Grants talk:PEG/WM VE/Start-Up

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

I have a bit mixed feelings about the budget proportions. I mean - more than 50% of the amount is for your administrative and travel cost, and only roughly 1/3 for projects... My another concern is - that there is no point for rental of office - does it mean you want to keep computers, printer and establish a phone line at someone's home? For what purpose you need a camera and what kind of are you about to buy? Polimerek (talk) 22:28, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

  1. Travelling costs: On one side, the transportation costs in Venezuela are very high, despite having very cheap fuel prices, plus travelling by bus has become too unsafe and most of the wayúu speakers are in the state of Zulia, which is 1 hour away by plane from Caracas. On another side, we have used money from our own pockets to pay for trips to cities other than Caracas to promote and give presentations about the movement and how to get involved, and so far the response has been very good. We consider it is crucial to make the community aware of the existence of the movement and that people can contribute, but Venezuela is quite a large and sparsely populated country, which complicates travelling.
  2. Office: We had originally planned to rent an office, a small one -but it is not worth having an office whose rental would cost (the lowest for a 6 sqm office in a not-very-safe area) US$ 6,500 for a year, when one of our members is willing to let us use one unused room of her apartment. Taking into account that almost all of us work full-time, it makes no sense renting a place that won't be occupied on a daily basis.
  3. As for the digital camera, we are using my own camera, and for simultaneous events we might need more cameras. We have considered models similar to this one. We have been discussing about the possibility of organizing an event like Wikimedia Venezuela takes your city, in which we would go out and take photos of places without any image in Commons. And we also want to participate in WLM next year as well.--Jewbask (talk) 17:58, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

I think it's important to point out that our main goal is to give free access to free knowledge to ALL people in ALL Venezuela. If you take into account that the Internet penetration in Venezuela is less than 40% [1] as to 2011 then you can figure out that we cannot accomplish our mission just sitting in front of our computers.
Most of our people are in the margin of the Wikimedia Projects. If you really want the people (that 60% and a lot of that 40%) to get access to all the knowledge then you have to go where they are. If you want to free that knowledge, the one you don't have because it is not in Internet and it is just in old books in an hidden library hundred of kilometers away or not published, you cannot keep seated. And that is what we are doing little by little, and that is what we have to keep doing as far we can ensure people really can have that access. We have to empower and encourage people around Venezuela to collect and develop neutral educational content under a free content license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally. It sounds familiar, right? Just add low Internet access, several miles and security issues.
We can make a difference. We can call the attention of those who can help us in granting that access, but first we have to be with the people. If you want to get where the people are then you have to take your suitcase and take a trip. We have been paying for those trips from our pockets and a grant to effort then is really a support we need. We are not talking about starting to edit, we are talking about going to east and west north and south to the communities of local users groups, native communities, from the top of the Andes to the Highlands of Guayana, to the southern plains to the north coast. Travelling is not a project (right!). Travelling is a task for several projects.
And at first we don't see ourselves as the office guys for the free knowledge movement. The rude work is out there for now. The money we can use in hiring an office, we prefer to use it to get where the people are. That thanks to the opportunity we have of taking a place at one of our board members'. We cannot denay that Wikimedia Venezuela needs a representation. We need "the office". We need the phone number where the people and stakeholders can call and have an answers in the name of WMVE. We need office stuff. Yes, we need all of that. But we discussed it very well and for a good while. We can have "an office" without paying a rent. We can use the money for our mission. Later, with the years we'll have a rented office, for sure. Meanwhile we just need basic office stuff, such us the computers and so on because yes, we have a lot of burocracy locally. The kind of burocracy you better don't want to image for your own health (it isn't Poland). ;) Nicely. --Fhaidel (talk) 19:41, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

P.S.: Well, but if we can get the support for the travels (priority) and the help for renting the office, it's sounds good for me :) --Fhaidel (talk) 19:41, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

We have a lot bureaucracy in Poland as well :-) Anyway - you sound very persuasive. I just asked questions to clarify your grant application :-) For me it is absolutely OK. Polimerek (talk) 23:47, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Some thoughts[edit]

