Grants:PEG/AltCity / Enhancing digital Arabic content through education & community building with a focus on Arab women issues

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This was a submission to the Project and Event Grants Program from an group, organization, or individual in 2013-14, but was withdrawn by that group, organization, or individual before a funding decision was delivered.

NOTE: This grant application is being voluntarily and temporarily withdrawn by the applicant organization due to current discussions regarding a possible consultancy assignment at the Wikimedia Foundation for the project lead. AltCity or the project lead may resubmit in the near future.

Legal name of organization or individual requesting this grant
For organizations: Are you a for-profit entity? Yes (but this project is non-profit-making; as a social enterprise we are impact & community-maximizing, but seeking ways to become self-sustainable).
For organizations: If non-profit (US) or equivalent (outside the US) status is available in your country, do you have or are you pursuing such status (please be specific):
For individual applicants: Please note that if your request is accepted you will be required to provide documentation verifying your full legal name and address.
Grant contact name
Dr. Dima Saber
Grant contact username or email
Grant contact title (position)
Research & Media Literacy Director
Project lead name
Dr. Dima Saber
Project lead username or email
Project lead title (position), if any
Project Coordinator & Trainer
Full project name
Enhancing digital Arabic content through education & community building with a focus on Arab women issues
Amount requested in USD or local currency (USD will be assumed if no other currency is specified)
Revising the budget now based on comments. Meeting with local Wikipedians and will re-share the final budget soon!
Provisional target start date
August 2012 (activities already started in July 2012)
Provisional completion date
November 2012

Budget breakdown[edit]

Working on budget revisions now...

Project goal[edit]

The goal of this project is to increase and improve the Arabic content on Wikipedia through community-building, capacity-building, and awareness-raising activities in Lebanon, with a focus on Arab women issues.

A detailed logframe of main activities is available here:

  • We will build a network of 10-15 committed Wikipedians in Lebanon. These volunteers, with AltCity support, would organize weekly "Wikipedia Wednesdays" where people will gather in a Wikipedia dedicated space at AltCity and create content on Arabic Wikipedia. These meetings will be followed by social gatherings at AltCity, more open to the broader public, and aiming to enhance discussions around the importance of improving and contributing content to the Arabic Wikipedia.
  • We will build a pilot network of 2-3 women rights CSOs & organizations in Lebanon committed to building Arabic language content on Wikipedia with a focus on Arab women issues, and Arab women achievers.
  • We will build a network of 3-4 Wikipedia faculty ambassadors in Lebanon committed to integrating Wikipedia in their syllabi and to contributing to Wikipedia Arabic content through their courses.
  • We will conduct a workshop for 12-15 faculty professors and senior students at the Lebanese American University (LAU) on OER ("open educational resources", with a focus on using Wikipedia in the classroom).
  • We will conduct a workshop for 9 Iraqi senior editors and journalists on alternative media & open license resources including using and contributing content to Arabic Wikipedia.
  • We will conduct a general workshop on the value of open licensing/content (with a focus on Wikipedia and Creative Commons) for approximately 15-20 tenants/members of AltCity.
  • We will organize 3 summer social events at AltCity, each reaching approximately 15-20 people interested or involved in Wikipedia activities.
  • We will hold monthly online Q&A sessions (via Twitter) on how to use and contribute to Arabic Wikipedia.
  • We will promote Wikipedia, especially Arabic language Wikipedia, through some branding/visibility at AltCity, online, and every public opportunity we get!

Non-financial requirements[edit]

We would like to benefit from the experience and insights of consultants and volunteers to help us bring guest speakers from Wikimedia Foundation to talk in the events, preferably in person, or also could be through live-streamed/video-conferenced events. Bringing these speakers is key to the legitimacy of the project and the ongoing success of the events especially those targeting faculty ambassadors. In addition, with ongoing mentoring from Wikimedia Foundation staff dedicated to the Arabic Language Projects, our team and growing community will more effectively contribute to the sustainability of this initiative on a longer term basis.

