Grants:APG/Proposals/2019-2020 round 1/Wikimedia Armenia/Staff proposal assessment
Staff proposal assessment summary
Wikimedia Armenia is proposing a lot of activities this round that it is hard to place as a sequel to past programmatic activities. It might be a translation issue, but there seems to be a lot of things "planned" that are not very concrete. It isn't clear whether Wikimedia Armenia is only presenting ideas or if some of the projects are already underway. It is also not clear whether their feasibility and impact have been assessed and why they are being pursued in this coming year. Due to the lack of track record for the past six months, it is extremely difficult to assess how this plan fits within the path of Wikimedia Armenia's development over the past three years. We want to point out that Wikimedia Armenia has been doing extremely impactful and great work in the past three years, and that the change in leadership has been somewhat difficult and at least seen from our side somewhat complicated.
Strategy and programs
The Program structure Wikimedia Armenia has put forward is clear, but there are no SMART goals at the program level, and program objectives are not clear. This plan lacks the coherence of previous plans which showed the articulation between programs and activities. Grantee-defined metrics are very narrow and read more as targets than as program-wide metrics that could be used to measure results leading to the completion of objectives. This makes for a plan that lacks in quality in comparison to previous years' plans.
The first program around quality and quantity has been historically a strong part of Wikimedia Armenia's work. In this proposal, it reads as a list of activities, some building upon past successful activities, others apparently prospective, without clear indication of what is new, what changes or what is simply building upon existing or past activities. The program "Concurrent development of quality and quantity" seems to be supported by some interesting activities, such as the formation of expert groups to support adding missing content on the Wikimedia projects, or targeted campaigns towards scientists. As usual, Wikimedia Armenia develops a certain number of activities around the "Wiki Loves" Thematic, which have proven in the past to have good impact and good results. This time around we find some innovation with Wiki loves Mountains.
The GLAM international cooperation project seems to be based on a reality of the Armenian culture, with a lot of potential partner institutions outside of the country, but it is not clear whether or not those partnership have been initiated, or if they are just ideas. It will be interesting to see how these develop.
The focus on Wikitravel seems to have stemmed from a community consultation which we commend as a good way to approach programmatic activity, but may be requiring lots of resources to get one project out of the incubator, when there are so many Wikimedia projects already thriving in Armenia that are live and could benefit from those resources. We would like to see a thorough assessment of exact impact envisaged to be convinced that this is the best use of resources.
The program community enlargement and development description is very vague, and lack clear outcomes and goals. The plan to have a two day forum every quarter seems to be a good way to make sure that community is being listened to, but without clear goals, it is difficult to assess what is being discussed and how this supports community health and development. Wikitrainings for community members are usually a good way to strengthen the skills of editing communities, but i t is not very clear how this will allow for bringing on more and new editors. The grantee-defined metrics are very ambitious, with 50 workshops in a year at the office, which is one a week. We are looking forward to seeing results on this.
The program around educational institutions presents some interesting activities, such as the Wikipedia Academy and its training courses. It is good to see that Wikimedia Armenia continues to support wikiclubs and encourage creation of new ones, and an interesting development to see them coordinated directly by school teachers, as well to see the continuous support of Wikiclubs by local institutions or municipalities. We'd be interested in learning more about Wikicamps and their development. Since Wikicamps are now a few years old it would be good to look back on them and specifically see their impact in the community and the Wikimedia projects to confirm their relevance, and document changes and necessary adaptations.
Western Armenian Wikipedia has been a good program over the years and it is not clear whether this is being continued or not. It is good to see that Wikimedia Armenia is planning to work on addressing organizational reforms this year, which will follow the governance review recommendations.
Budget & grant request
The request amount has been amended per our request, but the staff table has not been updated, so it is not clear whether Wikimedia Armenia still expects to grow of 2.25 FTE this year, which seems quite an important growth given the difficulties around staffing this year.
This plan lacks in clarity and seems to lack concrete activities, a fact which, added to the lack of accurate reporting in the past 6 months, makes it very difficult to understand the actual intention of Wikimedia Armenia programmatic structure for 2020. Of course, some of the flagship programs such as Wikicamps and Wikiclubs are being pursued, and we know they have good impact. However apart from some of the described activities, it is difficult to clearly understand, which of Wikimedia Armenia's programs have been discontinued, which are new and which are the continuation of previously existing programs. For this reason, we have decided to again issue a reduced grant, for 6 months, pending a site visit and a progress report that will allow us to get a better understanding of Wikimedia Armenia's progress.
- Recommendation: We recommend granting Wikimedia Armenia a grant for 68,957,500 AMD / 134,000 USD until June 30, 2020. The grant will be disbursed in two installments, the second installment will be disbursed upon completion of a site visit.