Reading lessons... I saw
Apathy from the community
Community members were not really forthcoming with suggestions to help build the conference. Community members had to be prompted umpteen times in order to make contributions.
What can be done
Once WikiIndaba becomes institutionalized like Wikimania, community members will always look forward to it hence play their parts in making the conference a success.
- This one is not really a "what could be done" but rather wishful thinking. I wonder if we could not get a professional facilitator to help design some sessions to really get the juice out of us ? I know... we say that at each conference :))) But I really think it could help to get pro help here.
I second the fear over the high risk of volatility of monetary exchanges. Between the moment when we asked for the Wiki Loves Africa grant and the moment we got the money, the dollar/euro just went wild and I simply lost 20% of my budget. We had planned only 5% contingency, which can not absorb the wild exchange rates. I do not know how the other European recipiendiaries of grants managed that if they got the funds in dollars. With the long delays to get the grants approved, it might be best to try to get the funding approval in the local money rather than in dollars.
- The weak Dollar is really a problem. Thank you Anthere for bringing this up. When I was working for the WMF my payment was 30 percent lower after only 6 months. So WMF has to make clear that they will grant the sum plus inflation adjustments. This is very difficult for budget planning but importing and exporting companies have experience in this so it should not be impossible for WMF. --Gereon K. (talk) 20:32, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
- p.s.: I just read for the IEG for instance (although I know that this hier is not an IEG): Grants can be disbursed in the local currency or US dollars. To prevent losses incurred from wire transfer fees, currency exchange, or other bank fees, it is recommended that you document and include your expected loss in the budget of your original grant proposal. So if inflation is to be expected that should be considered in the grant proposal, for example based on the inflation rate and devaluation of both currencies of the last 6 months. This might be a solution. --Gereon K. (talk) 19:13, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
- I understand the fear regarding the exchange rate volatility but in the case of the USD-TND all the economic analysis are expecting a devaluation of the Dinar (Tunisian Currency) regarding the EUR and the USD and therefore it's more likely that the grant amount in Dollars will be less than the requested now.--Yamen (talk) 14:06, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
Grant committee inputEdit
The committee thinks that it would be valuable to fund this conference because they observed the ways that WikiIndaba 2017 was helpful for building critical mass in the African community. However, the current proposal does not demonstrate that the community has been engaged in planning discussions or sufficiently consulted to identify the goals or priorities for the community to focus on at WikiIndaba 2018. The sections below contain more specific feedback, questions and suggestions for the event organizers.
- Please clarify which members of the community has been involved in planning this event so far.
- What efforts have been made to get input from the broader community?
- It is important to do more outreach to the community to solicit their input about what the most important topics should be focused on at the event. If the community has not responded to the needs assessment, an alternative is to create a survey or form that lists the topics/goals that the organizers/program committee think are important and ask the community members vote on the most important topics to focus on.
- It is very important that the organizers act immediately to do a community needs assessment. Has the organizing committee begun this work yet?
Although the proposal starts with three main themes, later in the proposal there are dozens of potential agenda items listed. There is concern that trying to cover such a broad variety of topics will stretch conference attendees too thin. The committee strongly recommends that the organizers do a community consultation (survey) to identify the most pertinent issues and focus on a small number of goals based on the survey.
- The proposal includes funding for 25 international scholarships, and says that an additional 15 people from the Tunisian community will participate. With this balance of participants, there is some concern that the event is more of a 'Tunisian Conference' than an event serving the Indaba community. Do the Tunisian community members share similar needs/goals as the broader Indaba community?
- How did the organizers think about the total number of participants and the number of scholarships to be offered? Was there a reason why international participation will be limited to 25 scholarship recipients? Does that seem sufficient to include newer communities?
- The last Indaba had 35 international participants. Have you considered ways to get additional funding to cover more international scholarships?
The committee would like to see a systematic way of getting feedback from event participants after the event, and for participants to share what they learned at the conference with the broad community. It has been suggested that either participants complete a report that they post online, or for participants to answer a few questions at the end of the conference. Do the organizers, or members of the Indaba community have suggestions or ideas about how participants should follow up after the event, both with their home communities and with the broader Indaba community?
Team's response to the Grants committee inputEdit
The program and scholarship teams are from different groups of the community, we invited Isla, Anass, Felix, Alangi joined the Tunisian Wikimedians Yamen Bousrih and Houcemeddine Turki. We are keen on having different approaches and visions from dynamic and active African Wikimedians. We launched a questionnaire to hear from those who are interested in WikiIndaba. This would help us in the organisation as well as the program and the scholarship teams to prepare the agenda and assess the scholarships.
Although, we shared in the proposal a variety of options to help those who are interested in WikiIndaba, but we would rely on the survey answers and the questionnaires results from the previous edition and of course the L2K and Katherine's response to the African Community. The needs of the community as well as the movement strategy will be the base-line for the program committee in conceptualizing the conference.
We would like to thank you for your comment regarding the Tunisian attendees. Actually we included the team in the Tunisian participants. It's true that the Tunisian Wikimedians are so many, but taking in consideration your comment, we will reduce the number to allow the scholarship team to choose the most relevant ones who are committed in the Indaba community and needs. The number was reduced to 7 Tunisian participants in addition to the team.
Knowing that the actual context in our community is emerging and thriving for knowledge (especially that most communities aren't eligible to attend other conferences such as wmcon), we will consider increasing the number of participants up to 40 if possible.
At the end of the conference, we are planning to send out a questionnaire to collect feedback for our own assessment and for the next WikiIndaba team. We will encourage participants to write blogs about their attendance that could be hosted in the global wikimedia blog. We could include reports to be uploaded on Meta after the conference.