2019/Grants/The AfroCine Project: Months of African Cinema
The AfroCine Project: Months of African Cinema
global south (Africa)
Type of project:
What is your idea?
The AfroCine Project is a multi-country and multi-faceted project which aims to encourage the contribution of digital content that relates to the historical and contemporary cinema, theatre, and arts sectors of several African countries, the Caribbean and the diaspora to Wikimedia projects.
The vision of this project is to bridge the huge African content gap and improve on the systemic bias that is present in the existing content. This is being achieved by making: articles, citations, images, videos, and data, about the historical and contemporary African cinema, theatre and arts, to be readily available and easily accessible, both online and offline, and in different languages.
One of the main activities carried out on this project is the “Months of African Cinema” Wikipedia contest. This is a major annual writing contest which we started in 2018, shortly after the establishment of this project. The contest happens in October and November of every year, and through this contest, about 2,000 Wikipedia articles on African film and arts, have been created in about 10 different languages. Furthermore, about 500 relevant images have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, which are available for illustrations on Wikipedia articles. We aim to continue on this upward trajectory in this year’s edition.
Why is it important?
The Entertainment Industry in Africa is huge; the Nigerian cinema is currently ranked as the third largest film industry in the world, in terms of revenue and production output. Other major film industries in Africa include the cinemas of: Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt. Yet, all of these very active film industries are poorly represented on Wikipedia, as the available information about them is very scanty and difficult to access. The lack of adequate content about Africa's pop culture (which should naturally attract the most attention), points to how big the content gap problem really is.
The AfroCine Project aims to fix this problem. It also aims to raise the Wikipedia awareness on the continent by using this "fun" topic area, as an easy entry way to make more Africans develop interest in contributing to Wikipedia and other Wikimedia and Open projects.
Is your project already in progress?
Yes, the contest was also organized in 2018 and 2019, relevant links can be found here: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/The_AfroCine_Project/Months_of_African_Cinema
The Months of African Cinema Contest is planned to considerably scale this year.
How is it relevant to credibility and Wikipedia? (max 500 words)
Based on previous editions of the contest, we’ve been able to achieve decent quality entries, which are a match for Wikipedia’s standards. For this year’s edition of the contest, the core team is actively planning a jury process, which would ensure that participants pay even more attention towards ensuring that only well-cited articles and quality images are submitted for the contest. Additionally, for the first time, we’d be giving out attractive prizes, to make sure that participants are motivated to uphold the credibility of Wikipedia.
Furthermore, we plan to bring-in, even more established African communities into the contest this year; guide them on how to apply for rapid grants for the contest to organize local workshops in their communities. This would ensure that new editors who would like to participate in this contest, get the chance to attend local workshops in their communities, which would educate them on Wikipedia’s policies and further improve credibility efforts of the project.
What is the ultimate impact of this project?
We’d consider the contest a success, when we have been able to help narrow the African content gap on Wikipedia by a significant measure. This would be considered achieved when:
- At least 1,000 quality articles about African cinema and arts have been created on Wikipedia.
- At least 5 African communities/Affiliates organized productive Wiki-events at the local level.
- We have significantly improved the awareness level of Wikipedia in Africa, through our publicity efforts.
Could it scale?
Yes. While The AfroCine Project is still very new and our activities have been primarily centred around editing workshops, writing and upload contests, we plan to expand our activities into other key areas, such as: GLAM projects, strategic partnerships with relevant organizations outside of the Wikimedia movement and Government ministries, activating Wikipedians-In-Residence (WIR) in libraries of film schools and institutions, and so on.
Why are you the people to do it?
We believe that bridging the massive knowledge gap and solving systemic bias on the internet isn't one-man's job or a one-off project. This is an issue that everyone has to collectively try to solve together by planning and organizing different pieces of activities which would eventually form together to make a huge impact. The AfroCine Project is composed of a dedicated core team, that are also very experienced in the free knowledge movement. They include:
- Sam (User:Jamie Tubers): The lead of the project, he has been a Wikipedian since 2011 with a keen focus on Nigerian and African film industry. He is one of the founder-members of Wikimedia Nigeria, and has coordinated several outreach efforts both nationally and on the African continent. These range from organizing several editing workshops and edit-a-thons, to championing Wiki contests, campaigns and awareness projects. He is the founder and coordinator of the Wikimedia community in Ilorin, Nigeria. He has also represented the African community in several movement-wide discussions, such as the 2030 Wikimedia Strategy. Sam has a professional background in Electrical Engineering.
- Ayo (User:HandsomeBoy): An Information Technology professional, Ayo joined Wikipedia in 2010 and is very passionate about African films; creating about 300 articles. He is the founder and coordinator of the Wikimedia Community in Ibadan, Nigeria, and also Coordinates WikiProject Nigeria on the English Wikipedia.
- Eben (User:Ebenezer Mlay): He joined Wikipedia in 2018, and then founded the Wikimedia Community in Arusha, Tanzania. He graduated from University in 2019 with Bachelors in Information Technology and currently works as a Database Officer.
What is the impact of your idea on diversity and inclusiveness of the Wikimedia movement?
This project would have a big direct impact on diversity and inclusiveness. It is essentially designed to use cinema to help bridge the content gap on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, as well as to improve on the awareness of these projects and the overall movement in African countries. Therefore, it would also provide another major entryway into the movement for disenfranchised African communities.
What are the challenges associated with this project and how you will overcome them?
The biggest challenge, which we have faced on this project is forging partnerships with relevant non-wiki institutions, that can release their content archive for the purpose of this project. One way through which we are trying to overcome this, is by trying to get an actual affiliate recognition with the Wikimedia Foundation, so as to give a better outlook to what we are actually trying to achieve.
How much money are you requesting?
How will you spend the money?
Overall budget ($7,000)
- Prizes (1st, 2nd, 3rd positions, Prize for gender diversity, prize for geographical diversity, etc) = $3,000
- Media, Publicity and Advocacy = $2,000
- Project Management and Administrative Costs = $2,000
Requested funds = $4,000, to cover mainly for project management and administrative costs, as well as, $1,000 of the cost for Media, publicity and advocacy and $1,000 of the cost for prizes.
How long will your project take?
2 months (October 2020 - November 2020)
Have you worked on projects for previous grants before?
I haven’t worked on any previous WikiCred projects before now.