My work covers all of our partnerships for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, focused on the three main areas of work defined by our team's strategy and goals: i) Awareness, ii) Affordability, and iii) Offline. Out of the countries in the region, my work is prioritized in two countries: Mexico and Brazil (in alignment with the New Readers priority countries). Nonetheless, I work with different opportunities and inbound requests we receive from all of the countries in the region. Our team also participates in other relevant WMF initiatives that are part of our ongoing work, such us Community Engagement projects and surveys and the Movement Strategy.
I also work closely with the Policy team in policy and legal aspects related to our partnerships. Particularly, I focus on our strategy for Wikipedia Zero around net neutrality, zero-rating, and our operating principles. I'm also participating in the building and implementation of our larger Access Policy for the Foundation.
Ongoing work and projects
Pilot with Myriad and Movistar for text-only Wikipedia via USSD in Argentina [Awareness] [Private sector]
Myriad is a Value Added Services (VAS) company, interested in offering Wikipedia via USSD. This would be a text-only version of Wikipedia where users could read Wikipedia using a shortcode to access the platform. USSD is a technology that doesn't require data (it's not online). It also works for non-internet enabled phones, using just a regular network. The specific target users for this technology are individuals in areas without data coverage. Myriad has work with different operators to deploy their USSD service. In LATAM specific, with the Telefónica group. The service is deployed with VIVO Brazil and Movistar Argentina. The text-only version of Wikipedia via USSD is offered for free with Movistar Argentina, for which we initiated a conversation to develop a stronger collaboration with this company. Demos of the service can be seen here and here. As the service is already deployed in Argentina, we are working with Wikimedia AR and a local non-profit doing educational outreach in rural areas (RED) to raise awareness of this free service to individuals in rural areas who could be benefited from it.
- February 2016: Jack, Smriti, and Jorge had a meeting with Stephane and his team in MWC Barcelona, where they introduced the product. In this meeting, Myriad presented the idea of having Wikipedia offered in their USSD platform, which they were intending to do without a partnership. We suggested exploring the opportunity of a collaboration if they offered such product for free.
- March 2016: We started seeing prototypes of how the platform would look like, and they confirmed work was being done with Movistar Argentina (from the Telefónica Group) to provide the service for free.
- April 2016: We met with WMAR (Anna and Patricio) at WMCON Berlin, and talked to them about this idea (among other topics). They shared their interest in helping promote this, particularly in rural areas. They shared with us the fact they have worked before with (RED), and suggested an intro.
- May 2016: We received confirmation from Myriad that their platform was ready to go from a technical side. They would make further improvements later on (on analytics and inclusion of Table of contents). In the meantime, conversations with Movistar Argentina moved forward, and they agreed to offer Wikipedia for free via USSD.
- June 2016: Myriad, Movistar, and WMF agreed on a soft launch of the product. For that, Movistar Argentina required a letter of permission from WMF agreeing we were letting them use Wikipedia content. We explained the use of Wikipedia content required no permission, yet the letter was still required. We worked with legal to draft such document.
- July 2016: Letter of permission was approved, and soft launch started. We started discussing marketing opportunities directly with Movistar, and explored the idea of a direct partnership with them for them to obtain a TM license to promote the existence of the product. In the meantime, we informed WMAR, and started conversations with RED on how we could work with them to promote the service in their projects with schools in unconnected rural areas in Argentina.
- September 2016: Movistar's legal team declined the idea of signing a direct partnership, as they didn't see the need to have a contract. They were interested in offering the service based on their relationship with Myriad, but not in promoting it. As these conversations were made with the technical and product teams from Movistar, we suggested we should explore this with their CSR teams and asked for intros.
- October 2016: We suggested the idea of having a general MoU with Myriad, with a TM license, to officialize the partnership and the intention of exploring this in other geographies, particularly Africa. We drafted with legal such document, which was sent to Myriad's review.
