Grants:PEG/User:Aliceba/Empowering Afrodescendant women in Wikipedia/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Project and Event grant approved in FY 2014-15 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
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Project status[edit]

Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?
Is your project completed?

Activities and lessons learned[edit]


July 2015[edit]

August 2015[edit]

  • AfroCROWD participates in the Wiki Wednesday Salon with Wikimedia NYC
  • AfroCROWD on-boards Sherry Antoine as project manager

September 2015[edit]

New AfroCROWD Logo
File:AfroCROWD Partner Professor Wynnie Lamour at WikiConNA2016.png
AfroCROWD Partner, Professor Wynnie Lamour's NYU Class was the top in nation for most edits for 2015: 458 edits and 204 articles edited according to Wiki Education
  • AfroCROWD held the Queens Library Wikipedia Edit-a-thon
  • AfroCROWD launched new Website structure to include a more active side panel assisting new user-project interaction, highlight social media, and aid new Wikipedian learning experience
  • AfroCROWD launched a new logo
  • AfroCROWD lead an editing seminar at the New School in Manhattan in Professor Michelle Materre's media studies class to incorporate Wikipedia in their coursework for the Semester.
  • AfroCROWD worked with a professor at New York University (NYU) Wynnie Lamour, also of the Haitian Creole Language Institute, to incorporate Wikipedia in her Haitian Creole in Context course at NYU for the semester. The class ended up surpassing all others in the country in Wikipedia contributions with, according to Wiki Education statistics:
85 articles created
204 articles edited
458 edits
34,600 words added
7.71 million views
As a result of this achievement, professor Lamour was invited to speak at the 2016 Wikimedia North America Conference in San Diego on her work with languages and Wikipedia!

October 2015[edit]

  • AfroCROWD was invited to be a Keynote Speaker at WikiConference USA 2015 at the National Archives.
  • AfroCROWD partnered with the Diaspora African Women's Network (DAWN) for an edit-a-thon at the Brooklyn Public Library where the project also connects with members of the Garifuna community.
  • AfroCROWD appeared in the “Wall Street Journal”.
  • AfroCROWD was featured in “The Signpost” Wikipedia journal.
  • On October 31st, Alice made a presentation about the Haitian Creole Wikipedia at the annual Haitian Creole Symposium at Brooklyn College in Brooklyn, NY.[1]

November 2015[edit]

AfroCROWD Basquiat Still Fly @55 Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at the MoMA
File:AfroCROWD and the New York Black Librarians Caucus 2015.png
Partnerships are key to outreach. We pursued a successful partnership with the New York Black Librarians Caucus.

December 2015[edit]

Lessons learned[edit]

