Grants:Conference/Wikimedia Serbia/CEE Meeting 2019/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Conference Grant approved in FY 2018-19 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • To read the approved grant submission describing the plan for this project, please visit Grants:Conference/Wikimedia Serbia/CEE Meeting 2019.
  • You may still comment on this report on its discussion page, or visit the discussion page to read the discussion about this report.
  • You are welcome to Email conferencegrants at wikimedia dot org at any time if you have questions or concerns about this report.


Did you meet your goals?

Target outcome Achieved outcome Explanation
to promote, develop, strengthen, and support the collaboration between various Wikimedia chapters, thematic organisations, user groups, projects, and other communities in the region Done During the conference, Macedonians and Serbs launched the idea of a joint camp aimed at strengthening ties between the two communities and working together to increase the volume of Wiki projects. A month later, a follow-up email was sent to see a shift in this field. Most participants are very motivated by the presented projects, and they want to get them started in some way. One example is the collaboration between Wikimedia Austria and Wikimedia Slovakia within the WikiGap campaign.
to support the sharing of experience, good/bad practices, and valuable learnings among CEE wiki communities, as well as offer a place for the wiki-communities to gain new skills, discuss and analyse each other's stories and work Done This goal has been fully achieved given that many stories from different chapters were shared during the program. The emphasis this year was for the speakers not to focus on the mere presentation of results, but to present how the participants can apply it in their community. In addition to the formal program, which consisted of numerous presentations, panel discussions, round tables and workshops, the participants were able to schedule informal meetings and thus share their story in a different way and in a more intimate atmosphere. The results of the evaluation showed that this aspect was the most interesting and much needed in the CEE region.
to help and support smaller communities and network them with chapters which can provide technical and human resources Done It is important to note that the program had a large number of projects that do not require large financial resources, which is very important for smaller chapters or emerging communities. One way to do this is through competitions that do not necessarily entail prizes.

In addition to the presented projects and technical tools that are free and available, sessions that are suitable for newcomers were marked with a special sign. Of course, these sessions did not rule out the presence of experienced volunteers.

to document and track current projects and developments carried out by the CEE Wikimedians Done Through the presented topics within the program, the speakers introduced various project activities and models that could be implemented in CEE communities.

During the conference, all sessions were documented in Etherpad. In each of these documents, one section is devoted to conclusions, namely what the next steps are or what the participants can benefit from. In addition to the etherpad, live streaming was provided in two halls to make the projects presented accessible to Wikimedians and Wikipedians who did not attend the conference.

to interconnect CEE Wikimedians working on solutions to similar challenges Partly done During the conference a wish list was created by the participants, but it has not been significantly developed so far.

The idea of ​​establishing a body to manage and launch projects within the CEE region was initiated.

While there is an idea to establish a user group for CEE Spring, there was no discussion about this topic at the event.

to involve Wikimedia Serbia more in CEE communities in order to make Serbian Wiki community stronger Done With this conference, Wikimedia Serbia proved that it can be a significant leader in the region and that it can provide knowledge and resources to the CEE community. Already, this is reflected in the advisory role for the next conference organizers. In addition, there are different types of projects and collaborations that the WMRS is willing to share with the rest of the community, but also to extend the perspectives through learning from other chapters.

Next steps[edit]

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
Strategic Discussions:

Were any significant issues your community discussed at the conference?

Within the main conference program,

several sessions concerned strategic matters. Participants were able

to complete the CEEM questionnaire, thus selecting the thematic strategic

area that they were most interested in and that would best relate to their

context. This makes the strategic areas closer to the participants.

Also, a strategic approach to the future of the CEE region was discussed.

It was noticeable that some participants have an aversion to the strategy-making

process and the results achieved so far. Some participants expressed their

satisfaction at participating in the global strategy, but also pointed out that certain

aspects were not clear enough.

At the time of submission, 6 months had not passed since the CEEM 2019 conference.
Capacity Development: Please list capacity building sessions or workshops. Learning day:

Main programme:

Community Health:




Community Resources:

Community Engagement:

The results of the evaluation questionnaire

showed that the participants were most satisfied with the exchange of

experience and the opportunity to learn about the different models of

cooperation available in other chapters. Judging from the answers in the

questionnaire, they have a great desire to put the received knowledge into

practice. In addition to the main program, part of the participants had the

opportunity to acquire skills to increase the motivation and retention of

volunteers within the pre-conference day.

