Dagbanli [Dagbani], the language of the Dagbamba [Dagomba] in the Eastern corridor enclave of the Northern region, has formally been recognized by Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia edited by volunteers around the world and hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
This milestone follows the migration of hundreds of Dagbani articles from the incubation stage to Wikipedia’s mainstream.
The language, which is spoken by approximately 3 million people, has now joined Twi and Eʋegbe [Ewe] as recognized Ghanaian languages by the open data platform.
A co-founder of the Dagbanli Wikimedia User Group, Sadik Shahadu, in an interview with citinewsroom.com, said “what it [language addition] means is that people who speak Dagbanli can now access Wikipedia content in their own language which is Dagbanli and also more content will now be available in Dagbanli on the internet.”
It also means native speakers can now access information through the wiki portal dag.wikipedia.org.
Until recently, the Dagbanli Wikipedia has been incubating for several years.
The effort to revive the Dagbanli Wikipedia incubator started early last year as the brainchild of the Global Open Initiative Foundation, a young nonprofit organization based in Ghana.
It’s founders, Sadik Shahadu and Mohammed Sadat Abdulai, led the initiative in February 2020 by recruiting language experts and enthusiastic speakers to form a group called Dagbani Wikimedian User Group (DWUG).
Since then, DWUG has undertaken a number of projects to encourage volunteers to add Dagbani content to Wikipedia.
These include regular editing sessions and the My Northern Achiever Challenge in October 2020 – which was a competition that was aimed at adding content about notable Ghanaian personalities to Wikipedia.
Members produced more than 200 articles which went into the incubator but were eventually migrated onto the mainstream Wikipedia on July 1, 2021.
The Project Manager of DWUG, Abdul Rashid Yussif, obviously elated that more than a year-long efforts have paid off, paid tribute to his team for their dedication to the cause, but was quick to add that more work lies ahead in order to sustain the gains.
He indicated that there will be a need to improve existing articles and to add more.
Abdul Rashid appealed to Dagbamba to own the project by being constant visitors and contributing more articles to the Dagbani Wikipedia.