Open the Knowledge Journalism Awards

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

The Wikimedia Foundation launched the inaugural Open the Knowledge Journalism Awards on May 3, 2023, to celebrate the contributions of journalists in Africa who prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion in their reporting. The Awards are a collaboration between the Foundation and Wikimedia communities in the region.

The awards recognise the essential role journalists play in creating well-researched articles that volunteer editors can use as source materials to develop content on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. Their work helps to grow the knowledge base on one of the world’s most visited websites, so that it is more reflective of the topics, events and people that influence the understanding of culture and history through the ages.

Between May 3 and June 30, 2023, over 2,000 submissions were received from 37 African countries. The award recipients were announced on November 4, 2023.

A key goal of communities in the Africa region is to increase participation in the movement by drawing attention to persistent knowledge gaps and the need to diversify content on Wikipedia about Africa, aligned with movement goals and the Foundation’s regional priorities. By generating more awareness in the journalism sector the Awards aim to help educate people about knowledge gaps and raise awareness about movement efforts more broadly.

This is the first time the Foundation and communities have embarked on an initiative of this kind. It is a pilot project, designed for learning. While submissions are being accepted in English this year, there is an intent to expand depending on the impact created. Language representation was a subject of deep consideration. It was agreed with the community members in the Africa region that by keeping the parameters more narrow in this first year we will be able to better measure outcomes. It’s important for us to be able to experiment with new avenues for engagement before scaling, both to track results and to ensure efficient use of resources.

African journalists living on the continent were invited to self nominate articles they have written that help to expand knowledge about Africa.

2023 Awardees[edit]

Journalist Carlos Mureithi from Kenya was announced as the first place award recipient for the article "How a 'headstrong historian' is rewriting Kenya's colonial history", published in the Christian Science Monitor in January 2023.

Mureithi’s article profiles Chao Tayiana Maina, a Kenyan historian and Dan David Prize winner who is uncovering buried and overlooked segments of Kenya's history under the colonial era.

Nigeria's Osaruonamen Ibizugbe was recognized as the second place award recipient for her article "FGM: Survivors narrate experiences dealing with absence of the clitoris".

There were also four articles receiving Special Mentions:

  1. Arts, Culture, Heritage, and Sports: Aanu Adeoye (Nigeria), "The Benin Bronzes and the road to restitution" (Financial Times)
  2. Digital and Human Rights: Philip Obaje Jr. (Nigeria), "The silencing of Sudan's journalists - again", (Al Jazeera Journalism Review)
  3. Health, Climate Change, and Environment: Jackson Ambole (Kenya), "How Mombasa’s yoghurt cups powered a reforestation drive", (Al Jazeera)
  4. Women and Youth: Jacqueline Muchazoreka (Zimbabwe), "The story of how a Zimbabwean woman treated obstetric fistula despite criticism from her church & community" (BellaNaija)

The Working Group[edit]

Below is the Working Group that has worked on the design of the awards. It includes members of the Wikimedia community in Africa, as well as Foundation staff. Besides the working group, more African community members were engaged and consulted and the feedback gathered helped shape these awards.

Daniel Anyoriga - journalist at Citi FM and a Wikimedian from the Ghanaian community.

Romeo Ronald - experienced Wikimedian and community leader from South Sudan with a background in media and communications.

Terry Boke - Wikimedian from the Kenya user group, with a background in media and PR.

Olushola Olaniyan - President, Wikimedia Nigeria, who has been working with journalists and teaching them about how they can use Wikipedia to make women’s profiles more visible.

Rudolph Ampofo - Regional Partnerships Manager, Wikimedia Foundation.

Felix Nartey - Senior Program Officer - Community Programs, Wikimedia Foundation.

Winnie Kabintie - Senior Movement Communications Specialist, Africa, Wikimedia Foundation.

Gwadamirai Majange - Project Lead for the Open the Knowledge Journalism Awards, and Lead Communications Specialist at the Wikimedia Foundation.

Award Criteria[edit]

  • Geography: Journalists must be citizens of a country in Africa, and primarily reside on the African continent.
  • Relevance: Articles should be about the African continent, and relate to the award categories (listed below).
  • Publishing date: Articles should have been published between January 1, 2022 to June 23, 2023.
  • Language: Articles should be published in English.
  • Originality: The articles should be your own original work, with in-depth analysis and/or investigative reporting.
  • Proof of publication: Nominations will be easier to review if you supply proof of the article’s publication in the form of a link/URL.
  • Reliability and accuracy: Articles that are submitted must be accurate and well researched, without seeking to misinform or misrepresent facts. Objective, well researched articles ensure that the information on Wikipedia is accurate.
  • Ethical conduct: Because the Wikimedia Foundation respects human rights, we are looking for articles that are developed with the utmost respect for people. We seek journalists who demonstrate ethical conduct and adherence to journalistic standards.
  • Accessibility: Wikimedia Foundation promotes access to free knowledge. Because of this, articles must be made available for viewing without a paywall.
  • You can submit as many articles as you would like to be considered for this recognition. However, you cannot submit the same article in more than one category. You have to decide which category best represents the contents of the article.
  • There are no fees associated with this nomination process.
  • Wikimedia Foundation staff are not eligible to nominate their own work.
  • The Wikimedia Foundation (in collaboration with volunteer Wikimedia editors), through its discretion, will use these nominations to help identify journalists for this recognition.


Arts, Culture, Heritage, and Sports[edit]

Article topics can include (but are not limited to) the following areas:

  • Advocating for the preservation of local languages, arts, and cultural practices that celebrate Africa’s rich heritage.
  • Showcasing the entertainment industry, including traditional cultural dance and music on the continent.
  • Sports reporting that showcases African sportspersons.
  • Stories about monuments, natural parks, and other geographic areas of interest.

Health, Climate Change, and Environment[edit]

Article topics can include (but are not limited to) the following areas:

  • Climate change and environmental issues affecting the African continent, and how they are being addressed.
  • Reporting on health and wellbeing to improve understanding or raise awareness of/dispel myths and misinformation about prevalent diseases.

Women and Youth[edit]

Article topics can include (but are not limited to) the following areas:

  • Showcasing the various achievements of women in different facets of life, including in politics, economics, business, the development sector, and poverty alleviation.
  • Highlighting issues affecting Africa’s youth, including the impact of migration, unemployment and access to opportunities.

Digital and Human Rights[edit]

Article topics can include (but are not limited to) the following areas:

  • Advocating for access to the internet, digital inclusion, and equitable distribution of information.
  • Tackling and exposing the challenges of misinformation and the importance of fact checking on the continent.
  • Highlighting issues that affect the upholding of the rights of numerous marginalized groups on the continent, including (but not limited to), LGBTI+ communities, those excluded due to race, identity, age or physical ability.
  • Highlighting challenges that exist on the continent in meeting the International Bill of Human Rights.
  • Issues affecting children’s human rights, as guided by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

What we are offering award recipients[edit]

  • First-place award recipient: will receive USD 2000, a trophy, a certificate of recognition and an opportunity to join African Wikimedians at the Regional Community Conference, Wiki Indaba, in November 2023. While there, the awardee will have the opportunity to share more about their experiences as a journalist and some of the challenges and opportunities they see in their work.
  • Second-place award-recipient: will receive USD1500, and a certificate of recognition.
  • Special Mentions: will be given by the Wikimedia Foundation to an additional four nominees, one in each category.
  • All awardees (including those receiving special mentions) and their work will be celebrated on the Wikimedia Foundation's website and social media channels.


  • Submissions opened on May 3, 2023, 00:00 UTC and closed on June 30, 2023, 23:59 UTC. Over 2,000 submissions were received between 3 May and 30 June, from across the African continent.
  • Awardees announced: November (3-5) at the Africa Regional Community Conference, Wiki Indaba

Social media toolkit[edit]

Please help us to celebrate the information about the recipients of the first Open the Knowledge Journalism Awards. Below are links, hashtags, sample social media posts, and graphics to promote the awards on your own channels. Feel free to tailor the suggested content to match your voice accordingly.

Link to share:

Official hashtag (Please use on all your posts): #OpenTheKnowledge

Sample social media posts[edit]

Note: The following posts have been written for Twitter/X. Feel free to adapt them for other channels (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). We have included appropriate handles to tag for other channels below. Follow these instructions to tag/mention other accounts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp. There are also graphics to add to your posts.

  • Click to tweet: It's time to meet the recipients of the first #OpenTheKnowledge Journalism Awards! These journalists are writing stories that help to add to the sum of all human knowledge on @Wikipedia — particularly about under-reported communities and topics in Africa. Take a look. ⬇️


Note that this is the attribution/credit for all graphics: The Wikimedia Foundation, CC BY-SA 4.0

Social media graphic 1
Download yellow version Download black version
Social media graphic 2
Download yellow version Download black version

Social media channels[edit]

Please tag and follow

See also[edit]