What worked well?
File:Flyer for Year End 2015 AfroCROWD Edit-a-thon.png
We chose the theme of Black Film for our year end edit-a-thon.
Wikimedia NYC Wikipedia Coach (right) helps new Wikipedians at AfroCROWD Edit-a-thon
Alice Backer presents to new Wikipedians at AfroCROWD Basquiat edit-a-thon at MoMA 2015
File:AfroCROWD Skypes to first BLT.png
For partner Black Lunch Table's first Edit-a-thon in Louisiana, we used Skype, a useful tool for when we are invited to present at seminars / edit-a-thons outside of NYC.
  • Working with cultural and thematic partners engaged in the community and a theme for each edit-a-thon helped to attract potential new users eager to learn to edit Wikipedia as a by-product of commitment to that organization's work or that particular theme.
  • Participating in community organizational events and meetings has helped to grow partnerships.
  • Youthful and dynamic partners such as the Basquiat NYU Student Conference allowed for better outreach on social media and other outlets.
  • Connecting with potential attendees on social media, the website and via email blasts on Benchmark allowed for better continued relationships and connectivity with participants some of whom made repeat visits to improve their skills and in some cases even helped others. We received a lot of views and gained greater potential to go viral in these channels adding to our presence in the community and ability to attract increased participation and requests for partnership. Photographing the events and taking video enhanced the content in our various outreach and social media networks.
  • During events, Creating a system for sign-in, worksheets, and a recurring workflow helped ensure more time for learning and editing at each event. This was enhanced by:
  • Assistance from volunteers from Wikimedia NYC
  • Several mini trainings as participants often arrive in successive waves
  • In the last hour of each event, we celebrate with a group photo. This adds the the feeling of connection and community.
  • We also allow time where possible for participants to share their edits with the group at the end of the event in order to highlight a sense of accomplishment for new and growing editors.
  • Playing video (without sound) related to Wikimedia, AfroCROWD and the event has also worked successfully. For example, during the Black Filmmakers Wikipedia Edit-a-thon in December, we played examples of Black Film on the projector screen on mute while editors worked and it set the tone and prompted discussion at the end of the event.
  • Inviting participants to the Wiki Wednesdays WMNYC chapter meetings lead to some attending and connecting further to the Wikimedia community.
  • All in all, the atmosphere at events is kept structured but casual, with food and drinks a prominent draw. At the Brooklyn Public Library, we found that this atmospehere attracted walk in visitors in addition to mailing list and Eventbrite signups.
  • Partnerships with Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) among other institutions have also been very helpful. The Brooklyn Library and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for example have been fantastic partners that along with our partners from community organizations and universities, have circulated our events among their networks and helped with logistical aspects.
  • Holding edit-a-thons monthly has helped to maintain involvement and attract repeat visitors.
  • We were also able to engage in virtual seminars outside of the New York City area using Google Hangouts and Skype, which helped to expand our reach to other partners, communities and potential growth areas.
  • Targeting partnerships with groups led by women made for proportional female participation. At least 50% women attended our edit-a-thons in 2015 so the gender gap affecting the broader community of Wikipedians does not apply to us.
  • See the Press section below for the media attention we received.
What didn't work?
  • We had hoped to provide babysitting for attendees with children, but since we did not have insurance we had to hire costly babysitting agencies which don't allow for cancellations and which impose a minimum hours requirement. As a result, we paid for babysitting services twice with no children showing up. We are hoping that as the WMNYC chapter gets insurance, we can hire babysitters directly in the future and not go through an agency. We are not sure whether that is a viable model but going forward we will likely not offer babysitting until we find a less wasteful solution.
  • We went viral quickly in 2015 and as such we had high demand in certain months that made it harder to plan ahead and keep up with requests.
  • At times we sought out partners whose commitment we were unable to evaluate ahead of time. Not having a partnership agreement or at least clearly defined written confirmation about shared expectations can lead to unnecessary miscommunication, confusion or low turnout from their membership.
What would you do differently if you planned a similar project?
  • Have insurance.
  • Create a partnership agreement for organizational partnerships. When enlisting edit-a-thon partners, we would have gained from having each partner pledge at least 10 participants from the organization and require that the partner send a representative from their leadership to participate in the edit-a-thon. It is also good to stay connected and on the same page about the event with partners, especially in the days leading up to the event to ensure it remains a priority and a mutually determined flow of the program.
  • Where possible, have participants create accounts online before the event takes place.
  • Have a press packet ready in case one is needed.

Learning patterns[edit]

Learning Patternː Staying connected to volunteer editors and potential editors through email blasts

Outcomes and impact[edit]


Provide the original project goal here.
The project’s goal is to alleviate the gender gap in the context of our target audience as conceptualized below:
  1. At least 50% of all articles created in AfroCROWD should be about women
  2. At least 50% of all attendees of AfroCROWD workshops should be women
  3. Facilitate the incorporation of Wikipedia in curriculum by at least two female scholars in our target community
  4. At least one workshop provided to relevant scholars about the gender imbalance in the Haitian Wikipedia
Did you achieve your project goal? How do you know your goal was achieved? Please answer in 1 - 2 short paragraphs.
Though the numbers we have regarding gender distribution date back to June 2015, we are fairly confident that we achieved these goals, subject to an audit by WMNYC's new metrics assistant. As of June 2015, we know that 50% of articles created were about women or women's issues and 61% of our attendees were women. We believe that those numbers were exceeded during the grant period as we continued partnering with organizations led by women and worked with two classrooms led by women.
File:AfroCROWD Edit-a-thon at the MoMA 2015 Basquiat Still Fly 55, NYU, BLT.png
New Wikipedia editors listen to presentation at AfroCROWD Basquiat Still Fly @ 55 Wikipedia Edit-a-thon. The ratio of women to men at AfroCROWD edit-a-thons in 2015 surpassed the 50% goal.
Articles and edits on women a focus during AfroCROWD Edit-a-thon:
  • We held a Diaspora African Women’s Network edit-a-thon during which we focused on notable women in the African Diaspora
  • We also discussed the gender gap at each edit-a-thon
We worked with women professors of African Descent to incorporate Wikipedia in their curricula:
We were able to be part of two classrooms at two major college campuses to incorporate Wikipedia into class curriculum:
Both professors were women of African Descent:
  • Professor Michelle Materre, The New School
  • Professor Wynnie Lamour, New York University
  • →Note, as highlighted previously, while both classes did well, the NYU students in Professor Lamour's course created the most articles in the country during the 2015 push to incorporate Wikipedia in the classroom with 85 articles created, 204 articles edited which were viewed 7.71 million times according to the Wiki Education Dashboard. This prompted Professor Lamour to be invited as a speaker to the 2016 Wikimedia North America Conference in San Diego where she spoke about he work on Wikipedia with the Kreyol language and her work with AfroCROWD. Needless to say, we are very proud to have worked with her and her fantastic students.
We raised awareness about the gender imbalance in the Haitian Kreyol Wikipedia
We did this through our work with scholars of the Haitian language such as Professor Wynnie Lamour of NYU and through other scholars who attended our Queens Library edit-a-thon and our presentation to scholars at the Haitian Creole Symposium in October 2015.

