The sixth version of Iberoconf
Iberoconf took place in Santiago de Chile, between February 8th and 10th 2019. This particular event sums Wikimedia Chapters and User Groups from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and Italy which are currently affiliated to the Iberocoop initiative.
Did you meet your goals?
Wikimedia Chile had four main objectives or goals regarding the organization of Iberoconf 2019:
|Support and create knowledge spaces for the participants and their organizations.
|We wanted to motivate the transfer of specific skills in areas that are relevant for developing local projects.
|Allowing participant organizations to acquire new abilities in order to strengthen and professionalize their local and regional work.
|We wanted to promote the knowledge exchange between Iberocoop's members and the possibility to create new regional initiatives.
|Promote, develop, strengthen and maintain collaboration among organizations at the regional level.
|One of the Iberocoop's main objectives is to promote a regional perspective in the Wikimedia projects and the regional conferences are key to motivate that jointed work.
|To discuss and apply the 2030 Wikimedia Movement Strategy to our region.
|Iberocoop is very much in line with the 2030 Wikimedia Movement Strategy's objectives and we wanted to incorporate it to our local work.
Registration and participants
In its 2019 version, Iberoconf had 24 representatives coming from Wikimedia affiliates: Wikimedia chapters (Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Mexico, Chile, Spain, Portugal and Italy), geographic users groups (from Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia) and thematic user groups (Wikimujeres and WikiDonne). The event also included international and other Ibero American members involved in the 2030 Movement Strategy (Core team and working groups) as well as Wikimedia Foundation staff members, reaching a total of 34 participants, not counting Wikimedia Chile's team and volunteers.
This year, we also had the important number of 14 women as affiliates' representatives; this shows an increase of 16% compared to the last Iberoconf, which took place in 2017, where 12 women representatives participated; and an increase of 75% compared to the last Iberoconf celebrated in Chile in 2012, where only 8 women representatives participated.
It is also important to note that this year we counted with the participation of communities that are emerging (or re-emerging) in the Wikimedia regional movement, like Wikimedians from Ecuador or Colombia. We also had an important number of 14 new delegates participating for the first time in this kind of international events — showing an increase of 55% compared to the 2017 conference. This means that we had a lot of new faces and voices joining the discussions and showing that renewal in our movement is possible, and is already happening.
Eligibility Criteria and How to select the delegates
The main criteria to extend the invitation to Iberoconf 2019 was Iberocoop membership and affiliate recognition, which meaned that every Chapter and User Group had to be fully recognized by the Affiliations Committee by November 2018.
After having the list of all affiliates responding to this criteria, in December 5th 2018 we sent an official email, inviting all those regional organizations to register directly in an online form. It was duly indicated that every Chapter and geographic User Group could propose 2 local delegates, while thematic User Groups could propose only 1 delegate to participate. It was also asked that at least one of the local delegates to be a member of their Board or similar, in order to assure the participation of the regional strategic representatives.
Finally, after the response of Chapters and User Groups, the list of delegates was the following one:
|Wikimedistas de Bolivia
|Wikimedistas de Colombia
|Wikimedistas de Ecuador
|Wikimedia España (Espanha, Spagna, Spain)
|Wikimedia Italia (Itália, Italy)
|Wikimedia México (Messico, Mexico)
- C = chapter
- GU = user group
Program design process: a co-designed program for a collaborative major event
For the development of this version, Wikimedia Chile looked for Iberoconf to be an effective and enriching instance for its different participants. To do so, and knowing the collaborative spirit that represents our movement, we wanted the conference's program to be inclusive as much as possible, considering the opinion and preferences of invited affiliates.
Once that every affiliate defined their delegates, we ask them to fill a second online form, where we presented 4 thematic axes that could be addressed in the conference, which were inspired on the objectives of the 2030 Wikimedia Movement Strategy:
- Strengthening communities
- Ibero American organization
- Capacity Building
- Strategy and planning
In addition, each thematic axis involved 5 sub-items, which formed 20 options in total. Every one of this options addressed relevant discussions and topics to be proposed to the participants, such as: "Iberocoop and the 2030 Wikimedia Strategy" or "Movement's articulation to be effective in Wikimedia projects." We also proposed them some practical issues, such as: project/organizational management, external communications and extension activities, or how to manage a grant request.
