The Wiki Loves Afrodemics is an initiative of the Wiki Afrodemics Project. A collaborative effort dedicated to fostering the inclusion and enrichment of Wikimedia movements about notable African academics and scientists whether they are based within Africa or working on a global scale.
The Wiki Afrodemics project was established by Muib Shefiu and Abdo Koko when they discovered the gaps that existed in the documentation of African scholars and the urgent need to create a well-researched repository of information that highlights the achievements, innovations, and legacies of these scholars and scientists. Therefore, the duo’s collaborative efforts led to the creating of over one hundred articles about African scholars on Wikipedia.
With the spirit of openness and collaboration that the Wikimedia Foundation is well-known for, the duo established Wiki Loves Afrodemics to garner contributions from Wikimedia volunteers across the globe. With support from the Wikimedia Foundation and the invaluable contributions of the core members, Bukola James, Ayokanmi Oyeyemi, Ruby Brown, Maxwell Beganim, Lomora Ronald, Tesleemah Abdulkareem, Ojewuyi Habeeba, the first edition was launched at the end of 2023. It was aimed to train fifty participants on how to contribute to creating and editing articles related to African academics and scientists.
One hundred eighty-one volunteers across ten African countries participated in the edit-a-thon. Fifty-eight percent which represented one hundred and six people came from Nigeria and the rest of the participants were from Cameroon, Kenya, South Africa, Togo, Malawi, Namibia, Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda. This massive participation by different African countries is a testament to the acceptability of the project in the region.
The success of the project was based on the intensified training. The participants were trained both online and offline. Three online and three offline trainings were conducted to expose the online and offline participants to the skills needed to contribute to Wikimedia Foundation projects.
The Edit-a-thon was conducted for a month, from 1st of December to 31 December 2023 across ten languages (English Wikipedia, Hausa Wikipedia, Yoruba Wikipedia, Igbo Wikipedia, Kiswahili Wikipedia, Rwanda Wikipedia, English Wikipedia, Dagbani Wikipedia, Wikidata, Ghana Pidgin Wikipedia, Twi Wikipedia and Fante Wikipedia) including Wikidata and commons Wiki.
To enhance the global participation of the project, a central banner was created and approved by the central banner admin. The banner was displayed across seven Wikipedia languages from 1st Dec – December 2023.
One of the problems of the campaign is the inability to retain editors. However, this campaign has foreseen this and created a community. The Whatsapp Community was used to retain the editors, and disseminate information and would also be used to kickstart a thematic organization that would see to the creation and improvement of items and articles related to African academics and scientists on the Wikimedia Foundation projects.
Research on Articles to Create
Before the commencement of the project, the members identify close to 100 notable academics and scientists with a short lead Wikipedia article introduction. This gave the participants reasonable insights and motivation to create more content.
Articles to Translate
With the help of Wiki Query, the organizers also identified the articles that needed translation and compiled them on the meta page. This allowed the participants to translate thousands of articles through the meta page.
The futuristic aim of the Wiki Afrodemics Project is to become a thematic organization that closes the information gaps about African academics and scientists across Wikimedia Foundation Projects.
In conclusion, Wiki Loves Afrodemics, an integral part of the Wiki Afrodemics Project, is a commendable initiative dedicated to addressing the gaps in documenting African scholars. Through intensive training, a month-long multilingual edit-a-thon, and strategic approaches like the central banner and WhatsApp community, the project achieved remarkable milestones, making a significant impact on the representation of African academics and scientists on Wikipedia.
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