Jump to content

Grants:Regions/Middle East and Africa/Committee Open Call 2023

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
MEA Regional Funds Committee open call

This is a call for Wikimedians and Free Knowledge advocates to be part of the Middle East and Africa (MEA) Regional Funds Committee that partners with the Community Resources Team (CR team) of the Wikimedia Foundation to implement the Grants Strategy Relaunch. The primary role of the committee is strategic thought partnership to help understand the complexities of the Middle East and Africa region and to make funding decisions for grant applications in the region, providing knowledge and expertise to applicants to support successful movement activities.

If you are interested in shaping funding decisions in the Middle East and Africa region, bringing new ideas and programs into life, or have knowledge and expertise to share with movement organizers and leaders, please review all the information below and consider applying to join. We seek a committee composition that will have a healthy balance of experienced and new Wikimedians along with experts from other knowledge domains that will be important to achieve the mission of the Wikimedia movement.

What is this all about?

In 2021, the CR Team relaunched its Grants Strategy in alignment with the 2030 strategic direction and the movement strategy recommendations. These efforts will help build a thriving movement focused on equity and support for Wikimedia communities. We received valuable feedback during our consultations about creating more accessible grant programs. One of the major points of feedback was around the importance of enabling local communities to take more responsibility and ownership for setting priorities in their regions, allocating funds for specific types of initiatives, and ensuring the involvement of allied partner organisations. Each of these processes benefits greatly from existing expertise, new ideas, and awareness of required skills for local communities.

Who can participate in the MEA Committee?

  • Members of the Wikimedia community (both newcomers and experienced contributors welcome)
  • Volunteer board members of Wikimedia affiliates
  • Members of mission-aligned organisations
  • Individuals working or having expertise in regions of interest

Who is not eligible to participate in the MEA Committee?

  • Anyone receiving compensation through a Wikimedia affiliate or current General Support Fund, Wikimedia Alliances Fund or Research Fund grant project.
  • Staff connected to projects funded by the Wikimedia Foundation within allied organisations.
  • Anyone receiving compensation for a paid role with the Wikimedia Foundation.

Why is this important?

The CR Team hopes that the Regional Committees will emerge as structures that thrive on the principles of participatory decision-making and subsidiarity. Regional Committees will have to work towards establishing an environment that supports participation, representation, and resource allocation. Our goal is to support the development of Regional Committees that represent and serve the needs of many communities in the movement, including those based on gender, ethnicity, age, and geography, amongst other characteristics.

How will new MEA Committee members be selected?

  • Call for candidates to serve on the MEA Committee
  • Following initial nominations, there will be a review process to confirm the members of the committees. Review will be conducted by the Community Resources team, Trust & Safety Review team, and the current MEA Committee review candidates, with feedback invited from regional affiliates and community members.
  • The MEA Committee and CR team will select new committee members.
  • Announcement of new committee members will happen in March 13th 2023.

What are the roles and responsibilities for committee members?

  • To support the foundation for productive committee work, including:
    • sustaining committee operations, roles, and principles for major processes such as proposal review and decision making
    • supporting communications with new, important movement bodies such as the Global Council and regional hubs,
    • sharing expertise and context within and between committees to build needed capacities
  • To routinely support the CR Team, applicants, and grantees by:
    • sharing knowledge, expertise, and regional context throughout the grants process,
    • identifying opportunities to address community needs around resourcing, representation, and power sharing.
    • making decisions on proposals supporting the region.
  • Committee members must understand and value diversity, including cultural, linguistic, and gender differences.

What is our approach to grantmaking?

We follow a trust-based approach to philanthropy, centering these core values adapted from the Trust-based Philanthropy Project:

  1. Work for systemic equity: Recognize the racial, economic, political, linguistic, cultural and other inequities in which we operate, and take an intersectional anti-oppression approach to change practices and behaviors that perpetuate harm.
  2. Redistribute power: Be willing to share power with grantee partners and communities who are closer to the issues we seek to address.
  3. Center relationships: Prioritizing healthy, open, honest relationships can help us navigate the complexity of our work and our world with greater confidence and effectiveness.
  4. Partner in a spirit of service: Be a supporter and collaborator, rather than dictating what is needed. Lead with trust, respect, and humility.
  5. Be accountable: Our work will only be successful if we hold ourselves accountable to those who we seek to support.
  6. Embrace learning: We can only advance impact if we remain open to learning as we go, and embrace opportunities for growth and evolution along the way.

