The African continent is embedded with rich culture, fascinating history and abundant resources. However, the online representation of these key elements of the continent is not very appealing. Africa is heavily lagging behind in terms of digital representation as compared to other continents. Most of Africa’s stories remain untold and wither away without being documented on the internet, especially Wikipedia while others are misconstrued.
Recognizing the pressing need to rectify this imbalance, Open Foundation West Africa took a bold step in 2021 to launch an initiative named the Africa Wiki Challenge(AWC) that will seek to not only shed light on the existing content disparities but also to actively engage in bridging the gap. Since the inception of the Africa Wiki Challenge, the campaign has witnessed participation from over 30 countries across the globe including Ghana, Mexico, Russia, Canada, Uganda, Togo, USA, UK, Nigeria, South Africa Rwanda, Haiti, Tanzania, Botswana and many others.
The maiden edition saw 184 editors from 12 countries across the globe contributing to and improving 2500 existing articles, and creating 1,100 new articles. The contest saw participation from three(3) organized groups comprising Wikimedia Tanzania User Group, Wikimedia Community Group Rwanda and Tatar Wikimedia Group in Russia.
Three years down the line, the impact of AWC had caught the attention of the African Union and secured a partnership through the Africa Knowledge Initiative and the Wikimedia Foundation. This collaboration saw the Africa Wiki Challenge hosting a campaign dubbed the Africa Day Campaign with the theme curated in line with the African Union Day 2023 theme, “Africa Free Trade”. The campaign sought to document Africa’s stories to increase visibility of stories around Africa’s free trade agenda, challenges and benefits amongst others.
The Africa Day Campaign, through its collaborative and community-driven approach, empowered twelve (12) implementing countries consisting of twenty one (21) organizing groups to participate in the contest. The Africa Day Campaign solicited 4008 new articles and 13,000 contributions to existing articles from 491 editors.
We are elated to have involved these 21 organizing groups, Wikimedia Community Usergroup Uganda, Wikimedia Community Usergroup Kenya, Igbo Wikimedians User Group(Nigeria), Abuja Teachers(Nigeria), Wikimedia Community Usergroup Rwanda, Kwara State Nigeria Group(Nigeria), Fante Wikimedia Community (Ghana), Ghanaian Pidgin Wikimedia Community(Ghana), Noircir Wikipédia (Switzerland), Gurene/Moore Wikimedia(Ghana), Open Foundation West Africa Contest (Ghana), Wikimedia Kilimanjaro, Wikimedia Community South Sudan, Campagne de la Journée de l'Afrique au Cameroun, Kumasi Wiki Hub(Ghana), Wikimedians of DRC User Group,Wikimedia Community Usergroup Botswana, Wikimedia Community of Togo, Hausa Wikimedia (Nigeria) and Communauté du Bénin.
The Africa Wiki Challenge will continue to make a concerted effort to increase the quantity and quality of information related to Africa on Wikipedia and its sister projects to ensure that Africa’s stories are accurately reflected and documented on the internet.