Tech

Open Foundation West Africa to promote African history

Open Foundation West Africa

An NGO, Open Foundation West Africa has launched an online campaign to bridge the knowledge gap of African literature on Wikipedia.

The campaign which is hinged on the theme, ‘Landmarks in Africa’ will comprise photo uploads, writing, and improving articles.

This forms part of the five-year anniversary celebrations of Open Foundation West Africa established in May 2015.

Explaining the formation of the foundation, the Administrative Executive of Open Foundation West Africa, Ruby D-Brown said “The main purpose of Open Foundation West Africa at the time was to try to bridge the digital content gap around Africa and to provide the next generation of youth with the digital literacy skills needed to compete in a dynamic and digitally transformative world.”

However, “over the years, we have gradually defined the scope of our work to increase our impact and narrow our commitment to certain specific jurisdictions, especially within the Open Movement,” she said.

She added that “now, we may describe ourselves as a soft skill tech-based organization and a network of communities, committed to digitally representing and preserving the culture of Africa, and developing skills on the continent using an open-centered approach to deliver Skills Training and Capacity building opportunities for people whose stories and passions resonate deeply with ours in a way that is consistent with the quality, impact, and importance of our projects.”

Throughout its five-year journey, its members have been empowered through projects like Glam Ghana, Wikimedia in Education Program, Decolonizing the internet, National Film authority WikiProject, The Summer Open School, and Kiwix4Schools project.

Also, OFWA has seven operational hubs across the country namely Accra, Kumasi, Ho, Tamale, Wa, Tarkwa, and Walewale. Additionally, it created clubs at Ashesi, University of Winneba and University of Ghana.

The foundation is looking at improving reading culture in Ghana hence will launch its “The Book Exchange Booth” initiative around August 2021.

“The idea is to encourage readers to donate old books and pick up new ones in order to encourage sharing and repurposing old books among the youth while maintaining an environmentally friendly way of reuse that eradicates the burning of books”, she added.

Below is the full press release

Open Foundation West Africa as an idea, was conceived in May 2015. This came about after discovering the general gaps and lapses that existed while working within the Wikimedia movement. The main purpose of Open Foundation West Africa at the time was to try to bridge the digital content gap around Africa and to provide the next generation of youth with the digital literacy skills needed to compete in a dynamic and digitally transformative world. Over the years, we have gradually defined the scope of our work to increase our impact and narrow our commitment to certain specific jurisdictions, especially within the Open Movement.

Now, we may describe ourselves as a soft skills tech-based organization and a network of communities, committed to digitally representing and preserving the culture of Africa, and developing skills on the continent using an open-centered approach to deliver Skills Training and Capacity building opportunities for people whose stories and passions resonate deeply with ours in a way that is consistent with the quality, impact, and importance of our projects.

As a non-profit organization, we have found ourselves committed to Advocacy and Awareness creation for policy, policy change, among other things. A dedication that partly culminates in our drive to contribute to the Open Movement as a recognized affiliate of Wikimedia and Creative Commons.

Our Mission is to create awareness of all the available open resources, enticing it’s use by many and sharing the benefit of contributing towards the future of education and open learning.

More than anything, we are focused on adding value to the skill sets of both community members and organizations. We are passionate about identifying skill gaps and providing relevant content to bridge those gaps. Through initiatives like;

  • Glam Ghana
  • Wikimedia in Education Program
  • Decolonizing the internet
  • National Film authority WikiProject
  • The Summer Open School
  • Kiwix4Schools project, we are always creating avenues where we equip individuals with practical skills essential to compete in the corporate world.

These few points highlight our commitment to making an impact and increasing access to information at next to no cost. Further highlighting our commitment, we have set up a few hubs over the years across Ghana with the sole aim of bringing together individuals who have a passion for learning and/or making information freely available, to contribute their quota to the ever-growing Open Movement. We’re privileged to have members in the following hubs in:

  1. Accra
  2. Kumasi
  3. Ho
  4. Tamale
  5. Wa
  6. Tarkwa
  7. Walewale

and groups or clubs at Ashesi, University of Winneba and University of Ghana

As part of the celebration, we are launching a debut writing contest dubbed the Africa Wiki Challenge. It is an online campaign that calls on all Africans, people of African descent, people that identify with the continent or anyone with an interest in Africa to contribute content about the many things that make up the true and rich identity of the continent (its rich and colourful cultures, history, landmarks, education, cities, rivers, lakes, food, vegetation, etc.) from 23rd May to 30th June 2021. The campaign seeks to project stories of Africa, project its identity and help reduce the content gap about the continent on the web.

Currently, just about 5% of the content that exists out of the 6 million+ articles on English Wikipedia is on Africa. The growing problem is a worry mainly because Africa is the 2nd largest continent in the world. Yet, even the uninhabited continent of Antarctica has more coverage than Africa. Most content that exists about Africa also lacks proper citation and hence decreases their credibility. There aren’t enough photos as well to visualize such articles and to provide more information to readers about what they are reading.

For the maiden edition of the campaign which will solicit participation through photo uploads, writing, and improving articles, the theme for participation is; “Landmarks in Africa”. The aim is to document all landmarks that cover historical, cultural, geographical, and places of key significance to a country or the continent.

We also have a number of activities lined up for the 5th-anniversary celebration to even do more as an NGO in helping the communities in which we exist. These activities only highlight our commitment to delivering on even more social responsibility, activities lined range from stocking libraries, creating reading clubs, organizing clean-up exercises and adult literacy training. These activities are happening at all our hubs as a way to further give back to our society.

“The Book Exchange Booth” is another initiative that will take off somewhere in August this year, it is aimed at improving the reading culture in Ghana. The idea is to encourage readers to donate old books and pick up new ones in order to encourage sharing and repurposing old books among the youth while maintaining an environmentally friendly way of reuse that eradicates the burning of books.

The concept of the book exchange booth pivots on the tenets of sharing, trust and sustainable reuse. These booths will be mounted at vantage points all over the country starting from at least 2 locations in Accra. We are still accepting book donations and calling on organizations that see an avenue to strike a partnership, to reach out to us.

We are very excited about this feat and truly humbled by the journey that led to this point. We are grateful to God almighty, our partners, members, friends and well-wishers for their astute contributions to our successes over the years.

Amenorhu kwaku
Amenorhu Kwaku
Founder at | Website | + posts

Amenorhu kwaku is an author, internet marketer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of SuccessValley, a network community for students and aspiring entrepreneurs