*Wikipedia Goes To Africa -- Israeli Students to Leave for Humanitarian Work
in Africa, Equipped With Portable Static Wikipedia*
*Ben-Gurion University's "Africa Center", Wikimedia Israel, and Hamakor
cooperate in making free knowledge accessible in Africa*
The Africa Center at BGU, headed by Dr. Tamar Golan, annually sends a group
of students on a three-month humanitarian expedition to developing countries
in Africa. This year's group is going to the Repbulic of Benin and the
Republic of Cameroon.
Learning about this while approaching the Africa Center for help with
developing Africa-related entries on the Hebrew Wikipedia, Wikimedia Israel
decided to equip the students with computers running free software and
containing an offline (static) version of the French Wikipedia, so that the
students can bring free knowledge to Africans without access to the
Wikimedia Israel reached out to Hamakor, the Israeli Free and Open Source
Software NGO, and Hamakor helped obtain computer donations, refurbished them
and installed the Linux operating system on them.
Wikimedia Israel collaborated with members of Wikimedia Switzerland and
Wikimedia France to produce an up-to-date static version of the French
Wikipedia (numbering about 1 million entries, and including images), French
being a major language of reading and writing in Cameroon and Benin.
"The students also have portable installations of the offline Wikipedia, so
that they may install it on any other computers they may run across in
Africa," explained Asaf Bartov, who coordinated the project in Wikimedia
Israel, "and they have received training on using Linux and Kiwix, the
offline Wikipedia reader (free) software, so they may train others to use
Incidentally, the Linux version installed on those computers is called
Ubuntu Linux, 'Ubuntu' being an African word (in the Zulu language) roughly
translatable as "unity of mankind" or "mutual reliance".
Supporting and promoting the distribution of free knowledge in developing
countries is one of the five major goals identified by the Wikimedia
Foundation as central to its five-year strategy plan, developed by thousands
of members of the Wikimedia Movement.
Spokesman, Wikimedia Israel
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