Grants talk:Conference/Wikimedia MA User Group/WikiArabia 2019 Conference

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Comments/Questions from I JethroBT (WMF)[edit]

@ElWaliElAlaoui: Hi Mohamed, I'm Jethro, a program officer for Conference Grants. I wanted to reach out with some comments about this drafted Conference Grant proposal. Before you continue working on it, I wanted to bring a few things to your attention. The most important matter the user group should be aware of is that the Wikimedia Foundation is not currently in a position to provide logistical support to conferences as it has in the past. This work would include things like providing support for travel arrangements, helping to identify alternate sources of funding, and helping set up an organizing team. If this or other kinds of logistical support is needed from the Wikimedia Foundation for this conference, I would recommend putting this proposal on hold for now. We'll be better able to provide this kind of support to WikiArabia and other conferences in late 2019 or early 2020. Given these circumstances, what is Wikimedia MA's plans for this proposal? Thanks, I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 18:23, 21 August 2018 (UTC)

@I JethroBT (WMF): Hello Jethro and thank you for your intervention, We are actually aware of the situation as some of our colleagues in Wikimania have updated us about it. We think that our team can handle even the logistical parts and we will do our best to make it a successful conference as all the past ones. We do however have questions about your words just for clarification: When you refer to "that the Wikimedia Foundation is not currently in a position to provide logistical support to conferences as it has in the past." are you talking about financial support? or support related to the logistics and organization by allocating ressources who help us? If it the second, then it is not a problem for us as we have the necessary ressources and will eventually collaborate with a local travel agency. Thank you again for your answer and clarifications. --ElWaliElAlaoui (talk) 17:24, 22 August 2018 (UTC)

@ElWaliElAlaoui: Hey Mohamed, thanks for your question. The logistical support does not refer to the usual financial support provided through Conference Grants, so long as the proposal for the conference fits with the user group's and organizing team's capacity to appropriately plan for and hold the event. Keep in mind that there is a 3 September deadline for the application given that you want to hold the conference between 19-21 April 2019. Do you have sufficient time to prepare this application, especially regarding the Community Survey aspect of the application? Thanks, I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 17:09, 23 August 2018 (UTC)

@I JethroBT (WMF): Hello again Jethro and thank you for the further clarifications, Your answer comes in line with our view. We are in fact planning to manage the logistics by ourselves, especially that the Cap10 association is willing to support with its network and volunteers. We will also contract with a travel agency that will help in travel management. We believe that we have enough time to prepare the application as the discussion is ongoing in the user group, regarding estimations and also team preparation. The community survey had already been sent to the Arabic speaking community and we are now in the process of gathering answers. we do have a question to you, and by extension to the foundation: As you see in the application, we are planning to host our event in the city of Tarfaya, that is about 1 hour from the closest airport of Laayoune. We have heard that there might be concerns about this choice within the foundation and would like to know before we send our application if this is the case? We are trying our best to optimize all the travel conditions and ensure a confortable stay for all the participants. The association Cap10 is even willing to financially help with the flights Casablanca-Laayoune, and the buses from Laayoune to Tarfaya. Our question is about if there is any concern for you if Wikiarabia is organized in Tarfaya? We think that on the opposite it will be a good occasion to show the richness of our country and to host the event in a different environment, calm and closer to the nature, but still equipped with all the necessary IT infrastructure needed for such conferences.--ElWaliElAlaoui (talk) 22:02, 23 August 2018 (UTC)

(More) comments from I JethroBT (WMF)[edit]

@ElWaliElAlaoui, Reda benkhadra, and Anass Sedrati: Hi El Wali (also pinging Reda and Anass), and thanks for your proposal for WikiArabia 2019 in Tarfaya, Morocco. We have already had a meeting with all of you regarding the proposal. I wanted to leave the following comments and requests here based on our discussions for the purpose of transparency, and also as a part of the staff review portion of the application process for Conference Grants:

  • While the conference venue is somewhat farther from arriving airports compared to other conferences, our discussion made clear that the CAP 10 Foundation has worked with travel agencies to arrange travel to Tarfaya multiple times for past events. The organization has a good understanding of the challenges involved and how to prevent or minimize issues commonly involved with this travel. For instance, volunteers will be available at Lâayoune to help guide arriving attendees to the bus for Tarfaya. This past experience coupled with this kind of support from volunteers should make for a productive travel experience for attendees.
  • One matter we discussed was that the descriptions of the community feedback were somewhat broad, and may be difficult to make good programming choices on. For instance, looking at topics like "technical skills" and "Arwp policies", more definition is needed around what particular skills and policies would be useful to learn or improve for likely attendees of the conference. Similarly, knowing how you want to approach topics like "closing the gender gap" and "Build a powerful and cohesive Arabic speaking community" will also be important to consider. The program committee of the organizing team should meet as soon as possible to make decisions on defining these themes more concretely.
    • It will also be instructive to consider what kinds of sessions at past WikiArabia conferences were most appreciated by attendees. Were they longer or shorter? In what ways were attendees able to participate in those sessions? Once the report for the 2017 conference is ready, please review it for this kind of guiding information.
    • Providing this kind of definition will also help inform participants about what kind of presentations or submissions would be useful for the community.
  • One lesson learned from the 2016 conference was that there is a need for translators for sessions conducted in English, based on feedback from attendees. At this time, it's unclear whether CAP 10 is able able provide funding for this or whether this funding would need to come from the grant, but either way, please make sure to discuss this and amend your budget as needed.