During the conference, Macedonians and Serbs launched the idea of ​​a joint camp aimed at strengthening ties between the two communities and working together to increase the volume of Wiki projects.

A month after the conference, a follow-up email was sent to the participants.

A good portion of the participants responded and shared what had happened since the conference and what activities they had undertaken. Some concerned

the implementation of what they heard, while the other part concerned cooperation.

An example of this is Wikimedia Austria and Wikimedia Slovakia, which will work together on the WikiGap project.

At the time of submission, 6 months had not yet passed since the CEEM 2019 conference.
Projects or Working Groups:

What are the most important projects that were started or improved during the conference?

  • Future of Wikimedia Central and Eastern Europe
  • Future of the Wikimedia CEE Meeting

During the conference, it was proposed to establish a body that would

better and more constructively manage Wikimedia Communities in the

CEE region. Currently, affiliates and communities share stories and

experiences, but apart from CEE Spring, there are no major international projects. It is believed that establishing a body like this would change things for the better.

At the time of submission, 6 months had not yet passed since the CEEM 2019 conference.


Conferences and events do not always go according to plan. Sharing what you learned can help you and others plan similar projects in the future. Help the movement learn from your experience by answering the following questions:

What worked well at the event?[edit]

The conference of editors and volunteers in the Wikimedia movement worked out exceptionally Although there were numerous challenges during the organization of the event, in the organizers’ opinion the event was extremely successful. In addition to the results of the survey, the personal impression of the organizing team is that this event was programmatically and logistically very significant for the community in terms of motivation, exchange of different models of cooperation applied in the chapters, as well as mutual socializing and strengthening of connections between volunteers from different communities.


The conference programme was developed in a way to reflect community needs during the period from February to October 2019 and it covers the following major phases: 1) surveying community needs, 2) shaping the programme, 3) executing the programme, and 4) evaluation of sessions. This year’s conference has seen some novelties relating the programme. Firstly, a slogan was introduced to promote the main focus of the conference. Secondly, sessions appropriate for newbies were identified and marked in the schedule. Thirdly, all sessions that took place in two of the three halls were livestreamed.

As chairman of the Program committee, I am proud of my team for creating a comprehensive program that has been positively received by participants and has succeeded in meeting all the needs of their communities.

"This conference is a great annual opportunity to share experiences and ideas within a wide range of people from countries that are simultaneously distinguished by many similar and different things, but all aim to promote and expand the Wikimedia movement through sustained learning and mutual collaboration. As chairman of the Program committee, I am proud of my team for creating a comprehensive program that has been positively received by participants and has succeeded in meeting all the needs of their communities. Through my lectures, I shared my knowledge in a simple and practical way, and I think I was able to encourage and direct participants to think more openly and creatively for the future of regional cooperation and conferences. The thing I liked most was the invitation to experiment with new ideas in order to motivate and retain active users on Wikimedia projects. Overall, the conference organizers, with the valuable help of volunteers, have set a high standard for future organizers."

Kiril Simeonovski, Chairman of the Program Committee of the CEE Conference
Surveying community needs[edit]

At the beginning of the process, a survey intended to collect input on priorities was launched and distributed to the communities in February. The questionnaire consisted of ten questions that mainly focused on topics that need to be discussed in person, projects that require substantial offline work, community goals for the coming twelve-month period, and desired skills for achieving future goals. There were also two questions specific to the role of the Wikimedia CEE Meeting in empowering communities and a priority scale to determine the direction of the programmatic development. The results from the survey were published on-wiki in early March and showed that the majority of surveyed communities opted for “capacity building” as their priority. As a result, this was used as a main focus in the later development of the programme.

Shaping the programme[edit]

The process continued with the activities aimed at giving the programme form and substance. For that purpose, the organising team assembled a programme committee consisting of eight members – five international and three local – who were appointed upon invitation. The committee was chaired by Kiril Simeonovski, and it also included Miroslav Loci, Đorđe Stakić and Marko Adam from the local team, as well as Marios Magioladitis, Wojciech Pędzich, Philip Kopetzky and Gayane Vardanyan from other regional communities. Considering the geographic distribution of the committee members across the region, the committee used virtual means of communication to organise its work and, in that light, six general video calls were held. Committee members had intensive communication with the organising team throughout the whole process and also took part in the video calls taking place with the WMF staff. A very important detail that the programme committee paid particular attention to was transparency of its work and, to that extent, it regularly published relevant information about the programme development on-wiki and extended more dynamic communication with the wider CEE community through the central mailing list and the social networks.

