Open GLAM Advocacy in Plateau State

Free Knowledge Africa, a non-profit organization dedicated to bridging content gaps on travel, places, settlements, landmarks, heritage, and tourist sites towards sharing and contributing to global knowledge, carried out an advocacy campaign for Open GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) across different Cultural Heritage Institutions within Plateau State. Four members of the team travelled down to Jos city in Plateau State on Wednesday, 14th September 2022, with the aim of introducing and advocating the concept of Open Access to some of the Cultural Heritage Institutions within the State.

A group photo at the National Museum, Jos

The advocacy campaign started at the National Museum Jos, where they met with the Curator of the museum, Mr Fadamijo Omolayo. The team presented their piece on Open Access and the implications for the museum, the Public, the Country and Africa at large. Impressed with their presentation, the Curator took them on an Exclusive tour of the ‘Treasures from Early Civilization’ exhibition, which was just launched in June 2022.

A presentation at the office of the Curator of the National Museum, Jos

The exhibition captured the historical discoveries that have been made in Nigeria over the centuries, which has placed Nigeria on a high pedestal of technological and cultural advancement. The exhibition portrayed the rich culture of Nigeria, starting from the Nok culture and figures, our Traditional Agriculture, Household utensils and cuisines, Trade, Commerce and Transportation, Music, Dance and Festivals, Warfare, Power and Authority, Religion and Social life. It was a rich exhibition that detailed the Treasures from Nigeria’s Early Civilization.

The next stop was at the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Plateau State, where they met with Mrs Nana Yakubu, the North Central Zonal Coordinator. There was a lengthy discussion on how the NTDC could partner with Free Knowledge Africa to increase awareness of various Tourist attraction Sites within the Country on Platforms like Wikivoyage. Mrs Yakubu commended the efforts of the organization and pledged her support in improving the narratives on Nigerian Tourism.

Round table discussion at Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation North Central Zonal Office, Jos
Round table discussion at Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation North Central Zonal Office, Jos

Similar to the meeting at the NTDC, the team had a productive meeting with the Plateau State Tourism Corporation, where they discussed the Tourism opportunities that exist within Plateau State and Nigeria as a whole. They discussed how they could collaborate together to increase the visibility of Nigerian Tourist Centers on Wikipedia platforms. Opportunities like Essay writing contests for Secondary and Tertiary Institutions students were brought up during the discussion on how they could create Wikipedia and Wikivoyage articles on Cultural heritage sites within the state.

After a productive first day, the team attended the practice rehearsal of the Ndengdeng Cultural group, an African cultural music group that still holds great value for the African sound. The team had a discussion with Mr Dantala, the leader of the group, where he shared his experience on how the group came about, the ideology behind their unique sounds and the challenges they face as an African cultural music group in a now advanced society where everybody embraces contemporary music. Since it was their rehearsal, the team were able to listen to their sound, and it indeed had its African uniqueness. They discussed the possibilities of bringing this sound out to the world.

The next day, the team proceeded to the Plateau State ICT Development Agency, where they met with the Director General, Mr David Daser. He was glad to receive them, and they presented their piece on Open Access and discussed partnering with the Plateau State Library Board and how they could digitize works already in the Public Domain for a greater and wider reach. 

A group photograph with the Director General of the Plateau State ICT Development Agency, Mr David Daser

Mr Daser gave the team his complete support and promised to see how the Plateau State Government could partner with Free Knowledge Africa and make this digitization process happen.

Satisfied with the response from the ICT Development Agency, the team proceeded to the CODE Plateau, where they met with brilliant young minds in the tech world headed by Prince Ponfa Miri. They were amazed by the incredible things these young people were doing and introduced Wikipedia to them and how they could contribute to Wikimedia projects as editors or developers.

On the fourth day, the team travelled to Gunnung Village in Pilgani, Langtang North Local Government Area of the State, where they met Hon. Danbong N Nanbol, the Chairman Development Commission of the Shamot Gulu Community and Mr Emmanuel Vitalis, a retired Director of Social Services at the Plateau State Local Government Commission and member of the community.

They took the team to cultural heritage sites within the community and shared the migration history and cultural heritage practices of the Gani tribe. The team proposed the documentation of the tribe and their cultural heritage sites, and community leaders expressed their approval of the idea.

With complete satisfaction with the awareness created and opportunities discovered within Plateau State, the team headed back to their respective homes on Sunday, 18th September 2022.

Watch the video documentary of the advocacy on Youtube.

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