|Shirt displaying logos of organizations working with PWMGH
|#TheAfricanDreamLLC had the privilege of talking to Rexford Nkansah; a member of Planning Wikimedia Ghana (PWMGH), which is working on establishing a recognized Wikimedia Chapter in Ghana. We had this conversation prior to the departure of Mr. Nkansah to South Africa to further the work of free access to information with the Africa Center.
Below is a loose transcription of how the question and answer (Q&A) session transpired. Do not hesitate to share this with your friends and feel free to leave a comment or contact this blog about how you can be of assistance to making Wikimedia Ghana a reality. Thanks for your assistance and enjoy:
Q: What is Wikimedia
A: The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), Inc. is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of multilingual, educational content and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. The Wikimedia Foundation operates some of the largest collaboratively edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia; a top-ten internet property.
Q: Why is it necessary for Ghana to have a recognized Wikimedia Chapter
A: Recognition as a chapter means we are allowed to use the Wikimedia Foundation trademarks and logos and other copyrighted instruments of the organization in our local activities in promotion of the use of WMF platforms. We are currently limited in the use of Wikimedia trademarks, hence delimiting how far and open we can go with our activities. This is why we are currently calling ourselves Planning Wikimedia Ghana (PWMGH). As a recognized Chapter, we also can get funding not only from the mother organization, but from interested local entities.
Video of Google+ hangout of interview
Q: How many countries in Africa have recognized Wikipedia Chapters
A: Only South Africa presently has a recognized Chapter of this global foundation in all of Africa. Kenya used to be a recognized chapter but recently lost that privilege, which is why PWMGH is working hard for recognition today.
Q: What is Ghana doing to become a Chapter too
A: Ghana has a team of about 5 core dedicated members and about 12 other persons and institutions that have also volunteered their time and resources to promoting the use of WMF project websites in the country. The basic goal of this team is to help introduce as many possible Ghanaians to contributing and making good use of these sites. By getting more active members on board, the team can therefore transform into a chapter provided we have almost met all the requirements and in the continual process of encouraging our members to actively contribute by way of making edits regularly and accurately on the wikis.
Q: Is the government or private sector engaged in anyway in helping those pushing for the formation of a Ghana Chapter of the WMF
Yes the private sector is involved. Organizations such as MiPromo; Owners of GhanaMusic.com
and GhanaThink Foundation
who are organizers of barcamps. Organizations like the Peace Corps and World Reader among others are currently in talks with us and we hope to form lasting partnership with them all. As for interest coming from the government sector, well I will say we are yet to feel any form of involvement from there for now.
Q: I hear you will be in South Africa for a year working with Africa Centre, talk a bit about who they are and what your job with them will be
A: Basically, Africa Centre has found its purpose of creating a platform for exploring contemporary Pan-African creative practice as a catalyst for social change and as a result, I have been drafted to be in their employs to assist with this purpose.
Well, actually, my work there as a Wikipedian in Residence will involve more than just wiki Indaba of South Africa. As outlined in my contract; I will be keenly working in direct collaboration with the wiki Africa projects, which will involve myself being a liaison between the Africa center and wiki Africa content partners. About 5 other wiki African related tasks will also be assigned to me and I am really excited and looking forward to becoming a force for good.
Q: Before you leave, what will you say to anyone out there who wants to help PWMGH?
A: I will simply encourage individuals and organizations to get interested and involved in the work of PWMGH by liking us on Facebook, following us on Google+ and Twitter and not just become passive members, but actually remain active contributors as we help update, edit and create new info about not only Ghana, but Africa and the entire world to be freely consumed by generations to come. Thank you!