Hello [FNAME],

My name is Isla Haddow-Flood. This email is sent on behalf of Wiki In Africa to share an exciting pan-African campaign – the Africa Environment WikiFocus – that will increase the knowledge about climate, the environment, and the expected impact of climate change.

Individuals and Wikimedia communities will add researched information and data to Wikipedia throughout March and April. It is due for release immediately and is inserted below.

We'd be grateful if you shared this news with your audience or colleagues. Events are happening in many countries across Africa, and there are ways for individuals to contribute. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with further questions about this story. 

If you would prefer to read this information in French, you can click here.

Warmest regards

Isla Haddow-Flood

Co-Executive Director
+27 760773135
[email protected]

Wikipedia Communities Launch Campaign to Unlock Africa's Environmental Knowledge

Africa Environment WikiFocus launched on 3rd March on Wangari Maathai Day. The global drive concentrates the attention of Wikipedians and climate experts on improving and adding citable researched content to Wikipedia to improve the coverage and understanding of climate, the environment, and the threats facing the continent and its people from climate change

Cape Town, South Africa, immediate release — Wiki In Africa (www.wikiinafrica.org) and their organising partner, Wikimedia Usergroup Côte d’Ivoire, have launched the Africa Environment WikiFocus to improve the coverage and understanding of climate and environment-related topics on Wikipedia, particularly in Africa. The month-long WikiFocus encourages Wikimedia and climate activists across the continent (and beyond) to add factual data and researched content about all facets of Africa’s climate. 

The Afrobarometer report (2019) found that only 28% of Africans (in 34 countries surveyed) were aware of climate change as a concept. This worrying lack of knowledge is partly due to a pervasive lack of visibility of relevant information about Climate, Weather, and Climate Change, especially from the media, across Africa. Wikipedia is one of the few media platforms that people across Africa can access for free. 

Africa is one of the regions most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Africa is responsible for only around 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Still, it will be disproportionately affected by climate change. Climate change will significantly impact Africa, reports the United Nations. Expected impacts include increased frequency and severity of droughts, floods, and other extreme weather events that can damage crops and infrastructure and cause food shortages. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has released estimates that climate change could reduce crop yields in Africa by up to 30% by 2050.

The Africa Environment WikiFocus will incorporate up-to-date factual data and research, some supplied explicitly by the African Union and organisations active in the climate and environmental sector. It will also raise awareness of these challenges by improving the coverage of climate and environment-related topics on Wikipedia. The initiative brings together climate experts, environmental organisations, and Wikipedians to create high-quality, well-researched articles that are freely accessible to a broad audience.

Seventeen volunteer Wikimedia communities across Anglophone and Francophone Africa will host in-person editing events in March and April. Additional online training sessions (watch this one on YouTube) will share the knowledge required to add content to Wikipedia. 

Africa's Wikimedia communities have provided other ways to participate through focused alignment with several existing Wiki In Africa initiatives. The live monthly Wiki Africa Hour was the platform for the launch event. Watch the launch on YouTube. The Wiki Loves Women annual Tell Us About Her image description drive concentrates on images of Women on the Frontline of Climate.

This year, Africa's most substantial annual photo contest, Wiki Loves Africa, calls for the entry of images, video, audio, diagrams, and photo essays that depict Climate & Weather. The intentional alignment by Wiki in Africa between the two projects - Wiki Loves Africa and the Africa Environment WikiFocus – has seen the addition of two prizes to the Wiki Loves Africa prize categories. The Africa Environment WikiFocus has sponsored two Wiki Loves Africa media categories for the best representation of the impact of climate change: the best video and the best photo essay.

The WikiFocus is a project created and developed by Wiki In Africa (WIA) and Wikimedia Community User Group Côte d’Ivoire (WMUG IC) as an integral part of the African Knowledge Initiative (AKI) series of campaigns. 

