The annual plan for 2020 of Wikimedia Belgium (WMBE) is a prerequisite to plan and budget our activities for the coming year. It is also a prerequisite for our grant application at the Wikimedia Foundation, for good governance, and to set a clear perspective of our strategy for 2020.
In 2011 a volunteer community in Belgium started to work together, by organising activities and small projects. In 2014 we founded Wikimedia Belgium with the goal to support the local volunteers in Belgium for Wikipedia and the other sister projects, and to support third party projects that enrich the Wikimedia platforms by collaborating with institutions and other organisations (mainly GLAM, education, and heritage).
As of 2014 we developed a common strategy with our partners to build a long-term collaboration with knowledge institutions. We experienced that bureaucracy was huge and institutions did not know how to collaborate with Wikimedia. The tactical plan based on this strategy included the publication of brochures on how to collaborate with Wikipedia, a brochure explaining the basics, a photo contest where knowledge institutions could easily participate, a seminar about how to collaborate with Wikimedia. This strategy has proven to be successful. Multiple knowledge institutions are approaching us with a request to collaborate. We are ready to support them.
Belgium has a unique and rich European culture, which is underrepresented on Wikipedia. Belgium is known for the unique Flemish masters, Brussels is the capital of dance, Antwerp has one of the few diamond centers in the world known for jewelry, Belgium is known for the Belgian art nouveau, Belgium is also known for its comics, Bruges is known for its city that is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO, Belgium is also known for its specific culinary richness; this list being only partial. All of these and more aspects of the Belgian culture are typical to Belgium, and not related to the neighbouring countries. They offer a unique opportunity for collaborations and to enrich the Wikimedia platforms with unique materials. Sadly Belgium is relatively less described on Wikipedia than the neighbouring countries, a Belgium gap.
Just like other chapters, Wikimedia Belgium has been founded not only to support those who speak the local language, but to support the local volunteers. It is important to keep the local volunteers motivated, which means that volunteers who already spend time and energy to organise activities that benefit the Wikimedia platforms, should not have to pay their travel or other project related costs. Belgium is a relatively small country, together with a high population density, but travelling is not cheap, even while it takes by car less than 3 hours to travel from one side to the other side. Volunteers are on their best when they can do the work they like, matching with their capacities, further ensuring the quality of their work. Enthusiastic and motivated volunteers are a key to a successful project, resulting in great outputs on the Wikimedia platforms.
In 2020 we want to continue our stable growth from the past years, and to continue to support our local volunteers to organise and participate in activities and projects. We would like to continue our collaboration with partner organisations and knowledge institutions, to enrich Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata and related projects. We like to continue to grow a network of open knowledge enthusiasts in Belgium.
A lot of meetings with partners have not yet resulted in output, due to the time partner organisations need to evaluate and implement the collaboration with Wikipedia/Wikimedia within their own organisation.We plan a series of activities with partner organisations and we conclude that the personal attention we give to partner organisations by meeting them face-to-face works. Seeing the first results, together with the enthusiasm of both the local volunteers and our partner organisations, we want to continue in this direction, because this is the right way to fulfill our mission to spread free knowledge on Wikipedia and its sister projects.
Our partners are supporting our projects and activities and sponsor part of the expenses in the first place by allowing their employees to work with us. Besides the material and financial support they also assist us with their expertise in fields we are active and with the contacts they have with the organisations we work with. Thanks to our partners we expect a sustainable growth in projects and output to the Wikimedia platforms.
- Promoting free knowledge. Contributing to Wikimedia projects by releasing or sharing knowledge under a free license. In collaboration with knowledge institutions and the editing community, we ensure that the Wikimedia projects make the knowledge available in the broadest and most diverse way possible. We want to work closely with other organisations and, by doing so, we want to respond to what motivates them to disseminate knowledge and culture through our projects.
- Relationship with the readers. Our vision is free access to all knowledge for everyone. Until now, our attention has mainly focused on the supply side: more and better content. But there is also a demand side: what do the Wikipedia readers need? Do the projects meet their demands? In the coming years, we want to invest in gaining more insight into the wishes and experiences of Wikipedia readers. Stimulating opportunities for direct communication with, or feedback from, readers. We take into account the experts among our readers: we want to gain insight into how professionals assess the information offered in their field of expertise. We want to use reader experience for the development of projects and the selection of partners.
- Supporting the editors. Optimal support for editors remains a priority. We want that the Wikimedia projects are a pleasant working environment with low barriers and good manners. The association will continue its efforts to provide the volunteers with logistics and financial support. We are also working with the community to improve weaknesses by offering training, facilitate discussions and actively recruit new editors.