This form was answered by 22 delegates. Then, we selected the items with greater relevance in general, according to a Likert-type scale that weighted them between 1 (uninteresting) and 5 (very interesting). After assigning the respective weights to every answer, we identified an inclination for the following thematic axes: Strategy and Planning [E&P], Ibero American Organization [OI] and Building communities [CC], as well as the specific item of the Strengthening inner capacities [ICC] axis. The most important topics for the delegates were:
- Reduction of content gaps in local contexts [E&P]
- Articulation of the movement to be more effective [OI]
- Reducing content gaps with local partners [CC]
- Iberocoop in the next 5 years [OI]
- Effective external communication [ICC]
Iberoconf's three main axis
With this information, we decided that the conference program should be articulated around three main axis: Strategy and planning [E&P], Iberoamerican Organization [OI] and Building Communities [CC], as well as giving some space for certain specific topics that seemed to be interesting for some of the participants (e.g. Communication).
Knowing that the conference was going to last for three days, we prepared a three track program; every day was going to be dedicated to one of the main axis: first day, Ibero American Organization [OI]; second day, Building communities [CC]; and third day, Strategy and Planning [E&P]. However, we finally decided to "open up" the program a little bit in order to include other items that were also important to the delegates. This was accomplished by creating flexible tracks that could incorporate more than one big discussion per day.
Hotel and conference venue
Thinking about optimizing the conference schedule and reducing transfer times, we chose an all-in-one option: accommodation and conference venue in the same place.
For this purpose, we chose the Hotel Neruda, located in the district of Providencia, a central district in Santiago, for three main reasons: good amenity standards; different spaces available to host the conference's activities; and location, known by its proximity with public transportation (bus stops and Metro stations) and general services (e.g. restaurants and shops), and safety.
Logistics were mostly in charge of Patricia, our first staff member who worked next to some of our team members. This work was concentrated in three main aspects:
Program organization and conference’s main axis development
This is related with the preparation of thematic activities during the conference, including schedule, time for questions and discussions, coffee and lunch breaks, all in order to have enough time to work but also for let people rest and share with the other participants (sessions discussions are important, but also hallway conversations!).
In this item, we also thought about including different activities to the program, such as main talks, workshops and open mic sessions, considering different interests and working methods. We even arrange some talks led by experts coming from outside of the Wikimedia movement which represented a little bit of the Chilean perspective.
Event’s practical details
We dedicated an important amount of time choosing the conference venue's and all the services that we wanted to provide to the participants. For this we considered different lunch schedules and restaurants options including local food and different diets. We also thought about providing materials for all the activities (such as paperboards, markers, post-its, etc.) and the preparation of souvenirs like bags, pens, brochures and notepads for the participants.
This "practical preparation" also included the coordination and preparation of Wikimedia Chile volunteers that helped us during the conference, as well as the organization of the cultural activity we prepared for the participants and in which we visited the most iconic places of Santiago in a double-decker bus.
Reaching the participants and their needs
During the preparation and development of Iberoconf 2019 we tried to answer as much of questions and participants requirements as possible. Therefore, communication was an essential tool, especially trough the following concrete actions:
- We created a special mail list to Iberoconf's participants where we could centralized every important information and making sure that everyone was receiving it at the same time.
- We built the event's meta page with all the information regarding to the conference (dates, program, participants, venue) and the city of Santiago (including arrival instructions). The meta page was available from December 2018.
- We created a PDF voyage guide that was sent by email to all the participants a week before the event, with a download recommendation for consulting directly in their electronic devices in case they needed information where no Internet was available.
- We wrote and provided a formal invitation letter to all the delegates who requested it. We also made sure that any of the representatives needed a special visa to enter to Chile.
