Shrinking Content Gaps on Africa’s cinema, film and Arts on Wikipedia
Young Kenyans are growing an appetite for not just creating content in the digital space but in sharing it as well with a goal to tell their own stories and share knowledge and once such places they are doing this is on Wikipedia, the leading online encyclopedia run by the Wikimedia Foundation.
Wikipedia has several thematic projects and one such project is the Months of African Cinema (The Afrocine Project), a global campaign aimed at improving content on Africa’s cinema, film and arts on the open-access platform, which is read by millions of people globally.
According to the Founder of the Months of African cinema, Sam Oyelele, Africa’s content remains sparsely covered on Wikipedia and this includes the cinema and Arts sector, compared to other jurisdictions.
The Wikimedia Community in Kenya has been participating in the campaign now for the second year, in an edit-a-thon that is aimed at, specifically, improving content on Kenya’s cinema on Wikipedia.
During the campaign, the Wikipedia editors create new articles on Kenyan films, film festivals, actors, producers as well as improve existing articles by adding more information and references.
The events also create a forum to train new editors on Wikipedia editing.
According to the Afrocine edit-a-thon Kenya Project Lead, Winnie Kabintie, the campaign has gone a long way in enhancing information about the local Film and arts industry.
“When we got involved in the Months of African Cinema campaign in 2020, we noticed that quite a number of Wikipedia articles on the industry and especially biographies had been flagged for improvement and some even had notices of deletion as they lacked enough content and references. In 2020 we improved 54 articles in the week of our campaign and that was huge for us,” said Winnie Kabintie.
By contributing information on Wikipedia, youth are also growing their knowledge and learning skills that will go a long way in their personal and professional development.
“These include digital skills, research and writing skills and also interpersonal skills,” Ben Mwongela, Managing Director Agile Consulting.
Gender diversity is also a factor within the Wikimedia Community that Wikipedia projects are keen on helping tackle.
According to a 2021 Community Insights report by the Wikimedia Foundation, only 15 percent of Wikipedia editors are women and the coverage of women is just as minimal. 0nly 19 percent on English Wikipedia are of women, as of November 1st, 2021.
The Afrocine campaign in Kenya has been keen on shrinking the gender gap as well by writing more about female players in the film and arts sector and by also training more female editors.
“As a Gender Equality advocate, I have also been quite deliberate to ensure that we are training more women during our edit-a-thons. I believe women are more likely to write about fellow women and this has proved to the case. out of the 10 biographies we wrote during the 2020 edition 7 were actually on women including a biography on the veteran Mama Kayai (Mary Kavere), who alongside Mzee Ojwang have been celebrated as industry pioneers,” Ms Kabintie said, adding that she also keen on training young people.
“Young people under 35 comprise 80 percent of our population and are therefore the biggest human resource we have in the country, presently and in the future and it’s, therefore, crucial to ensure that the youth are not marginalized when it comes to knowledge Equity,” she said.
The Kenya Film Commission this year has recognized the input of Wikimedians in Kenya in enhancing information and knowledge on the industry during the Months of African Cinema campaign.
“The Kenya Film Commission has been keen on growing the local Tv and film sector and we are pleased to see a group of dedicated Kenyan youth who are helping to put information about our industry on the web,” said Grace, New Audience Manager KFC.
2021 Kalasha Awards Nominees Unveiled