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Open Movements in Africa

As Abel Asrat, a Wikipedian in Residence from Ethiopia, explains it,

“[Open Movement] can be a platform that allows people to access contents and materials openly or it can be a social gathering and movement toward knowledge and experience sharing.”

Across Africa, several organizations are keen in allowing people access knowledge freely and openly. At the Open Advocate Training Course currently ongoing at the Africa Centre, the students – Erina, Abel, Cyriac and Michael – presented a kinda Open Movement landscape or outline in their country.

In Ethiopia, eLearning Ethiopian social network was established with the aim of introducing eLearning technology and methods to Ethiopian Universities and TVET ( Technical Vocational Education and Training) colleges in 2009. Meanwhile the Temari Net (which means Student Net) was built targeting university students. Social gathering events like TedxAddis and barcamp Ethiopia are also attracting a larger crowd who is very keen to network, connect and share ideas. Abel tells us more.

Malawi Library Information Consortium (MALICO), SchoolNet Malawi, and The White Spaces project are some of the Information Communication Technology initiatives and projects in Malawi. With regards to Open Access initiatives The Malawi National Digital Repository, National Archives of Malawi, and National Library Service – Mobile Library Services are helping shed much light on historic information in Malawi plus also increasing literacy rates in the country. Phoya explains more of these initiatives on Wiki Malawi.

The Uganda Bureau of Statistics is also a player in the open movement through provision of data that is free from bias. It also has a Resource center that is open to the public. Mapping day is an open data initiative in Uganda with partners such as Mountbatten which is an ICT company and the Fruits of Thought which is a collection of projects. Mapping Day organizes mapping events and much more that contribute to open movements such as OpenStreetMap. Learn more about Open Movements in Uganda.

The establishment of Ghana Open Data Initiative is meant to promote efficiency, transparency and accountability in governance as well as to facilitate economic growth by means of the creation of Mobile and Web applications for the Ghanaian and world markets. To build a network of Ghanaian doers, entrepreneurs and changemakers, Barcamp Ghana, a project of the Ghana Think Foundation is making fast progress with this goal and have already organized more than 25 of such Barcamp event already. The Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT and Tech Needs Girls initiative by Soronko Solutions are all part of some of the Open Initiatives and or Movements in Ghana.

An Africa map indicates some of the activities of other Open Movements across Africa.

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Creative Commons in Africa

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. The Creative Commons have a free-to-use copyright licenses. Their copyright licenses are pretty simple, standardized, and a way to give the public permission to share their creative work, on variable conditions of their choice. Thus, with Creative Commons, its not always “All Rights Reserved”, you can choose to make “Some Rights Reserved”.

Creative Commons, headquartered in Mountain View and started in 2001, is devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for people to build upon legally and share.

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Tobias Schonwetter, a copyright specialist, currently based in South Africa (though German) is a core member of the Creative Commons South Africa. Tobias was present at the Open Advocate Training Course today and talked about Creative Commons. Tobias shared with the students the various options available for licensing content and how Creative Commons does not get in the way of creators. In fact, Creative Commons is not an alternative to copyright laws in different countries. Rather, Creative Commons allows creators to enjoy sharing their creations just the way they want it.

Throughout his presentation slides, Tobias emphasizes how sharing content under the Creative Commons licenses can be a great way of allowing a creator to share creations or works as wide as possible, however, retaining the originality of, and enjoying attribution.

Africa Wikipedians at WikiaAfrica training

Creative Commons in South Africa is strong with its affiliate program beginning in 2011. The Creative Commons South Africa wishes to use their presence in the country to focus on Universities, software programmers, media geeks, musicians, authors, publishers, and marketers through Conference talks, website, social media platform, Legal advice and email.

One core of their priority in South Africa is to get and support interested organizations or website owners to share their content using the Creative Commons 3.0 license which contains many improvements over the 2.5 version.

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An interactive session, which features each student explaining what Creative Commons is and how to use it to someone interested in having his content under the CC license.

Erina Mukata shares her experience of the Creative Commons discussion.

To license your content using Creative Commons, there are six options you can choose from. Get a license today from the Creative Commons website and share your content with “Some Rights Reserved”.