- We designed and printed a touristic brochure for every participant, containing all the main information about the city of Santiago and the neighborhood where the venue was located, as well as the conference schedule, emergency phone numbers, and other practical details.
During the conference
Three days program
First day, Ibero-American Organization.
Second day, Buildings Communities.
Last dat, Strategy and planning.
The first day of the conference was named Ibero-American Organization and it was dedicated mainly to discussion, something that settled the spirit of the rest of the conference, where the debate between participants and speakers, inside and outside the room, was crucial. The questions that surrounded this first day, which emerged from both talks and open mic sessions, were articulated around three subjects: the present and future of Iberocoop as a regional organization; the way in which we can enhance the local and regional work of the Wikimedia movement; and the different alliances that can be made to facilitate and/or communicate our work.
The second day of the conference was named Building Communities and it was dedicated to strengthening the internal competencies of each affiliate in order to reach their adjacent communities. We talked about local context, we discussed step by step how to manage and make visible our projects, and we talked about the importance of communications in the cultural and educational fields. In addition to this learning and exchanging experiences process, the representatives participated in two workshops, where they had to imagine different critical and hypothetical (but possible) scenarios for Wikimedia projects/communities and come-up with solutions or strategies which involved local context and regional alliances as a way to face those situations.
Finally, the last day of Iberoconf 2019 was named Strategy and planning. Here we discussed about the projection of Iberocoop as initiative as well as its challenges, thinking both in countries and regional communities that have not yet joined the movement, and regional languages and cultures that are not yet represented on the Wikimedia projects. We analyzed some of our regional common problems (e.g. censorship, technical issues, fake news) and the possibilities to overcome these problems collaborating together. We also talked about copyright and public policy issues, and the advances and setbacks that have faced in these matters. We discuss what "diversity" means for our movement, and which of these diversities are not currently part of the Wikimedia projects, and what we can do to solve that. At the end, we agreed to create a statement (the Carta de Santiago) that sums some important themes related to affiliates' administration, which would be reviewed by all Iberocoop delegates for its approval and communication to the entire Wikimedia movement.
Main topics and discussions
Present and future of Iberocoop as a regional structure
This theme was an important part of the conference's program, with a whole day determinated to discuss the current state and projection of Iberocoop as a regional structure. During the event, the debate aimed to: make a critical assessment of the regional work developed so far; identify the difficulties that the collective has faced in order to give some continuity and enhance that work; and questioning the feasibility of continuing to developing this structure towards the future. The group discussion tended to point out the importance of not losing this collaborative work and how to create new and better instances of joint work at a regional level or between Chapters or specific User Groups.
Chapters and User Groups Administration as it is today
Discussions about User Groups and Chapters management and organization and the differences and flexibilities that one structure has over the other one was a central theme during the first day of the conference, and it was a subject that remained during the rest of the event. The question emerged spontaneously during a Q&A session with two representatives of the WMF board; that means that it was not considered as a main subject in the program. However, the wide and extensive debate that was generated among the Chapters delegates, the User Groups delegates and the representatives of the board, that included questions about differences, similarities, limitations and privileges of both organics, showed that this is a very important issue for the Wikimedia members and where, despite the exchange of positions, we did not have a consensus among the delegates.
Identifying content and access to knowledge gaps
The program wanted to incorporate the example of some Wikimedia projects that seek to reduce gender gaps such as Editatona of WMMX. The presentation of this project opened a wide discussion about other similar examples, and also about the difficulties encountered by Chapters and User Groups when developing this type of gender activities. We also discussed how to enhance or replicate the project at a regional level. We also talk about gaps in creation and access to content experienced by speakers from other original or native languages in the region, whose presence and representation in the Wikimedia projects is almost non-existent. This theme, which emerged from one of the practical workshops and by the participants' initiative, opened a broad conversation and exchange both on some current projects developed by wikimedians of Bolivia and Ecuador, and the limitations of Wikimedia platforms to incorporate content when it is not necessarily written. We also discussed how to work together to develop regional projects that enhance the content in native languages.
