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Ghana Celebrates 15 Years Of Wikipedia

By Felix G Fate Korku

Following an explosive celebration of the celestial anniversary by Wikipedia Ghana User Group, and Shaping Davos in Accra, the whole fraternity of the former converged on MiPromo, a neo-media company located in the heart of Achimota, to climax Wikipedia's 15th anniversary celebration with a party, for want of a better word.

The anniversary which was fixated on the theme ''Creating huge presence with massive impact'', commenced on the 1st day of the year 2016 with a movement labeled ''One Wiki a Day',' spanning 1st to 15th January, 2016.

One Wiki a Day was all about sharing one Wikipedia article a day on social media. Indeed, huge presence and awareness was created. Members were apt to the dictates of the movement, then the public followed suit and the impact was massive!

Upon everyone's arrival, Mr. Felix Nartey, the community manager kick started the program with a succinct prayer inviting the good Lord to get involved in proceedings.

The program soon dovetailed into an extensive discourse where members gave a brief bio of themselves, how they joined the community, what they do for Wikipedia, their experiences so far, fun facts and favourite foods where Wakye carried the day. A lot of experiences were shared, many members were inspired and discoveries made; one of them being that most members joined the community through the Bar Camp franchise organized by ''Ghana Think Foundation'' whose Director Mr. Ato Ulzen Appiah was also present on the day.

Soon after that, was time for some snacks and refreshment to give fresh strength and perhaps make members salivate and put together their tasting buds to devour the cake staring them in their faces. But the convo did not end there, it continued with some networking as well. As was to be expected as time went by, anxiety and anticipation swelled up among members to have a bite of the anniversary cake but it did not take long before that wish was satisfied.

Ably assisted by Mr. Ato, Sandister Tei, the first woman from West Africa to make it to Wikimania, Rexford Nkansah, Raphael Berchie, and Muhammed Sadat, Mr. Felix drove the knife through the heart of the customized Ghanaian version of the 15th Wikipedia anniversary cake to initiate a very important part of the gathering. Hipeee!!!

Everyone in attendance had their fair share of bite and some bottles of minerals to complement it. What a sight to behold! Precisely why the scenes could not play without being captured in digital forms.

Following the little feast, another interesting segment ensued. A hot and interesting convo was mounted around the theme of the occasion; ''The Journey so Far for the Ghanaian community and the way forward''. Mentions were made of many past programs undertaken by the Wikimedia Ghana User Group (WMGHUG) including the Edit Ghana Project, Retention Program, Wiki Loves Africa, Wiki Needs Girls etc and how they inured to the benefit of Wikimedia Foundation.

Members also expressed satisfaction for contributing to the data base of Wikipedia and other free and valuable opportunities to take advantage of: Wikimania, the annual gathering of Wikipedians around the world in one city, working for Wikipedia Foundation on full time base (Wikipedi-in-Residen­ce) etc

Touching on other important aspects, Mr. Ato Ulzen rightly pointed out the very important aspect Wikipedia has occupied in the whole world: ''Increasingly, the whole world is embracing Wikipedia as a paramount source of information as such, huge organizations including FC Barcelona who even use their Wikipedia article as their About Page'', he said.

Speaking on the Way Forward', Mr Felix Nartey acknowledged that information is expensive. People pay huge sums to get it but Wikipedia exists to change that. That said, Wikipedia needs volunteers to contribute to the database because it is very important and a crucial step in making that dream to remain a reality. With reference to Mr. Ato's submission, Mr. Felix stated with joy that ''it is stories like these that show how important the work we are doing is''.

He also used the opportunity to touch on the magic of Bar Camp and its impact on the Ghanaian society and WMGHUG. According to him, members who joined the user group through Bar Camp programs constantly make WMGHUG activities rise exponentially. ''That is the magic of Bar Camp'', he said. Mr. Ato and other stakeholders of Ghana Think Foundation were commended and encouraged to keep up the good work.

Members, Ghana's and the whole of Africa's attention was brought to a very worrying fact. He pointed out that, we have not been forthcoming in any attempt to chronicle our story to the world. It is very worrying, so much so that Antarctica, the less inhabited continent in the world has more texts and photos on the internet than the whole of Africa, the world's second largest continent. Hence the urgent need for us to write our own story to pull parity with our counterparts from the other world else they will remain incognito to the world.

That notwithstanding, he also thanked and commended members for being part of the largest digital phenomenon of the 21st century.

Inevitably, it was time for the curtain call, for a month of Sundays since the world learnt that there will be a historic celebration of Wikipidia's 15th anniversary, it has finally ended in a great Ghanaian fashion.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a few weeks and a couple of hours to climax the celebration of the 15th anniversary of Wikipedia before getting back to our busy schedules, reenergized in our endeavours in contributing voluntarily to the data base.

A Felix G Fate Korku submission, @2016