SA to get Wikimedia Chapter

A group of volunteers met on 7 and 8 August to discuss the creation of a local Wikimedia Chapter.

With the support of the Wikimedia Foundation, The African Commons Project facilitated a meeting for local Wikipedians and other individuals interested in participating in a local Chapter.

The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organisation which supports such projects as Wikipedia, an online encyclopaedia which is free to use and free to contribute to or amend by anyone.

Achal Prabhala, who is on the Wikimedia Foundation Advisory board, attended the meeting along with Delphine Ménard and Bence Damokos from the Wikimedia Chapters committee.

Damokos and Ménard explained that local Wikimedia Chapters are a mechanism to structure the efforts of volunteers, be a partner for local institutions or organisations, as well as provide a local presence.

Chapters usually take the form of non-profit, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are rooted in a country and that register according to local law, said Damokos and Ménard. They are also membership organisations that have an elected board.

Part of the proceedings involved developing a draft vision and purpose for the Chapter which needs to be included in the founding documents to be submitted to the Wikimedia Foundation.

Potential activities and initiatives were also brainstormed. These included running drives to acquire or generate content, rewarding local contributors, raising awareness and getting more people involved.

The results of the discussion are visible on the South African Chapter’s Meta-Wiki page.

From the information presented by the representatives from the Wikimedia Foundation and Kerryn McCay, director of The African Commons Project, the setup of a local Chapter would take anything between 7 and 10 months.

Ménard and Prabhala encouraged the volunteers in attendance that activities could still be arranged while the Chapter was being set up.

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SA to get Wikimedia Chapter