Thursday, 5 May 2016

Report on Wikipedia Breakout Session @ BarCamp Takoradi 2015

BarCamp Takoradi 2015 took place at the SSNIT Hall on August 23, 2015 in Takoradi. Participants were youths from the working class to students from  tertiary institutions.

During this event there was speed mentoring; where participants meet mentors for say 5 minutes something like speed dating. I've been to more that 5 BarCamps in the past and organised breakout sessions on my own and some supported by the Wikimedia Foundation through TPS.


I co-hosted a breakout session with Reuben; a volunteer cyclist who cycled across Ghana to raise funds for The Cleft Foundation.

The session saw had 5 participants. Since Wikipedians are Volunteers, we first started by talking about what volunteering means. As a volunteer myself, volunteering means a lot to me. This world can be made better only through volunteerism. If you use an open source software, of which am a great advocate for, then know some volunteer developer somewhere is commiting time to make life easier for you. Am very much sure you're reading this with Firefox; one great example. Same is Wikipedia. 10000+ of volunteers like you and I dedicate their time to make it a better one every second.

Almost everyone present at my breakout session knows and have used Wikipedia, and one of them was a beginner contributor. But as usual the Wikimedia and Wikipedia confusion with people who don't know about is normal. Wikimedia is a global movement whose mission is to bring free educational content to the world. And Wikipedia is one of Wikimedia's projects. I took the time to explain this to participants. Well if you don't get the differences then visit this page for all you need to know. I also talked about other Wikimedia Foundation projects that can be contributed to, read more about all Wikimedia Foundation's projects here.


There was nothing practical. I was able to display Wikipedia and some of the stuffs that goes on behind scene such as; Wiki Mark up, recent chages, and discussions on talk pages. Takoradi is noted for entertainment, but was very shameful to see no information on it's Wikipedia article. So at the end of the session we decided to work together to improve the coverage of entertainment including but not limited to notable musicians from takoradi. (Of which am still working on..)

There is one thing I will like to share from this breakout session and previous sessions I've organised in such away to sell Wikimedia Foundation's projects to volunteers. Most of the people I've met were students and youths, students espeically knows how to copy Wikipedia but not how to add to it. Most people are looking for some quick fix or let me say magic to grasp how everyting on Wikipedia within very short period of time in order to give back, which is not feasible to me. Looking at the interest of students bringing Wikipedia Ghanaian classrooms especially in the tertiary institutions through Wikipedia Education Program could be a great success. One thing am still looking at at myself but not now.

Thanks for reading.

PS: I've been in touch with few of them and hope to retain them.  Though this post is very late. I must, as part of Wikimedia Grants I applied for, and also be eligible to apply for future grants.