Grants:TPS/Oarabile Mudongo/Youth Engagement Summit Africa/Report

Event name:

ICT-BPO International Conference and Youth Engagement Summit Open

Description of your participation:

The ICT-BPO International Conference along with the Youth Engagement Summit were inaugurated by the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Mr Tassarajen Pillay Chedumbrum at the Intercontinental Hotel, in Balaclava.The two three-day events were organised by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in collaboration with the Board of Investment and Extensia Ltd.The conference welcomed more than 250 international and local participants. Participants included IT Ministers of Namibia, Swaziland and Uganda as well as high-level government officials from Malawi and Angola inclusive of open movement such as Wikimedia and Mozilla Foundations consecutively, which are also counted as organizations that are playing a greater role in developing the African continent's through their open initiatives.

However i was participating in this summit as an invited Wikipedia VIP delegate as well as a speaker to give a monologue in a workshop Community Engagement and Development, of which its discussion were more centered in giving insights of how the open movement 'Wikimedia Foundation' is leveraging African communities through free knowledge initiatives at the same time developing the ICT sector. Essentially the main idea of Wikimedia workshop was a forum to influence African leaders in the ICT sector from different countries to realize the need for the deployment of Wikipedia and other sister projects in African communities and the educational sector to develop and benefit all people by imparting ICT knowledge in them.

I went into this conference with so much optimism knowing this would be a chance to meet with scholars and technologists involved in various projects that promote Digital Inclusion such Educational Initiatives Trust, in order to learn about opportunities to improve the engagement in Wikimedia projects, and share my experiences as a Wikimedia fellow focused on bridging the gap that tends to exist within African countries when it comes to contributing to open movements.One of the interesting workshop session I participated in was about Digital Inclusion, which covered insights of bringing knowledge to the disadvantaged. I was able to talk about GLAM-Wiki, Wiki Loves Monuments and Wikipedia Zero, and emphasized that delegates from across Africa should encourage people to fully participate in such initiatives to help the movement grow.

I was able to meet with the adviser to the Minister of ICT in Angola, Mr Edgar Patricio after the panel discussion as he expressed interest in Wikipedia Zero project offered by Wikimedia. I also introduced him to the steps of getting involved to Wikipedia i.e starting a user group/ chapter and running pilot projects. We were able to get some logistics situated regarding how we should start this idea together and exchanged some contacts to always keep in touch.I also connected with Ashraf Oozeerally, from Brand Consultancy in Mauritius. He could not stop asking many questions after my presentation out of curiosity as it was for the first time for him to hear about Wikipedia. Much of his motivation is to start a Wikipedia User group which will fully engage all Mauritian communities to actively start contributing to Wikipedia. However we also exchanged contacts and we are now keeping constant communication between each other trying to develop the concept.

What lessons were learned that could help others in similar events?

  1. Personally i really appreciated the chance to attend two conferences one next to the other. Carnally it was not that easy for me to stand in front of scholarly multitudes to tell them about Wikipedia but it was worth it and really encouraging to see how this movement is really appreciated by many people.
  2. I really liked the endorsement system as well. It allowed me to contact relevant people (to inform them about my interest in attending the conference but also to receive a very valuable feedback about my proposal; it has made me understand what it means to be a Wikipedia volunteer community Liaison. Thank you very much to all the people who supported me.
  3. As i observed Youths are more in tune with new technology than their elders, earning them the name ‘digital natives.’ At first glance, many think that youth are easily distracted, play too many games, prefer online interaction rather than face-to-face, suffer from attention deficit disorder rather i had to clear the contradicting assumptions by understanding that, Wikipedia can be also one of the sources that keeps youths more informed and encourage readership in them.
  4. Youth today expect quick responses to their activities on social and mobile media – which call for responsive infrastructure solutions, community engagement models which calls for an agent need to keep them active through Wiki activities.
  5. People should learn to understand the requirements being offered after being invited to participate in events on behalf of WMF, this implies to things such as setting up a comprehensible budget request on things that each individual will need in order to attend such an event.
  6. It is always a learning experience whenever you spread Wikimedia mission on behalf of WMF even though things may seem tough and challenging but at the end of it all we are happy that at least the mission is being share to people more especially when attending events alone.

What impact did your participation have on the Wikimedia Mission goals of Increased Reach, Increased Quality, Increased Credibility, Increased and Diversified Participation?

I had a chance to network with other delegates to have casual discussion (i.e. Networking session) almost 30 of them and talked about the work that I do - as a Wikipedia volunteer, with regards to liaising African communities to Wikimedia Foundation and engaging them to actively participate in the movement. As I stated above, I was able to discuss with the adviser to the Minister of Angola and the Director of Brand Consultancy in Mauritius on possibilities of starting a Wikipedia Zero project in their respective countries, initiating Wikipedia user groups and chapters at a later stage. For more information i have just published a blog post and some photos.

Despite the challenges of the conference, I felt that my presentation conveyed the necessary message to the targeted group. People seemed enthusiastic and I am delighted to follow up with the few promising contacts I mentioned above to further projects and participation. Out of interest from the organizers, i have been invited again for Innovation Africa Digital Summit 2014, Gambia in March 2014.

Detail of expenditures:

  • Flight Expenses: US$1738 (Round-trip economy ticket from Gaborone-Johannesburg and Johannesburg-Mauritius)
  • Accommodation: US$278.60 03/12/13 - 08/12/13 (5) nights, Ministry of ICT in Mauritius covered only (3) nights then nights of '03/12/13 and 07/12/13 to be covered by WMF at US$139.302/night x 2 on Bed & Break fast.
  • Per-Diem: USD 53.25/day x 5 days = USD 213 (75% of GSA rate)
  1. Local Bank International Wire Transfer Charge: $29.63
  2. La Faya Dinner :07/12/2013 - Le Meridien - Ashok Dusan - $22.11
  3. La Faya Service:08/12/12 - Le Meridien - Ashok Dusan - $1.11
  4. Asian Buffet: 04/12/13 - Le Meridien - $43.12
  5. Local Mauritian Lunch: '06/12/2013 - Farquhar Street, Port Louis, Mauritius - $6.63
Date Time City Vendor Vendor ID Amount Currency Purchase Purpose of purchase Receipt Status
03 December 2013 & 08 December 2013 07:47am & 15:45pm Gaborone Gabz Taxi Cab BWP490 = $56.01 Round trip taxi ride from Gaborone;Mogoditshane, to Sir Seretse Khama International Airport and back on a day of arrival through Western By Pass Road.Mogoditshane to SSKI Map Taxi ride to catch a flight at the airport Receipt not provided by this vendor.
06 December 2013 15:30pm Balaclava Balaclava Taxi Cabs MUR1628.12 = $54.00 Round trip taxi ride from Intercontinental Hotel;Balaclava, to Ebène,Rose Hill. Intercontinental Hotel enroute Port Louis to Ebene Accelerator Map. Visit Ebene Accelerator ICT hub to network and see Mauritian start-up entrepreneurs and other open source Receipt not provided by this vendor.
  • Total Per-Diem Expenditures: US$212.61
  • Total Accommodation being requested x 2 nights: US$318.41
  • Total Traveling Expenditures:US$1738