Thanks for the submission. My main concern is also related to some of the items mentioned in the budget. You have 4,800 $ for post office box per year that seems to be a little bit expensive. I don't know what are the prices of the postal services in Venezuela, but is it possible to cut off this sum? This one along with the costs for telephone service and travel are recurrent, and will normally occur next year. How do you plan to cover them in the future? My opinion regarding the administrative costs, including the costs for founding the NGO is definitely supportive, as it is something that is usually done with the newly approved chapters. So far we've used not to approve the purchase of equipment, mostly because of its use for the project requested and the property rights for it, as it was likely to be lent from elsewhere (e.g. Wikimedia Foundation, a Wikimedia chapter, other organization). But this looks like to be something that you will use for a longer period, and it might be possible to support the purchase of such equipment. Best regards.--Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 00:09, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

  1. That amount of 4,800 is not US$ but Bolívares Fuertes (VEB); for the amount in US$, look at the last column :-) Still, it is the cost of a private POB -the local post service is very unreliable, but we could switch to an Ipostel POB for 1/4 the cost, no worries :-)
  2. During the Wikimedia Conference in Berlin, we consulted if the WMF could make an exception and allow us to fundraise (in local currency) since many people (and some companies and organizations) have let us know that they'd like to donate money in local currency, since donating to NGOs abroad is very complicated: individuals have a maximum yearly allowance of US$ 400 to spend in electronic transactions and companies simply cannot donate foreign currency abroad. So, we consulted with some people at the WMF and we were told that our case could be studied because our situation is "special". By having a look at the increase in donations received from Venezuela from 2010 to 2011 and taking into account that we only have these US$ 400 per year, you could understand why we think we can raise a lot of money locally, which anyway would never reach the WMF since it cannot be transfered abroad. If we were approved to do so, we would organize the logistics for organizing it in Venezuela. --Jewbask (talk) 03:06, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
    1. To sum up, Venezuela has a foreign exchange control system; so individuals can't use more than 400$USD for "internet" transactions (which people really use on Amazon first). However they can donate in local currency. DamianFinol (talk) 17:22, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

GAC members who have read this request but had no comments[edit]

More questions[edit]

  • I think it's very commendable that you don't need to pay for the office and found some place to use. Hovewer, I have some questions.
  • How many active members, e.g. willing and able to commit more than a couple of hours per week, WM VE has at the moment? During the next year you plan to register and organize two conferences for 50 people each in different cities and travel and promote WM movement, while having full time jobs? For comparison, a relatively well-established WM Russia is able to organize only one conference per year, so they vary the city. I think that organizing two conferences is a bit too ambitious.
As of today, we have one active member in Punto Fijo, one in Cumaná, two active members in Barquisimeto, two in Maracaibo, 5 in Valencia and 13 in the Greater Caracas Area. The conferences are not as big as a Wikimania, and a little of a Meetup too. Regarding travelling, some can be done during weekends/long weekend; in some cases we will switch depending on who can get a permission from work or take advantage of a city holiday to travel to another one :-) --Jewbask (talk) 23:10, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
  • The price of PO Box is exorbitant, there must be some cheaper options. --Victoria (talk) 10:14, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
We're trying to find a cheaper one, but this is pretty much the average for a private POB. We can still take a public post POB, but it is very unrealiable. Or not to pay a POB at all! --Jewbask (talk) 23:10, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Would it be possible to use the postal address of your meetings place? Are you planning to recompence the person, who is lending you a room, at least for electricity, so he/she won't get tired of hosting very soon?--Victoria (talk) 10:06, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
We proposed to help paying either the electricity or the internet service (both are more or less the same) but she hasn't accepted so far :-/ --Jewbask (talk) 15:07, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Hi Victoria, the idea behind the 'two conferences' (I'd call just two meetups) is to approach to a wider audience. We are thinking in something small, between 50-150 expected attendees, we are at least 5 people in Caracas and Valencia, more than enough to set an event of these characteristics. Regards --Oscar_. (talk) w:spanish 00:18, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the prompt replies. I am glad to hear that you have enough people to support the proposed program, but I think that we need to clarify the terminology:
  • In my experience a "Meetup" is an informal meeting of n wikimedians, where 2 < n < 20. Usulally no more, than 20 people, because a larger group fracture into smaller groups, which talk about computers, music etc. and rarely about wikimedia. At least in Europe, the meeups often take place in cafes, but everyone pays for his/her refreshment. There are usually some lay people present, but mainly relatives and friends of wikipedians.
  • Wikiconference, on the other hand, is something much more organised and requires a committee, a venue, a program, posters etc. I know that sessions for newbies are rarely successful during the conferences, because it's difficult to join somebody, who is very advanced in the subject.
  • There can be special meetings for people, who are interested in editing Wikimedia projects, but don't know how, but this require preparation as well, at least somebody, who knows what to talk about (a presentation).

