Wiki In Africa (www.wikiinafrica.org) and their organising partner, Wikimedia Usergroup Côte d’Ivoire, have launched the Africa Environment WikiFocus to improve the coverage and understanding of climate and environment-related topics on Wikipedia, particularly in Africa.
The month-long WikiFocus encourages Wikimedia and climate activists across the continent (and beyond) to add factual data and researched content about all facets of Africa’s climate.
The Afrobarometer report (2019) found that only 28% of Africans (in 34 countries surveyed) were aware of climate change as a concept.
This worrying lack of knowledge is partly due to a pervasive lack of visibility of relevant information about Climate, Weather, and Climate Change, especially from the media, across Africa. Wikipedia is one of the few media platforms that people across Africa can access for free.
Africa is one of the regions most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Africa is responsible for only around 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Still, it will be disproportionately affected by climate change. Climate change will significantly impact Africa, reports the United Nations.
Expected impacts include increased frequency and severity of droughts, floods, and other extreme weather events that can damage crops and infrastructure and cause food shortages. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has released estimates that climate change could reduce crop yields in Africa by up to 30% by 2050.
The Africa Environment WikiFocus will incorporate up-to-date factual data and research, some supplied explicitly by the African Union and organisations active in the climate and environmental sector.
It will also raise awareness of these challenges by improving the coverage of climate and environment-related topics on Wikipedia.
The initiative brings together climate experts, environmental organisations, and Wikipedians to create high-quality, well-researched articles that are freely accessible to a broad audience.
Seventeen volunteer Wikimedia communities across Anglophone and Francophone Africa will host in-person editing events in March and April. Additional online training sessions (watch this one on YouTube) will share the knowledge required to add content to Wikipedia.
Africa’s Wikimedia communities have provided other ways to participate through focused alignment with several existing Wiki In Africa initiatives. The live monthly Wiki Africa Hour was the platform for the launch event.
Watch the launch on YouTube. The Wiki Loves Women annual Tell Us About Her image description drive concentrates on images of Women on the Frontline of Climate.
This year, Africa’s most substantial annual photo contest, Wiki Loves Africa, calls for the entry of images, video, audio, diagrams, and photo essays that depict Climate & Weather.
The intentional alignment by Wiki in Africa between the two projects – Wiki Loves Africa and the Africa Environment WikiFocus – has seen the addition of two prizes to the Wiki Loves Africa prize categories.
The Africa Environment WikiFocus has sponsored two Wiki Loves Africa media categories for the best representation of the impact of climate change: the best video and the best photo essay.
The WikiFocus is a project created and developed by Wiki In Africa (WIA) and Wikimedia Community User Group Côte d’Ivoire (WMUG IC) as an integral part of the African Knowledge Initiative (AKI) series of campaigns.
The African Knowledge Initiative is supported by the African Union, Wikimedia Foundation, and Africa No Filter. The Africa Environment WikiFocus is a content creation and contribution WikiFocus that launched on the African Union’s Wangari Maathai Day (3rd of March).