Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Community Fund/AfroCROWD-Championing Communities of African Descent on and in Wikimedia and Improving the relevance of Wikipedia and open technology to communities of Color
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G. Have you received grants from the Wikimedia Foundation before?
- Applied previously and did receive a grant
H. Have you received grants from any non-wiki organization before?
H.1 Which organization(s) did you receive grants from?
M. Do you have a fiscal sponsor?
M1. Fiscal organization name.
- Fractured Atlas
R. Where will this proposal be implemented?
- United States of America
S. Please indicate whether your work will be focused on one country (local), more than one or several countries in your region (regional) or has a cross-regional (global) scope:
S1. If you have answered regional or international, please write the country names and any other information that is useful for understanding your proposal.
T. If you would like, please share any websites or social media accounts that your group or organization has. (optional)
M. Do you have a fiscal sponsor?
M1. Fiscal organization name.
- Fractured Atlas
1. What is the overall vision of your organization and how does this proposal contribute to this? How does this proposal connect to past work and learning?
- Afro Free Culture Crowdsourcing Wikimedia (AfroCROWD) is an initiative and Wikimedia User Group, which seeks to champion people of African descent on and in Wikimedia projects in both content amplification and editorship training. AfroCROWD also endeavors to increase awareness and relevance of Wikimedia and free knowledge, culture and software movements among people of African descent. The project “Championing Communities of African Descent on and in Wikimedia and Improving the Relevance of Wikipedia and Open Technology to Communities of Color” directly helps our organization to achieve this goal.
Previously we worked to introduce people of African descent to the Wikimedia movement through various events, conferences and workshops. Now, in the post-pandemic era, we are moving to enlarge our international connectivity and increase their interest in Wiki and open technology and making it more relevant for those communities, with a greater focus on the persistent digital divide.
2. What is the change that you are trying to bring about and why is this important?
- According to the 2021 Community Insight survey report, 89% of U.S. Wikipedia editors identify as white, 8.8% identify as Asian or Asian American, 5.2% as Hispanic or Latino/a/x, 6% as biracial, multiracial, or another self-reported category and only 0.5% of U.S. Wikipedia editors identify as Black or African American. Thus, the report concludes, "In the United States, both Black and Hispanic or Latino/a/x people were severely underrepresented in US communities, while white and Asian American editors were overrepresented."
Our project aims to improve the relevancy of Wikipedia and Wiki technology to people of African descent (i.e., African diaspora, Africans in the diaspora, Caribbean, African American). We will aim to do so through regular engagement with African diaspora representatives on the local level and our partners across the Caribbean and Africa. The participants will be reached through an ongoing awareness and social media campaign. We will continue to hold regular monthly events in the Wiki community - both online and in-person - providing participants with tools to edit and create content for Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata pages relevant to their communities. To facilitate that, we will also work with the native languages of the African diaspora and our international partners, thus helping to close knowledge gaps between languages. Additionally, our project has significant cultural value as it helps preserve diverse cultural heritage through engaging communities to collect and record oral knowledge and history through oral knowledge recordathons which we helped develop and spread.
Our organization is woman founded and led; thus, the issues of gender are also considered within the project. We work to ensure the strong participation of women in all project activities.
3. Describe your main approaches or strategies to achieve these changes and why you think they will be effective.
- Enhancing the Capacity of Participants for the Promotion of Diverse Content:
This program will include several activities, including developing workshops and events, translate-a-thons, edit-a-thons, training-the-trainer events and oral knowledge record-a-thons. These activities incorporate work on several Wikimedia projects: Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia, and Wikidata for example.
Developing Workshops/Events: AfroCROWD will cooperate both online and in-person with partner organizations to create an outline of the events and workshops to train participants to edit Wikipedia, Wikimedia and Wikidata and translate content into different languages. With this activity, AfroCROWD seeks to engage with writers of African descent and encourage them to write on their culture and leaders. The activity will also train them on developing content that is not only engaging but also supported by sources and references. We will have workshops/events once a month. We will work with photography and designers to train participants to create engaging, quality images to support their content. We will identify 50 participants of the program and provide them with training that will enable them to train other individuals of African descent and ensure the results of the program are compounded well after its completion.
Building the relevancy of Wiki as a learning tool: Through collaborations with partners, we will work to improve the technical knowledge of the individuals targeted by the program. Thus, we will facilitate participants with training on how to code, analyze data, and set up data security measures using Wiki technology as a gateway option to help close the digital divide.
Enhance Existing Diverse Content: Afrocrowd will engage and cooperate with graduate students and professors on African culture, and UN and World Bank representatives to improve existing information on African culture and underrepresented leaders.
