Looking back at 2022: an incredible year for Wiki in Africa!

The Wiki in Africa team is back at work, mapping out our projects for 2023. It's a busy month; hours are spent brainstorming ideas and plotting out each project's strategy, from ways to broaden the reach of Wiki Loves Africa — so that more incredible media about our continent is made available for use across the WikiVerse — to deciding on what Wiki Africa Hour content would best serve the African wikimedians and groups. We also look back at 2022's successes and lessons learned so we can continue to shift perspectives on Africa in the Wiki space and beyond, and build on those achievements.

We've put together our top five achievements as we see them. But, before we take you on a journey through our successes, we want to acknowledge that we can do none of this without the ongoing support of our funders, partner organisations and all who take the time to participate and collaborate on Wiki in Africa projects.  Thank you!

1. Wiki Loves Africa: 8 years and 89,000+ images

Firefighter, Ashton Bay, March 2017 by South African Photographer StevenTerblanche 

Having completed the 8th year of Wiki Loves Africa — our annual contest where creators across the continent contribute free media (photographs, video and audio) to Wikimedia Commons for use on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia communities (Wikimedia movement), and also make this shared media freely available for the Humankind — we are delighted that an image submitted to Wiki Loves Africa for the 2017 contest has won third place in the Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year.

In December 2022, the stunning image above, Firefighter, Ashton Bay, March 2017 was honored with 3rd place in the annual Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year 2021. It was submitted by South African photographer StevenTerblanche for the Wiki Loves Africa 2017 contest under the theme of People at Work, and was one of 17,874 images submitted by 2,435 photographers. 

Over the last 8 years, there have been almost 89,000 images submitted to the Wiki Loves Africa contests by 10,380 photographers. These images are added directly to Wikipedia’s image bank under a free license. Around 12,330 of these images have been used to illustrate articles on the Wikimedia projects. By being used to illustrate Wikipedia articles, these Wiki Loves Africa images have been collectively viewed 1.15 billion times since January 2017.

2. Inspiring Open: a season of phenomenal women!

March 2022 saw the launch of a new podcast from Wiki Loves Women. Inspiring Open celebrates the inspirational women whose careers and personal ethics intersect with the Open movement. Each episode features a dynamic woman from Africa who has pushed the boundaries of what it means to build communities and succeed as a collective. 

The first series came to a close in October with the airing of our 16th episode. We loved every story our guests generously shared with openness and honesty. Some of the highlights from IO were discovering that both Maryana Iskander and Helen Turvey moved to South Africa for love, finding out how Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah came to give voice to the sex lives of African women and why Lola Shoneyin thinks we should be free to discuss our desires and kinks, and educating ourselves on why piracy is sometimes necessary when information isn't freely available to all with Maha Bali and Esraa El Shafei

You can listen to all of the episodes via the Inspiring Open website or subscribe on any podcast platform so you never miss a dose of inspiration from Africa's most phenomenal women. You can also let us know who you would like to hear from in the next series here.

3. WikiChallenge African Schools celebrates five years at Biennale de Dakar!

Presentation of the WikiChallenge African Schools prizes at Biennale de Dakar in June 2022

We are so very proud to have completed our fifth year of running WikiChallenge African Schools in 2022. The annual competition is aimed at school pupils aged 8 – 12 in schools across French-speaking African countries and teaches them how to contribute articles to Vikidia, the Wikipedia for children.

Sixty-nine schools across nine countries participated in the 2021/22 edition, with 80 new articles submitted by the pupils. 442 photos, drawings and videos were also produced by the participating students. These figures demonstrate the power of the project to help students grow up as informed and active e-citizens.

To mark the five-year anniversary, the final ceremony was held at the 14th edition of the Biennale de Dakar, arguably the most famous art event on the African continent. It was a great honour to celebrate WikiChallenge African Schools at such a prestigious gathering of Africa's creative minds. We firmly believe that the spark WikiChallenge African Schools ignites now will empower African youth for the future. Perhaps some may even return to the Biennale de Dakar as adults to receive creative awards of their own.

As we go into our sixth year of WikiChallenge Africa Schools, we will also be launching an Anglophone spin-off of the project with the Orange Foundation. Watch this space for an announcement soon.

4. African Knowledge Initiative (AKI)

The African Knowledge Initiative is a collaboration between the Wikimedia Foundation and the African Union, targeted at increasing coverage of African topics on Wikimedia projects.

In 2022/23, the initiative has selected three African Union ‘holidays’ to draw attention to key focuses affecting Africa. Climate and Environment Day (March), Africa Day (May) and Youth Day (October).

Wiki In Africa has, along with Wikimedia Côte d’Ivoire, been awarded the focus on climate change and the environment. We are proud to be given this honour — watch this space! The project will officially kick off on 3 March 2022.

5. Planning 3 years ahead!

Over the past six years, Wiki in Africa has laid strong foundations, creating vital and important projects that empower and engage the citizens of Africa to develop and contribute content under a free license as part of the open knowledge movement. From our small beginnings with our big dreams, we have created globally relevant content from Wiki Loves Africa to #SheSaid.

We are delighted to announce that, thanks to a grant of three years of operational funding from the Wikimedia Foundation, we can now plan and implement projects until the end of 2025. 

In 2022, we also welcomed three new members to the Wiki in Africa team. Afek Ben Chahed from Tunisia is our Wiki In Africa Community Facilitator (FR). She brings her experience of working on multiple Wiki projects and contests to the team, and has been a Wikimedia Tunisia UG member since 2016.  

Nontlahla (Nonny) Ntlahla comes from South Africa and provides the team with invaluable Admin Support. Nonny is a Social Dynamics graduate and a Health and Fitness enthusiast with a National Diploma in Fitness, and a passion for mental and physical health. Over 2022, she streamlined working processes for the team and has kept us all sane. 

Rachel Zadok, also from South Africa, joined as production manager on our Inspiring Open podcast, and then moved to the position of Communications Oversight Manager. She is a writer and the founder of Short Story Day Africa, another project focussed changing narratives about Africa, though their focus is on fiction.

The funding will allow us to grow our team further, thus growing the reach of our projects and giving us greater leverage to achieve our aim of making relevant African content more visible in the Open Knowledge space.



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CC-BY-SA 4.0 2022 Wiki in Africa