The African Knowledge Initiative is supported by the African Union, Wikimedia Foundation, and Africa No Filter. The Africa Environment WikiFocus is a content creation and contribution WikiFocus that launched on the African Union’s Wangari Maathai Day (3rd of March).

How to participate

There are many ways to do your part and get involved:

Watch the WikiAfrica Hour launch to hear from Africa’s experts in climate and environment

2. Learn how to contribute content about
Environment and Climate to Wikipedia:

3. Add factual content about the Environment and Climate to the Wikimedia projects:

4. Enter your incredible photos, video, or photo essay that capture climate or weather to Wiki Loves Africa.

Add descriptions to images of Women on the Frontline of Climate on Wikimedia Commons to make the photos more useful on Wikipedia.

6. Be social – let others know about your contributions to the Africa Environment WikiFocus on social media using #WikiAfrica #AfricaEnvironmentWikiFocus, and tag @WikiAfrica in your posts.

Africa Environment Facts

Statistics on the environment and climate change in Africa:

  1. According to the World Bank, Africa has the lowest carbon dioxide emissions per capita of any continent, but it is also the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

  2. The African continent is responsible for only around 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but it is disproportionately affected by climate change.

  3. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that Africa will experience more frequent and intense heatwaves, droughts, and floods due to climate change.

  4. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) estimates that climate change could reduce crop yields in Africa by up to 30% by 2050.

  5. According to the African Wildlife Foundation, Africa has lost around 50% of its wildlife in the last 40 years.

  6. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that Africa could create 1.5 million new jobs in renewable energy by 2030.

  7. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that deforestation and land degradation in Africa are responsible for around 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

  8. In 24 African countries, less than 50% of their population has no access to electricity. source

Media release by Wiki In Africa. For media queries contact:

(English) Isla Haddow-Flood

  • Cell: +27 76 077 3135
  • Email: isla @ wikiinafrica.org

(French) Florence Devouard

  • Cell: +33 645 60 62 77
  • Email: fdevouard @ anthere.org


About Wiki In Africa
Wiki In Africa is a registered non-profit organisation based in South Africa and works across the continent and beyond. Its mission is to decolonising knowledge and the internet by facilitating global access for all to open knowledge that reflects and represents the diverse cultures, peoples, biodiversities, and histories of the African continent and other previously marginalised and disenfranchised communities with the same depth and breadth as other knowledges. 

It combats the content and contribution gap that perpetuates the digital divide that plagues Africa by creating engaging and fun opportunities that progress skills acquisition, leadership development, and community building. During 2023 its focus programs include Wiki Loves Africa, Wiki Loves Women, Africa Environment WikiFocus, WikiFundi, WikiChallenge African Schools, and WikiAfrica Hour. 

About African Knowledge Initiative (AKI)
The Africa Knowledge Initiative (AKI) is a collaboration of the Wikimedia Foundation, African Union, and Africa No Filter. AKI is designed to add factual knowledge about Africa to the Wikipedia projects through subject-focused drives that create visibility, decentralised access, and opportunities for training and contribution. Its goal is to inspire and support a new generation of African Knowledge activists through high-profile contribution campaigns. 
Africa Knowledge Initiative (AKI) is a series of campaigns on the Wikimedia projects that pivots on three African Union Holidays (Africa Youth Day: 1st November 2022, Environment (Wangari Maathai) Day: 3rd March 2023, Africa Day: 25th May 2023).  Each focus campaign is facilitated and activated by Wikimedia implementing partners. Wiki In Africa and Wikimedia Usergroup Côte d’Ivoire have been tasked with the Africa Environment WikiFocus. 

About the Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organisation that operates Wikipedia and other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. Its vision is a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We believe that everyone has the potential to contribute something to our shared knowledge and that everyone should be able to access that knowledge freely. We host Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects, build software experiences for reading, contributing, and sharing Wikimedia content, support the volunteer communities and partners who make Wikimedia possible, and advocate for policies that enable Wikimedia and free knowledge to thrive.

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