Equity – more specifically, knowledge equity – underpins our movement’s vision of a world in which every human can share in the sum of all knowledge. It encourages us to consider the knowledge and communities that have been left out of the historical record, both intentionally and unintentionally. This is an important pillar of the Wikimedia movement’s strategic direction, our forward-looking approach to prepare for the Wikimedia of 2030.
There can be many reasons behind these gaps in knowledge, derived from systemic social, political and technical challenges that prevent all people from being able to access and contribute to free knowledge projects like Wikimedia equally. In 2021, the Wikimedia Foundation launched the Knowledge Equity Fund specifically to address gaps in the Wikimedia movement’s vision of free knowledge caused by racial bias and discrimination, that have prevented populations around the world from participating equally. The fund is a part of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Annual Plan for the 2023-24 fiscal year to support knowledge equity by supporting regional and thematic strategies, and helping close knowledge gaps. Building on learnings from its first round of grants, today the Equity Fund is welcoming its second round of grantees.
This second round includes seven grantees that span four regions, including the Fund’s first-ever grantees in Asia. This diverse group of grantees was chosen from an initial pool of 42 nominations, which were received from across the Wikimedia movement through an open survey in 2022 and 2023. Each grantee aligns with one of Fund’s five focus areas, identified to address persistent structural barriers that prevent equitable access and participation in open knowledge. They are also recognized nonprofits with a proven track record of impact in their region. The Knowledge Equity Fund was initially conceived in response to global demands for racial equity, and the global reach of these new grantees is testament to and in recognition of the systemic impact of racial inequity in affecting participation in knowledge across the world.
Based on what the Equity Fund has learned in its first year as a pilot grantmaking fund, the Equity Fund Committee will be connecting each of these grantees with regional and relevant partners in the Wikimedia movement, including local and established movement affiliates who can support knowledge equity work and help grantees learn about how to connect back to the work of free knowledge on the Wikimedia projects. Previous grantees such as Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism were able to work with regional Wikimedia affiliates like Wikimedians of the Levant, and these connections within the Wikimedia movement are a valuable benefit of being an Equity Fund grantee.
Below, meet each of the seven grantees, learn more about their work and what they will do in the upcoming year!
Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara, Indonesia
The Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara, or the Alliance of the Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN for short), is a non-profit organization based in Indonesia that works on human rights and advocacy issues for indigenous people. They are receiving a one-year grant from the Equity Fund for $200,000 USD, and are one of the first Equity Fund grantees in Asia. AMAN will use this grant for several initiatives: firstly, to support their ongoing program to empower more indigenous people as citizen journalists so that the people reporting on issues that affect the indigenous people of the archipelago are those who most directly understand and can speak to them. Secondly, they will create an Indigenous Peoples Glossary in collaboration with indigenous journalists, for distribution to libraries and public schools. Thirdly, they will conduct research to measure public understanding about indigenous people and indigenous issues. The grant will also be used to update the AMAN website as a source and repository of information, research and journalistic articles about indigenous issues. This work will help to create more journalistic sources of information about indigenous peoples in Indonesia that can potentially be used as sources for sites including the Wikimedia projects.
Black Cultural Archives, United Kingdom
Black Cultural Archives is a Black-led archive and heritage center that preserves and gives access to the histories of African and Caribbean people in the UK. They are the recipients of a one-year $290,000 USD grant. Their goals with this grant for the coming year include increasing research into their collections, as well as increasing the breadth of their collections for research. Another aim is to play a leading role in supporting a network of archive organizations that champion Black British history, and finally, they hope to develop programmatic work that provides access to their less traditional archive material; VHS tapes and cassettes that contain a large amount of information on Black British cultural history. This grant will be an important step in continuing to support archival work and increasing access to historical records.
“We are the nation’s home of Black British history and a beacon for Black communities at home and abroad. From heritage seekers to future leaders, school children, young people, university academic students courses, to senior academics and elders. We serve people who seek a deeper understanding of primarily British and global diasporic black history,” said Lisa Anderson, Director of the BCA. “This transformational gift will be used to advance BCA’s mission to collect, preserve and celebrate the histories of people of African and African Caribbean descent in order to inspire and give strength to society at large.”