Building on knowledge gained from pioneering efforts: We aim to use the knowledge gained from pioneering efforts we have partnered in like "translatathons" and "recordathons" to take a deeper view of the African Diaspora in a global context. This 360-degree look at information will purposely strive to enable greater availability and addition of information that can be read, seen, heard and finally, discussed in a multicultural Wiki context. Thus, we will invest more resources in Wikipedia editing, Wikidata training, WikiCommons uploads and speakers for virtual symposiums, similar to the series we implemented during Black History Month and Women's History Month edit-a-thons in 2021 and recently in 2022.
4. What are the activities you will be developing and delivering as part of these approaches or strategies?
- By 2025 we aim to provide over 40 online and in-person workshops to over 1000 participants across our local and international partnership hubs in the Caribbean and African regions. The main objective is to increase awareness and representation of people of African descent among Wikipedia editors and contributors and encourage active participation in the Wikimedia and free knowledge, culture and software movements. We aim to make Wikipedia and Wiki technology an integral part of the lives of people of color and continue to broaden knowledge of the expansive contributions of Black culture and history in Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects.
5. Do you want to apply for multi-year funding?
5.1 If yes, provide a brief overview of Year 2 and Year 3 of the proposed plan and how this relates to the current proposal and your strategic plan?
6. Please include a timeline (operational calendar) for your proposal.
- Please find the timeline of events in the document attached.
7. Do you have the team that is needed to implement this proposal?
- For greater detail, see AfroCROWD Staffing Plan attached.
As we expand and develop as an initiative over the next three years, we are looking to recruit and extend our team as shown below. We aim to grow our team in a ramped-in style with a first year objective being recruitment and hiring and the following meant to continue growth and development of projects included in our strategic planning statement. Overall AfroCROWD’s staffing plan has expanded to handle the increase of ED management responsibilities, increased partnerships and programming as well as more international and inter-regional programming.
Lead applicant Sherry Antoine Username - Shanluan
Lead, Executive Director: Contractor: Sherry Antoine. The executive director has been in AfroCROWD’s management role since 2015. She will direct AfroCROWD programs, strategy and vision, manage organizer and volunteer teams and contractors. She will also oversee reporting, expenses and evaluations. The ED will also pursue and maintain new institutional partnerships for AfroCROWD and serve as its key brand representative.
Community Organizers: Paid volunteers: Linda Fletcher (CO1: Local NY, USA) and 4 additional recruits as follows: CO2: Africa. CO3: The Caribbean. CO4: HBCUs. CO5: International general. Their responsibilities include coordinating with the executive director to plan for events and recruitment in their focus area. COs will act as the main points of contact for their AfroCROWD project while coordinating with partners and volunteers to support project logistics and other related outreach.
Web development specialist: Contractor: Bag Of Apples Web Development / Jordan Baker Caldwell. Responsibilities include managing and maintaining the technical aspects of the website.
Communications Specialist: Contractor: Maktub Consulting/ Sheree Joihnson. Outreach and communications is key to AfroCROWD’s work. Responsibilities include media strategy development and copy editing and other content.
Audio / Video Editor: Contractor: Prospective hire: This post covers video and audio editing, and recording and services for Zoom (video conferencing), outreach and tutorials as we intend to continue to build our Youtube channel and for Wikimedia Commons.
Interpreter Service: Contractor: Benoit Language Services. Within the inititative, we will have 2-3 interpreters for our international conferences, assisting with multilingual planning and coordination meetings.
Evaluations expert: Contractor: Prospective hire. The hire will help us evaluate the project implementation process.
Contingency capacity plan: For all hires and volunteers, should any role become vacant, we plan to advertise on (Wiki networks) and off-wiki for immediate replacements (e.g. Indeed/ idealist). With cross communications in our team meetings, and shared information on Trello and team software, this allows team members to be able to cover associated areas until roles are re-filled and has been managed in the past.
8. Please state if your proposal aims to work to bridge any of the identified CONTENT knowledge gaps (Knowledge Inequity)? Select up to THREE that most apply to your work.
- Content Gender gap, Geography, Language, Sexual Orientation, Important Topics (topics considered to be of impact or important in the specific context), Cultural background, ethnicity, religion, racial
8.1 In a few sentences, explain how your work is specifically addressing this content gap (or Knowledge inequity) to ensure a greater representation of knowledge.
- Our project has a strong component of enhancing knowledge and representation of cultures of the African diaspora, Africa and the Caribbean:
- Geographically our project will focus on ensuring the culture and topics related to the African region, the Caribbean and the African Diaspora, are well represented on Wikimedia
- Linguistically, as it will focus on the content being translated into or provided in the varying languages spoken and used across the diaspora and African Continent, in particular Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana
- Culturally, ethnically and racially diverse knowledge promotion as it will ensure a wider representation on the Wikimedia platform with respect to the varying African diaspora cultures, religions and ethnicities.