- November 2016: The main point of contact at Myriad change (now it's Josselin). We were also invited to the Capacity Conference on SMS and Messaging in London this month. We declined the participation but suggested Myriad could attend the panel and represent our work together. Stephane Groud will participate in a panel on "Messaging and the Opportunities of Developing Markets." Internally, we discussed to transition this relationship to Jack, as the next steps and launched would be in Africa. Metrics of the usage in Argentina are still not being delivered by Myriad's team, for which we planned to request prior to the transition updates on the metrics/analytics dashboard and rekindle the conversations around the MoU. We will do a final push with the CSR team of Movistar Argentina, and introduce them to Wikimedia Argentina for them to continue this effort in the country starting 2017.
- December 2016: Stephane Groud from Myriad represented the partnership at the Capacity Conference on SMS and Messaging in London. Jorge introduced Jack Rabah (Head or Partnerships for Middle East and Africa) as the new main point of contact for the larger partnership efforts, to move forward i) a signing of an agreement, ii) implementation of analytics, iii) new deployments, and iv) changes in the product.
- February 2017: Jack met Myriad at MWC. Movistar Argentina CSR department reached out to talk about possibilities of doing something around the project.
- Argentina pilot: Free service soft-launched in Argentina (no promotion). Evaluating promotion and direct partnership with Movistar's CSR team.
- Main partnership: Jack is now main point of contact. Pending analytics dashboard from Myriad, negotiating a general MoU and changes in the platform.
Pilot with Vive Digital for free Wikipedia distribution via Wi-Fi hotspots in Mexico [Affordability] [Private sector]
Vive Digital is a local company providing WiFi hotspots in economically challenged areas of Mexico City and Cancún - areas where no major internet providers exist (or are interested in serving) as their populations can't afford traditional internet subscriptions. Their users pay for internet connection through those hot spots on an hourly or daily rate, and with our partnership, access to Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects is free of cost, guaranteeing that these communities have access to knowledge without an affordability barrier. With Wikimedia Mexico and the support of the Communications team, we're working on promotion, marketing, and education around the projects.
- March 2016: Agreement was signed.
- October 2016: Discussions to do further marketing and PR are ongoing. Vive Digital is running a survey with their users, redesigning their website, and planning to do a launch of the partnership in Tecamac.
- November 2016: We're currently planning the official launch event for December 2017, as Jorge will be in Mexico City. Vive Digital is pending to update their website to start our promoting our service, along with social media. Technical implementations will be made to incorporate Wikipedia in their landing page, and to add an exit interstitial on the service.
- January 2017: We are reengaging with the partner to work on the re-vamp on the website and social media, and the event.
- February 2017: Partner changed their website and added a "Wikipedia tab" to explain the promotion. They're interested again in starting a marketing and events at their developments.
Partnership signed. Service soft-launched (service is operating, without promotion). Pending marketing launch (live event, Internet and social media offerings).
Wikipedia Zero ina LATAM country
We met with carrier in 2 industry conferences in 2016, and they showed interest to deploy the program. They have already partnered with Free Basics, but after understanding the differences between the programs, they wanted to see the possibility of moving forward with Wikipedia Zero as well.
On hold. Pending to send a new proposal to their Foundation, as things through the carrier directly were out on hold.
- October 2016: After several calls and in-person meeting with the carrier, they decided this was no longer part of the business unit. Suggested to explore the program via their Foundation.
- Feb 2017: No approach or pitch has been made.
Wikipedia Zero in Caribbean island
A carrier is interested in deploying Wikipedia Zero. It has around 1.2M subscribers in this country.
Contact is silent.
- November 2016: We received an inbound request through our wikipediazero@ inbox. Jorge had a first call on 11/16 to describe the program, the conditions, and next steps.
- January 2017: Contact went silent. Have been pinging to re-engage.
- February 2017: Contact remains silent.
General strategy around "pure offline" solutions for Wikipedia distribution [Offline] [New Readers]
- General mapping of existing offline distribution solutions.
- Piloting and evaluating current efforts
- Advising on grants related to offline distribution.
- December 2016: We started mapping all of the offline use cases and solutions that we're aware of across Wikimedia movement projects. This includes conversations with the team behind Kiwix, the Wikipedia Medical Apps, Endless Mobile, Internet-in-a-box, and others.