After making some preparations, the call for submissions was launched on 15 April with a preliminary deadline on 30 June, which was later extended to 10 August because of the low number of session proposals submitted. For the first time, the call was labelled by a slogan with the goal of promoting the main focus of the conference. Out of about a dozen of slogans evaluated, the committee finally decided for “Broaden Your Capacity” as a slogan that best captures capacity building. Interested speakers were allowed to submit session proposals for a lecture (30 minutes), a workshop (90 minutes), a panel (60 minutes), a lightning talk (5 minutes), a roundtable (45 minutes) and a poster. They were given a free choice in determining the topic(s) of their proposals, which was later used as a basis to identify the conference themes. A total of 61 session proposals were submitted with 55 of them being included in the final schedule following an evaluation process on a scale from 1-5. Most of the accepted session proposals were prepared by members of the CEE communities, although there was a significant number submitted by WMF staff and members of non-CEE communities. Apart from the call for submissions, a handful of time slots was reserved for invited speakers, mainly from the WMF, to cover topics pertaining to ongoing activities of global importance.

Executing the programme[edit]

The conference programme was executed in four days – a pre-conference day on 10 October and three main conference days from 11 to 13 October. The pre-conference day was reserved for a Learning Day facilitated by Asaf Bartov from the WMF, which covered topics related to community health such as motivation and retention of volunteers, managing conflicts, and applying experimentation. The main conference programme consisted of around 60 talks stacked up in sessions labelled with a dozen themes centered on capacity building. Apart from the pre-specified types of submissions that interested speakers could choose from in the submission form, there was also an opening session followed by an ice-breaker, as well as two plenary sessions at the end of both Day 2 and 3 to discuss the future of Wikimedia Central and Eastern Europe, and the Wikimedia CEE Meeting. All talks during the conference were documented in etherpads by volunteers, and those who took place in the Atrium and Forum halls were livestreamed. Participants were also allowed to schedule informal in-person meetups after the end of each conference day.

Evaluation of sessions[edit]

An evaluation of the conference programme was included in the post-conference survey that was distributed to all participants.

Informal sessions and meet-ups

In addition to the formal program part, participants could independently organize sessions that were not part of the program by taking the time slot they wanted on the Meta page.

Accessibility and outreach[edit]

In order to better learn and continue using conference materials, all sessions are documented in etherpads and later copied to meta pages. In each room, at least two volunteers kept notes, and within them important links, session overview, next steps, and such.

In order to make the conference more accessible, live streaming was provided in two of the three halls. Links to live stream channels were sent out via email and published on social networks. Also, they were constantly available on the Meta page. During the conference, communication between the organizers was extremely effective, with the help of the Telegram Group, where, among other things, announcements about sessions (program and extra-program), schedules, social events, lost things, etc. were set up. The info desk was constantly open in case participants needed help. Also, a Trust and safety team was formed, whose team members wore a badge for better identification. There was also a phone number that was available 24/7, written on the name tags.

After the conference, all video materials from the conference were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and Meta, with the aim of increasing accessibility, as well as the opportunity to share the knowledge with those who did not participate in the event.

In the week after the conference, a blog post was written for the local community, that is, for those who did not have the opportunity to attend the program. Blog post is translated and uploaded to Wikimedia Space as well. Video materials from the conference were posted on Wikimedia Commons, Meta and Facebook group. After the conference, in cooperation with the College of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, a promo video from the conference was created. The promo video can serve to motivate future attendees of the next CEE conference.

Diversity/equity is definitively a shared interested which we will have a closer look at.

"Matej from WMSK and I had an idea that was born in Stockholm during Wikimania, but further discussed also with John from WMSE in Belgrade: To team up around a joint WikiGAP event of WMSK and WMAT with the Swedish Embassy in Vienna, in 2020. Since Belgrad, we got in touch with the embassy, presented the idea, got their buy-in and will have a kick-of meeting soon. Matej and I are also thinking of how and in which strategic and operational areas our organisations can collaborate more closely in future. Diversity/equity is definitively a shared interested which we will have a closer look at."

