Ghana on its way to creating a recognized affiliate of the global Wikimedia Foundation

A team leader and school children in Ghana creating user accounts

A group of Ghanaians under the inspiration of Rexford Nkansah; a student, are set to promote the dissemination of free knowledge and the use of online tools in education and the promotion of culture. In line with Wikimedia Foundation’s strategic priorities, the team would also encourage and increased participation and contribution from Ghanaians to the various wiki projects.

Wikimedia Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free and multilingual content via wiki- based projects. Current wiki projects under Wikimedia’s wing include:

• Wikipedia, a top-ten Internet property.
• Wikiquote
• Wikibooks
• Wikisource
• Wikispecies
• Wikinews
• Wikiversity
• Wikimedia Commons
• MediaWiki.

The soon to establish Ghanaian chapter seeks to get thousands of school children contributing to the wikis especially Wikipedia, which many of them agree is a great homework resource. Below is an informational video capturing the fullness of the Wikimedia Ghana concept.

Early in the month of August 2012, the first two school children, Samuel Asomani and Aaron Manu signed up to join and are contributing articles about some Ghanaian oriented topics that they wish to see on Wikipedia.

According to Sandister Tei, a Wikimedia Ghana team member, these young boys were recruited from her neighborhood and are going to be the pioneers soon to be followed by more youngsters who will build a strong case for the formation of a Ghana chapter of the global Wikimedia Foundation. Sandister watched as these young children eagerly signed up on her computer to contribute.

According to Wikimedia Foundation’s Statistics of the last 12 months, Ghana was not even mentioned on the tables for countries known to edit or contribute to articles to Wikipedia. The country failed to make even one percent of the total percentage of contributions made globally. Egypt, the only African country on the tables, secured 0.2% share of the global total. United States (18.1%),Germany (7.8%), United Kingdom (6.7%) and France (6.4%) topped the tables.(Wikimedia Traffic Analysis Report – Wikipedia Page Edits Per Country 2012).

For page views or content accessed, Ghana recorded 0.02% ahead of Cote d’ivoire, Sudan and Cameroon which secured 0.01%. However, a country like USA secured 24.2% share of the global total according to Wikimedia Traffic Analysis Report as per Wikipedia Page Views Per Country.

There are some notable factors disabling the increase of Ghanaian participation in the global Wikimedia village like limited Internet accessibility and ownership of internet enabled devices needed to participate. A major lack of awareness of  Wikimedia and the concept of a wiki precedes these negatives.

Wikimedia Ghana on its part seeks to fix these limitations by creating the awareness, starting from schools that are equipped to support Information Technology and to raise consciousness in support of those that don’t have the logistical abilities to be funded either by private or public sectors who believe in the cause being championed by Wikimedia Ghana.

Rexford Nkansah who is the initiator of Wikimedia Ghana believes “there is a lot of work to be done and a lot of fun in the projects but the most important thing is that Ghana must contribute to show the strength of  our chapter. We hope to start doing this one citizen at a time by placing a lot of emphasis on the schools which holds the foundation of Ghana–students”.

If the Wikimedia Foundation approves Ghana’s request to become a recognized chapter, the country will be one of presently only two African (South Africa and Kenya) countries with approved chapters. Rexford called for all hands to be on deck and was particular about the need for the involvement of Ghana’s ministries of information, culture and education.

Written by Sandister Tei & Oral Ofori

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