Wikimedia Deutschland/Movement Reporting/Wikimedia Movement
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*** This is Wikimedia Deutschland's 2018 midterm report to the Wikimedia Movement, covering the time period from January 1st - June 30th 2018. For the full-year report for 2018 please go to Wikimedia Deutschland Movement Report 2018. ***
The Wikimedia Conference: 2018 took place in Berlin in April, and again combined three tracks for representatives for the Wikimedia affiliates: The Movement Strategy Track, a track on partnership and a capacity building track. Wikimedia Deutschland has now hosted these conferences for nearly a decade, and organized the last four of them, improving formats and processes over the years. This year, more than 300 Wikimedians gathered. The participant evaluation showed a high level of satisfaction among attendees, in line with all objectives we set for this year’s conference.
However, it is time to change a few things. As the movement grows, we will have more and more attendees at these conferences. Organizing them with two major purposes in mind, (1) capacity building/learning and (2) strategic work among affiliates, overloads the program and causes participants to have to chose one over the other. In addition, learning and training also takes place at Wikimania and at the regional conferences, which are gaining traction and importance year after year. Learning events make more sense at a regional conference, as people with similar issues and regional contexts are enabled to support one another. Capacity building, of which trainings are only one step in an organizational change process, can then continue through the next steps within a region. Strategic work that requires all affiliates to be present should continue at a focused annual event WMCON. Thus, in 2019, the WMCON Agenda will focus on the implementation of the strategic direction, inviting each affiliate, organization and committee to send a delegate. The proposal for a new conference system is detailed here.
These conclusions result not only from many years of organizing the Wikimedia Conference, but also from leading several trainings and workshops at regional conferences such as the CEE Meeting or the WikiIndaba. Wikimedia Deutschland staff hosted a variety of sessions with a focus on building capacities related to partnerships. The sessions brought together the diversity of regional expertise of Wikimedia chapters and communities on how to better build, manage and scale partnership projects, and discussing how Wikimedians can work better together in a regional as well as international context. We learned that especially for partnerships, talking about this in a regional context is key in order to build possible new cross-country partnerships and apply local expertise in neighbouring countries or regions. For African communities, for example, similar challenges exist in terms of fundraising, community building and communication. At the same time, almost all affiliates are already working with partners in the local context, for example for event spaces or with local libraries. In the workshops we hosted, participants first collected their most pressing questions around collaboration in the Wikimedia movement and then spent some time in small groups to try to answer some of these questions. Results of these session included an initiative to restore the African hour, an initiative for an Africa Coalition, and a call for more hardware donations for small communities, among many others. Overall, conducting these sessions at the WikiIndaba showed us that there is much demand for capacity building on partnerships at a local level. This informed the design of the partnerships track for the Wikimedia Conference as well as our proposal for the future of the conference. Capacity building conversations at regional conferences are one of the most promising ways of building a strong community and fostering collaboration among regional affiliates - which is an important foundation for a strong movement.
The Movement Strategy is now moving into Phase II. Two WMDE staff have been commissioned to help organize and lead the process for the movement, taking on movement roles distinctly separate from Wikimedia Deutschland.
But Wikimedia Deutschland is also actively involved in Phase II: Working groups are currently forming to develop recommendations on structure, resources and processes for key areas of the movement, including governance, finances, community health and capacity building. Wikimedia Deutschland participates in several of these working groups with staff and board members. In addition, we have set up an internal group of staff who will act as liaisons between the movement strategy work one the one hand and Wikimedia Deutschland staff and volunteers on the other hand. As we prepare our annual plan this September, we will assure that the strategic direction is weaved into our program and informs the work planned for 2019 and beyond.