Wikimania 2021 Pre-Conference in Tanzania
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Wikimania 2021 Pre-Conference in Tanzania will be an inperson event that seeks to bring together Wikimedians from East Africa and its neighboring countries, the main purpose being raising awareness about Wikimania itself, other global Wikimedia conferences (such as WikiIndaba) as well as raising awareness about the ongoing global discussions on global topics within Wikimedia movement (such as Movement charter, Regional hubs, Global Council) and other potential topics that are likely to be discussed during Wikimania in August 2021. Also the Conference seeks to use this opportunity as a platform for African Wikimedians to discuss topics that directly affetcs the Africa Wiki community.
Wiki community represenatives from East Africa region (Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi) and its neighbouring countries(Congo, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana) had several discussions in an effort of exploring common challenges facing our communities and creating strong cooperation among the East African/African communities. The lately discussion was about the possible Wiki activity that can be done to bring together Wikimedians from mainly East Africa region, Other communities regarding the upcoming Wikimania 2021 based on the key challenges explained below.
Key observed challenges facing East Africa Region Wiki Communities
In our discussions we observed the following key challenges facing East Africa Region and its neighboring Wiki Communities:
- Most of the African Wikimedians have never attended Wikimania Conference before, and some even don't know what Wikimania is because either they are newbies to Wikimedia activities or some have limited experience of what Wikimania is all about.
- There are a lot of Global discussions going on within the Wikimedia movement (including discussions around Wikimedia 2030 ), but still most of the African Wikimedians aren't aware of that, and there is a lack of common understanding of those concepts for those few who have some idea/know about these topics.
- We don't have many platforms that bring us (African Wikimedians/ East African Wikimedians) together to discuss the topics that directly affect us within the Wikimedia Movement.
- In most cases African communities are lagging behind when it comes to active participation in global discussions about different topics within the Movement.
- Some Wiki members (during discussions around partcipation on global discussions) said even if they get the scholarship to attend the Wikimania in 2021, they are not familiar with the topics being discussed, even when they look at the Wikimania program page, they still feel like the topics are too advanced for them to participate. Hence this Wiki conference seeks to bring in any experienced Wikimedians/WMF staffs to share some lighting talks to participants so they can have some understanding of what they can expect/expected to contribute during the main Wikimania event.
Following the challenges explained above, that is when we came up with an idea of having an in person Wikimania Pre-Conference in Tanzania, where several East African countries will come together and and use this opportunity to raise awareness about Wikimania and other global topics within the Wikimedia Movement so as to increase the peoples' participation during global discussion including Wikimania. We offer our thanks to the Wikimania Core Organizing Team for approving this idea and for giving us the green light to go ahead with the plan.
Upon several discussions amongst the steering team and association other communities, we came to a conclusion that this event will be hosted by Wikimedia Community User Group Tanzania and this inperson conference is expected to be held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (more details will be provided later).
The dates of an event
The conference is expected to be held on 30th, 31th July, and 01st August 2021 (this will depend on the how things will go as planned, dates can change)
The following are the countries that have shown interest to participate through their representatives.
Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Somalia, Zambia and South Africa, Botswana and Nigeria.
This plan is being generally coordinated by some East African volunteers (Antoni Mtavangu-Tanzania, Winnie Kabinte-Kenya and Douglas Ssebagala-Uganda) with great support from other East African and neigboring countries represenatives/members of the mentioned countries and the Local Organizing team in Tanzania.