- Refreshing the content. We need additional formats of knowledge representation such as the use of infographics, video, sound, animations, etc. Wikimedia Belgium want to support editors and partners to achieve this. This includes facilitating the development of alternative forms of knowledge representation. In addition, we want to promote the use of data in which we mainly contribute to Wikidata or stimulate applications and analyses. As an example of conservation of old language/regional dialect by interviewing a commedian see Fons Straetmans (sound in the infobox).
- Diversity, both in content and people. In particular, we want to focus on areas of knowledge that are still under-represented. Below we mention e.g. the project Wiki Club des Grands Lacs: articles about East Africa and learning how to write for Wikipedia for emmigrants...
In contrast with neighbouring countries, we have 3 official languages and English (for international communication). This results in fewer volunteers that are available to write about Belgian subjects in each of the Wikipedia languages. We are biased, and often overruled by the other country’s language users. As a result relatively less knowledge and image material about and from Belgium is available on Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons. By organising Wiki Loves Heritage, we managed to reduce the "Belgium gap". We believe by organising Wikithons, via partnerships with various organisations, we get more attention for the Belgian subjects, get more articles in Wikipedia, get more media to Wikimedia Commons, and more items well described in wikidata.
Even while we make good progress, we encounter some difficulties we need to address:
- We need to grow as an organisation, with more professionalism in budgeting, (legal) administration, (financial) reporting, planning, management, advising, public relations, and follow-up.
- We need to attract motivated board members, project managers, and Wikimedia trainers.
- The available volunteers do not have enough experience and skills. It is important for our volunteers to follow training and participate at conferences, to learn how to better organise projects, create better metrics, and learn from other volunteers and best practices presented. It should also result in better documentation.
- We do not have employees yet. We rely on a small number on a small number of volunteers. We (have to) put a high pressure on volunteers, possibly resulting in burn-out or interpersonal conflicts.
- (cultural) Budgets, employees or other resources are being reduced at all levels of government, which has an impact on our collaboration with institutions.
- Belgium is a complicated country, both cultural and political.
The annual plan for 2020 consists of four main programs. Each program is described, what the goals are, a list of possible activities, and what we believe to achieve as results.
The 4 programs share common goals:
- Have more quality material contributed to Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata
- Have more volunteers trained in the use of the above applications
- Teach volunteers how to combine those applications
- Teach people how to benefit from Wikimedia platforms
We have 4 major programs:
- Volonteer program
- GLAM program
- Education program
- Wiki Loves Program
Wikimedia Belgium is also involved in other activities:
- Open Knowledge Belgium organises the annual conference Open Belgium, supported by Wikimedia Belgium. The conference is about open knowledge, open data and more, and is closely aligned with the ideas of Wikimedia. The costs of the conference are fully covered by external sources.
- No staffing; only volunteers
Wiki Loves program
Grant Metrics Reporting
Metrics, targets and results: grants metrics worksheet here.
This is a summary report on the grantee's progress during the midpoint reporting period: 1 January - 31 July 2020, due 15 August 2020.
We report on the progress for our major projects, and some additional activities, and results, that contribute to our long-term vision, partnerships, member benefits, and chapter expansion.
Please link to one program story that showcases your organization's achievements during the reporting period.
The first quarter started good with a lot of GLAM activities. But due to the COVID-19 disease all physical activities as of the second quarter were cancelled, so we had to fall back to webinars and online activities.
Wiki Club Brussels
Book "Schrijven voor Wikipedia"
We continue to distribute the book Schrijven voor Wikipedia to volunteers that have completed at least one new article on Wikipedia.
RTBF Wikipedia Marathon
On the 5th of March, the International Women's Rights Day, we organised an edit-a-thon, in collaboration with the RTBF, the Belgian French speaking radio and TV broadcaster, in collaboration with Open Knowledge Belgium and Les Grenades.
Objective: We want to increase the 18% female biographies. An under-representation that influences the way we know the history. We wanted to create 100 new women's articles on Wikipedia. The marathon lasted a whole day, from 7am to 11pm. Statistics
Wikimedia Belgium collaborates with other associations and institutions such as meemoo, FARO, Herita, Province of East-Flanders, Erfgoedcel Pajottenland Zennevallei, Industriemuseum Gent, KOERS Roeselare.
Industry museum Ghent
Women street names
The names of public spaces (streets, avenues, squares and others) define the identity of a city and how citizens interact with it. Brussels suffers from a major inequality between male and female street names and we want to make this more balanced!
There are several ways to approach the inequality of street names and leverage a positive change in our society. Ours is with the use of Open Data. We want to use technologies to create a world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few.
