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Q&A with Wikimedia Ghana

Sun, 5 Jan 2014 Source: Ofori, Oral

#TheAfricanDream 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.

(Video of interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3-qceIvR3Q)

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Below is a loose transcription of how the question and answer

*(Q&A)* session

transpired and an accompanying video as well. 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.

*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*

*A: *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!

Columnist: Ofori, Oral