Grants:Simple/Applications/Wikimedia Ukraine/2019/Learning story for Final report
What we have learned from organizing international Wiki Loves Earth in 2019
We would like to emphasize the international Wiki Loves Earth 2019 as an example of how Wikimedia Ukraine learns from its experience and evolves according to the lessons learned.
Wikimedia Ukraine has been coordinating the international round of Wiki Loves Earth for six years now. By that time, we have gathered a lot of knowledge and experience, and the organizing team has created many patterns we can rely on in organizing the contest. At the same time, we face a big challenge of the lack of human resources devoted to the contest, particularly skilled volunteers who would be able to consistently work on the project; it might make the process less efficient.
At the beginning of 2019, we were determined to improve the work of the international team. To receive feedback, we developed a survey and asked all 2018 local organizing teams to fill it, sharing their feedback on the international team’s work. 19 teams filled out the form, and the average grade for the work of the international team was 3.7 out of 5. The two key problems highlighted were the lack of communication from the local teams and the delay with results.
Throughout 2019, we worked to improve these issues. As a result, we can say that we did manage to have good progress on the communication problem. Throughout 2019, we communicated with local organizers much more frequently through the mailing list, private communication, and other means (for example, we created a Facebook group for local organizers to facilitate communication). We also used the Wiki Loves Earth blog more actively and put more resources in social media publicity.
As a result, it looks like the experience of local organizing teams of Wiki Loves Earth has been improved. We are running a similar survey for 2019 teams at the moment, and the average grade for the international team’s work is 4.6 out of five, which is almost one letter grade higher than for 2018 (note that the survey is still running). One of the respondents highlighted that “the constant communication from the international team” was among the things that “went great” in 2019.
At the same time, we still could not address the second problem pinpointed by the survey conducted in early 2019. As well as in 2018, the organizing team was delayed in announcing the results. Instead of September—early October as planned, the results of the international round were announced in early December.
This problem is also something we got to learn from at the end of 2019. When conducting an internal analysis and reflection of the project, we realized that the delay was caused primarily by the “bottleneck” in human resources, and secondly by the announcement scheduling issues. Almost all active volunteers and all staff members working on Wiki Loves Earth were also involved in a number of other Wikimedia Ukraine’s projects. The problem was that the fall of 2019 was a really busy period for Wikimedia Ukraine (we finalized our strategic plan, held an all-Ukrainian Wikiconference, conducted Wiki Loves Monuments in Ukraine, worked on announcing the results of Ukrainian Wiki Loves Earth, etc). We also had to replace one of the organization’s two project managers, and the replacement process took around two months in the fall. All of that put Wiki Loves Earth behind and caused the delay. Once we had enough capacity to announce the results, we, unfortunately, found out that there was no slot for announcement on the Wikimedia blog before early December, which we did not really anticipate.
Thus, within the framework of our general 2020—2022 strategy, we decided to think about Wiki Loves Earth strategically and prepared a roadmap for its development, which should allow addressing existing problems. It is the result of what we have learned in previous years and especially in 2019.
In the three-year timeframe, we are looking to transfer Wiki Loves Earth to a dedicated international team so it is not a subproject of Wikimedia Ukraine. For 2020, however, we have included funds for a dedicated Wiki Loves Earth manager who would work on the project consistently; we are currently wrapping up for this job opening, and we expect to hire the new person within a couple of weeks. They will not be involved as a staff member in other WMUA projects, which will allow avoiding “bottlenecks” like the one we had in 2019 and thus to ensure Wiki Loves Earth runs smoothly.
The next points in the roadmap are:
- 2021: Support organisation of international WLE and discussion of its strategy. We intend to support running international WLE, ideally with a separate plan, budget and staffing, but most importantly we want to dedicate resources to come up with a clear strategy of international WLE and the best model among those offered at that time following the conclusion of the movement strategy process. We would need to have additional resources to gather more regional feedback, either by translation and online facilitation or travel to regional events.
- 2022: Wiki Loves Earth is organised by a dedicated team. We will discuss in 2021 what this team should look like, whether it will work with Wikimedia Ukraine, with another affiliate, directly with WMF, or will use some other mechanism. What is clear is that we want to have a dedicated team instead of a WMUA subproject.