WikiAfrica is an African initiative that seeks to support Wikipedia as a free and open encyclopedia providing truthful and widespread access to knowledge.

The project’s interventions are aimed at:

1. Activating, training and supporting a self-sustaining generation of new, dedicated and proactive Wikipedian editors from across the continent who are able to generate new articles and subjects relevant to contemporary Africa; and

2. Encouraging  the donation of content that already resides in heritage, cultural, news-gathering and academic institutions across Africa to Wikipedia.

This is what we do, but why is it necessary?

As Eric Schmidt said in 2009,


“We have an opportunity for everyone in the world to have access to all the world’s information. This has never before been possible. Why is ubiquitous information so profound? It’s a tremendous equaliser. Information is power.”

Often cast as a continent of crisis, war and famine, it is crucial for the morale and pride of the people of Africa that they are able to learn about its rich heritage and proud history, and have access to the significant, life-altering innovations and achievements of modern Africa and of today’s Africans. Truthful contextual information has the power to alter how people see, believe in, and interact with themselves, each other, their communities, countries and their continent. Balanced information allows for understanding and compassion, and can place small, but potentially volatile issues within a larger context. Knowledge has the ability to diffuse a crisis and heal wounds – both real and perceived. Thus, truthful information, correctly placed on a platform that is open and accessible to all, will also fundamentally change how people outside Africa view and interact with the continent.

Yet, Africa remains the least supported and represented collective of peoples, cultures, histories and knowledge on the internet. This is due to a variety of reasons, but the weak culture of online contribution in Africa is a significant factor. This reality is made starkly evident when one considers the lack of knowledge flowing from Africa onto Wikipedia.

The distribution of all articles on Wikipedia. Attribution: Oxford Internet Institute CC-BY-SA-NC

The distribution of all articles on Wikipedia. Attribution: Oxford Internet Institute CC-BY-SA-NC

Wikipedia aims to provide free access to objective and verifiable encyclopedia content that everyone can add to, change and improve. Since its inception in 2001, Wikipedia has become a powerful tool that allows people access to information on their country. It equips a global citizenry with the power to represent their own historic and contemporary realities truthfully, and in all their complexity. It has become a rich, dynamic and effective education medium that provides free learning materials and information. Use of the encyclopedia grows as access to new technology (including cell phones and computers – either online or offline) increases in the developing world.

Despite Wikipedia’s noble aims, the fact remains that the African continent is the least covered and supported collective of cultures, histories, ideas and languages on Wikipedia, WikiNews and their sister projects. Africa also has the fewest contributors per capita of any other territory. However, as more people across the continent access the internet via mobile technology (Africa is now the world’s 2nd largest cellphone market with 600 million phones used daily), there is an imperative for Africa’s historic, contemporary and daily realities to be truthfully represented and included in the world’s most accessed encyclopedia.

These inherent deficiencies within Wikipedia relating to geographic representation and participation, have been acknowledged in Wikimedia’s Strategic Plan published in February 2011, which includes the following :

“Large segments of the world’s population do not edit the Wikimedia projects proportionate to their real-world numbers. The people who write the Wikimedia projects are disproportionately male, young, and from countries in the Global North:

◦ Four out of five editors are male.
◦ Half are under the age of 22.
◦ Four out of five edits come from countries in the Global North.

Increasing both the total number of editors, and their diversity, is a key priority for the Wikimedia movement. We need to improve our dispute resolution processes to prevent editor burnout. We need to recognize and reward editor excellence. We need to invite readers to become editors — particularly women and people in the Global South. We need to improve the editing interface in order to reduce barriers to participation. When people try editing for the first time, we need to support and coach them.

Through 2015, the Wikimedia Foundation will:

Encourage the health and growth of Wikimedia communities and the projects they sustain.

  • Develop new features and tools, such as a rich-text editor, enhanced navigation, and social functionality, to make editing easier and more fun.
  • Support the recruitment and acculturation of newer contributors by encouraging a welcoming environment on the Wikimedia projects, as well as supporting community leaders who are eager to serve as recruiters, guides and mentors for newer volunteers. [….]”

WikiAfrica activates a number of initiatives to support Wikipedians in Africa and the Wikimedia Foundation in its vision. WikiAfrica does not receive any institutional funding from the Wikimedia Foundation.

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More about The Impact of WikiAfrica

WikiAfrica was started in 2006 as a collaboration between Wikimedia IT and lettera27, since then – via the support of several organisations and the work of a few people – it has grown to embrace the continent and build communities. It has been pivotal in driving the current contributions done by communities across sub-Saharan Africa.

The Wiki Africa movement timeline 2006-2017

The projects detailed below form the main backbone of the WikiAfrica movement. They have all been conceptualised, instigated and led by three members of Wiki In Africa, although until 2017 through the agency or fiscal sponsorship of different organisations.


  • WikiAfrica is launched by lettera27 Foundation in collaboration with Wikimedia Italia, led by Iolanda Pensa.


  • A 30’000 African contributions to Wikimedia projects by 2012 milestone is set.


  • The Africa Centre begins working on WikiAfrica projects, led by Isla Haddow-Flood.
  • Share Your Knowledge is launched to involve cultural institutions in contributing to the WikiAfrica milestone.





  • The OpenAfrica15, a week-long WIR training course training 6 Wikipedians across Africa at the Goethe-Institut in Johannesburg.
  • 2015. The second edition of Wiki Loves Africa photographic competition is held and completed under the theme Cultural Fashion and Adornment.



  • Wiki In Africa is registered as an NGO in South Africa.
  • Official launch of WikiFundi, a software that provides off-line editing environment that mimics the Wikipedia environment.
  • #16WikiWomen translation drive is held to celebrate International Women’s Day for Wiki Loves Women.

WikiAfrica projects across Africa since 2013

Hosts and Partners

The organisations that have hosted or are collaborating on Wiki Africa projects include:

Credit: This website is managed and run by Wiki In Africa in order to ensure all contributions to WikiAfrica are recorded.