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

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Grant report approved and a few comments and questions[edit]

Hi dungodung, IvanaMadzarevic, Bojan Cvetanović and the whole CEE Meeting 2019 organizing team.

I really want to thank you for crafting such a clear, interesting and informative (but still concise) report. I truly enjoyed reading every part of it. There is no doubt that your experience will contribute a lot to our Wikimedia events organizers community.

Your complete grant report has been reviewed and accepted, and documentation of expenses has been received. Thank you for your engagement with the reporting review process. Here are some comments and questions I had about your report and I'll appreciate your feedback on:

Goals and general comments -

  • Is there any update on the joint camp for wikimedians from Macedonia and Serbia?
    • Yes, we had it planned for March. We agreed to join the camp for highschool students in Macedonia. We even chose the students and prepared everything. However, Covid-19 pandemia caused cancelation of the event. --IvanaMadzarevic (talk) 09:17, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
  • It seems like the flexible program allowed the space and time for more sessions and discussions. This is a good demonstration of how the right facilities and physical space, along with an open mind and flexibility has much impact on the program and content.
  • Do you have any other objectives on how you managed to support the smaller communities? Any examples for activities that happened since then?
    • We shared the report, materials, blog post and video sessions for those who want to learn more and to start implementing some of the things they’ve heard at the conferences. Also, we wanted to start more regional projects that will involve many smaller communities. For example, we started Danube Day edit-a-thon with the goal of gathering chapters and communities that are active in countries through which the Danube river flows. --IvanaMadzarevic (talk) 09:17, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
  • This is very exciting to see regional collaborations emerge such as the one planned for a Wiki-Gap event. Looking forward to hearing about it.
  • Gender structure - the survey results show 32.8% of participants were females. This is relatively ok, but has room for improvement.
    • We strived to reduce the gender gap and had greater participation of women, despite the dominance of patriarchy in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.--IvanaMadzarevic (talk) 09:17, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
  • 38.5% is a good ratio for first time participants at the CEE Meeting. Did you targeted newcomers to CEE? What was the process for selecting the participants and scholarship recipients?
    • Yes, we think that too. That’s why we tried to involve them more, asked questions like “How many of you are here for the first time?” at the proper sessions and gave them applause and welcome messages, paid attention and reached out to them so they don’t feel overwhelmed. We also had icons in the program to specify sessions that are newcomers-friendly and useful. As for the targeting, we gave scholarships for the official representatives of the chapters and for the member who is chosen by the community. Process for selecting the participants and scholarship recipients wasn’t hard, since we had problems with small response at the beginning. --IvanaMadzarevic (talk) 09:17, 6 July 2020 (UTC)

Next steps -

  • Strategy - I'm glad to hear you managed to get more people involved and engaged in the strategy, so more voices and ideas will be heard. Did you have any program component on how to implement strategy in the local communities? This is a gap we keep on seeing in the general strategy process.
    • We had designated 90 minute sessions per day specifically for the Strategy discussions, in order for the participants to discuss the ways in which the CEE region can better implement the Movement Strategy on a local level.--IvanaMadzarevic (talk) 09:17, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Thank you for the thorough description of the program sessions, it was very helpful. I specifically liked that you had sessions on 'failures' (those can sometimes be the most useful ones) and also dedicated time for core governance discussions. Generally the program really has a good mix of soft skills, with practical tools and discussions. And well representing the community needs survey, as it should.

What worked well-

  • Pre-conf learning session - I understand that some of the participants were expecting a more practical training, but the learning day focused more on soft skills and community engagement. I think that for next time, it's worth asking upon registration if participants have been to a Wikimedia pre-conf day in the past. Also, I know that sometimes it seems that learning days are essential for regional conferences, but I actually want to challenge this perception and to invite you, or future organizers to think if this is really the case. Learning days require resources, planing and facilitation, but more than often, the conference program is already covering (or can be adjusted to do so) most of the learning day content. In some cases, other solutions can be considered to allow better preparation such as pre-conf online meetings, online training or introduction calls.
    • I completely agree with you. I believe that a lot can be covered during the main conference program. But it’s important to mention that all Learning day participants filled in the survey about the needed skills they want to acquire. So, participants knew what they should expert. --IvanaMadzarevic (talk) 09:17, 6 July 2020 (UTC)

What did not work so well-

  • Poor response from the community upon registration and submission - I appreciate you pointing it out and I know this was a very challenging issue. I think the way you managed it was very good and responsible. Calling it out; going back to the community with this question; raising it as a matter for discussion and trying to find a solution.

This can also be a good opportunity to say that the communication with participants and the wider community, before, during and after the conference, was for me, one of the highlights from an organizer point of view.

    • Thank you. We really worked hard on making this process as transparent as it can be.--IvanaMadzarevic (talk) 09:17, 6 July 2020 (UTC)

Financial documentation

  • Very balanced budget and clear documentation. It's clear that the budget was well planned. Thank you!
  • We'll be happy to add your budget tips to our resources on how to create and manage a conference budget.

dungodung, IvanaMadzarevic, and Bojan Cvetanović, I want to thank you and the rest of the team again for setting such high standard. In both the conference, and throughout the process, you demonstrated high level of professionalism and commitment and we highly appreciate the outcomes of the event and all that you have done to provide this platform for the CEE community. We also warmly welcome any updates you would like to provide us in the future. Looking forward to your response so we can learn more about the impact of the conference. All the best, CAlmog (WMF) (talk) 21:29, 29 June 2020 (UTC)

    • @CAlmog (WMF): Thank you for your comments, suggestions and questions. We really appreciate your help and effort you put into this. For us, you were also one of the organizing team members. :) --IvanaMadzarevic (talk) 09:17, 6 July 2020 (UTC)