Grants:APG/Proposals/2019-2020 round 1/Wikimedia CH/Staff proposal assessment
Staff assessment summary
Wikimedia CH has been working according to their strategic plan developed three years ago and adapting and changing its programs following this strategic plan. Wikimedia CH has worked quite a bit on strengthening its programmatic coherence, but this year's plan still has a lot of programs in flux as opposed to established and clear programs that are impactful and clearly articulated. It is still difficult to understand how Wikimedia CH, an organization with about a million dollar budget, is still very much experiencing with typical Wikimedia programs, and does not find clear places to land its focus in most of the area it touches.
Strategy and programs
Wikimedia CH program plan revolves around three main programs.
The GLAM program has evolved to be more strategic over the past two years, clearly focusing on networking GLAM institutions as well as on training their staff to use WIkimedia Projects, two clearly impactful lines of work. However, in this plan it is not clear how a HUB approach differs from the GLAM network, and what it will bring to the GLAM program. The same confusion applies to the GLAM program and the GLAM Cross border activities which seem to have some of the exact same objectives. We are still questioning the necessity of a GLAM portal, which seems to be redundant with Wikimedia's own projects and while we understand that the Wikimedia sites can be sometimes difficult to access for participants, we don't necessarily think that developing a specific portal is a good use of resources. We recognize the usefulness of the GLAM statistical tool and commend the efforts in making it available outside of Switzerland, as well as are happy to see that WMCH is working with the WMF and other chapters to develop that tool. We want to reiterate the idea that the development of such tools probably should not be done in an ad-hoc fashion in the longer term. Short of seriously investing in their technical capacity, we are not certain that WMCH is the best placed to develop this tool in the future. The GLAM program lists a number of interesting activities that have brought great content, through partnerships such as the recurring International Museum Day or International Archive Day, the upcoming partnership with the Montreux Jazz Festival or the SBB Historic. GLAM on Tour events are great activities to motivate volunteers and interest newcomers to the work that can be done with GLAMs and WIkimedia Projects. It is good to see that WMCH is looking at exploring new formats that have been proven to work in other contexts, such as the #1lib1ref campaign for example. All of the activities however are hard to sort adequately under some of the subprograms depicted in the plan, making it sometimes difficult to understand how they work together and to what exact goal.
WMCH's Education program has been very ad-hoc in the past years, and a loose collection of initiatives that had little common ground or strategy. The idea of trying to develop a supporting role for WMCH in the realm of open educational materials or access to open education material seems to be promising and we'll be looking forward to see how this approach can be streamlined. However, we see WMCH looking at models elsewhere in the Wikimedia world such as Wikicamps, which are very high touch and very expensive ways to bring students to the WIkimedia projects, and will definitely have a low ratio impact/investment in a context like that of Switzerland. We expect more interesting outcomes in the partnership with the Openedu repository, or continuing to work on small but impactful activities such as the Hackathons it has been developing over the years. Supporting teachers using Mediawiki might also be an area to explore if focus is to support. While presenting some interesting pockets of activities where WMCH seems to have a real added value, the Education program seems to want to explore a little bit of everything at the same time, making it reactive rather than strategic, and does not convince that it is ever going to find its footing. It is important that Wikimedia CH decide to explore areas of impact one after the other, such as the important partnerships with Civil Service International or UNESCO or the Openedu repository and learns to say no to other opportunities until it has set a clear path for implementation. In a country where education is highly impacted by language and a federal system, WMCH will have to find a few clear limited areas of impact and try and develop them to ensure real impact.
WMCH's community program has been revamped in 2019 and has streamlined its activities and support to the CH communities. The strategy to focus on community health, acquisition and retention of newcomers starting with outreach and collaboration across borders is clear and makes sense in WMCH's context. This program also has a clear line of focus on the gender gap and supporting initiatives that aim to make the Wikimedia projects more equitable. Each subprogram is clearly defined and has clear objectives and we are looking forward to seeing how this program develops and manages to attain its targets, which seem ambitious but also hopeful.
WMCH has historically been working very closely with the international community and it is good to see this reflected in their International and outreach program. We are glad to see that WMCH continues supporting FKAGEU and seeks active collaborations with neighbour country affiliates and communities. Friendraising and fundraising efforts seem appropriate in the Swiss context and seem to have been yielding good results.
All in all this reads like an uneven plan, and does not draw a clear line between programmatic development and impact.
Budget & grant request
Wikimedia CH is asking for a grant of 150,000 CHF which is about a 10% of their overall budget. Their budget lumps together a great deal of budget lines that would warrant more clarity. We would be grateful for WMCH to provide a more detailed budget so we can understand especially their operating expenses. WMCH mentions in the introduction to this plan that fundraising costs have gone up, but it is not clear what these fundraising costs actually support.
- Recommendation: We recommend that Wikimedia CH be granted the 150,000 CHF they request, but urge WMCH to work on focusing their efforts on fewer high impact areas where they can use their know-how and skills as a real added-value to foster programmatic development. Request granted Delphine (WMF) (talk) 14:18, 5 December 2019 (UTC)