- January 2017: We continues to explore and learn from different third parties that are delivering Wikipedia content offline. One of them is Endless Mobile, with whom they've had preliminary conversations to understand how they operate and include Wikipedia in their devices. Endless Mobile is using Wikipedia content but not branding it (calling it Encyclopedia instead of Wikipedia). The team talked to them at their HQ (SF) and I met their country manager in Mexico - a country where they're currently expanding operations.
- February 2017:
- Under the New Readers offline umbrella, Anne and I are mapping the ecosystem of the current offline offerings, including Kiwix, and how we can design a program for offline distribution (with the right product, and the right measurement).
- Anne, Toby, and I are advising Kiwix on a monthly basis, after approval of WikimedApp grant. These meetings will continue on a monthly basis, with the goal of coordinating a strategic conversation on the best collaboration between the Foundation and Kiwix along the process.
- We're discussing the product strategy: Should we work with Kiwix exclusively? Should we develop an offline solution integrated to our apps?
- Abbey is doing a heuristic evaluation of the Kiwix Android Wikimed app.
Pilot for offline Wikipedia in Brazil [Offline] [Private sector]
A Brazilian phone and tablet manufacturer is interested in deploying offline Wikipedia in a segment of their markets. They're working on distributing offline Portuguese Wikipedia in schools, initially on tablets, and now on a linux-based server.
- November 2016: We pitched having the WP app preloaded on their tablets besides Kiwix. OEM changed their initial proposal and what we thought was the project. They want to move away from preloading Kiwix and WP app on tablets, and work only on servers.
- December 2016: Technical testing between Kiwix and OEM started. They're working on the integration of Kiwix on a linux-based server (similar to a Kiwix plug, but with their hardware).
- February 2017: Technical integration of Kiwix for a linux-based server started.
- March 2017: Adele met at MWC with OEM's Head of Strategic Alliances for Innovation and New Devices.
Technical integration between Kiwix and Positivo for the linux-based server is ongoing. OEM is reviewing a "declaration of intent" to guide our collaboration.
The Foundation's Public Policy strategy includes access as one of the main pillars for strategy and action. Within that strategy, support for Wikipedia Zero and offline distribution has been worked. We're currently re-shaping the strategy, in order to launch a whole new Access Strategy responding to the evolution of the overall's Foundation movement strategy and the wider scope of the Global Reach and New Readers strategy. I'm working on the strategy with Jan Gerlach, Public Policy Manager.
Finalizing the last draft for final approval by Stephen LaPorte.
- October 2016: First draft was submitted for review, and sent back with comments and feedback.
- December 2016: Working on changes for a new review by Stephen.
Submission for Rightscon 2017 - Brussels
Rightscon 2017 is taking place in Brussels, March 29th to 31st. We made two submissions for panels and talks:
- "Zero-rating done right? Establishing principles and guidelines to address the affordability barrier"
- Alternative approaches to provide content to the unconnected: should policy and regulatory efforts be made around offline and SMS/USSD solutions?
"Zero-rating done right? Establishing principles and guidelines to address the affordability barrier" was accepted on Feb 2, 2017. Planning mode started. The second panel was not accepted.
December 2016: Proposals were submitted in time. February 2017: Zero-rating submission was accepted. Planning started. We're looking into how we should reshape the panel, based on Zero strategy evaluation.
Other relevant work
Meta/Office wiki updates for Global Reach
I'm leading the revamp of our team's on-wiki presence. We are working on our Meta and Office wiki presences, by completely changing all of our texts and documentation.
- December 2016: Team is working on all the new texts for the main wiki.
- February 2017: All texts are ready for final review.
Finalizing changes on text of main wiki, to follow with FAQ drafting. We also want to start wiki for the larger Partnerships & Global Reach team.
Partnerships track for WMCON17
Our team is working with WMDE to be part of the Partnerships track at WMCON 2017.
- December 2016: Team had first call with WMDE to lay the ground on how to collaborate.
- February 2017: We prepared 4 submissions for the program under WMDE's design program.
Submissions are being reviewed by WMDE.
On hold / Finalized work
Please read more about former ongoing work that is currently or hold or finalized in the LATAM archive.