WMGHUG/Annual Report 2015
Annual Report 2015
Written by Felix Nartey
In 2014 we gained User Group Status which marked the beginning of our journey to reaching our goal of someday becoming a Chapter. Thoughts of this vision has kept the leadership alive and geared our way to reaching greater heights.
Our major highlights for the year (2015) were; Edit Ghana Project, Wiki Needs Girls Campaign, Kiwix Projecct in WA, Software Freedom Day, Partnership with the Goethe Institute and Partnership with Linux Accra. Other promising actions in the year are our growing feet with our first ever Education Program, Possible partnership with the Wikimedia UK to collate Ghana related content from museums in the UK and our recent project which awaits approval, GLAM Ghana. In spite of all these progress we faced a few setbacks that we intend to pay very rapt attention to in the coming year, some of these include: inactivity of members, volunteer burnout, inability to raise fund from secondary sources and lack of proper marketing and sensitization campaigns.
A growing voluntary commitment
This year has seen numerous of activities that have staged the way for the coming year and have afforded as the opportunity to want to share in our exploits. A key thing that is worth mentioning is our quest to inspire individuals to be innovative and come up with their own projects and programs that will in turn introduce people to our movement and what we do. Many things happened, from community activities to individual activities by motivated members who were keen on also helping to pave the way for greater and richer exploits. We are proud to share and hope it inspires more to the benefit of the movement goals. A list of activities are outlined below ;
This event started as a partnership with the Ghana Volunteer Program (GVP), organizers of the National Volunteers Day (NVDay). NVDay holds on the founder’s day thus 21 September each year, it is a day that institutes volunteerism towards nation building and community development. This year we leveraged the opportunity to appeal with same general conscience that evolves the NVDay to entice Ghanaians to be patriotic on the day by contributing local contents onto Wikipedia. Later we focused on a more sustainable approach where participants were trained using a more systematic and reliable approach. Training were broken into sessions and each taken a day with the hopes of sinking the knowledge little by little rather than clustering their minds with everything in a day and leaving them mostly scared "its difficult to edit". This worked very well as most participants kept in touch and we helped understand where they found it a bit difficult, we even had some participants expressing their willingness to work, by participating in the Inspire Campaign which later merged with our Wiki Needs Girls. As a result also two learning patterns were created they viz - Mode of training and Volunteer feedback and follow-up.
This was a project aimed at bridging the gender gap in Wikipedia and on other Wikimedia sister projects by creating awareness about Wikipedia and its sister projects to female senior high school students and identifiable women groups in Ghana. We can convincingly say we were able to reach out to a lot of women and female students who got the awareness that there was a little in terms of female contents on Wikipedia and they could also contribute to offset that imbalance. A total of 25 articles were added or improved on Wikipedia as a result of this cause.
A Kiwix installation project targeted at senior high school students in WA to complement their learning and research work by employing the use of Wikipedia and other sister projects. It was a perfect opportunity to introduce them to Wikipedia and test our viability for future education projects or similar projects.
The general attendance for the training was overwhelming, as the participation of the students were beyond our expectations. We had about 800 students in attendance, of which about 45% were girls/women. Their enthusiasm to grasp knowledge was very motivating. We left highly motivated to have affected the lives of others who keenly sought knowledge. A follow up survey is however scheduled for early next year to draw feedback and suggestions that may inform our decision for similar activities in other schools.
Two member of the user group represented at the gathering. At this event they presented on how to champion local contents through free and open softwares. The presentation led to the mentioning of free and open tools such as Wikipeddia and other Wikimedia Projects. During the breakout sessions, they hosted a Wikimedia Clinic that run participants through Wikipedia an its sister projects.
An event organized by a member of the community focusing on getting more photographers to employ the usage off Wikimedia commons. It consisted of a trip to Begoro - Fanteakwa with some other experienced photographers.
Wikimedia Ghana Usergroup engaged in other activities worth mentioning. The usergroup was granted the opportunity to participate in four (4) international events/activities this year. However we were able to attend three (3) out of the four (4) opportunities granted, mainly due to visa issues and other issues beyond our control. The events included The GLAM Wiki Conference, WMCON 15 (report), Hackathon 15 and Open Africa 15.
We were also able to seal some crucial partnership deals that are necessary to smoothen our activities for next year. We gained partnership with the Linux Accra usergroup, a group ready to share their space with us from time to time and currently the main organizers of Software Freedom Day where we participated this year. We also gained a partnership deal with the Goethe institute as a result of a lead contact shared by a member of the Wikimedia Deutschland at WMCON15. Lastly we joined some other outreach wagons like the Barcamps organized all year round. This is usually a social forum where the youth a given the opportunity to meet mentors or people who have excelled in their chosen career paths. During the breakout sessions of this events individuals are allowed to lead activities and talks that will insight the participants.
Work in progress
The focus of this project is to promote Ghanaian culture and heritage through multimedia content uploads on Wikimedia Commons and source documents on Wikisource that will compliment existing or future articles on Wikipedia and other sister projects. Following the requests by PRAAD to saver the deteriorating states of records on Ghana and the urgent call for digitization of these records, we decided to contribute our quota to national development while gathering valuable data for Wikimedia. We conducted a pilot phase of the project on a zero (0) budget with the hopes to start the real deal (GLAM Ghana), of which we are hopeful to commence effective work early next year.
Partnership with Wikimedia UK
Currently working on how to possibly forge a partnership with Wikimedia UK, as they show willingness to support our GLAM Ghana Project by linking us with necessary Ghanaian contents harbored in museums in the UK by virtue of our colonial tides.
Partnership for Education Program
We have already initiated talks with several schools on the aforementioned subject. We are almost in the final stages with Ashesi University and University of Development Studies who have continued to show keen interest in the program. We have also organised events tolling that line (Kiwix Projecct in WA) with the intention to test the viability of such a program. We are however hopefull that all things been equal the program would kick off around the 2nd quarter of next year.
Conclusion and observations
It has come to our notice some of the very problems that hinders our members from editing. Issues of the internet (cost of internet access), constant black outs and lack of devices to enable volunteers perform their tasks as editors. Africa is a very different terrain as compared to Europe and the rest of the world. A dozen of the people don't even own gadgets to enable them contribute let alone the funds to afford the cost of internet which is expensive. This sometimes makes the work of volunteers difficult and frustrates their efforts to participate. To volunteer ones time and energy is not an easy task, hence a bit tricky when they have to go the extra mile (buy their own Internets or don't have devices) so they can just volunteer. Thoughts on what has worked or others or what could possibly work on this matter will be highly appreciated.
We are leveraging the opportunity of the Wikipedia 15 celebrations to actually gather members of the community to discuss the way forward for the community, gather their inputs and suggestions. 2016 promises to be a great year following all the plans and activities already laid down.