Several not-for-profits, Open Knowledge Belgium, OpenStreetMap Belgium, Wikimedia Belgium and the feminist collective Noms Peut-Être are partnering up to build a map visualizing the street names of Brussels by gender. To make this happen, we use open data - data which can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose - from OpenStreetMap and Wikipedia.
Some data already existed, we want to link both data sources. During this event, we added Wikidata tags (a tag containing all the information from a Wikipedia page) to the streets on OpenStreetMap. Linking this data allows many possibilities such as using existing Wikipedia pages as suggestions for cities or analysing what types of profiles are used for street names. Statistics
Wiki Loves Heritage 2019 prize session
The Wiki Loves Heritage 2019 prize session in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek van Brussel with presentations about other national Heritage projects.
Open Data Day
Erfgoedcel Pajottenland Zennevallei
Together with the Erfgoedcel Pajottenland Zennevallei we make an inventory of the region's heritage. We take photos and write articles on Wikipedia. We are making the inventory of the bunkers of the KW Line from the Second World War. Everyone is invited to complete this list; many pictures are still missing…
Webinar training “Wikipedia for Heritage groups”. As part of these projects we made an inventory on Wikidata and lists of possible pages are automatically collected through Listeria. We have recorded a video of the webinar that we presented on this occasion and a presentation. Statistics
Women and dance
In collaboration with CEMPER and meemoo we have set up a project to better document about Women and dance. We want to make the performing arts better known. Therefore we organised a training and an inventory of existing and missing pages. Statistics
Digital storytelling with Linked open data
The University of Ghent organised a Webinar on digital storytelling about women's editors. WeChangEd is a project of Ghent University, Digital Humanities. They have a research project to create a distributed digital archive on Female Writers. On June 29th they presented the results of their project.
Wiki Loves program
Wiki Loves Heritage Belgium 2020
The Wiki Loves Heritage photo contest Belgium 2020 has started on 1 July 2020. It is an extension of the worldwide Wiki Loves Monuments campaign, which also runs around this period, and is specifically aimed at monuments. With the Wiki Loves Heritage campaign we want to highlight movable, immaterial, maritime heritage, landscapes and museum collections. It is the third time that Wikimedia Belgium organises the Wiki Loves Heritage photo contest since the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018. We find it important to make the inventory and describe heritage.
Why are we doing this? We want to document heritage in all its aspects. There are still many heritage items that have not yet been inventoried and described on Wikidata/Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons.
OTRS upload campaign
The user account Erfgoedcel Pajottenland Zennevallei has been recognized by OTRS to release images of heritage under a free licence. Now we are ready to upload hundreds of images of heritage.
What have we learned
- Making an inventory on Wikidata of objects stimulates people to take photographs and to write or amend pages on Wikipedia. We use Listeria scripts to automatically create project pages for people to follow the status of the project.
- Use the Outreach dashboard to gather statistics about our activities.
- New volunteers require a lot of training and coaching before they can really write good articles. Some people with a professional background of librarian, archive, curator, or web development have less of a problem.
Spending update Midterm
Please find the link to a detailed financial report for your spending during the first half of your grant period. This is in the same format as the detailed budget from your Simple APG application. Because of corona we did have only few physical activities, and few related costs, underspending as a logic consequence.
The total amount of Simple APG funds you spent during the grant period: 1281.87 €
This is the final report for our grant, describing the outcomes from the period January to December 2020, due 30 January 2021.
The below is a summary report on the grantee's progress since the midpoint reporting period: 1 August 2020- 31 December 2020.
We will not repeat activities from the first half of the year, since one can read them above. We report on the progress of our major projects, and some additional activities and results, that contribute to our long-term vision, partnerships, member benefits, and chapter expansion.
Please link to one program story that showcases your organization's achievements during the reporting period.
2020 was an atypical year.
Because of corona we could only organise physical activities till mid March 2020. All physical meetings and activities since then were cancelled, and converted into online activities, augmented with video conferencing. This had a huge impact on the way we interact with our members, volunteers, peer organisations, partners, institutions, and musea.
In general we have seen a lot more participants at big virtual events, such as the edit-a-thons, and the general assembly, because people did not need to travel; but the contacts are of less intensity, quality and effectiveness. Participants brought a lot of good questions (which were subsequently duly answered).
Small offline gatherings like the Wiki Club Brussels did not work out, and were factually stopped because of lack of participants.
As a side effect our expenses were much lower than budgeted: no costs for meeting rooms, no (international) travel, no hotel, no meals, no drinks. Only the administrative costs remained (office renting, statutory costs, telecom, web sites, internet, bank account).