At the end of the conference, we asked the delegates to evaluate the conference on logistics, preparation and program, mainly to know how to improve but also to know which activities worked the best and which ones were the most interesting for them. They answers were:
Workshops and practical activities
The conference's program included two workshops: one that invited participants to imagine some adverse contexts for Wikimedia projects and to find solutions through creativity and collaborative work between Chapters and User groups; and the other one on Communications, where delegates had to imagine projects or campaigns related to the Wikimedia movement and think how to treat them as Iberocoop. These workshops were highly appreciated by the participants, mostly because three reasons: their subject; for the dynamics of working in smaller groups and the exchange that took place between the different representatives; and for the group discussion generated at the end of each activity, where the group evaluated and commented on projects and ideas presented by the other participants.
Group debates and global discussion
General discussions that took place after each presentation or activity, as well as those that emerged spontaneously within the conference were also highlighted by the participants as useful moments. General debates and exchanges, especially those related to the organization of affiliates, were the most outstanding, which demonstrates the interest of the participants to have these spaces for conversation.
Knowing projects across the region
Another activity that was highlighted by the participants was the presentation of successful projects developed by some regional affiliates. This exchange of experiences was considered as very interesting by the representatives, as they proposed new ideas for the rest of the participants.
Learnings (and how to make it better next time)
Including supplementary time in the schedule
The process of creating a program for a conference requires incorporating the "time variable" in an appropriate manner, especially when preparing the general schedule. But in a conference of this kind, with a good number of participants, it is also important to consider certain "margin of error" regarding the time and schedule of every day, such as: participants delays, or the time it takes to everyone to take their places after each break; or the time it takes to move a large group of people to and from the lunch place, or even the time it can take to begin or end a presentation, especially when there are a lot of questions or comments.
One of the main lessons learned from this process was the importance of consider those "dead times" in the program, in order to create a schedule that fits the best to the spirit of this conference, where conversation and social sharing are a must. The simple gesture of adding 5 extra minutes in each activity would have given us more slack; otherwise, as organizing team, we always had the feeling of being late and that feeling even intervened in the normal development of some activities.
Incorporating spontaneous discussions to the program
As we saw, Iberoconf 2019 was characterized by an interesting number of experience exchanges and a wide debate about Wikimedia projects, our regional structure, and the organization of Chapters and User Groups.
Many of these discussions were considered in the original program, and others emerged spontaneously during the activities, for example within the open mic sessions or during the breaks. Many of this debate were also a little bit longer than expected which was complicated for us and our schedule. We as Wikimedia Chile made the decision to continue with our program as it was prepared, despite the opinion of some delegates how would have prefer to continue with the debate, as they expressed it at the end of the conference. Now, we think that it would have been more interesting for the development of the conference to find a way to develop both activities: to not interrupt the discussions, but to continue with the normal schedule. A good idea could have been to incorporate some mobile sessions, which could have changed hours or days without disturbing the program (something we tried to apply anyways), or even to have had parallel activities in other rooms or spaces, to allow different sessions to take place at the same time. This last point was somehow complicated for us since neither our budget nor our number of volunteers allowed us to have two simultaneous workspaces, but we believe that it can be a good lesson to incorporate for future instances.
As the participants pointed out, the layout of the room where the conference was held was not always the best for the development of certain activities. This was due to the fact that we chose a "forum" type layout, in order to privilege the discussion and to assure that everyone could watch the videos and presentations shown during the conference. However, during workshops and group activities, where delegates were asked to work with paperboards, this layout of the tables did not help the team work and many of them had to write on the floor, which was not very comfortable for everyone.
Incorporating new voices to the discussion
This Iberoconf counted with many new wikimedians, some of them coming from emerging and re-emerging communities, and who were participating for the first time in this regional event. This was very positive as it brought new voices and perspectives to the movement, at the same that they could share with more experienced members. However, during the discussions, these new voices had some rough time to take the initiative and express themselves, especially in front of more experienced representatives.
