Submissions/Africa, the Continent that Anyone can Edit

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2014 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this August.

Submission no. 1001
Title of the submission
Africa, the Continent that Anyone can Edit?
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
Isla Haddow-Flood
E-mail address
Country of origin
South Africa
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
WikiAfrica / Wikimedia ZA
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

The wonder of Wikipedia is that every continent, every subject can be edited, by anyone. Wikipedia’s weakness is that not every article is written, not every continent fully covered and not every person feels they are able to contribute. But perhaps we have been looking at it from the wrong angle.

Often perceived as the continent that needs to be rescued from itself, Africa remains the final frontier, where education and knowledge, information and mobile technology are focused on in a Scrabble for Africa v. 2.0. But those of us on the continent see a different picture. This picture shows an entirely unexpected attitude that has been born through the ability to discard first world noise and create a new approach to just about anything.

What is lauded as Blue Ocean thinking in the West is a daily occurrence in Africa. Not limited by the blinkered focus of superimposed industry categories, innovators and activists borrow from all manner of industries using all kinds of materials to make change happen locally – from using mobile technology to remotely monitor heart conditions, to using simple chemistry to safely disarm landmines, and so much more – Africans are taking their destiny in their own hands and changing their lives and futures.

How can Wikipedia learn from this kind of thinking? Is it possible for Wikipedia to be truly democratised by content and contributions gathered from people at the coalface of industries and communities in Uganda and Côte d’Ivoire? Can a sustainable living in Malawi and Ethiopia be made by training entrepreneurs to consult with GLAM ‘clients’ on the benefits of the open movement? Is it possible to turn an entire border town in southern Africa into a Wikipedia outreach programme?

Across Africa, different initiatives are being tried and tested, communities are being introduced and activated, GLAMs are learning to a whole new way of thinking about themselves and the communities around them. This presentation will give you some insight in to the winds of change blowing from the South. It offers an alternative way of looking at Wikipedia, and at ourselves as Wikipedians.

* Legal & Free Culture
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
10 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests

This presentation provides the theoretical frame work for a number of projects aimed at Activating Africa that are being presented at Wikimania 2014. It would make sense for this project to be presented early in the conference, especially a day or at least a session before the following submissions: Kumusha Takes Wiki: activating communities across Africa and

Interested attendees

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  1. --Iopensa (talk) 17:05, 3 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Djembayz (talk) 12:00, 18 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Alice d25 --Alice d25 (talk) 07:20, 18 May 2014 (UTC)[reply]
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  5. Enock4seth (talk) 11:17, 23 May 2014 (UTC)[reply]
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