Fit to strategy[edit]

Currently, Wikipedia’s Arabic articles account for a mere 0.2% of its overall content. This project will work to significantly improve this record while supporting Wikimedia’s key organizational objectives.

This project will focus first on building a committed Wikipedia community in Lebanon (and the wider Arabic-speaking world). It will build the capacities of a core network of Wikipedians, who will act as ambassadors for Wikipedia in Arabic. It will increase both the quality and quantity of Arabic language content on Wikipedia. It will raise awareness of Wikipedia in Lebanon, and its credibility, especially among civil society, women’s groups, and academia. By extension, this project aims to result in more people contributing content in Arabic to Wikipedia.

On another level, this project particularly targets the area of education. Through building a network of university professors and instructors willing to engage their students in contributing content to Wikipedia and/ or Wikiversity Arabic, we will also support the aim of the “Wikiversity” project in providing educational content and fostering communities of contributors and students. Beyond supporting the use of Wikipedia in “teaching”, we will also work to promote the use of Wikipedia in “learning” (student-led activities, coursework, etc) and research.

Other benefits[edit]

We believe this project will allow us to establish an extremely valuable network of Wikipedians that builds links between university students, faculty members, civil society groups and the general public. This would help us spread awareness around the importance of open education resources in general, and arabic Wikipedia in particular.

Measures of success[edit]

We will measure the following:

  • # of named civil society organizations, academics, or activists engaged through meetings, MOUs, participation in events, and other forms of collaboration.
  • # of new Wikipedia Arabic profiles/users created through project (& track increase over the three months)
  • # of Arabic Wikipedia articles created through project
  • # of participants in workshops
  • # of attendees of summer social events
  • level of activity during Q&A sessions (number of tweeps asking questions and number of tweets using hashtag)
  • # of new followers of Wikipedia Arabic account (& track increase over the three months)

Team members (optional)[edit]

AltCity is a social impact startup in Lebanon, developing a media/tech/social impact collaboration space to support innovative, creative, high impact, and socially-relevant media and entrepreneurial initiatives. Once fully renovated, AltCity will provide a variety of spaces (newsroom/media cafe, event space, meeting rooms, offices, co-working spaces, library/resource space, etc), organizational & technical supports, and activities (workshops, presentation/demo events, film nights, competitions, collaborative work sessions, debates/discussions, etc) to help foster greater creativity, collaboration, innovation, and impact in Lebanon (and beyond) around core themes and target groups.

Dima Saber is co-founder of, a high-impact social media/tech collaboration space in Beirut, and DevIneMedia/Hibr (, a youth-run alternative citizen newspaper. She recently completed her PhD in Media Studies from the University of Panthéon-Assas in Paris, and currently teaches Political Campaign Communication and Digital Activism for Social Change at the American University of Beirut (AUB). She holds an MA in Journalism from the Lebanese University, and MA degrees (Information & Communication; Media, Languages, & Communication) from the University of Panthéon-Assas. She is conducting research on Arab media narratives from the establishment of Egyptian pan-Arab radio the Voice of the Arabs until the rise of political Islam with the Lebanese Hezbollah, mainly working on Al-Jazeera’s coverage of the 2006 war and Hezbollah's media productions, including music videos and video games.

Julnar Doueik is co-founder of AltCity, a social-impact media collaboration space in Beirut. She is a journalist and a trainer in citizen journalism and social media activism. She assisted in establishing a youth-run alternative media outlet, Hibr Lubnani, which developed out of “Sawt Ashabab.” She is currently pursuing her MA in Media Studies, and is serving as a teaching assistant (TA) at Notre Dame University, Zouk Mosbeh. She has also worked at Annahar newspaper, Radio du Liban, and Alyoum news agency.

Zeina Ammar is an undergraduate student at the American University of Beirut pursuing a BA in political studies and a diploma in media communication. Zeina is a public policy enthusiast, a blogger and a fan of the Arabic language. She’s mostly happy to be of assistance to this valuable project as a volunteer.