Claudia Garád, representative from Wikimedia Austria

Logistics and timetable[edit]

Good organization of the conference requires flawless logistics and monitoring of the given time frame. The CEE conference did not have any delays in the program or in the informal part of the conference. This produced a very positive impression on the participants, and it was also ensured that all parts of the program were respected. To achieve this, two volunteers were set up in each room, who took notes during the sessions and kept an eye on the timetable, raising the boards with the remaining time for the speakers. All presentations were played from a single laptop and were prepared beforehand to save time.

Most of the participants were accommodated in the hotel where the conference venue was located, which made things easier. Participants had more time, delays were minimized, not much time was wasted for lunch, as it was in the hotel restaurant and the halls were next to each other. Also, the hotel was not located in the city center, which allowed participants to be focused during the program.

What I liked most was the gender gap sessions, the sessions about diversity and its place on Wikipedia, as well as workshops on how to keep newcomers on Wikipedia.

"I signed up for the conference to meet as many people as possible, and to learn something new. In this way, I got information about what Wikipedians do in other countries, what problems they are dealing with, and what kind of projects they have. We exchanged experiences together, which is of course the idea of ​​the conference. What I liked most was the gender gap sessions, the sessions about diversity and its place on Wikipedia, as well as workshops on how to keep newcomers on Wikipedia. So I got some new ideas about projects that I want to implement in my community soon, which are about diversity among editors. I do not plan to stop here, but I also want to do something that other Wikipedians have done in their community, which concerns newcomers. Since this is my first conference at which I participate, I hope this will not be the last time and that in the coming years I will be even more active at conferences as well as in the community."

Milena Milenković, one of the participants in the conference from the local community

What did not work so well?[edit]

  • The first challenge was primarily the poor response of participants during the registration and submission process. This problem was pointed out during Wikimania, where we discussed reasons why this happened. The reason for late registration was mainly due to internal communication problems in affiliates. The invitation to submit presentations was extended, so Programme Committee eventually received a lot of various proposals. Although challenging, these things were eventually successfully resolved.
  • English continues to be a barrier to meetings. While this is a prerequisite for the participants to be part of the conference, the idea of this meeting is to give everyone an equal chance, especially as some participants play a big role in their community.
  • One of the internal matters to pay attention to is certainly dinner in the restaurant where smoking is allowed. Smoking is still allowed in most of the places in Belgrade and it is difficult to find a place for a large number of people where smoking is not allowed. This can be seen somewhat as a cultural difference.
  • Speakers received information about the program later than planned. Timely information should make speakers more prepared.
  • An external factor that Wikimedia Serbia could not influence, but warned participants before and during the conference, is certainly the taxi drivers' strike. The strike was at its peak the day after the conference, when participants traveled back. However, despite this, all participants managed to return home safely.
  • Although partnership with Internet provider was established and the strength of internet increased, participants still complained that sometimes the network was weak and insufficient.

What would you do differently next time?[edit]

  • It is important to keep in mind the two-sided printing of name tags for participants and speakers so that everyone can see the name of the participants at any time and better connect.
  • Practices should be established for participants to register much earlier so that organizers have sufficient time to prepare and save money from purchasing flight tickets earlier. One of the suggestions at the meeting at Wikimania was for this year's participants to be in charge of communicating with the organizers of the next conference. This will speed up the process of electing delegates in theirs affiliate.
  • Speakers should be informed of the program as soon as possible and instructed on how to prepare for the different types of session. Ideally, Program Committee members should have short interviews with them for better preparation.
  • The process of selecting next organizers should be better defined so that others, other than the participants present, can be part of the decision making process.

Financial documentation[edit]

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.

