Learning patterns/Reducing the north–south divide
What problem does this solve?
Wikipedia and its sister projects are under-used and less well-known in Africa. There is a giant gap between countries of the "global south" and those of the "global north" when it comes to producing South-related free content. It is one of the top priorities of the Wikimedia movement to try and reduce this gap. The action described below aims at reducing this gap, and finding both new contents and news editors from Southern countries, in this case across French-speaking Africa. In so doing, this action is also part of the WikiFranca dynamics.
What is the solution?
Wikimedia France developed a partnership with the International Alliance of Independent Publishers (IAIP). The partership consisted in a training on digital tools including Wikipedia. The main goal was to enrich the data about african publishing field, african writters and more widely, contents about African literature.
In the long run, Wikimedia France wants to share an expertise and transfer skills to other organizations. The important thing is to locally implant those skills and to make the actions sustainable overtime. The trainees group would pass on the recent skills they acquired which should create a dynamics.
This training was also an opportunity to connect with local actors, for example Afrilivres and Kër Thiossane fab-lab, with the idea of implementing a future training in partnership with both the International Organization of Francophony and the Kër Thiossane fab-lab.
The training around Wikimedia projects took place during a day and a half embedded in a broader already existing five-day training. Both contents and pedagogical objectives were co-designed by the volunteers-trainers from Wikimedia France and its outreach and evaluation manager, as well as the project manager from the IAIP. The program was composed of three phases :
- a theoretical part introducing Wikipedia and its sister-projects
- a practical workshop to learn how to contribute to Wikipedia and its overall philosophy
- a workshop to create and enrich articles.
The goal was to create an article for each publisher represented in the training.
At the end of the training, an overall assessment was conducted.
The training counted 18 participants from eight different countries : Togo, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Cameroun and Benin, representing one or more publishing houses.
The financial costs of the training were planned and consolidated in the partnership agreement between IAIP and Wikimedia France. The two organizations shared equitably the differents costs :
- Travel costs of the two volunteers-trainers
- Accomodation costs in Dakar
- Financial valuation of the the volunteers time
- Catering of the two volunteers
- Transports costs
- Technical material
- IAIP membership fee to Wikimedia France
Things to consider
- Make people continue to edit overtime
- Trainers from French-speaking African countries were identified through the francophones@ mailing list. The fact that they came from the same countries as the participants was much appreciated and made sense
- Refund of trainers’ costs
- Duration of the training : 1.5 days is a bit too short to effectively cover all points
- Proper material, infrastructures and Internet connection were provided
When to use
When a training on how to edit Wikimedia projects takes place in a country where there is no existing chapter or user group, and no volunteers identified upstream.