Wikimedia Philippines/Reports/Annual report/2011/President's message

We're Not AloneEdit

WMPH President's message for the 2011 Wikimedia Philippines Annual Report

The year 2011 was full of tough challenges and opportunities. Wikimedia Philippines (WMPH) started it with the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Wikipedia through a photo scavenger hunt held in Manila last January 15. It was one of the biggest Wikipedia Takes the City (WTC) event all over the world (at that time) with over 100 participants. When I reported the event to the Chapter's Conference in Berlin, Germany in March, many fellow Wikimedians from around the world were amazed that WMPH was able to gather many people to shoot photographs of places and landmarks in the capital city of the Philippines. Thanks to Filipinos who are fond of taking pictures. Many challenges cropped up in organizing the event. For one, we experienced slow Internet connection at the pizza restaurant in Ermita, Manila where the participants uploaded their works to Commons, one of Wikimedia's projects and the culminating activity took place. But it did not dampen the spirits of many of the participants as they waited for the winners of the photo contest until the end. Since one of the ways to contribute to Wikimedia projects is by uploading free licensed photos, we consider our first WTC event as a big opportunity to reach out to the many photo enthusiasts despite the difficulties that we experienced in holding this event. This kind of event will be repeated in the future in addition to similar events such as Wiki Loves Monuments, a photo contest for national heritage. These are going to be more fun, interactive and creative.

Another endeavor that we concentrated on 2011 was partnering with like-minded organizations to fulfill our goals. We created the idea of Wikipedia Kapihan, a gathering with partner organizations that aims to informally talk about ideas over a cup of coffee. Through this, we were able to discuss our projects and plans to groups such as PhilIT.Org (PITO) and Computer Professionals' Union. We expanded this idea and conducted meetings and outreach projects with government agencies and schools. Partnering with schools is an important and logical step since most of the users of Wikimedia projects are students. Last May 21, we have reached out to students of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (University of the City of Manila) through the WikiCon, a mini-Wikimedia conference that was done in conjunction with the Annual Member's meeting of WMPH. We communicated our goals and objectives to students and professionals who participated in the last Software Freedom Day in September 17 at the University of Santo Tomas. Last June 18, 2011, a meeting with representatives of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (Commission on the Filipino Language), the Philippine government agency that regulates the use of Filipino language, was held to discuss with them the language policies on the Tagalog Wikipedia. Also present in the meeting was Meredith R. Talusan, a WikiHistories fellow who was sent by Wikimedia Foundation to research on the growth of the Tagalog Wikipedia.

In November 2011, Asaf Bartov, Head of the Global South relationships of the Wikimedia Foundation, visited the Philippines and helped us further on having mutual partnerships with organizations, schools and government agencies. During his stay, we had exploratory discussions with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), National Library, Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, Intellectual Property Office, St. Scholastica's College, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Computer Professionals’ Union, Defenders of the Indigenous Languages of the Archipelago, Creative Commons Philippines and Mozilla Philippines. These meetings produced some interesting projects to be implemented the following year, such as the Open Web Day workshops with Mozilla and GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) with the NCCA. Mr. Bartov ended his visit by giving WMPH a workshop and a summary of his visit. He was very pleased that his stay was very fruitful and enriching.

Our partners are not limited locally. Some of our members participated in international conferences such as Wikimedia Chapters Conference in Berlin, Germany, Wikimania 2011 in Haifa, Israel and GLAMcamp in Amsterdam, Netherlands. We extended our network worldwide and learned how the whole Wikimedia movement works and its strategic plans for the near future. These plans will make knowledge more free and open.

The year 2011 is the year of partnership for WMPH. We realized that we are not alone in our mission to spread free and open content in the Philippines. We had collaborated with like-minded organizations, started dialogues with government agencies and reached out to schools. Aside from that, there has been a significant increase of members in 2011. WMPH members increased almost 2.5 times from 20 by the end of 2010 to 48 by the end of 2011. We are delighted that we have increased not only quantitatively but also qualitatively. Members actively participated in on our projects and regularly attend meetings. Yes, the spirit of wiki is not limited in cyberspace. Collaboration extends in the real world and we have the help of many members and organizations to accomplish Wikimedia's objectives. So let me paraphrase Wikipedia's tagline: WMPH is a free organization that anyone can join.

Let us make this world a better place and contribute to the sum of all human knowledge.

Joseph "Jojit" Ballesteros
WMPH President