By Oral Ofori and Mabel Blankson
The Planning Wikimedia Ghana acquired a user group status and is now officially known as the Wikimedia Ghana User Group as of September 12, 2014. The application submitted by a group of Ghanaian editors of Wikipedia was reviewed and approved by the Affiliations committee of the body that is entrusted with advising the Wikimedia Foundation on approval of new affiliates.
According to Wikimedia?s own definition: ?user groups are groups of Wikimedia users who support and promote the Wikimedia projects in the offline world by organizing meetups and other projects. User groups may or may not be legally incorporated entities. Like the Wikimedia Foundation, they aim to “empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally??.
Wikimedia Ghana User Group, one of the currently 18 user groups worldwide, will be representing the Wikimedia Foundation to the Ghanaian Wikimedia contributing community, promote Wikimedia projects and free content in general and to encourage the use of Wikimedia resources in education.
Some of the responsibilities of the new group include recruitment of technically and non-technically minded Ghanaians to participate in Wikimedia projects, conferences, meetings, workshops, contests and editing. The group, which is akin to a non-profit entity aims to progressively work towards increasing Ghanaian content on Wikipedia too.
Enock Seth Nyamador, a regular contributor to Wikipedia and member of the group says ?we don?t only seek to increase Ghana content on the wikis but to also ensure they are also accurate. Our doors are open to individuals and organizations that merit pages on Wikipedia as we are willing to work with and possibly train such individuals on how to create articles.
Editing Wikipedia is purely voluntary. The leader of the Group of Ghanaian Wikipedians — Rexford Nkansah — explains that one must totally motivate themselves and see what they do for Wikepedia as their small contribution towards writing or informing global history.
?We invite those who seek more information about what we do to reach us with our email; Wikimedia-gh@lists.Wikimedia.org or visit our meta page? (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Ghana) says Rexford Nkansah who is now a Wikimedian in residence (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedian_in_residence) in South Africa.
The newly formed Ghanaian user group will by Wikipedia mandate exist for a year within which their contract will be renewable after its expiration. The group says it is working towards becoming a fully recognized chapter in Africa and its current status is a big leap towards that ultimate quest.