Dagbani Wikimedians User Group is a Wikimedia affiliate language User Group based in Tamale, Ghana. It’s based in a region where there are serious challenges with internet access; high cost of data coupled with high economic hardships.
This makes it difficult for many people who may be interested in contributing to the Dagbani Wikipedia but cannot travel and attend the in-person or virtual pieces of training to learn the editing skills.
The Executive Director of the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group, Sadik Shahadu explained that “because of this challenge, most potential contributors find it difficult to take part in our projects. These and many others are the compelling reasons that pushed the leadership of the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group to think about different strategies to get many people on board to contribute to the Dagbani Wikipedia and its sister projects amid all the challenges,” said
These efforts by the leadership birthed a well-thought-out program dubbed “Dagbani Wikipedia Saha” as a strategy to bring Wikipedia to the doors of more people across Ghana and beyond.
Dagbani Wikipedia Saha, which literally means “Time with Dagbani Wikipedia” is a tele-education pilot program that should recruit volunteers and train more people who may otherwise not be able to attend the in-person workshops/pieces of training because of their location, time, and proximity to workshop venues, among others. The program is a piloted initiative by the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group in collaboration with NTV, a northern-based digital TV station.
By adopting digital TV as one of the mass communication channels, we believe this program has the potential to reach more audiences in Ghana and beyond. NTV is a northern-based free-to-air digital satellite TV channel on the Multi-TV decoder, which means anyone in Ghana and beyond can access the program regardless of their geographical location.
The program hopes to achieve;
• Produce video content to promote Wikimedia projects in northern Ghana on digital TV, Wikimedia Commons, and Social media platforms.
• Recruit more editors through mass media.
• Create and or improve the quality of Dagbani Wikipedia articles.
• Create partnership opportunities in northern Ghana.
The schedule of the program is 30 minutes, airing on NTV every Saturday from 4:30pm – 5:00pm (UTC) at prime time. It is going to be a delayed broadcast with live streaming sessions on Youtube and Facebook live to enable interactions with the audience for feedback and to respond to some questions.
A facilitator will take participants through each week on different topics of Wikipedia including practical hands-on sessions. The program is adopting the Student Training Modules by Wiki Education to equip the audience with the skills they will need to contribute to Wikipedia. All contents shall be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, Youtube, and our social media platforms to enable effective gauging of the show’s impact and to also solicit feedback from viewers.
The various social media platforms have been created to engage the viewers as well as answer questions and draw feedback as the program progresses. Anyone who can join these groups will automatically become a member of the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group and will take part in any of its programs. The comments sections will also be used to engage viewers on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.
In order for more people to comment on and review the project, there shall be a blog post on Dagbani Wikimedians User Group’s website after the pilot phase detailing how the whole project was carried out and as well as promotional stories on independent news agencies. For improvement in organizing the project in future, these reviews are necessary.
We intend the program to continue after the pilot phase with the same media house and other media houses that may be interested in rebroadcasting the show. There will also be further engagements with individuals and organizations who may be interested in collaboration and partnerships.
We draw the inspiration to roll out such an initiative from the Class Act Program which is currently being aired on the Citi TV on Multi TV. The program started during the Covid-19 lockdown when all schools went into closure. The Dagbani Wikipedia Saha will run a similar program for Wikipedia training in Dagbani.
The aim of the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group is not just to increase the visibility of the Sixteen Mole-Dagbani Languages on Wikimedia and the digital spaces, but also to promote the language, culture, and history of the Mole-Dagbani ethnic group of people.
Given the responses and comments from people expressing their anxiousness, anticipation, and excitement about this initiative and the growing number of followers on our social media platforms since the declaration of our intention to roll out the Dagbani Wikipedia Saha program, it is obvious the TV show is so important to connect with more people and will offer the opportunity for the leadership of the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group, especially the training team to train more volunteers to be involved in contributing to Wikimedia projects in Dagbani.
Our quest to see that all the 16 Mole-Dagbani languages are incorporated into Wikimedia even emphasizes more on the need to train more volunteers to translate all the most commonly used messages on MediaWiki into their languages when they are starting from the incubator as we recently started with the Gurene and Moore languages.
The coming of the Dagbani Wikipedia Saha is timely for that purpose. The show is also going to help in cutting down costs and the risks related to traveling outside Tamale, the capital of the Northern Region of Ghana, to engage and train volunteers. It will also help to reduce the number of in-person gatherings and to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Management hopes to learn more about how to improve and continue subsequent editions of the program.
This program is strongly believed to be in a position to help reach a mass audience as the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group’s community continues to grow with people expressing their interest to join from far and near. Dagbani Wikipedia Saha will help the leadership to keep in touch with the ever-growing community base.
In Dagbani Wikipedia, we believe it is always easier with more hands and when there are more hands, we try to find ways to make it fun for all to contribute. One of such ways in making it easy and fun for volunteers is the Dagbani Wikipedia Saha initiative. Hence our slogan; “It’s more fun in Dagbani”.