The meetup doesn't usually require an expenditure, certainly not $1.5K. A conference or outreach project does, but at this level of funding I suggest you apply for an additional funding, when you have a more structured proposal.

That's why I wouldn't call them exactly "meetups" because the audience is way larger than 20 people and we organize presentations during the event. Probably is a question of finding a more appropriate word in English that corresponds to the characteristics of such an event, as we have one in Spanish: Encuentro, an event where people gather, meet, talk and discuss about the Wikimedia Movement and its projects :-) Our first Wikiencuentro had 30 attendees, we rented a hall at Universidad Central de Venezuela and after the presentations we went to have a late lunch together (everybody pays their food) --Jewbask (talk) 15:07, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
If you already had an Encruento, this makes the other ones are more feasible. Hovewer, sorry, but I don’t understand your calculations. For “outreach and projects” you plan to spend $5, 209, while T-shirts will already cost 4,186 and each of the three projects 1,627 each. Do you count the cost of promotional material twice?--Victoria (talk) 10:50, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
Oops, my mistake! Sorry. --Jewbask (talk) 23:05, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
  • It would have been helpful, if you'd included some indication of what "ForoTIC 2012", as I understand it, this is a forum for communication and technology.Victoria (talk) 10:06, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Sure! ForoTIC 2012 is a biannual forum for communication and technology, organized in the city of Valencia by a consulting company named Lourtec. During the event, six debates in three different tracks (IT Culture and e-government, Mobility and Internet, IT Infrastructure and Software solutions) are scheduled, with a panel of 4-5 IT experts plus a moderator. After the presentation and the debate, the audience also makes questions to the presenter. We'll also have a booth/stand outside of the main hall, so attendees (and the media) can ask for more information about the movement and our projects. It is a one-day event. --Jewbask (talk) 15:07, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. How many people in total will take part in ForoTIC 2012? I am sure that everybody there will be happy to get a free T-thirt and buttons, but would it be cost effective and fit to goals to spend more than a thousand dollars in one day? From my experience of biotech companies’ promotional material , it doesn’t change anything - I buy the products, which are the best for the lowest price, not from the company, that gave me a free pen. I doubt that people will start participating in WM projects just because they’ve got our promotional material - and we don't need ads on people's backs, this crowd will definitely know what is Wikipedia.--Victoria (talk) 10:50, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
The organizers request enough material for 400 attendees. And no, we don't think of distributing t-shirts, freesbies or baseball caps! Just buttons and stickers -probably a button with the Wikipedia logo and a sticker (with WM-VE logo and/or the Wikipedia globe puzzle) plus a triptych with more info about the Wikimedia movement, WM-VE and our projects. That's what we have distributed (from our own pockets) in other events previously and people loved that. --Jewbask (talk) 23:05, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

(The rest of) opinion[edit]

