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- South Africa
- Wiki couple from Bangladesh gets opportunity to attend Wikimania for the first time. We made so many new friends, learnt a lot and of-course did adventures.
We will never forget the day March 22, 2018. That day we heard from the Wikimania Scholarship committee. We woke up, were checking our emails over morning tea, both of us were talking excitedly and eventually we found out we were on the same topic: we got a scholarship to attend Wikimania. Nonetheless to say, this was our first Wikimania.
We have been volunteering at Wikipedia since 2014. We have so many memories with Wikipedia, we conducted workshops, organized photo walks, went to meetups and sometimes fought over our laptop to take control! After all these years, getting opportunity to attend Wikimania was something big for us.
So when the day finally came, we left Bangladesh for Cape Town, South Africa on 15 July. When we reached, the sun light was still there but the sun decided to go down. We grabbed a taxi, headed directly to our hotel- Southern Sun Cape Sun. The view was so amazing from the Airport to the hotel. We had another wikipedian from Bangladesh with us, Moheen Reeyad, and he was also saying the same.
After completing formalities in the hotel, as pre-planned we went to a nearby restaurant, ‘Mama Africa’ to have our dinner. Here we should thank Christel Steigenberger, who is one of our favorite wikim(p)edians, she planned the whole thing and we also should mention Vassia Atassanova who recommended the restaurant. We experienced African flavor there, not only the food, but also the culture through a performance. We really enjoyed and we also got to know other wikim(p)edians from different countries. We met Abbad Diraneyya there and talked about Islamic culture. It was very interesting to learn that in the Arab region they practice Islam in a different way than we do that in Bangladesh. We also met Armine Aghayan, Irina Safaryan from Armenia there and so many new faces! We were really amazed with their very welcoming manner. After dinner, we had to return to the hotel early, as the day was too long and we needed to recharge for the next day.
The next day, on 17th we visited Robben Island with our fellow wikim(p)edians from Bangladesh. It was an amazing trip; we loved the view of Atlantic Ocean. The Island has also a great view, however learning the story of prisoners was heart touching.
Returning from there we spent some time in V&A waterfront, did some shopping, had lunch. In the afternoon we went to Table Mountain. We rode the cable car, which was very exciting. Isabella from the cuteness association joined us. We enjoyed the sunset there.
Afifa during Learning Days and ConferenceEdit
The next day, we attended the opening session at Room 1 London. As we have different interests and we work in different projects we attended different sessions.
I, Afifa stayed at London, attended the session by Alex Stinson, Woubzena Jifar and Dumisani Ndubane for new organizers. This was really a great session. I particularly learnt a lot from Dumisani Ndubane about how to convince and motivate new editors. I also went to hack-a-thon at Montreal room after lunch.
On day two and three, I attended hack-a-thon and planned the future activities with Bangla wikim(p)edians from Bangladesh and West Bengal. I learnt about best practices and success stories.
The conference days started with good news: I was selected for the diversity working group. After attending the opening session I went to Introduction to Wikimania session to get effective outcome from Wikimania, as it was my first Wikimania. Then I had to rush to attend the meeting for working group members. There was Astrid, I knew her from the diversity conference 2017. We introduced and discussed our agendas. And after lunch I also attended another session on the strategic direction- Wikimedia 2030.
Again I had poster presentation on the same day- July 20. I was also very excited about that. As a gender specialist, I wanted to explore if there any connection between gender and conflict. When I discussed my initial idea with Christel Steigenberger, she happily agreed to join me. So we discussed and planned together to take a survey on this issue. However, we had to do the poster with secondary information based on previous research and did a survey regarding “Gender- does it matter in conflict” during Wikimania. Christel and I, we are working on the report, Ibrahim is also helping us. We hope to share the report soon.
The next two days were gone at a glimpse, I attended sessions, and did several meetups- Asia meetup, Bangla Wikipedian meetup, Wiki data session, Wikiwomen lunch. Mostly I had to spend times in diversity working group meetings. Through attending these sessions and having discussions with wikim(p)edians, I articulated my target for this year. Some of the outcome worth sharing here:
- To reduce the Gender Gap, I/we from Bangla Wikipedia need to give more focus on conducting workshops and edit-a-thons. Informal female only meetups would help to create bonding among female editors.