Create Caribbean Research Institute, Commonwealth of Dominica
Create Caribbean Research Institute is the first digital humanities center in the Caribbean. They will be receiving a $75,000 grant. The grant will be used to expand Create Caribbean’s Create and Code technology education program to enable children ages 5-16 to develop information and digital literacy as well as coding skills. The funds will support the expansion of the curriculum for the camp, development of open access resources for participants and the adoption of underserved schools to implement longer term skill building. In addition, the funds will also align with the Knowledge Equity Fund’s focus area of supporting non-traditional records of knowledge: the grant will support the development of a Caribbean oral history database focused on the themes of education, information and knowledge preservation, local community development and environmental sustainability.
Criola is a civil society organization, based in Rio de Janeiro, dedicated to advocating for the rights of Black women in Brazilian society. They prioritize knowledge production, research, and skills development as part of their work. They are also part of a national and international network of human rights, justice and advocacy organization focused on promoting racial equity. They will be receiving a one-year Equity Fund grant of $160,000 to enhance their research and publishing capabilities, with a specific focus on improving accessibility. Criola has over three decades of experience in human rights and advocacy, and their work with this grant will focus on knowledge production, including studies, research and surveys on the impact of racism in all areas of society, as well as courses and workshops focused on political advocacy and digital and physical security for activists.
Data for Black Lives, United States
Data for Black Lives is a movement of activists, organizers, and scientists committed to the mission of using data to create concrete and measurable change in the lives of Black people. They will be receiving a one year grant of $100,000, which they will use to launch a Movement Scientists Fellowship. This Fellowship will match racial justice leaders with machine learning research engineers to develop data-based machine learning applications to drive change in the areas of climate, genetics, and economic justice. They will also launch a new series of educational programs, such as free and open oral histories that promote data literacy.
Filipino American National Historical Society, United States
The Filipino American National Historical Society, or FANHS , has a mission to gather, document and share Filipino American history through its 42 community based chapters. FANHS will be receiving a one-year grant for $70,000 from the Equity Fund. This grant will support continuing and growing FANHS’ scholarship and advocacy on accurate historical representations of Filipino Americans and counter distorted and effaced ethnic history, their collection and archival of non-traditional records of knowledge such as oral histories, and their efforts to build community digital literacy skills to enhance preservation and access to Filipino American knowledge. These records have the potential to provide additional citations and sources for accessible information about Filipino American history.
Project Multatuli, Indonesia
Project Multatuli is an organization dedicated to non-profit journalism, especially for underreported topics, ranging from indigenous people to marginalized issues. Their goal is to produce data-based, deeply researched news stories to promote inclusive journalism and amplify the voices of marginalized communities. They will receive a $50,000 grant from the Equity Fund to support three activities over the coming year: first, training with women photojournalists from other publications around the region; second, ten in-depth reports of minority and marginalized groups, shedding light on human rights abuses, and environmental issues, and other challenges they face, including five reports that center on indigenous women groups; and third, support for administrative and technical improvements of the organization’s reporting capabilities to embrace new media, to provide the public with unrestricted access to high-quality reports across different formats.
The Knowledge Equity Fund is a fixed amount fund administered by the Knowledge Equity Fund Committee, comprised of an equal number of Wikimedia Foundation staff and Wikimedia volunteers from around the world. The Fund was created in 2020 and former and ongoing grants are all given from the initial fund. Recently, the funds for these grants transferred back from Tides Advocacy to the Wikimedia Foundation, which administered the second round of grants and will administer all remaining funds.
Later this calendar year, the Knowledge Equity Fund will continue to share progress on the final year of three of our round one grants. We will also share more detail and a timeframe for future rounds of grants. Welcome to our new grantees!
Can you help us translate this article?
In order for this article to reach as many people as possible we would like your help. Can you translate this article to get the message out?Start translation