Saturday, April 28, 2012

Is #agriculture must have #Wikipedia Zero content for #Africa?

FarmAfripedia is a project about the best farming practices in Africa. Great information that needs to find its way to African farmers. The project is using the same collaboration model as Wikipedia.

The project did get the attention of the FAO in one of its newsletters. One of the issues for content for Africa is getting it to the people who have use for it. They do not all speak English and increasingly they have a mobile.

When there is a demand for agricultural information, when people spend time creating projects like FarmAfripedia, it would be great to have much of this information within the Wikimedia Foundation, particularly in Wikipedia. An important consideration will be that many Africans may receive this information free of charge thanks to Wikipedia Zero.

Providing agricultural knowledge in an encyclopaedic setting in one of the native languages of Africa is an ambition that can easily be realised. People with such an ambition will find that it is not that hard to get a Wikipedia in new languages approved. As there is not that much information in native languages available, such an initiative has great potential.


Steven Walling said...

Thank you for blogging about this! It's a very important topic, and on English Wikipedia and Commons, the work on agriculture is very much incomplete.

One of the issues that much information is locked up either in hard to navigate databases like the FAO's, or it is contained in extremely expensive textbooks for higher education agricultural colleges.

In any case, I would be very happy to see and participate in a project to improve Wikipedia content about farming, especially for Africa and other developing countries. We need a WLM for food and ag!

Joe said...

Unfortunately Farmafripedia is under the CC-BY-NC-SA non commercial licence. This may make it easier to use some UN materials - many of which are "free to use for non-commercial purposes" - but it does mean the materials cannot be used by african farmers to make money (probably - no one seems to know what NC really means).

I have done some work with which covers the same ground and does seem to be a bit more active than Farmafripedia and is under the same license as Wikipedia - CC-BY-SA - so it can share materials.