Wikimedians are showing up big at the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum 2024 (DRIF24) in Ghana: Tune in!

Translate this post
The city of Accra, Ghana. Image by Owula kpakpo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Wikimedia Foundation is proud to announce that we’re sponsoring the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF) for the third year in a row! DRIF, organized by Paradigm Initiative, is a major regional forum in which digital policies and internet governance in Africa are debated and shaped, and where participants and attendees forge partnerships for action.

Wikimedians hosted three successful sessions last year in East Africa—you can read about Wikimedians’ experiences in this blog post. We’re hoping to replicate the same visibility for our projects this year in West Africa, since DRIF will take place in Accra, Ghana, from 23–25 April, 2024.

The Wikimedia movement is poised to contribute meaningful insights to the conference theme: “Fostering rights and inclusion in the digital age.” We will be at multiple panels, which cover important issues such as preventing electoral misinformation, promoting digital goods even in offline environments, and promoting contributions by and content about women online. You can watch some of them via live stream.

With such a compelling array of sessions and the largest sign-up to attend the event of Wikimedians to date, DRIF24 promises to be a dynamic platform for dialogue and collaboration! 

An Internet For and By the People: What We Gain When We Treat the Internet as a Shared Public Good 

Language: English

Thu Apr 25, 2024 @ 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM UTC, Room 4

Governments around the world are considering how best to regulate and govern online spaces, but too often their policies focus on curbing harms and stopping behavior, rather than proactive actions to promote a better internet. This discussion will focus on the public interest ideals and functions of the internet. What principles ought to be protected, and how? What technologies are required to realize these principles? Representatives from across the information ecosystem will explore what we can do to promote shared, free, and communally governed spaces that allow participation, deliberation, and collaboration to flourish, and what it means to place the public interest at the heart of internet regulation and innovation. The audience will learn how crowd-sourced information about COVID on Wikipedia helped save lives during a global crisis, the benefit of incorporating equity considerations in the deployment of key infrastructure, and how government actors think about creating a positive digital experience for their citizens. A conversation about the fundamental principles that the Internet should preserve is pertinent at a time when the harms in digital space are being dissected into discrete problems to solve – whether data protection, content moderation, or disinformation.

Participants: Ziski Putz (Wikimedia Foundation); Sandister Tei (Wikimedia Foundation); Kwaku Addo Ofori (Wikimedia Foundation); Kofi Yeboah (Mozilla); Muhammad Abid Azam (UNICEF Ghana).

Fostering Trust Online in the Year of Democracy: Lessons on Combatting Disinformation on Wikipedia 

Language: English

Tuesday, April 23, 12 – 13:00 UTC, Room 3

2024 has been called the year of democracy. In countries home to more than 4 billion people, over half of the world’s population, citizens will go to the ballot box to elect their leaders. But before they do, many of these voters will seek reliable information amid an ever growing sea of mis- and disinformation about candidates, their parties, and important civic issues that could sway their votes. On Wikipedia, a global volunteer community of more than 300,000 editors will be patrolling pages for mis- and disinformation in an effort to foster trust among the global public and to maintain knowledge integrity for those seeking out this critical information on its pages. During this panel, members of the Wikimedia Foundation and volunteer community will discuss the low-tech tools and methods they use to monitor and protect Wikipedia pages from disinformation during elections, and the high-tech tools that support them. These Wikimedians will be joined by a representative of an international NGO working globally to protect journalists and independent media during elections, who will discuss their work protecting these important actors, which are the backbone of the reliable sources that Wikipedia depends upon. 

Participants: Ricky Gaines (Wikimedia Foundation); Felix Nartey (Wikimedia Foundation); Abigail Adu-Daako (Wikimedia Foundation); Maateuw Mbaye (Article 19).

