Shine Her Light Campaign: Telling the Untold Story of the African Woman

In celebration of African women's achievements and contributions to society, we launched the Shine Her Light Campaign, an initiative that focused on highlighting their stories and accomplishments. Shine Her Light Campaign consisted of two main events: The Shine Her Light Writing Contest and the Shine Her Light Webinar.

The writing contest aimed to bridge the gender gap on Wikipedia by increasing the representation of African women on the platform. As the contest came to a close, the Shine Her Light Webinar, which featured inspiring women from diverse fields was organized. Through it, our community got to learn from the shared experiences and insights of these notable women. Aside from these two main programs, the Shine Her Light Campaign included a one-month social media drive that featured awareness creation and publicity of the profiles and biographies of some prominent African women, particularly those who were active in the women and youth empowerment space.

Celebrating African Women's Voices on Wikipedia

The campaign began with the Shine Her Light Writing Contest which was unveiled on the 8th of March, International Women’s Day, and ran through March with both the writing contest and campaign coming to a close on the 31st of March. Throughout the contest, participants delved into the lives and achievements of African women, creating and editing Wikipedia articles to ensure their stories were accurately represented. With the goal of proper representation in mind, the contest was directed at creating new articles for biographies of the prominent African women who were included in the social media drive, specifically those who do not have existing Wikipedia articles. A call has been put out to our community for the creation of a jury that will evaluate the contributions made and decide on the winners by the end of April 2024. The reward list for the contest’s winners allotted $70 to the top contributor, $50 and $30 for the second and third place respectively, with a special prize of $50 for the top female contributor.

The Power of Collaboration

One of the most remarkable aspects of the contest was the realization of the impact of a spirit of collaboration. As editors collaborated to research, write, and edit articles, they shared knowledge and built connections. Through collaborative efforts, participants were able to amplify the voices of African women and create a lasting impact on the platform. As a testament to this sentiment, the contest saw a total of 60 registered participants with 35 editors and by the 31st of March, the program dashboard displayed 4,490 total edits, 705,000 words added, and 5480 references added. Here is a link to the contest dashboard.

Telling the Untold Story in the Shine Her Light Webinar

To culminate the contest, we organized a webinar where women from various fields of work came together to share their stories and insights. From a journalist's perspective, Adwoa Tenkoramaa of Citi FM/Citi TV shared her story on how she navigates the media space as a woman. A climate enthusiast and activist, Stephanie Nkansah of A Rocha Ghana discussed the relational cycle between women, the environment, and society. Finally, a corporate manager, Jael Serwaa Boateng, Executive Director of Open Foundation West Africa described the struggles of a woman in the corporate world. Each speaker offered valuable perspectives on empowerment, leadership, and breaking barriers, and the webinar provided a platform for dialogue, inspiration, and networking between community members, further amplifying the voices of African women and fostering connections across diverse sectors. Did you miss our webinar? Catch up now on YouTube and dive into insightful discussions!

Reflections, Future Directions, and Conclusion

As we think back on the success of the Shine Her Light Writing Contest, webinar, and campaign as a whole, we recognize the importance of ongoing efforts to empower African women and ensure their voices are heard and valued. Moving forward, we are committed to continuing our work to bridge the gender gap on Wikipedia and empower women to share their stories, expertise, and achievements with the world. By celebrating the achievements of women and amplifying their presence on platforms like Wikipedia, we can inspire change, foster inclusivity, and create a more equitable world for all.

  • April 15, 2024