Dear Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Benin: Have You Heard of Wikipedia?

Published on: Nov 02 2012 by Wayan Vota

wikipedia_edits_africa_m.png

Looking at this map of Wikipedia edits from Africa, I am surprised by the total lack of edits from the gray areas. Some countries, like Somalia & Somaliland, I can expect to be light on Wikipedia input, but I would have expected more from other countries, like Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Benin. You would think the expats working there would at least add to the knowledge repository.

Then again, the creators of the map make a good point about Wikipedia:

It is widely considered the first point of contact for most general topics, thus making it an effective site for framing any subsequent representations. Content from Wikipedia also has begun to form a central part of services offered elsewhere on the Internet. Wikipedia is therefore an important platform from which we can learn whether the Internet facilitates increased open participation across cultures, or reinforces existing global hierarchies and entrenched power dynamics.

Looking at this map, I draw an obvious conclusion. Even with free Wikipedia access, the world is still not flat for everyone.

But that’s not to say that Wikipedia is not having an impact in Africa. Their Wikipedia Zero efforts are starting to pay off handsomely. Just read their viewer stats from Niger and Kenya:

The news is good. Since the month prior to launch, we’ve seen 77 percent growth in page views through Orange Niger (compared to 7 percent for rest of Niger), and 88 percent for Orange Kenya (compared to -7 percent for rest of Kenya). For each of these two operators, their “Wikipedia share” (the percentage of mobile page views in that country from the partner’s customers) has nearly doubled in that time. Data sets for these two partners are both relatively small, so we’re careful to not to draw too many conclusions from them. However, we’re excited about what it might imply for the future impact of the program.

While they might be shy, I am not. Congrats to Wikipedia for getting more Africans to read the Wikipedia. Now let us get more Africans writing for it as well.


.

Get ICTworks 3x a week – enter your email address:

Wayan Vota works at FHI 360 and is a regular contributor to ICTworks. He started ICTworks, Technology Salon, Educational Technology Debate, OLPC News, Kurante, and a few other things.
Stay current with ICTworks - enter your email address:

4 Comments to “Dear Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Benin: Have You Heard of Wikipedia?”

  1. manning sutton says:

    Wayan – as I know you know (being part of Inveneo) access is limited in those areas, particularly in the interior to Africa. And there are a lot of other priorities even if they do have internet access and the means to use it. And then there are the multitude of different languages, and cultures…

    Good article all the same & I enjoy the reads.

    Manning

  2. Wayan Vota says:

    Priorities
    Agreed that there are many competing priorities and editing Wikipedia may not rank high when compared to basic necessities. Still, with the profile that Wikipedia has, you would expect the more learned of a country to care what it said about it and want to improve the accuracy of those statements.

  3. Wayan Vota says:

    Agreed that there are many competing priorities and editing Wikipedia may not rank high when compared to basic necessities. Still, with the profile that Wikipedia has, you would expect the more learned of a country to care what it said about it and want to improve the accuracy of those statements.

  4. Taa says:

    I do work in Liberia and as Manning stated, access is pretty limited and quite expensive. I just got back and purchase a card for 50 bucks and 1 gig of data for 80 bucks. I am not sure about you, but if I guy that type of data, I am focused on client delivery instead of updating wiki.

    Computers/laptops are also very limited. We are working on a wiki for knowledge and doccument management for Liberia and a lab where youth can contribute to editing the system..hopefully our number will change in 2013.. :)

    -taa

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.