9. Please state if your proposal includes any of these areas or THEMATIC focus. Select up to THREE that most apply to your work and explain the rationale for identifying these themes.
- Education, Culture, heritage or GLAM , Advocacy, Human Rights, Other, Diversity
- Education is intrinsic to our work as we conduct regular trainings. Diversity is a centerpiece of the reasoning behind our initiative. Culture is central to not only what we aim to help preserve, but how we use the technology to express and share it.
10. Will your work focus on involving participants from any underrepresented communities? Please note, we had previously asked about inclusion and diversity in terms of CONTENTS, in this question we are asking about the diversity of PARTICIPANTS. Select up to THREE that most apply to your work.
- Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, Geographic , Ethnic/racial/religious or cultural background, Linguistic / Language
11. What are your strategies for engaging participants, particularly those that currently are non-Wikimedia?
- A key part of AfroCROWD and our internal culture is creating spaces of safety and welcome for our target audience and whoever participates in our events. Central to our mission is engagement and community. As a part of this, we use tools like a robust social media campaign, our website, mailing list, and public events to draw in newcomers. We work with an array of partners that share our commitment to representation and inclusion, who we work with to create and develop events, projects and campaigns that have reached locally, nationally and internationally beyond the Wikimedia community but also with the Wikimedia movement in mind. This has allowed us to bring in new Wikimedians monthly at our events since 2015.
12. In what ways are you actively seeking to contribute towards creating a safer, supportive, more equitable environment for participants and promoting the UCOC and Friendly Space Policy, and/or equivalent local policies and processes?
- The project directly contributes to UCOC and Safe Space values and principles. It empowers people of color to get familiar and actively participate in Wikimedia projects and spaces, making it more diverse and inclusive.
The project motivates the development of highly relevant and exciting content for the editors and ensures a safe and positive environment for cooperation among all involved parties. Most importantly, our project promotes the Wikimedia mission of sharing the world's knowledge and encouraging collaboration among the global community devoid of prejudice and xenophobia. The project activities of all involved parties will be based on mutual respect, trust and solidarity. All individuals involved in the project will be welcome, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, appearance, race, religion, etc. Harassment of any kind will not be tolerated, and individuals violating the rules will be asked to leave the event.
13. Do you have plans to work with Wikimedia communities, groups, or affiliates in your country, or in other countries, to implement this proposal?
13.1 If yes, please tell us about these connections online and offline and how you have let Wikimedia communities know about this proposal.
- AfroCROWD uses a robust social media campaign to keep followers abreast of new information and events. The initiative also has a mailing list of over 3500 people. We regularly post event pages on Wikipedia and Meta when we have upcoming events and also post events to our On-Wiki meetup page. Finally, our website is also a conduit to our audience seeking to connect with us for coming events and other information, while our Youtube page provides even more information about our projects on demand. Beyond this, we engage in press, and represent our projects on partner media (examples include outreach on their social media, news blogs and webpages as well as recordings). We also engage in Wiki specific media like Wikipedia Weekly where our collaboration with Wiki Caribbean was the most viewed show on the site when it aired and is the third most viewed video they showcase. We plan to continue to use these methods to spread the word about our events and expand their reach.
14. Will you be working with other external, non-Wikimedian partners to implement this proposal?
14.1 Please describe these partnerships and what motivates the potential partner to be part of the proposal and how they add value to your work.
- Partners gain an element of amplification for their work both in the Wikimedia movement and our shared target audiences. They are key to our work. We will utilise our Wikipedia partners across African countries and international partners like World Bank to disseminate information about the project and its results and impact. The partner's networks will also be used to reach potential participants. Among our international partners can be listed:
- Howard University
- American University
- Ali Forney Center
- World Bank
- Wikimedia Foundation
- Wikimedians of the Caribbean
- Radio Dominica
- NSF REU ILLC Brooklyn College
- Wiki Tongues
- Howard University
- Spelman College English
- Morgan State University
- Temple University
- Barnes Findley Foundation
15. How do you hope to sustain or expand the work carried out in this proposal after the grant?
- Our project will be sustained through an ongoing partnership and agreements with our partner hubs across the Caribbean and Africa as well as international partners.
Additionally, we will ensure to have an outlined communication strategy, including an outreach within the local community via social media channels. AfroCROWD already has volunteers and facilitates activities at the HBCU university clubs. We will continue hosting a diverse range of regularly scheduled online and in-person events.
16. What kind of risks do you anticipate and how would you mitigate these. This can include factors such as external/contextual issues that may affect implementation, as well as internal issues, such as governance/leadership changes.
- Please check the Risk Mitigation Strategy attached.
17. In what ways do you think your proposal most contributes to the Movement Strategy 2030 recommendations. Select a maximum of three options that most apply.