Personal Google Meet sessions took place, explaining volunteers handson how to edit Wikipedia, Wikidata, or Wikimedia Commons by sharing the desktop of the student or the coach. Questions were also answered via e-mail.
A lot of effort went into explaining and handling copyright issues. Copyright remains a difficult subject, and a lot of variants exist. We got questions about the OTRS procedure, privacy, and image rights.
We needed to change the official address, and because of the new Belgian enterprise and organisations’ law we required new statutes.
We got a lot of public attention, and from radio, TV, and the press (newspapers and magazines) mainly because of the 20th anniversary of Wikipedia.
A large number of new articles and uploads were performed by the academic world due to 5 large projects with universities.
We supported volunteers with small expenses to allow them to write decent Wikipedia articles (car allowance for short travel, museum tickets, buying a book).
We continue to send books “Schrijven voor Wikipedia” to new volunteers that have completed at least one Wikipedia article.
Interview Iedereen Wiki
In Ternat the city magazine published an interview with the Wikimedia Belgium president about Wikipedia and Wikimedia.
Wiki Club Brussels
The Wiki Club Brussels meeting did not attract many volunteers because of corona and the fact that the physical meetings were converted into a video conference. Volunteers did find those virtual sessions less attractive. But we were able to attract new young (25-35) and older people (+60).
Individual coaching via sharing the desktop was frequently done, and led to quick solutions for volunteer questions.
We invited volunteers to participate in writing articles related to the projects we are conducting. Each time explaining to them how they can benefit from the integration of Wikipedia, Wikidata, and Wikimedia Commons.
We prepared to organise in March 2021 4 writing sessions about Flemish youth authors. Therefore we created an inventory in Wikidata.
Several heritage organisations are willing to collaborate with us to write articles about local heritage subjects.
We are in progress to establish a collaboration with the Belgian Koninklijke bibliotheek.
Schrijven voor Wikipedia at the University of Ghent
In 2019 we gave 2 trainings “Writing for Wikipedia” for the University of Gent. The library has a huge inventory of scanned books, that they licensed as CC BY-SA. In August-September there was a writing campaign about medieval manuscripts with the University of Ghent that resulted in 316 uploads and 106 new articles.
Vlaams Architectuur Instituut
We organised 2 writing sessions with 60 and 90 students together with the Vlaams Architectuur Instituut. Due to corona we could not organise a physical training. The students were given a video conferencing where we presented what Wikipedia is and how you can write good articles. We have recorded the training session.
4 faculties participated: KASK, Universiteit Gent, Universiteit Antwerpen, KU Leuven. The professors and Wikimedia Belgium coached the students, and answered their questions. 98 students wrote articles on the English and Nederlandse Wikipedia. 50 new articles were written; 41 published; 47 artikels updated, 16 images uploaded.
We contacted Benedict Wydooghe, who is history teacher at VIVES Kortrijk. He orders students to write about social and historical subjects on Wikipedia as part of their curriculum.
Wiki Loves program
Via the Wiki Loves Heritage Belgium 2020 photo project we have gathered 840 images from 17 participants. On 2 February 2021 10 prize winners were awarded.
We held a General Assembly on 29 August 2020. A new board was elected, and a new office address was approved.
On 19 September 2020 we held an extraordinary General Assembly to approve the new statutes.
Fund Friends of Wikimedia Belgium
A Belgian fund wmbe:Fund Friends of Wikimedia Belgium was established within the Koning Boudewijnstichting to permit us to issue fiscal certificates to Belgian tax payers providing a gift to our cultural, social and heritage projects. In 2021 we will be able to fund one or more projects with the budgets we acquired in 2020.
What have we learned
We prepared several inventories in Wikidata to document Wikipedia articles and potential subjects. We produced targeted lists with ListeriaBot. This makes it easy for participants to start writing or enhancing articles on Wikipedia (red and blue links).
This way we can interlink projects amongst Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, and Wikidata. How do we do this?
For each project we do related to writing articles, we create a Wiki project in Wikidata.
Then we can link subjects to our projects.
This way we can simply report on Wikipedia articles.
We use the Outreach platform to organise and track each of our activities. This makes reporting on the impact simple.
We collaborate with larger organisations because we cannot do everything ourselves.
We spent significant time documenting our activities to the press and the grand public.
We paid attention to techniques to automate information gathering and reporting using Wikidata related tools.
Please link to a detailed financial report for your spending during the grant period. This should be in the same format as your detailed budget from your Simple APG application.
Please include the total amount of Simple APG funds you spent during the grant period.
|Actual spending from grant 2020||€ 5,934.58|
|Unspent budget due to corona pandemic||€ 10,565.42|
|Total budget 2020||€ 16,500.00|