- We need more collaboration among Asian countries, especially during Asian month contest.
- In collaboration with Ananya Mondal from West Bengal, India we planned to launch a project focused on cultural elements on commons.
- Creating content on women’s health issue was another concern. I spoke with Andrea Kleiman about developing content on mental health. She agreed to collaborate with me and have a joint project.
- And finally, I will devote my time to the diversity working group as promised.
Ibrahim during Learning days and Conference!Edit
On the first day of learning, after attending the welcome session at London room New Organizers - Opening Workshop, I attended the GLAM program and went straight to the Lighting talks. Those workshops helped me to understand the basic of organizing a program or event. Dos and Don’ts were very helpful to learn. Listening to Georges Fodouop’s experience from a grassroots level was fascinating.
After lunch I went to the hack-a-thon in the Montreal room. Next day in the morning I attended the session Introduction to Wikimania by David Richfield. Here he explained all the details of Wikipedia, the Wikimedia movement and Wikimania, what to expect from Wikimania, how to get the best of Wikimania. I have enjoyed this a lot. After that, I again shuffled between learning days and hack-a-thon.
During the conference days, I joined Wikidata sessions. Asaf’s session was terrific. His lecture made me understand Wikidata from the basic level. In those sessions he made the participants do the Wikiquery along with him. I also attended the Commons categorizer meetup, Asia meetup, Bangla Wikipedian meetup and Education meetup. The communication session about low and high context situation was very enjoyable.
The last day was started with a mind blowing session from Joy Buolamwini “Dangers of Supremely White Data and The Coded Gaze”. Then I attended the working group strategy sessions. From these sessions I took so many lessons and inspirations, I am delighted to share some of these here-
- Wikiquery and Wikidata project in Bangla Wikipedia: My learning about Wikiquery and Wikidata from attending Asaf’s session which will be implemented in my home wiki’s future workshops and events.
- Workshops for new commons user: From Commons Categorizer meetup I realized, we need more workshops for new editors regarding categorizations, commons basic upload tools. I have been planning for Wiki takes Comilla (it is my hometown) and going to apply my knowledge from the session basic of organizing a program or event in future events for Wikimedia Bangladesh specially arranging edit-a-thons/ wiki takes programs (photo walks). I also did photo walk in Comilla, that can be found here, however this time I am going to be more precise and apply my learning to get better outcome.
- More collaboration: From the meetups, my understanding is that the more we collaborate the better outcomes we will get. During Bangla Wikipedia meet up, I planned with West Bengal user group to launch a collaborative wiki takes cultural heritage project, which is going to be implemented soon.
- Going to apply my knowledge from the session basic of organizing a program or event in future events for Wikimedia Bangladesh specially arranging edit-a-thons/ wiki takes programs
And the adventures!!Edit
After the learning days and the amazing Wikimania Conference, we reunited for the adventures. Yes, that’s true, we could attend some of the sessions and meetups together, but mostly we were at different sessions as our focus was different. It is worth to mention that our wiki friend Balaji accompanied us with our adventures. We enjoyed the Wikimania opening session at Two Oceans Aquarium. We are food lovers- the foods was amazing there, also the environment was awesome. Again during the closing session- we were so amazed at the Gold Restaurant. The food, the performance of local artists were just fabulous. We loved African Culture. The next two days we visited Simon’s Town, Boulder beach (saw penguins for the first time and they were so lovely) the Cape of Good Hope and the famous Clifton beach.
Vaarwel Cape Town, Vaarwel Wikimania-2018Edit
It was the first Wikimania for us; we cordially thank the Wikimedia Foundation for giving us such amazing opportunity. We considered that as learning opportunity and we learnt a lot from Wikimania. The sessions were very insightful for us. We promise to contribute better, share experience to community and become better wikim(p)edians.