Photo by Lucas Takerkart, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Wiki Loves Africa, the annual themed photo and media sharing competition, is back. This year, participants are documenting the lives of “people at work.” The contest, which runs from October to the end of November, is giving special attention to the works covering women at work and endangered work practices.

Started in 2014 by Isla Haddow-Flood and Florence Devouard, Wiki Loves Africa is a public contest that encourages individuals on the African continent and around the world to contribute media files about the African environment.

“Everyone can contribute relevant photos from anywhere on the globe,” the organizers stated in a press release announcing this year’s contest. “Additionally people, groups or organizations are encouraged to host a series of events to build Wikipedia savvy communities around the competition.”

Haddow-Flood and Devouard first thought of Wiki Loves Africa in 2014 as “a fun and engaging way to rebalance the lack of visual representations and relevant content that exists about Africa on Wikipedia,” they explain.

For the 2017 edition of the contest, photo essays that document ‘rare and endangered work practices’ or ‘women at work’ were introduced as a new way to tell the story where a single photo is not enough to capture the whole scene. There will be a special prize for the best photo essay in each of the two topics.

Local Wikimedia communities in 13 African countries have been striving to provide the needed in-person support to the participants by holding Wiki Loves Africa events.

“These events take the form of introductory workshops, photographic excursions and uploading sessions,” Haddow-Flood explains. “[The events] are aimed at encouraging an ongoing pride in local heritage and cultural practice, as well as to foster a culture of contribution to the internet to shake up the single story of Africa.”

In the past three years, over 21,000 media files were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons as part of Wiki Loves Africa. The first edition in 2014 had the African cuisine as a theme where 873 participants contributed over 6,000 photographs. Cultural fashion was the theme for the 2015 competition with over 7,500 photographs taken by 722 participants. The number of donated files grew to nearly 8,000 last year under the theme of music and dance where 836 people joined the contest.

Participation is simple: grab your camera, take photos of people at work in Africa, or featuring Africa-related work then upload your photos to Wikimedia Commons. You will both help increase the internet content on Africa and have a chance to win.

Samir Elsharbaty, Blog Writer
Wikimedia Foundation