New Readers/Community collaborations

In the FDC feedback to the first draft of the Foundation's Annual Plan for 2017-18, New Readers received criticism for a lack of collaboration with communities.

We’d like to share an overview of how the New Readers team has engaged with communities throughout the work process. Later on, we hope to circle back to this page to give it more detail and structure, but wanted to provide an initial response now.

Since starting this project last year, we have been committed to working closely with affiliates and individual volunteers in the locations where we are working and have not taken a single step toward an intervention without consultation. We’ll also make our plans for ongoing collaboration more explicit in the second draft of the annual plan.

  • Research
    • Ethnographic studies
      • Contacted local affiliates via email to brief them on what we were looking into and get their input
      • While in country, met with anyone who was available and near the research site. This varied per country.
    • Sharing research
      • Proactively reached out to community members from surveyed countries to attend session
      • Answering questions, sharing insights ongoing
  • Conferences
  • Focus areas
    • Awareness
      • Campaigns have followed a deeply consultative model:
        1. Wide-ranging surveys of community and engaged readers to get feedback from local communities and active readers in that country. [ Nigeria, India ]
        2. Building a local team driven by volunteers, with a local marketing agency Nigeria, India in progress]
      • WMMX and WMBR work ongoing, not yet documented or announcned. Both of these chapters have begun leveraging the findings from our research, and we have been supporting them with Foundation resources to accomplish the goals that they have set out.
      • Pilot rapid grants are underway in Botswana and Nigeria to support increasing understanding of Wikipedia and seed articles that readers want in those countries.
    • Offline
      • Advising grant with Kiwix and Wikimed to better understand their positioning and strategy so that we can collaborate.
      • Web prototypes should have input from readers more than from editors as they are features for content consumers. Sent to communities from those countries and posted on village pumps for community feedback. Received 4 total responses. Also conducted evaluative research with readers in India and globally.
    • Affordability
      • Just starting to undertake that work, and have asked for any input from those who follow the New Readers pages and mailing list. We will develop strategies for collaboration as we get deeper into this work.

From what we’ve done so far, we’ve reflected on how we’ve been approaching community collaborations and taken a first pass at systematizing consultation, so that we can be sure to include communities as appropriate going forward. We’ve also included an ask in our budget next year for contract money to further support working with communities, and plan to extend this in the coming fiscal year.

We are eager to deepen our work with volunteers and affiliates - so if you have suggestions for ways we should be approaching this, please let us know.