Progress towards targets and goals

Project Metrics

Target outcome Achieved outcome Explanation
50% Women editors and women topics Each edit-a-thon this period has either achieved or surpassed this goal Targeting women lead organizations in the African Descended communities in New York. Used edit-a-thon topics like “Women of the African Diaspora” to encourage writing about topics important to Afro Descendant women.
Incorporate Haitian Culture Studies in at least 1 event and awareness of the gender imbalance on Haitian Wikipedia We held an edit-a-thon focused on Haitian culture and language where we spoke about the gender gap accomplishing this objective This worked in part because of our partnership with the Haitian Cultural Association and our connection to professor Lamour and the Haitian and Haitian Kreyol community in New York at large. AfroCROWD’s Director is also a an active Haitian blogger.
Facilitate the incorporation of Wikipedia in curriculum by at least 2 female scholars in our target group We accomplished this goal with professors at NYU and Then New School We connected with professors Wynnie Lamour at NYU and Michelle Matterre at The New School to incorporate Wikipedia into their courses. Their courses had to do with the Africana studies and Haitian culture which allowed us to connect further on the topic of culture, and articles around this focus.

Global Metrics[edit]

We are trying to understand the overall outcomes of the work being funded across our grantees. In addition to the measures of success for your specific program (in above section), please use the table below to let us know how your project contributed to the Global Metrics. We know that not all projects will have results for each type of metric, so feel free to put "0" where necessary.

  1. Next to each required metric, list the actual outcome achieved through this project.
  2. Where necessary, explain the context behind your outcome. For example, if you were funded for an edit-a-thon which resulted in 0 new images, your explanation might be "This project focused solely on participation and articles written/improved, the goal was not to collect images."

For more information and a sample, see Global Metrics.

Metric Achieved outcome Explanation
1. # of active editors involved 28 Number of rolling active editors who added user name to event pages; 83 participants were existing editors
2. # of new editors 15? This number is very much off as the new editors are captured during each edit-a-thon as a part of the event. By just that margin, the tally of 15 editors would have been surpassed in one or two events alone. We are not confident in the accuracy of this magic button generated metric.
3. # of individuals involved 102 Number of participants who added their user name to the event page. 26 participants attended more than one event.
4a. # of new images/media added to Wikimedia articles/pages
4b. # of new images/media uploaded to Wikimedia Commons (Optional)
5. # of articles added or improved on Wikimedia projects 1902? 159? pages created, 1902 total pages edited. We are not confident in the accuracy of this magic button generated metric as we are unsure that it incorporates the 85 articles created and 204 articles edited in the class of Professor Wynnie Lamour according to Wiki Edu. We hope that our forthcoming metrics assistant will be able to clarify these figures.
6. Absolute value of bytes added to or deleted from Wikimedia projects 901116
Metric Achieved outcome Explanation
7. Number of press/media mentions 7 Project Specific. Not a Global Metric. Please see full list of press mentions at the bottom of the impact section below.
8. Number of Benchmark email blasts 19 Project Specific. Not a Global Metric
9. Number of blog posts 16 Project Specific. Not a Global Metric
10. Number of Eventbrite invitations 5 Project Specific. Not a Global Metric
11. Number of Instagram posts 102 Project Specific. Not a Global Metric
12. Number of Twitter posts 103 Project Specific. Not a Global Metric
12. Number of Facebook posts 108 Project Specific. Not a Global Metric
12. Number of total views to AfroCROWD Facebook page posts (8/1/2015-12/31/2015) 4,398 Project Specific. Not a Global Metric
13. Number of Partner Organizations 10 Project Specific. Not a Global Metric. Please see the full list at the bottom of the impact section below and in the activities section above.
Learning question
Did your work increase the motivation of contributors, and how do you know?
Our evaluations indicate our work increased the motivations of contributors. Responses to the edit-a-thons from participants have been very positive. As one new Wikipedian exclaimed at the Women in the African Diaspora Edit-a-thon “This is powerful! I can edit the world!”


What impact did this project have on WMF's mission and the strategic priorities?

The WMF mission is:

The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally.

AfroCROWD has corresponded with the WMF strategic priorities to:

  • Increase participation: by increasing the number of women and people of African Descent who edit Wikipedia
  • Improve quality: through training at our monthly events, including an in-depth look at the types of sources acceptable and the need where possible to add a citation to each sentence
  • Increase reach: Through our outreach both online, on social media and in person at every AfroCROWD event
  • Encourage innovation: By welcoming discussion and dialogue, questions and invitations to everyone who wants to learn and be a part of the Wikimedia community.
  • Our monthly meetups encourage repeat editing
  • Our outreach to afrodescendants and women in the target group has sought to increased diversity in topics and editorship of wikipedia

Option A: How did you increase participation in one or more Wikimedia projects?

Option A:

  • The AfroCROWD project increased the participation of Wikimedia projects by increasing outreach to wider social media networks and a global community of Afro-Descendants and other target audiences such as women and those interested in editing articles on topics of interest to the Afro-Descendant community.
  • We have also embarked on collaborations with institutions and university professors as well as libraries, galleries and archives, along with members of communities and community associations that have not only spread the word about what we are doing but what the Wikimedia Foundation and its affiliated programs and projects have been doing. This included the Art and Feminism project and the Wikimedia Foundation New York chapter.
  • AfroCROWD's Founder, Alice Backer, and project manager, Sherry Antoine, were also key note speakers at WikiConference USA in the Fall of 2015 at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
  • At each of our events, we have directed our participants to the pages and articles lists of the following Wikimedia Projects, in addition to our own:
  • WikiAfrica Projet
  • WikiProject Haiti
  • WikiProject African Diaspora
  • Art + Feminism
  • Haitian Creole Wikipedia
  • Spanish WIkipedia
  • French Wikipedia
  • Yoruba Wikipedia
  • Twi Wikipedia

OffWiki outreachː

We used social media sites Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and our website blog to continuously spread the word to a range of networks about our upcoming events and what was on our radar. We also used these tools to spark interest and target audiences.

Our email blasts, sent at least once a month to hundreds in our target groups, which included press, identified supporters and past participants, garnered engaged audiences growing networks of interest.


Please note our list of project partners and venues.



  • Brooklyn Public Library
  • MoMA
  • Queens Public Library


Videos about Afrocrowd:

Reporting and documentation of expenditures[edit]

This section describes the grant's use of funds


Did you send documentation of all expenses paid with grant funds to grants at wikimedia dot org, according to the guidelines here? Answer "Yes" or "No".


Please list all project expenses in a table here, with descriptions and dates. Review the instructions here.
Number Category Item description Unit Number of units Actual cost per unit Actual total Budgeted total Currency Notes
1 Project Manager Time wages and expenses for Project Manager Hour 232.95 25 5,769.25 5,000 USD
2 Expenses Refreshments and copies for editathons N/A N/A N/A 521.41 USD
3 Expenses Bank account fee N/A N/A N/A 15 USD
4 Babysitting Babysitting Expenses Editathon 2 Variable 361 USD
5 Expense Parking Editathon 1 N/A 16 N/A USD
Total project budget (from your approved grant submission)
6,280 USD
Total amount requested from WMF (from your approved grant submission, this total will be the same as the total project budget if PEG is your only funding source)
6,280 USD
Total amount spent on this project
6,682.66 USD (Went over budget by 402.66 USD)
Total amount of Project and Event grant funds spent on this project
6,280 USD
Are there additional sources that funded any part of this project? List them here.
  • We received donations of space and computer usage from the Brooklyn Public Library's Info Commons.
  • We also received refreshment donations from the Museum of Modern Art for the two events we held there.
  • NYU Africana Studies Department paid for a deejay, posters and additional refreshments for the Basquiat MoMA Event.
  • Alice self-funded her travel and accomodations to WikiConference USA 2015
  • Sherry self-funded her room and board for WikiConference USA 2015

Remaining funds[edit]

Are there any grant funds remaining?
Answer YES or NO.
NO, we went over budget by about $402.66.
Please list the total amount (specify currency) remaining here. (This is the amount you did not use, or the amount you still have after completing your grant.)
If funds are remaining they must be returned to WMF, reallocated to mission-aligned activities, or applied to another approved grant.
Please state here if you intend to return unused funds to WMF, submit a request for reallocation, or submit a new grant request, and then follow the instructions on your approved grant submission.