Open Foundation West Africa Launches Wikimedia Hub in Tamale, Ghana

We are here to make this a reality through nuturing contributors to contribute and create awareness of these resources to the general public.

By OFWA

Our ultimate goal was clear from the onset: to extend the course of Open Knowledge, Education and Access to every corner of Ghana and beyond, which would mean frequent trainings to attract more people to our initiatives and more crucially, founding autonomous and sustainable Wikimedia hubs in all regions of the country.

These hubs would simply carry out our mission in areas they are set up and help nurture new generation of Wikipedia editors, volunteers and community leaders. These growth opportunities go beyond the Wikimedia work, as individuals who benefit from these capacity building opportunities can lead the next generation of technology discussions and community development activities in their regions.

We didn’t however envision a substantial progress happening under 8 months!

Our first Wikipedia hub, Ho Wiki Hub was established on November 24th 2018, followed by Kumasi Wiki Hub set up on March 24th 2019 and now, the latest addition, Tamale Wiki Hub founded recently (June 22nd 2019) with an impressive turn out and an engaging participation.

The launch of the hub, held in Tamale (HOPin Academy), the capital of the Northern Region of Ghana and the third-largest city in the country convened 35 participants pooled from varying backgrounds and religious beliefs, most of which were tech savvy and already armed with suggestions on how to sustain their newly launched community.

Participation at the launch was phenomenal as most people who signed up were present and extended invites to other friends to join in.

This, buoyed by the 8 articles created (articles in draft/sandbox yet to be published) and 50 improved articles on subjects from the region at the end of the session, is a clear indication of a hub that would thrive and assume a vibrant status in the region in the not so distant future.

“This only proves that the Tamale Community has a dire need to preserve their local heritage and ensure a proper representation about their people and things to the world's largest encyclopaedic platform, Wikipedia,” says Joy Agyepong, the Administrative Executive of Open Foundation West Africa (OFWA) who led the launch of the hub.

HOPin Academy, our institutional partners from the region, introduced participants to the work of the Academy and how contributing to Wikipedia is bundled with a lot of advantages and opportunities, further hinting on how young entrepreneurs can harness their spaces to educate themselves in the area of entrepreneurship.

This was followed by Introduction to Wikipedia session, Wikidata and Wiki commons photo uploads, which is very important when training new entrants as presenting Wikipedia along with its related projects enables them (newbies) decide which project they are most  interested in and would enjoy contributing their time to.

“To sustain the community, I’m keen on ensuring active participation from community members and those interested in joining our activities” Sixtus Kudaar, local representative and convener of the newly created Hub, said.

Prince Mahama, a participant of the training also said “I personally created an account on Wikipedia two years ago but have been inactive since I had no prior knowledge on its importance and how to use the platform until I attended the training”. I am very grateful to the team for reviving my interest.

Currently, OFWA is charting the way to grow autonomous sustainable Wikimedia communities in Ghana, these efforts are quite encouraging and speaks volumes following the fact that the organisation is solely dependent on volunteers to manage its affairs. These efforts means improving the biases in terms of representation on the world's largest encyclopedia.

This feat has been a source of inspiration to team members who by dint of hard work, selflessness and a dedicated leadership made this possible.

Congratulations to all that made this a reality!


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