Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Sources/Ventures Africa and Wikimedia Dinner on Future of Free Knowledge, Day 2
- Ada Umeofia - The O space
- Ugochukwu Ezeagwula - Identita
- Amara Uyanna - Sustainability International
- Papa Omotayo - White space
- Osinachi Irrechukwu - Artiste Management
- Seyi Taylor - Big Cabal
Team: Jack Rabah, Zach MCcune, Uzodinma Iweala, Edore Nakpodia, Kaaranja Daniel and David Adeleke
What are the major challenges to access to knowledge and information?
- Low level of access to local current information/research.
- Lack of exposure and access to indigenous content. There is an infrastructure deficit (e.g. internet access) that hinders people from creating and accessing the content.
- Lack of research data on individuals in the news. The example given was that no one is documenting information on up and coming talents in certain spaces.
- Cultural deficit: We have a culture deficit where people do not like to create their own content. A large portion of the content consumed by the Nigerian audience is foreign-produced.
- Poor preservation of history (oral storytelling)- We have not done a good enough job of documenting our culture and passing the stories down from the older generation to the present one. We have a strong oral storytelling tradition, but that has still not been effective in the transference of history. The older generation want to tell the stories from history but they don’t have a grasp on technology so their ability to store the information for the current age and the future is extremely limited. The younger generation who are tech savvy are distracted by many cares and appear not to be interested in history.
- Language barrier. Most of the content is created in English, a language that is foreign to a majority of the population in Nigeria. The key to solving this is making content more indigenous.
What issues can technology solve?
There’s a massive information gap that needs to be filled and must first be established.
- Production of local content
- Dealing with infrastructural deficit
- Language barrier and deficit
- Cultural and political will to produce the right content for the right audience that will change the narrative on the continent.
A valid point made was that when people come into Africa with the idea that they want to create content for Africans, they usually mean they want to create content in a way that they think is correct, instead of understanding how the local people already consume content. If we want to really affect culture, it is important to find the medium through which people already consume content and find a way to affect that medium.
How do we effect change and identify the audience?
Ways to spur the needed cultural change (to affect the necessary media), can either be through Subtlety or Propaganda. But one needs to understand who the audience is, because the knowledge is not defined rather it is rooted in the audience. Therefore the Audience is very critical – and it is imperative that we identify the audience that will become the catalyst for cultural change. And also identifying them in their right proportions.
Propaganda is very important for creating narratives that effect cultural change. It is suitable for an audience (the current generation) that are already deeply rooted in and preoccupied with imported cultures.
We also need to create diversity of discourse for people who have different languages.
Instead of focusing on giving access to only the current generation, we should focus majorly on the primary schools. This audience is the coming generation, and we should focus intentionally on them as younger ones because their minds are still fresh and free from distractions, and they will absorb the narratives differently. It would be best to apply the subtle methods that effect cultural change with them.
The medium for all of these is Digital because of the age we are in, it has to be relevant with the times.
Another very integral part that was discussed was the source or generation of content. And we asked ourselves this question: Why don’t we have a system of a network of the older generation that is producing cultural and historical content in oral form and intersect it with the younger generation who use technology to capture the stories?
Culture and Identity
Culture is fluid and changeable. A lot of the efforts at building content that brings about cultural change needs to be directed at the right audience. There is a generation that can act as a bridge, that can take and collect the stories and disseminate them using technology.
This is important because we cannot go forward if we do not know who we are and where we are coming from. And even though culture is becoming more global, we agreed that our identity is an unwavering factor. One of the participants put it aptly when he said, even if our music (like culture) has evolved, we have not lost our sound.
The Social Entrepreneurs discussions were more philosophical with a lot of focus on the knowledge content, its authenticity and how it is preserved. The first thing to do, is to encourage Oral storytelling and to also encourage the younger generation to support this by investing their tech skills in the process to document and disseminate, and then other actions points discussed can follow.