Nr. Item description Budget Final cost Currency Notes
1. Travel costs 19,092.50 15,877.23 EUR
1.1. International travel 18,892.50 15,797.24 EUR 7 participants less than planned.
1.2. Domestic travel 200.00 79.99 EUR
2. Accommodation costs 18,768.00 18,413.12 EUR
2.1. Lodging 10,368.00 9,915.18 EUR
2.2. Catering 8,400.00 8,497.94 EUR Organization of additional Learning Day.
3. Venue costs 6,330.00 6,536.49 EUR
3.1. Rent 3,450.00 3,450.00 EUR Donation of Hotel M.
3.2. Breaks 2,880.00 3,086.49 EUR Organization of additional Learning Day.
3.3. Technical support 0.00 0.00 EUR It is included in the venue costs.
4. Other expenses 5,535.00 4,738.70 EUR
4.1. Video recording service 915.00 765.41 EUR We got additional discount.
4.2. Promo packet for participants 720.00 712.06 EUR
4.3. Working material 500.00 515.83 EUR
4.4. Saturday dinner 1,800.00 1,714.97 EUR
4.5. Downtown city tour 800.00 608.92 EUR Donation of Wikimedia Serbia.
4.6. Unforeseen expenses 800.00 421.51 EUR Purchase of extension cables and set up of posters from Wikimania.
5. Income (inc. in-kind) 6,250.00 5,175.92 EUR
5.1. Rent of venue 3,450.00 3,450.00 EUR Donation of Hotel M.
5.2. Conference fee 2,000.00 1,117.00 EUR Fewer number of self-funded participants than planned.
5.3. Downtown city tour 800.00 608.92 EUR Donation of Wikimedia Serbia.
TOTAL 43,475.50 40,389.62 EUR
6. In-kind donations (not included in budget) 1,770.00 1,770.00 EUR
6.1. Internet support 450.00 450.00 EUR Donation of Telekom Srbija.
6.2. Promo video recording 150.00 150.00 EUR Donation of School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
6.3. Refreshment 850.00 850.00 EUR Donation of Tesla Water by Neutrino Power company
6.4. Tourist brochures 170.00 170.00 EUR Donations of Tourist organization of Serbia and Tourist organization of Belgrade
6.5. Posters 150.00 150.00 EUR Donation of Wikimedia Foundation

Summary of funding

Total project budget (from your approved grant submission):

49,725.50 EUR

Total amount requested from WMF (from your approved grant submission):

43,475.50 EUR

Total amount spent on this project (this total should be the total calculated from the table above):


Total amount of WMF grant funds spent on this project:


Are there additional sources of revenue that funded any part of this project? List them here.

Telekom Srbija in-kind donation for the Internet support = 450.00 EUR
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering in-kind donation for the Promo video recording = 150.00 EUR
Neutrino Power in-kind donation of refreshment (Tesla Water) = 850.00 EUR
Tourist organization of Serbia and Tourist organization of Belgrade in-kind donation of tourist brochures = 170.00 EUR
Wikimedia Foundation in-kind donation of posters from Wikimania = 150.00 EUR
Remaining funds

Are there any grant funds remaining?

Remaining funds have been used or will be used for other approved mission-aligned activities. This use has been requested in writing and approved by WMF.
Underspent will be used for GDPR compliance related expenses.

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.)

3,085.88 EUR

General budget tips[edit]

Sharing with you some of the tips for creating a good budget for your grant proposal.

  • Start with the budget categories that require the most funding.
  • Be precise - Have as much as you can accurate data in the moment of making your grant proposal. For example, if a big part of your budget is a purchase of flight tickets, visit some travel websites and check the prices. Act like your participans will come in two months. Don't forget to include 1 checked bag.
  • Put a small amount of funds for unexpected expenses (one to two percent of the total budget).
  • Compare your budget proposal with similar events organized in the past.
  • Be familiar with the prices in your country.
  • If you live in a country like Serbia and there is poor chance of receiving financial support, try to look for in-kind donations as much as you can. Use cooperations you already have with your partners to get donations. Try to find a way to cover some of the expenses by writing them into your sponsorship contract.
  • Create a timeline of your purchase activities.
  • Keep track of your spending progress and always be aware of your budget and funds remained.

Anything else[edit]

Is there anything else you want to share about the conference or event?

  • Recorded sessions are now available on Commons and Youtube.
  • Students from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering of Applied Studies created promo video.
  • We created survey results which will be useful for the organizers of the CEE Meeting 2020.
  • We published the blog post on Wikimedia Space where we summarized what we have been doing at CEE Meeting 2019.