Early 2014, Cyriac Gbogou was hired to become the first Wikipedian in Community in Ivory Coast as part of the Kumusha Takes Wiki project. Kumusha Takes Wiki is a project that aims at activating specifically-targetted communities across Africa to create and contribute freely-licensed information, texts, images and media about their communities.
One of the first challenges in launching this initiative was the careful choice of communities to be targetted.
In the context of the Kumush Takes Wiki project, we defined a collection of selection criteria for the kinds of communities we would be be looking for:
A. It would be a group of people who is related to a geographical space, shares a common interest, goal, situation, passion, or habit (commuting, coffee drinking, etc,), that could encompass a small section of society or the whole country, a global online community, or the diaspora;
B. It would be complex and rich – complexity in the sense of diverse and unexpected; rich in the sense of having many layers, influences;
C. It would be interconnected meaning that it should either influence other areas, or be influenced by ideas/thoughts/migration);
D. It would provide the clear ability to provide content to at least two Wikimedia projects;
E. It would offer some visual richness, and potential for visual or media engagement;
F. It would have a clear structure or community centre point/focus;
G. It would have some form of mapping potential (commuter routes, town/township mapping, etc) although this might not always be relevant;
H. Ideally, the community would be out of the ordinary, or where expected or traditional, have alternative, surprising elements.
After careful consideration, based on previously mentioned criterias, research information about the country, and our personal life experience, a collection of communities have been identified in Ivory Coast and will be the focus of Cyriac attention in the coming months.
Here is the list of focus communities we decided to work with
A fishing community
The target city will be AssinieMafia, located 80 km away from Abidjan. It is considered as the heart of artisan fishing. AssinieMafia is also a very touristic area and largely contributed to the development of the country during the colonial era. Cyriac also plan to focus on “pin asses”, a transportation system used by that community.
Cyriac will focus on five contemporary ivorian writers, so as to share with them their history and passion for their country.
University students are largely pillars of Wikipedia and OSM communities. It would be akward not to involve them in the Kumusha project ! Accordingly, the universities of Abidjan Félix Houphouet Boigny and of Bouaké (350 km away from Abidjan) have been selected to be involved. Working with the students communities will also be the opportunity to explore the “Zouglou”, a type of music which born from the students communities.
Cyriac plans trainings in the use of computers as well as a discussion space so that these kids can be involved in the project and be given a voice.
Noë, located 4 hours south of Abidjan has been chosen. This French speaking city is located next to the English speaking nearby Ghana.
Some popular suburbs of Abidjan (Yopougon and Abolo) and their respective communities will be Cyriac focus, with a special attention given to many of the small professional activities often belittled in spite of being required for the stability of the community.
Beyond working on local foods such as « Garba », « Foutou » or « Aloko », the focus of Cyriac attention will be about the communities related to food and in particular about the special atmosphere created around food-sharing events.
« Maracana » is a football game, with its rules, its community events and its famous players. Cyriac will focus on that topic as well as on an ivorian fabulous player : Abdoulaye Traoré dit Ben Badi
Some religious buildings will be a focus of attention (for example in Kong, north east of country) or special points of interest (such as a vine bridge in Man, 540 km west of Abidjan), all good opportunities to revisit local ivorian religions such as Dehima, Papa nouveau, Harriste or « qui connait ? » and their associated communities.
Museum and poi
Located in the famous city of GrandBassam (40 km away from Abidjan), a Museum dedicated to costumes and fashion will be the opportunity to explore and compare past and present clothing in Ivory Coast.
Cocoa and agricultural activity
Cocoa is the first export crop in Ivory Coast. Cyriac will focus on the Nawa region, that produced 40% of the total production in the country.
Last but not least, we will give the opportunity to prisoners to join in the Kumusha project.
More details may be found here:
Wikipedian in Community for Cote d’Ivoire, Cyriac Gbogou, outlines his plans for Kumusha Take Wiki: