Wikimedia Ghana User Group Annual Report – 2016
What has Wikimedia Ghana User Group been up to in 2016?
Generally speaking 2016 is primarily the year of back-to-back joint trainings and edit-a-thons (t-edit-a-thons if you like), for the English Wikipedia . We are also using all opportunities to encourage the download of the official Wikipedia app because mobile is key in our part of the word. It is also a year of seeking local partnerships that support the user group in its objectives, besides what Wikimedia Foundation offers. 2016 is also experiencing spreading the presence of the user group to other cities in the country besides Accra where most active members are based; and the growth of pockets of communities connected to the user group. Finally, 2016 has also seen an unrelenting effort to make outreach an internal affair as we have done externally. We are not just recruiting, we are engaging recruits daily.
The Focus On Wikipedia
Wikipedia turned 15 this year. The group decided to go along with the buzz to make 2016 more focused on the English Wikipedia. Hence Wikipedia has been the starting point of our conversations about the Wikimedia movement, during outreach.
The user group comprises Wikimedians with different Wikimedia project interests. Yet as part of our user group agreement guidelines identifying a scope of activities is advisable (and sensible) if not, we spread ourselves too thin and get very little impact. So this year we agreed to organise ourselves around Wikipedia. It wasn't the only wiki project mentioned at meetings, but it was definitely our headline wiki. And we did well to get participants of our meetings to download the app and even create user accounts through that means.
Events & Activities
First Partnership Of The Year: The user group established a relationship and subsequently received support from the US Government's Broadcasting Board of Governors - Digital Innovation Lab which is based at Impact Hub Accra.
The support was in the form of:
- Free space to hold monthly training-editathons
- Free internet
- Free use of the hub's resources during the sessions
February Training-Editathon: Secondly, that February, we held our first training-editathon (t-edit-a-thons) at the hub which had 11 participants – a mix of returning and new editors.
The meeting was used to introduce participants to Wikipedia and also allowed them to try their hands on editing the wiki. The Impact Hub Accra Wikipedia article was created.
In the third month of 2016 we had three events.
A talk with Ghana Institute of Journalism students: One of the group's representatives gave a talk about Wikipedia and Wikimedia at the 2016 ThreeSixtyGh's Creative Writing Series at the Ghana Institute of Journalism to over 50 students of the institute. Some of the attendees have later attended trainings-editathons organised by the user group.
Barcamp Ashesi: Ashesi University held its affiliate barcamp in March – Barcamp Ashesi. Barcamps are user-generated conferences that tend to foster collaboration. The ones in Ghana are held by GhanaThink Foundation and tend to attract 'millenial' audiences who are more keen to accept Wikimedia projects.
Many of our members in the past were recruited at Barcamps around the country. At Barcamp Ashesi we had the opportunity to speak to at least 60 participants about Wikipedia and later held a session where people could walk in and speak to the rep to learn more. 2 people were recruited and an old member who was on the mailing list but had been dormant was roped in again. He joins us for subsequent meetings back in Accra.
March t-edit-a-thon: This was held at the Impact Hub Accra in March and it hosted at least 11 participants with at least 5 being first-time editors. Mawuli Cherubim for instance was recruited at Barcamp Ashesi so he attended the March meeting to learn more and he's now an editor. Community member Raphael Berchie and some ladies from Wiki Loves Women community team were also with us.
April Art+Feminism meet up: The group's April meet up was suspended so Wiki Loves Women team who were also involved in Art+Feminism can have their event. Holding a similar Wikipedia event in the same building around the same time would be wasteful. The group had also decided that when individuals initiate projects, group reps should support. So it made sense to hold off April regular meetup so one of the reps could go support the members.
Conceptualising an Elections Project Based On Wikipedia: The group had its Wikipedia Election Meetup 2016. Participants were given an introduction to Wikipedia and then based on how they understood it, thought about possible projects that could improve articles concerning elections on Wikipedia. It led to the Wikipedia Election 2016 Project similar to Wiki For Election 2012 Ghana.
October Wikipedia Training-Editathons: Participants were given an introduction to Wikipedia and a training-editathon followed. About 12 people were present for the month. Their articles of choice were focused on the Wikipedia Election 2016 Project. However if a participant had no interest in political articles, they could do something else.
Barcamp Koforidua: The user group had representation at the Barcamp for the city of Koforidua. The representative was able to speak to 8 people who showed interest.
Editing events: The user group held two Wikipedia t-edit-a-thons in November in the city of Accra, which had a total attendance of 28 – 4 of which were repeat-participants.
Non-editing events: The group was represented at Barcamp Kumasi in the city of Kumasi. A session dedicated to explaining Wikimedia had 10 people attending, 6 of which have joined the user group to learn more.
Partnerships and support: The group received and gave some support this year some of which were finalised in November:
- The group applied for a rapid grant to support the meet ups we have been organising. Meetings organised by the group itself from the beginning of the year up to November 12 were funded by individuals involved. However WMF approved a grant to fund further t-edit-a-thons in the year.
- Also MTN which is WMF's Wikipedia Zero partner is supporting the meetings with prizes for active participants.
- Solarkiosk a company that builds kiosks that offer services in communities including free Wikipedia access connected with us through Wikimedia France. They have placed some of these kiosks around the country. A member was selected to visit one of the kiosks and write a blog post about it for the Wikimedia Blog. Wendel Laryea is still in the process of putting his words together. A representative and offered to explain Wikipedia to the operators who are eventually going to help people access Wikipedia for free in the kiosks. About 13 participants – a mix of staff and kiosk operators were present. A blog post on that will also be soon released. We intend to continue offering support to Solarkiosk to educate the kiosk operators.
Issues of paid editing: Some members of the community have been approached by people looking to "get on Wikipedia". We have also discovered that people are making a business out of editing Wikipedia pages. The group is collaboratively working on a press release to educate the public about the dos and don'ts when it comes to receiving remuneration for editing Wikipedia articles.
Recapping partnerships: Currently the group is supported and/or supporting the US Government's Broadcasting Board of Governors - Digital Innovation Lab which is based at Impact Hub Accra, Solarkiosk, MTN.
The group is looking to wrap up the year knowing we spared nothing to make sure that members have the opportunity to stay engaged with monthly events, while those events are also used to recruit new ones. We are also excited by the partnerships we have. We know for sure that we are growing.
- Throughout the year members have been encouraged to share their initiatives with group in order to be captured in report. This report was compiled with smaller reports from members who volunteered to do work on behalf of the group and reported back to the group. Efforts not captured here will either stem from projects not done in the name of the group, or members' decision not to heed to a call for reports.
Report was contributed to by: