical projects. With 250+ members, this community serves as a hub for technical discussions, collaboration, and training.

Originally known as the African Wikimedia Developers Project, the community’s roots trace back to 2017 when it initiated its first-ever event. This event was pivotal in training volunteers on various technical aspects, including the installation and configuration of MediaWiki, as well as utilizing tools like git and Gerrit for code review. In 2022, they expanded their efforts by organizing hackathon satellite events, facilitating contributions to Wikimedia Technical Areas, including localization of Wikimedia tools and extensions. Over time, the community recognized the need for a more inclusive and collaborative community. This led to a transformation, renaming the project to “The African Wikimedia Technical Community.” 

African Wikimedia Technical Community members at the Wikimedia 2023 Hackathon Satellite event.

In 2023, AWTC hosted a Wikimedia hackathon satellite event that primarily focused on enhancing tutorial documentation for Wikimedia tools like those on Wikimedia Toolhub, Wikimedia Toolforge, and Wikidata tool pages. The event had 50 participants, resulting in the creation and improvement of tutorials for 17 projects, including Wudele, SDZerobot, PetScan, Wikidata free image search, WikiNearby, and WikiShootMe.

AWTC Community Members Share Their Impact Stories:

The African Wikimedia Technical Community added to my knowledge of Wikimedia projects and tools, helped me understand how to contribute to Wikimedia projects, improved documentation and provided a platform for me to give back by being a facilitator on the Python Track. – Afimaame

The African Wikimedia Technical Community has significantly impacted its members’ lives. The weekly coding training, focusing on PHP and other languages, benefits newcomers and offers a platform for experienced coders to sharpen their skills. Personally, it has provided me with a sense of belonging within a community of like-minded individuals passionate about coding, translation, technical documentation, and technology. Even veteran Wikimedians unfamiliar with Phabricator and MediaWiki can now navigate them seamlessly through this community. – Dn Shitobu

Featured Member: Joris Darlington Quarshie

In this spotlight, we want to recognize Joris Darlington Quarshie, a dedicated data scientist and software engineer and the community lead for the African Wikimedia Technical Community. Based in Ghana, he has overseen training events and hackathons from 2021 to 2023, continuing to lead the community today

“I am deeply honored to be part of the African Wikimedia Technical Community, where we’ve worked tirelessly to foster collaboration, innovation, and the growth of Wikimedia projects across the African continent. This community has not only allowed us to harness our technical skills but also to connect with like-minded individuals who share a passion for open knowledge. Together, we break barriers to make knowledge accessible, and I’m excited to lead and contribute to this incredible journey.” – Joris Darlington Quarshie. 

Upcoming Projects and Events

The African Wikimedia Technical Community is engaged in numerous exciting projects and initiatives to advance its Wikimedia mission. Here are key highlights and ways you can support these efforts:

  • Annual Technical Wishlist Project: The AWTC plans to launch an annual technical wishlist project to address challenges faced by African Wikimedia contributors and users. They seek input from the Wikimedia technical community to improve development, user testing, localization, and technical writing through a mentorship program.
  • Development of a Speech Synthesizer Tool: AWTC prioritizes inclusivity and accessibility, aiming to create a speech synthesizer tool using data from lingua libre and other sources. This tool will enable contributors with disabilities to participate in Wikimedia projects. AWTC plans to collaborate with global Wikimedia affiliates (Wiki Movimento Brasil, Wikimedia Argentina, and Wikimedia Deutschland) to demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity, as they welcome support for tool development and testing to enhance accessibility on Wikimedia projects.
  • Programs and Events: The community has outlined diverse programs and events covering technical fields such as Documentation, Tool Building, Wikimedia Skins, Design, User Testing, Bots, Extensions, and Wikimedia Cloud Services. These initiatives will offer valuable learning experiences for community members to improve their skills and contribute effectively to Wikimedia projects.
  • Engagement of Wikimedia Foundation Teams and Affiliates: AWTC intends to enhance its programs by inviting speakers and experts from Wikimedia Foundation Teams and Affiliates. These experts will mentor contributors in technical areas, promoting a culture of learning and collaboration. The community seeks to foster cooperation with these entities to share knowledge and expertise in addressing community’s needs via technical wishlist projects.

If you’re keen on participating in the initiatives, you can get in touch with the community via its Talk Page or Email.

The African Wikimedia Technical Community (AWTC) exemplifies the strength of collaboration and community in making a significant impact on Wikimedia Projects. These efforts underscore the community’s commitment to advancing Wikimedia projects and creating a more inclusive and accessible online knowledge ecosystem for all.

Stay tuned for more community spotlights, as we explore and celebrate the incredible work of various Wikimedia technical communities making a difference in the movement.

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