In a significant stride toward fostering open knowledge across the African continent, Open Foundation West Africa (OFWA) has extended its reach from West to East Africa. This expansion materialized with the training, guidance, and inspiration provided to a group of enthusiastic young minds, resulting in the launch of a Wikimedian Group in Ethiopia as part of the OFWA Africa Day Campaign.
This accomplishment marks a pivotal moment in OFWA's ongoing commitment to democratizing access to information and cultivating a global culture of open knowledge. Despite Ethiopia's rich and diverse resources, its presence on Wikimedia platforms has been less than commendable. The initiation of the new Wikimedia community aims to rectify this shortfall, empowering Ethiopians to actively engage in contributing to Wikimedia platforms and closing the content gap.
OFWA, in collaboration with the African Knowledge Initiative, the African Union, and the Wikimedia Foundation, played a crucial role as an implementing partner in the Africa Day Campaign. One of the primary objectives was to establish a Wikimedia community in an African country where such activities were either nonexistent or dormant. Ethiopia, with its untapped potential, emerged as a strategic focal point for this initiative.
Excitement abounds not only for OFWA's collaboration with over 20 Wikimedia communities across 13 countries globally during the campaign but particularly for the creation of the new group in Ethiopia and the transformative impact it aspires to achieve.
OFWA takes pride in nurturing the curiosity and resilience of its volunteers, exemplified by Dagmawi Mekonnen from Ethiopia. Equipped with Wikimedia tools and strategies through several training sessions, Mekonnen played a key role in making the establishment of the new group a reality.
On September 9th, 2023, the inaugural workshop unfolded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as part of the Africa Day Campaign initiative. The event commenced with a virtual overview by Communications Officer Eugene Masiku, emphasizing the significance of the group's establishment and its broader objectives. A training session on the Introduction to Wikipedia was also conducted, led by Masiku, followed by insights from Programs Officer Ruby D-Brown on the group's potential benefits for the people of Ethiopia.
The workshop, attended by approximately 20 individuals, witnessed wholehearted participation, with many being introduced to the Wikimedia world for the first time. Their intrigue and enthusiasm underscored the potential for collective contributions to bridge knowledge gaps.
OFWA expresses gratitude to Dagmawi Mekonnen and his dedicated team for orchestrating this impactful initiative, paving the way for a brighter, more connected future for Ethiopia on the Wikimedia stage.