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Resuming physical WordPress meetups post COVID-19: How first in-person meetup went down in Jinja

This month, WordPress Jinja Meetup managed to organize the first physical meetup since last year when they were suspended following the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic. The in-person meetup happened on Friday 23rd April at The Innovation Village – Jinja, an Innovation and Incubation Center for Startups based in Jinja City.

Event banner

Whereas most of the WordPress events and WordCamps are still being held online, the WordPress community team has developed some guidelines for meetup organizers to follow if they wish to resume physical meetups.

The team has created the following resources to help meetup organizers:

  1. In-Person Meetup Decision Checklist – Organizers can use this checklist to determine whether they can, by the WordPress Community Team’s standards, proceed with hosting in-person meetups based on health authority data and organizer readiness. 
  2. References and links to Health Authorities – Because the checklist asks organizers to reference health authority data, the team has compiled a list of resources that organizers can utilize.
  3. Templates for Meetup Organizers – The team has written out some helpful language to assist meetup organizers in explaining to members how in-person meetups happen (or not). 
  4. Report Form – If an organizer or community member needs to connect with Community Team Deputies with concerns about local meetups, they can use this form.

In many districts in Uganda, the COVID 19 cases have gone down and lockdown on many aspects like schools, churches, public transport, etc has been lifted. The ministry of health has also issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for public gatherings, which include use of sanitizers, masks, social distancing,temperature check, and contact tracing.

Organizers of the recent WordPress Jinja meetup submitted the checklist and put in place the necessary SOPs at the venue.

How it went down

The meetup was attended by 12 participants. All participants were registered (for contact tracing) and asked to put on their masks before entry. Each had a separate seat socially distanced from another.

The meetup started by watching a video on the history of WordPress followed by a discussion on how WordPress became the most popular website creation tool, powering most of the websites on the internet.

Participants watching a video by Yoast Academy on the history of WordPress

After this, attendees were taken through a show case of various websites made using WordPress software. Participants were given time to share stories on various websites they’ve made using WordPress.

I (Rogers Mukalele) gave a testimony about how WordPress successfully brought my Sharebility Uganda idea to life, after initial attempts to code the website using native PHP and frameworks were futile.

Mr. Vicent Mukisa of Cyclone Times shared about how he has used WordPress to build several websites and web applications for many big companies and institutions. He inspired and encouraged the entrepreneurs in attendance to leverage on the power WordPress in order to boost their businesses and earn big.

Mr. Mukisa Vicent sharing his WordPress Testimony

The main theme of this meetup was about showcasing the power of WordPress beyond ‘blogging’.

The meetup concluded with remarks from the hosts at The Innovation Village, represented by Mr. Mohammed Kateregga.

WordPress Jinja Meetup is group of local WordPress developers, designers, and publishers who get together to share our knowledge and experience, and to meet other WordPress users in Jinja and nearby towns. This WordPress Meetup is open to all who love WordPress.

For event planners, marketers, and attendees alike, it’s been over a year since we’ve had the experience of a live event.

In-person events are truly irreplaceable, and people are eager to get back to those face-to-face interactions. Over the past year, event planners have used several technologies for virtual events. And while virtual events have many benefits in their own right, it was never a question of if live events would come back. 

As the COVID19 cases drop further, it is hoped that physical meetups will come back to life!

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