Activate Africa is a network of grant-funded, staffed projects and initiatives that is aimed at accelerating the growth of communities that encourage a culture of contribution in Africa to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects. It creates toolkits and online courses, and uses a variety of different interventions and models to gather layers of information relating to the geographical features, demographics, heritage, culture, notable persons and other elements that make up communities across Africa.
The project takes place in many countries to encourages individuals, communities and institutions to create and contribute freely-licensed information, texts, data, images and media about their communities (villages, townships, suburbs, inner cities, so-on-and-so-forth) to an online platform.
Activate Africa was launched at Wikimania 2013 within a panel discussion (video starting 02:48) "to respond to the urgent need for Africa’s historic and contemporary reality to be truthfully represented on the world's most accessible encyclopaedia, written by those closest to it".
There are several elements to the Activating Africa project. All elements stand alone, but work to achieve the overall project's ambitions aims. The project is pan-African in scope and will transcend many cultures and languages.
Activating Africa is made up of several parts:
- Kumusha Takes Wiki - a community activation project that encourages people from many different kinds of community to upload and contribute their knowledge of their homes, community and passions. Communities that will be activated will range in demographic (village, shanty town, market town, inner city suburb) and might slice across shared interest or job function (music, taxi drivers, etc.). In 2013, this project is being piloted in Cote d'Ivoire and Uganda, and is supported by the Orange Foundation;
- Wikipedians in Residence, Malawi and Ethiopia have worked with a range of arts, heritage, media and cultural organisations in their countries, as well as working to activate and support local activities in those countries. The project was supported by the Prince Claus Fund.
- Kumusha Bus - a week long tour of Open Movement Advocates to different regions within a geographic area to activate different types of interventions. Funding for the two iterations of this project in Ethiopia and Ghana has been donated by Creative Commons under their Affiliates Grant Programme.
- #OpenAfrica 14 Course - a physical and online course that can be adapted to local conditions but give a full immersion into possibilities of the Open Movement in Africa; in 2014, funding for this has been provided by the Orange Foundation, the Prince Claus Fund and Creative Commons under their Affiliates Grant Programme.
- Open Africa Toolkits - the online tools that will assist in building the communities and will be used not only in the Open Movement course, but by activists on the ground across the continent; in 2014, funding for this has been provided by the Orange Foundation, the Prince Claus Fund and Creative Commons under their Affiliates Grant Programme.
- Wiki Loves Africa - an online competition that encourages many people to contribute media - mainly photos, but could be video or audio of Africa under certain themes; In 2014 the competition had Cuisine as its theme and was supported by the Orange Foundation and the Wikimedia Foundation.
- Share Your Knowledge - encourages the donation of content by educational, media, cultural and heritage (GLAM) institutions across Africa. In 2013/4, two Wikipedians in Residence (Malawi and Ethiopia supported by the Prince Claus Fund) and three Wikipedians in Community (Uganda and Cote d'Ivoire, supported by the http://www.fondationorange.com/?lang=en Orange Foundation] as well as the Wikipedian in Residence at the Africa Centre, have worked with arts, heritage, education and media organisations to donate their specialist knowledge to Wikipedia.