When you're able, please review these comments above and revise the proposal as needed. These revisions will be due by 21 September 2018, after which the Conference Grant Committee will begin formal review of the proposal. Take care, I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 20:02, 15 September 2018 (UTC)

  • @I JethroBT (WMF): Hello Jethro. The team has had a number of internal meeting and we have even had our first meeting with the program committee. We have reviewed your comments and answered them in the grant document. Please check the updated sections in the document as we have addressed your points and tried to clarify them. Anass Sedrati (talk) 14:19, 22 September 2018 (UTC)

Comments from Helmoony[edit]

Salam @ElWaliElAlaoui, Reda benkhadra, and Anass Sedrati: ! Thank you for the request, I have some questions and comments. --Helmoony (talk) 20:05, 7 October 2018 (UTC)

  • Is there a possibility to invite partners to the conference. Here is list of possible groups and entities that can be useful to interact with them in Tarfaya.

- Members of the Open Street Map Morocco. [1] [2]

- Representative of the Open data administration in Morocco.

- Representative of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization, since the Arabic language regulator is based in Morocco.

- Members of minority languages and dialects wikiprojects such as Berber, Egyptian and Kurdish projects.

- Representatives of major Arabic Data bases portals such as kooora (2 members are Moroccans) and elcinema.com (from here).

- Researchers that worked on Arabic Wikipedia. See here as an example, but also all those studies. Our problem is that we don't have a direct relationship with them and we don't know how to efficially apply their results in our community.

- Representative from the Ministry of Culture or the Ministry of Tourism to talk about GLAMs in Morocco (QR code, ..).


  • What's the name of the hotel?
  • What are the other similar international events that Cap10 foundation organized?
  • How are you going to guarantee high speed internet for around 100 attendees during the event in a big desert tent?


Hello @Helmoony:, thank you for these suggestions and questions.
In fact, we are planning to open up to others actors outside the movement and invite them to attend the conference, and even deliver presentations. We will take into consideration the organizations you proposed.
Concerning the hotel, we are actually in discussion with different hotels, once confirmed the name of the hotel will appear on the Meta page dedicated to the conference.
Yes, the Cap 10 Foundation did host international events before such as for instance TEDxTarfaya.
The tent will be equipped with four very high speed internet lines that will cover the entire venue.
Cordially, --Reda benkhadra (talk) 19:37, 8 October 2018 (UTC)


  • @Reda benkhadra: I strongly support @Helmoony: idea, and I talked with him about this idea previously. So, I'm also suggestion this two experts: Abdullah Al-Sabaa (Saudi e-expert, who will be glad to attend and share about this events which will make a great importance about the conference, especially he have millions of followers. Note that I've a direct contact with him) + Aitnews (almost all famous TV channels take the technology news from it, so it'll be very helpful. Note that I've a direct contact with this website manger). Best --Alaa :)..! 18:16, 19 October 2018 (UTC)

CAP 10 Foundation[edit]

Hi there - is there any information out there that explains what this foundation is or does? Couldn't find anything on them and considering the fact that everyone has to fly in via an airport in Westsahara (which makes the venue donations void if the travelling costs are much higher because of this) makes it unclear as to what the benefit of the chosen venue actually is. Best, Braveheart (talk) 13:51, 19 October 2018 (UTC)

Funding decision for WikiArabia 2019 Conference[edit]

@ElWaliElAlaoui:

IEG IdeaLab review.png

Congratulations! Your proposal has been selected for a Conference Grant.

The committee has recommended this proposal and WMF has approved funding for the full amount of your request, $53,150 USD

Comments regarding this decision:
Full funding is recommended for this proposal. While the location in Tarfaya does require more extensive travel, which is not typical for funded conferences, the organizers have experience in arranging and supporting international travel to Tarfaya and event organizing experience at this scale. The organizers have done excellent work in consulting with past WikiArabia organizers and sharing community survey results with the Moroccan community in preparation for this event.

One important request is that the remaining part of the budget ($21,850 USD) that CAP10 will be covering is specified in the budget on the proposal page. Please explain what these expenses in the budget are as soon as possible.

The committee is glad to see the organization's steps toward developing a more concrete program, and further requests that the organizers focus on ensuring that both local Moroccans and Arabic speakers outside the Arabic or Mahgreb region are represented at WikiArabia, specifically from other parts of Africa outside the northern region.

Good luck in preparing for WikiArabia 2019, and we look forward to seeing the outcomes and stories from the event in Tarfaya.


Next steps:

  1. You will be contacted to sign a grant agreement and setup regular check-ins.
  2. Review the conference planning resources.
  3. Start work on your project!

Questions? Contact cschilling(_AT_)wikimedia.org


I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 20:07, 19 October 2018 (UTC)

Request for an additional increase[edit]

Hello @CAlmog (WMF):

Following an earlier conversation regarding the grant proposal, we would like to request a 12000 USD increase in the budget so as to cover the 20% VAT tax fees.

Thank you in advance.

Cordially, --Reda benkhadra (talk) 15:27, 31 July 2019 (UTC)

Hi Reda benkhadra. This request for an additional 12,000 USD is approved. We will work on drafting an Amendment for YFDC to sign. Best CAlmog (WMF) (talk) 13:49, 12 August 2019 (UTC)
Thank you CAlmog (WMF) for informing us of this decision, we remain at your disposal to work jointly on the details. --Reda benkhadra (talk) 14:56, 12 August 2019 (UTC)