As organizers, we assume that it is necessary to take a more active role in front of these small imbalances and to advocate for new representatives to be able to express themselves in front of the assembly, or that they could feel the confidence and space to do so. Having a more active moderator in each discussion, or setting a maximum time for each comment so everyone can talk, or even inviting delegates with less experience to comment on certain discussions can be some ways to contribute to this.
Organizing an international event: a full time job
The organization of a conference like Iberoconf involves at least two months of preparation. But this work requires constant vigilance, which goes beyond the time that volunteers of each Chapter or User Group can dedicate to it. Therefore, an important lesson of this process is that its success depends mostly on having a staff member that could be dedicated to the program, to logistics, and to the communication with the participants and delegates.
During the realization of Iberoconf 2019, the delegates agreed to share with the entire Wikimedia Movement their vision of a specific problem that they considered very relevant. Through the Carta de Santiago they expressed their dissatisfaction with the organization of User Groups that are considered as entities with the same weight as Chapters, but with much simpler management requirements; this creates a disadvantage for existing Chapters that must go through much more bureaucratic and complicated processes before financial requests and reports in front of Wikimedia Foundation, as in the theme of narrative reports.
Budget and financial information
This section describes the grant's use of funds
- Budget table
Please list all project expenses in a table here, with descriptions. Review the instructions here. These expenses should be listed in the same format as the budget table in your approved submission so that anyone reading this report may be able to easily compare budgeted vs. actual expenses.
- Summary of funding
Total project budget (from your approved grant submission):
|Not including tips
|Not including tips
|Total Conference Venue
|Includes bags, printed documents and office supplies
|Includes organization expenses and tipping
|Total Other expenses
- Conversion rate used: 1 USD = 657,60 CLP (10 February 2019)
Total amount requested from WMF (from your approved grant submission):
- USD 55,220
Total amount spent on this project (this total should be the total calculated from the table above):
- USD 40,723
Total amount of WMF grant funds spent on this project:
- USD 40,723
Are there additional sources of revenue that funded any part of this project? List them here.
- No other source of revenue was used.
- Remaining funds
Are there any grant funds remaining?
- Answer YES or NO.
Please list the total amount (specify currency) remaining here. (This is the amount you did not use, or the amount you still have after completing your grant.)
- USD 14,497 (update from WMF: the remaining funds of 10,220,797 CLP have been calculated to US$13,120.)
Please share a brief update about the status projects, important discussions and/or capacity building that took place at the event.
|Activities during the conference
|2 months after the conference
|6 months after the conference
Were any significant issues your community discussed at the conference?
|Please see Main topics and discussions
|There hasn’t been an official answer to the ideas proposed in the Carta de Santiago. The only “feedback” received regarding this matter was reflected in the change in the Bylaws (released in late February 2019) and the inclusion of user groups in the ASBS election process, where the issues raised by the letter were ignored.
The letter was also analyzed by the Strategy Working Group for Roles & Responsabilities. However, no reply was published since February 2019. As Iberocoop, it was proposed that no chapter or Wikimedia member should keep driving this request individually, in order to not expose themselves, knowing that this discussion was a very complicated topic during the conference.
|Capacity Development: Please list capacity building sessions or workshops.
|Please see Workshops and practical activities
|As a lesson learned, we concluded this activities are very interesting for Chapters and User Groups and it is very important to incorporate them in this kind of events.
|We launched a 6-months-after survey, in which nine of the fourteen organizations present in Iberoconf participated. Six of them pointed out that they had already developed one or more activities related to the topics, ideas, workshops or networks established during the conference.
A few organizations pointed out that they are already including some of the ideas that were proposed during workshops and building sessions in their strategic plans, such as how to design Wikimedia projects in the Global South, or how to improve their communication skills.
|Projects or Working Groups:
What are the most important projects that were started or improved during the conference?
|Please see Goals
|We as Iberocoop are currently discussing how to prepare the edition contest "Month of Latin America" that would take in July 2019. It was settled that the coordination of this project will be in hand of WMMX.
|There are a few projects that have taken place both regionally and between two or more countries or user groups. Some of them are:
Is there anything else you want to share about the conference or event?