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Beyond the Net Community Projects Human Rights

Promoting Wikipedia as an Open Educational Resource in Uganda

Beyond the Net Journal: Uganda Chapter #1 Episode

Despite the increase of Internet access, the amount of localized content in Uganda is very limited,   preventing many users from  engaging with content in their mother tongue. TheInternet Society Uganda Chapters project aims to solve the lack of local online literature by using the vast amount of free licensed learning materials on Wikipedia. Articles will be translated from different languages into Luganda, the indigenous language spoken by five million people in the Buganda region. We are grateful to Lillian Nalwoga, president of Uganda Chapter, for answering our questions about the project:

What kind of activities are you currently working on?

The project officially kicked off on July 25, 2016 with a partner inception meeting. We discussed the work plan in order to align the partners expectations to the project goals. We started gathering articles from “Red Cross Uganda” and participating schools. These will be sent to the lead translator at “Makerere University” before being made available to the schools. Seventy-one articles have been translated so far. We also procured and delivered computer equipment to “Emmanuel College Kazo Secondary School”, one of the schools we are working with. The computers will be added to the school computer laboratory, where training in translating and uploading articles to the Luganda Wikipedia page will be conducted. The project blog soon will be online.

What difficulties are you encountering?

We are finding difficulties in getting partners to send us articles for translation. We expect partners to send us one and a half page articles but the articles we are receiving are much longer. This could be attributed to partners’ failure to condense the available information to fit the required format. However, we are hopeful that we will receive more articles in the future.

What are the main goals of your project:

1. Generate up to 300 translated articles on Wikipedia
2. Translate Wikipedia software into Luganda
3. Train students and teachers on how to access and contribute to Wikipedia
4. Create awareness on the use of Luganda Wikipedia in the selected schools
5. Conduct advocacy meetings for the adoption of Luganda Wikipedia as an educational resource in Uganda schools

What is motivating you?

Lack of relevant content is one of the major obstacles hindering Internet development in Africa. This project will encourage more Ugandans to use the Internet due to the availability of information in their language. We also want to empower young people to use open education resources like Wikipedia in their learning. We hope that through this project we will introduce promoting online content to the policy debate in Uganda. I feel this project has really big potential because it could be easily replicated and developed in other regions or countries. Soon we will be able to share our methodology with any interested Chapter and also introduce them to the Wikipedia team we are working with.

Left to right: Wilson Abigaba (Uganda Chapter), Paul Kiguba (Emmanuel Kazo College),Irene Nakasiita (Uganda Red Cross), Lawrence Lutaya (Uganda Red Cross), Susanne Zetterblom (Volunteer on project Chapter), Lillian Nalwoga (Uganda Chapter), Anatolle Kirigwajjo (Makerere University), Musoke Henry (Uganda Red Cross), John Baptist Mugunga (St.Anthony SSS Masaka), Erias Ssendege (Uganda Red Cross).

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