- Improve User Experience, Provide for Safety and Inclusion
18. Please state if your organization or group has a Strategic Plan that can help us further understand your proposal. You can also upload it here.
Learning, Sharing, and Evaluation
19. What do you hope to learn from your work in this fund proposal?
- It is vital to emphasize the main points that AfroCROWD hopes to learn from:
- 1. What motivates people of African descent to engage in Wikipedia editing and translation? What can connect them to the experiment of Wikipedia?
- 2. How can the African- Descended history and perspective be more represented in Wikipedia and other platforms? What activities effectively enhance the engagement of people of color in Wikipedia activities?
- 3. How can Wikipedia be more accessible and relevant for people of color?
- 4. How can our organization AfroCROWD contribute to improved access to Wikipedia and have more women writers, editors and translators?
- 5. How can our organisation support the black youth from the LGBTQ community?
- 6. How can our organisation utilize our global partners for the dissemination of the project results?
- 7. How can we reach low-income communities and involve them in the project?
20. Based on these learning questions, what is the information or data you need to collect to answer these questions? Please register this information (as metric description) in the following space provided.
|participants of the events, workshops and trainings||As the project aims to be open to people of all backgrounds with a special focus on people of African descent, we expect strong interest from the public and aim to have over 1000 participants throughout the 3 years of the events.||1000|
|number of events||We aim to have an educational event at least once a month for the 3 years.||36|
|Survey responses||We aim to hold surveys inclusive of self identification and asking questions related to responses to question 19||600|
Here are some additional metrics that you can use if they are relevant to your work. Please note that this is just an optional list, mostly of quantitative metrics. They may complement the qualitative metrics you have defined in the previous boxes.
|Number of editors that continue to participate/retained after activities||N/A||N/A|
|Number of organizers that continue to participate/retained after activities||N/A||N/A|
|Number of strategic partnerships that contribute to longer term growth, diversity and sustainability||N/A||N/A|
|Feedback from participants on effective strategies for attracting and retaining contributors||N/A||N/A|
|Diversity of participants brought in by grantees||N/A||N/A|
|Number of people reached through social media publications||N/A||N/A|
|Number of activities developed||N/A||N/A|
|Number of volunteer hours||N/A||N/A|
21. Additional core quantitative metrics. These core metrics will not tell the whole story about your work, but they are important for measuring some Movement-wide changes. Please try to include these core metrics if they are relevant to your work. If they are not, please use the space provided to explain why they are not relevant or why you can not capture this data. Your explanation will help us review our core metrics and make sure we are using the best ones for the movement as a whole.
|Number of participants||Our events will be open to people of all backgrounds with a special focus on people of African descent. The number of participants in all activities will be 1000+. Out of that number at least 600 people will be new participants.||600|
|Number of editors||Our events will be open to people of all backgrounds with a special focus on people of African descent. The number of editors in all activities will be 1000+. Out of that number at least 500 people will be new editors.||500|
|Number of organizers||The number of organizers in the project is 50. Additionally, we will have 4 new organizers that will help to oversee, monitor and plan project activities such as edit-a-thons, online and offline meetings etc.)||50|
1000 new articles edited related to topics on cultures and communities of Africa and the African diaspora and associated topics.
|Wikimedia Commons||We aim to have 350 images uploaded to Wikimedia commons.||350|
21.1 If for some reason your proposal will not measure these core metrics please provide an explanation.
- The proposal measures the core metrics and the core metrics are tailored specifically to the project and are sufficient enough to provide clear evidence of the impact of the project.
Additionally, we will collect social media statistics (Facebook, Youtube etc.), press and visibility outreach. Meeting minutes from live meetings, participant lists, surveys, agreements and partnerships within the Wikimedia community.
22. What tools would you use to measure each metric selected?
- AfroCROWD will use ISA tool to allow the project participants to add “micro contributions" in the form of structured data to images on Wikimedia Commons and On-wiki project page to keep custom tracking by tools like Bots.
23. & 23.1 What is the amount you are requesting from WMF? Please provide this amount in your local currency. If you are thinking about a multi-year fund, please provide the amount for the first year.
- 128489.33 USD
23.2 What is this amount in US Currency (to the best of your knowledge)?
- 128489.33 USD
23.3 Please upload your budget for this proposal or indicate the link to it.
Budget also attached as xls file.
23.4 Please include any additional observations or comments you would like to include about your budget.
- The project management, implementation and evaluation activities are critical for the overall success and lasting impact of the project. The project invests in bridging the barriers and lessening the inequalities of the underrepresented groups and their culture. Attracting and stimulating the interest among the African communities across the world and among the large diasporas of people of African descent in US to contribute to Wikipedia knowledge accumulation is a core tool in the proposal towards overcoming barriers towards knowledge equity.
Please use this optional space to upload any documents that you feel are important for further understanding your proposal.
- Other public document(s):
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