Hubs/Implementation/Regional Hubs Draft Plan/Interview 7

This page is part of the Implementation Report for Regional Hubs. It regards specifically Interview 7.

BackgroundEdit

  • Date: June 30, 2021
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Profile: Wikipedia Editor - User Group Leader (active online and offline)
  • Region: North Africa
  • Gender: Man
  • Interview language: Arabic

Questions and answersEdit

1. How do you envision a hub in your region by 2030? Can you describe it?Edit

  • First let me tell you what is my understanding to a regional hub: In my opinion, this will be the structure allowing a minimum of decentralization to happen, in terms of grants dissemination, and logistical matters. Managing the hub should be a responsibility of the local community of the region. There are different ways to see this: Some would say that we only need one hub for the whole Arabic-speaking region, while another group wants to separate between North Africa and the Middle East. This will depend on how we define a region, is it in terms of geography or in terms of culture? Even if sharing many things in common, some communities could just not go along for several reasons.
  • Concretely, I see the hub as a reflection of the foundation on the regional level. It will provide all the necessary support for the local communities to ensure that projects and initiatives are going the right way. Most specifically, a hub is of the highest important in our region when coming to partnerships, as we are lacking legal structures, and having a hub would "boost" our credibility for the official organizations that we failed to contact earlier as volunteers.
  • This regional hub will have employees, both permanent and contactors, having clear roles and responsibilities, and serving specifically the local community. In fact, I am thinking of a mini-WMF on the regional level. To initiate this hub, local affiliates should be contacted, so that their opinions are polled. We need to know what are the needs of each local affiliate so that the roles are created for these needs. It should be the local community who will decide on the needs and on what the hub will do. Even the location of the hub (if there will be an office) needs to be decided by the community.

2. Why do you think you need a hub in your region?Edit

  • I am from a region where we do not have any chapter nor employees serving us. Our local affiliates and communities are all volunteers, and can disappear from one day to another if they have changes in their lives not allowing them to volunteer as they do now. The fact that there are no affiliates in the region with a legal status or with staff is problematic, because all our funds (if any) currently are either small rapid grants or sAPGs. Some of the countries have an even more difficult situation because their government will not allow the team to receive funds coming from the USA. If we have a regional hub, that is registered in the region, this problem will be solved.
  • Also, a hub is important because we need coordination and support in our region. We are disconnected from the WMF, and we would like to receive support in our local context, and in our language. The affiliates that we have are still at an incubating level, and have only volunteers, so of course a bigger structure with dedicated local staff will be the best support for us as a community.
  • A hub is a structure that emerges from the community and knows it very well. It will be the structure that will support the community in all different matters (legal, financial, governance, technical skills, etc.)

3. Can you detail how the relation between the hub and the WMF will be?Edit

  • I think that the structure of a hub that I support is a hybrid form of a structure that is sponsored by the WMF, but is driven and managed by the community. I mention the word hybrid because some hub employees can be hired by the WMF, and others by the community (through a steering committee for example). When hiring employees, it is important to ensure that these people are (1) related to the region, and (2) community members. Only in extreme cases when a rare skill is impossible to find within this pool, that "external" employees will need to be hired. In all cases, the ultimate role of anyone working at our regional hub will be to serve the needs of the locals communities in that given region.
  • This said, I still believe that some WMF presence will be needed for this hub, especially in our region. WMF can act as a good neutral mediator for some conflicts and to ensure that people are not hiring their friends for example. Also, some capacities are only present at the WMF, and might occasionally be needed by the hub. It will not make sense to hire a person full-time for this, and this why I think that exchange and complementarity can be between both. This applies to the other way also, if a person from a hub has a skill that the WMF needs temporarily.
  • With time, when the community gets more experience, it can have more autonomy and drive more and more operations and activities.
  • Finally, I would like to warn from the catch 22 that I see here, which is that if a community is not mature enough, it cannot have its own hub, and therefore will remain in the state of immaturity. I think that there should be support from WMF at the first stages to enable communities that want to have a hub to create one, before they can fly with their own wings later.

4. What needs to be done concretely to start a hub in your region? Who should do what?Edit

  • First, I think that the strategy team at the WMF needs to deliver a report about regional hubs in the world. They can use the report you (Anass) are writing, and other information to create this document. The latter should contain information about different regions and possible configurations they can see in each region. Once this material produced, the strategy team needs to contact local communities in each region to discuss the report with them. For instance, we do not want what happened with the grant team, where the Middle East was associated to Africa, without discussing with us as a community.
  • After these community conversations, the strategy team needs to ask each of the "agreed" regions about what are their priorities, and what are their motivations and justification to why they need a hub. This will even help these communities to understand if they really need a hub, and will clarify the picture for them about next steps.
  • In conclusion, I think that the responsibility is on the strategy team (as they are employees) to start the preliminary work, and ensure that there will be discussions across regions about the hub matter. Some regions with only volunteers cannot do this alone.

5. Can you list the responsibilities of the regional hubs Vs those of WMF?Edit

  • Hubs are responsible over the local communities, not of the movement at large, and not interfering with any local affiliate. WMF has a much broader scope on the international level. We can see the hubs as local or regional offices of the WMF, but the WMF is the mother organization. WMF will not disappear if there are regional hubs, because they are not doing the same work, and do not have the same scope.
  • As I mentioned before, the regional hubs and the WMF will complement each other.

6. Who will work at the regional hub?Edit

  • I think that roles at the hub will be created depending on the existing needs from the community. If we suppose that there is a need, then a position can be created and people can apply to it. I am in favor of giving a priority to the local community members in the process, as the are the ones knowing the context best. Some roles can be classical and found in all hubs (president/manager, accountant, communication), while others will be very specific.

Key TakeawaysEdit

  • A regional hub is very important in our context, as it will foster partnerships with official bodies, given the the legitimacy and weight that it will have.
  • The regional hub is a mini-WMF, but limited to serving the local community of the region in question.
  • A hub with legal registration in the region solves the problem of funding for the countries and communities that cannot receive funds from the USA.
  • A hub is a structure that emerges from the community and knows it very well. It will be the structure that will support the community in all different matters (legal, financial, governance, technical skills, etc.)
  • The regional hub and the WMF should be complementary, and exchange skills and expertise from their employees if needed.
  • There is a risk of a situation of catch 22, which is that if a community is not mature enough, it cannot have its own hub, and therefore will remain in the state of immaturity.
    • There should be support from WMF at the first stages to enable communities that want to have a hub to create one, before they can fly with their own wings later.
  • The main responsibility on regional hubs implementation falls on the strategy team (as they are employees). They need to start the preliminary work, and ensure that there will be discussions across regions about the hub matter. Some regions with only volunteers cannot do this alone.