Africa Knowledge Initiative

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What?[edit]

Africa's 1.3 billion population is expected to triple by the end of the 21st century. This projection gets to make Africa the world’s most populous region. Despite this projection, less than 5% of Wikimedia contributors (logged in, across all projects) edit from within the continent, and only 5.5% of all geotagged Wikipedia articles across all languages are related to Africa (according to the Wikipedia Diversity Observatory).

The Wikimedia Foundation has been developing a relationship with the African Union (AU) to generate opportunities for Wikimedia communities in Africa to accelerate progress on closing African knowledge gaps. Last year, the AU supported the 2021 WikiIndaba Conference — an essential convening ground for African communities and allies. Thanks to AU’s support, Wikimedia Community User Group Uganda (host of WikiIndaba ‘21) organized a special tie-in Africa Youth Month campaign with the The WikiVibrance Project. The campaign brought together six African Wikimedia Communities to improve knowledge around the four ‘E’s” — Education, Entrepreneurship, Employment, and Engagement — of AU’s One Million by 2021 initiative.

The Wikimedia Foundation’s next move with the African Union is called the Africa Knowledge Initiative (AKI). This initiative is targeted at increasing coverage of African topics on the Wikimedia projects. It is intended as a high level framework for collaboration, with the details to be filled in by implementing partners and communities, which will provide opportunities for Wikimedians to access resources, to tap unique African Union publications and data sources, to recruit and train high-potential contributors, and to hone strategies for targeting topics for impact. Our hope is for this project to serve as a space for experimentation, capacity-building, and connection for African communities as they explore their collective future through the Movement Strategy Implementation process.

Activities & initiatives[edit]

To help implement the project, the African Union connected the Wikimedia Foundation with Africa No Filter (ANF) — “a donor collaborative that supports the development of nuanced and contemporary stories that shift stereotypical and harmful narratives within and about Africa.” The mission overlap between ANF and Wikimedia was immediately clear: ANF seeks “to connect and build the field of narrative change makers in Africa,” while Wikimedia is focused on inviting “the knowledge and communities that have been left out by structures of power and privilege.”

When?[edit]

The initiative aims to develop a set of content creation and training activities designed around three African Union holidays (and oriented around the AU’s “Agenda 2063” goals):

  • Africa Youth Day – Nov 1, 2022
  • Environment/Wangari Maathai Day – Mar 3, 2023
  • African Day – May 25, 2023

News & Updates[edit]

  • Join us at the next AKI community conversation via zoom (https://wikimedia.zoom.us/j/84828700950) on the 19th of August, 2022 from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm UTC as we share more information about the application process and how you can be a part of the initiative.