Commons:Wiki Loves Monuments/Making WLM thrive in Africa/Wikimania 2018
We organized a meetup during Wikimania to discuss WLM in Africa more in detail with some of the volunteers present. During the meetup were present volunteers from the International team, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Tunisia, Finland, Namibia, South Africa, Iran, Algeria, France, USA, Cameroon, Nigeria.
First we discussed why WLM is a desirable initiative in the African context. Suggestions include that it is especially important to document monuments and heritage in general because these sites can sometimes be damaged or demolished. WLM can help document the sites to some extent. It is also a helpful tool to build communities.
Then, we also discussed how we as an international community, both within and outside Africa, can make the organization in African countries easier and more impactful.
Monument lists: Traditionally, Wiki Loves Monuments works off lists of monuments. In Africa this can turn out to be a particular challenge. The lists often stem from colonial times, and are biased. At the same time, they miss sites because adding them would constitute an obligation for the state to help protect/maintain them. This results in situations where obvious heritage sites are missing from official lists or the lists are particularly biased towards the colonial era. An approach towards these issues could be to allow and facilitate unofficial alternative lists to be used besides the official lists. Suggestion is to allow one or two careful pilots and learn from this. Try to come up with international standards that are helpful to keep the unofficial lists somewhat uniform.
Credibility: In some countries, the national organizers are running into limitations because they don't always have the credibility and relationships yet. The international team could (and is happy to) support these teams with letters of support that the teams can use for national negotiations. Can also look at options to introduce the national teams with potential partners. (if you have such a request, please approach the international team.)
Case studies: Promotional success stories (why organize Wiki Loves Monuments? How does it help heritage in your country?) as small case studies would help the national organizers in their conversations with national partners.
Quality: General call for participation does not always lead to the desired quality level of pictures. Some organizers feel that their winning images can hardly compete for international awards. Some promotional materials of 'how to take a good photograph of a heritage building' could be helpful (as flyer/instruction booklet). Also consider formalized training by photographers: this can give them more skills. Wiki takes the City is a good activity to hold the hands of some photographers and stimulate them in taking and uploading the better pictures.
Legal: Freedom of Panorama is particularly painful in many African countries, where copyright restrictions introduce a bias which part of a country's heritage is visible. Dimi is the Wikimedian in Brussels, and is in charge of the efforts to lobby European government(s) to remove hurdles for free knowledge, such as lack of Freedom of Panorama. He can help Wikimedians to think about how to approach such an effort.
(original notes by LilyOfTheWest)