Faire Résonner les Voix: l’inclusion des Femmes Ouest Africaines dans les Projets Wikimedia

Language: French

Tuesday, April 23, 14:00 PM – 15:00 PM UTC,  Room 2

Les Projets Wikimedia représentent des outils d’acquisition de connaissances ouverts à tous, offrant une opportunité précieuse aux Africains. Cependant, ce mouvement est largement dominé par les hommes. Les contenus mettent plus en avant les hommes que les femmes, mais aussi, ils sont majoritairement édités par des hommes. En Afrique de l’Ouest, des communautés wikimédiennes émergent progressivement avec des femmes leaders à leur tête. Des projets spécifiquement axés sur la cause féminine les accompagnent, procurant des multiples avantages: elles ne sont plus des analphabètes du numérique et tirent profit de cette compétence nouvellement acquise pour accroître les contributions des femmes et traiter de sujets liés à elles. Le présent panel cherche à explorer les défis et les opportunités liés à l’intégration des femmes dans l’espace numérique et la connaissance libre. Nous examinerons la participation actuelle des femmes au Sénégal, au Togo, au Burkina Faso et dans d’autres pays, en mettant en avant les obstacles culturels, socio-économiques et technologiques qui peuvent entraver leur engagement. Nous aborderons également les questions d’accès à l’information et de partage des connaissances, en mettant en lumière des initiatives prometteuses visant à lever les barrières à la participation féminine, favorisant ainsi l’inclusion des femmes et la création de contenu pertinent et diversifié. En conclusion, cette présentation vise à souligner l’importance de faire résonner les voix des ouest-africaines pour construire une histoire numérique inclusive, authentique et riche en diversité.

Presenters: Adjovi Essenam Fumey (Wikimedia Community User Group Sénégal); Fatima Oury Sow (Wikimedia Community User Group Sénégal); Ata Franck Akouete (Opendata Community of Togo); Baseratou Kindo (Wikimedia Burkina Faso).

Connect the Unconnected: Strengthening Women’s Access to Rural Broadband Connectivity in Africa

Language: English

Wednesday, April 24, 8:45 AM – 9:45 AM UTC, Room 5

In rural areas, the unreliability of the power supply is hindering the deployment and consumption of ICT services. Unreliability of power implies users are not able to access internet services. Local communities’ empowerment through enabled access to rural broadband connectivity can lead to an increased knowledge-based digital economy. This session will highlight the role of local leadership, capacity building, and research in developing sustainable, reliable, accessible and affordable broadband in Africa. A panel of 4 speakers from Uganda, Kenya, and Ghana will share challenges and lessons learned in enhancing rural broadband connectivity using Microsoft PowerPoint, Mentimeter, and breakout rooms via Zoom, and social media to extend the reach of the event. WOUGNET will share a case study of how the 12 sites established at Bedi Igen farmers’ group, Apac Secondary School, Apac General Hospital, and Atopi market, among others, are accessible daily by 50 community members. Additionally, representatives from Access Plus, Association for Progressive Communications, Step Network and Open Foundation West Africa will share what digital public goods, or public infrastructure, mean to them and what it means to regulate the internet like a public good. Connecting the Unconnected action plan shall be developed to close the gender digital divide innovatively. 

Presenters: Sandra Aceng (Women of Uganda Network); David Iribagiza (Women of Uganda Network); Eugene Masiku (Open Foundation West Africa); Josephine Miliza (Association for Progressive Communications); Lillian Achom (Access Pluss); Fosu Stephen (Step Network).

The Foundation’s contributions to and presence along with Wikimedians at conferences like DRIF is essential to further the movement’s engagement in important digital rights conversations—as well as our 2030 Movement Strategy agenda.

Our financial support helps promote the larger ecosystem of digital rights activists and civil society organizations who advocate for policy frameworks and regulations that support human rights on the internet. At the same time, this convening creates a space for Wikimedians across the region to meet each other and expand their networks with key policy partners in their respective countries.

Finally, the topic—to explore rights-respecting practices and ways to foster inclusion online—aligns closely both with our movement’s 2030 agenda and regional affiliates’ work to promote the inclusion of youth, women, and Indigenous languages online.

You can watch the live stream and support and learn from your fellow Wikimedians. We hope to see you there!

Can you help us translate this article?

In order for this article to reach as many people as possible we would like your help. Can you translate this article to get the message out?