The committee is based on a participatory grantmaking model. Participatory grantmaking ensures that resourcing community efforts in the movement is diverse, equal and inclusive. This practice aligns with movement strategy recommendation 4. Ensure Equity in Decision-making: Establishing shared responsibility and accountability for decision-making and distribution of resources.

What is the timeline?

The main steps involved in this work will include:

  • January
    • Call for applications from prospective MEA Committee candidates
  • February -March
    • Community Resources team, Trust & Safety Review team, and the current MEA Committee review candidates, with feedback invited from regional affiliates and community members.
    • MEA Committee and CR team select new committee members.
    • Announcement of new committee members
  • March onward

What other things should I know about the MEA Regional Committee?

  • Size of committee: The current committee consists of 12 members. We would like to increase the committee by up to 10 members.
  • Training: Training will be provided to the committee members to support review, discussion, and decision-making.
  • Expectations: Committee members will be expected to commit to the following policies and principles to support constructive dialogue with applicants and grantees:
  • Financial support: Committee members will have all costs related to participation covered, including data costs, transportation, caregiving / childcare, and meals. Additional stipends are to be determined.
  • Frequency of meetings: The work of the committee will vary from month to month. At the beginning, time for training will be required as well as during application review in the two rounds per year. Other moments would require less time focused on communication and mentorship.
  • Working language: Working language for the MEA Committee is English. We are working to ensure we have translation services available for some communication needs.
  • Term lengths: We would like initial committee members to commit to at least a minimum two-year period of service and maximum term limit of four years (with option to extend if there is a shortage of new or experienced committee members). A rolling membership system will be implemented to always have some experienced people on the committee.

Selection criteria

Some desired, but not all required qualities we are looking for in committee members include:

  • strong ability to participate effectively in collaborative decision-making and thought partnership in a committee context (e.g. good talking and listening boundaries, able to give and receive honest feedback in non-conflictual way, able to think strategically at a high level, open to changing your mind, able to receive help, empathetic and kind)
  • alignment with the values of the 2030 strategic direction and the movement strategy recommendations. Alignment with the trust-based philanthropy values outlined above under the heading "What is our approach to grantmaking?".
  • understanding of or willingness to learn about participatory grant-making.
  • a demonstrated commitment to sharing skills and experience, and helping others grow.
  • professional and/or volunteer experience and skills related to committee review work, such as budget management and review skills, experience with governance of non-governmental organizations, background in common programmatic areas like GLAM, Education, etc.
  • experience with Wikimedia programs, in addition to contributions to the online projects.
  • sufficient facility with multiple languages spoken in the Middle East and Africa region to support reviewing and discussing grant proposals. Experience with small languages also welcome.
  • expertise, including lived experience, related to diversity, equity and inclusion to help promote and support knowledge equity in the Northern and Western region
  • experience with increasing geographic, gender, or age diversity, or experience with different Wikimedia projects not yet represented.

How to apply

Apply for the MEA Regional Committee!

The deadline to apply for the MEA Regional Committee is February 20th, 2023. To apply for the MEA Regional Committee, please provide a statement on the candidates page with the following information:

  • What country are you based in?
  • Tell us about yourself and why you want to join a Regional Committee. Please consider responding to some of the questions below, but it is not necessary to respond to all of them in your application. Please keep your statement under 500 words.
    • What is your current participation in the Wikimedia movement or the Free Knowledge Ecosystem?
    • How do you think you could contribute towards the committees’ role and ways of working?
    • How do you think the committee could make decision making more participatory?
    • How do you think the committee could improve grantmaking so it has a greater impact?
    • What skills, background or experience could you bring to the committee? You might address grantmaking, knowledge equity, or other relevant areas.