  • I think, that admin stuff (legal, supplies, etc.) can be fully funded, except for the P/O box. Not sure about the camera, but it's relatively inexpensive.
  • Travel costs are probably too much and can be halved - at least, that's what British Research Concils usually do, while giving grants.--Victoria (talk) 10:50, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
I'll talk to the other guys and girls about it. No problem about taking the POB off the list. --Jewbask (talk) 23:05, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
Wait! We need that POB. :| We're going to be at Laura's home but that will be just for one year or maybe two. We cannot print papers and send communications, letters, cards with a so volatile address. Neither we can expect receiving post at Laura's studio all the time, in working hours i.e. We are starting and we are not going to be all day at her home and the mail system here is not that kind of leave the package in the mail box. That doesn't work so here. Or you're there to receive or you loose and go around the city to rescue your mail. A POB is a fixed and functional address we need. We really need some help with that. --Fhaidel (talk) 13:14, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
I am generally already in support of the grant, I just have a question on this item and the amount allocated for it. For USD 1,116.27, I know it could really be that expensive to rent a PO Box. But does WMVE expect to receive a lot of correspondence? Are there any virtual offices/business center/co-working spaces in Venezuela where you can receive your correspondence or which may offer receiving your correspondence on a much cheaper rate or perhaps use their business address as your own? Because we are using the same for the Philippines, I don't know if that could work for you.-- Namayan (talk) 10:10, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
There are some sort of virtual offices but they do not receive correspondence; sadly, they only work for printing, sending faxes and providing a space for meetings. And the few that I know of have been transformed into cyber-cafés :-/ --Jewbask (talk) 14:47, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
That explains it. -- Namayan (talk) 17:37, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Scale-down needed[edit]

WMVE is a very young chapter, and is asking for a lot of money for a start-up grant. Before going into any of the details, I will say $25K is much too much for a start-up grant, and we should look into prioritization of the components of this proposal to find a subset that would get WMVE going and support its first project(s), but cost no more than, say, $10K. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 21:33, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

A lot of money is a relative term. As Fhaidel explained below and because of the currency control system, our real market rate is around 10-11 BsF per US$ and the official rate (at the one we will receive the money from the WMF, if we receive any) is BsF 4.3 per US$, so those US$10,000 will allow us to do way less than what you could in the US with the same amount of money. And BTW that currency control system has been around since 2003. --Jewbask (talk) 01:41, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Even if $25K in Venezuela is equivalent to $10K in the US (and I understand everything you said about the currency problem), it is still too much money to commit at this point in WMVE's existence. As I said above, you will need to prioritize WMVE's needs and plans, and pick the most important ones to do first. After WMVE has used those funds for those first priorities, both sides will be better positioned to evaluate further spending. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 15:13, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
+1 to what Asaf said. Abbasjnr (talk) 20:44, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
+1 to above. I see a lot of revision has been done. Can someone update the totals to omitt what has and revise what has been reduced. Caution is usually taken for the first or start-up grant. I advice that all the items that you have ommited, be collected together for your next grant request (which you can do after submitting report of this one). You will have to be patient in building your chapter, and we are all here to assit you do just that.--Thuvack (talk) 07:20, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
+1 to the comments of Asaf. It's relatively young. I am for providing WMVE the administrative resources it needs to operate as an organization. As a volunteer chapter it must focus on capacity building, as it is easy to provide plans, but there has to be programs and the needed manpower to see to it that it will be executed. If I may just suggest to begin with small projects, maybe regular meet-ups in the said cities or perhaps divert the said amounts to program specific projects. I have no doubt WMVE would be able to deliver and execute this efficiently. -- Namayan (talk) 12:54, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Budget Items[edit]

  • $1100 for "office supplies", beyond the hardware? That's a lot of money for office supplies, and remember there is not going to be a physical office at this point. Please break this down and explain why so much needs to be spent, or reduce this considerably. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 22:21, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I see you all saying something like "oh, that's so high... so expensive..." Believe me: I understand you. I wish we have a not so expensive economy. You're right. Things here can look (and be) quite expensive. Not in vain people who can get access to the controlled dollars go to e-bay instead of to the local shop. Just an exercise: One laptop in USA = US$ 420 [2]. The controlled exchange is Bs.4,3/USD. You can image the same laptop for Bs. 1.806 more or less. But when you come down here to buy that computer in the local market, you'll find that it costs Bs. 5.950 [3] equivalent to US$ 1.383,72. :/ That's when you say: that's too much for that computer. It's just a simple example of the economy in this "global south" country. Anyway, we might adjust something. I think! ;) I say: You're right but I beg you not to loss the local country economy context. Most of the stuff we can present can seem really expensive and we're concious of that but there isn't much we can do with prices. --Fhaidel (talk) 02:52, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Are you, in fact, going to "adjust something" in your budget? Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 15:20, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
That's what we are doing. We'll figure out how to get more office supplies, probably through donations -you know, some bookstore can give us ink cartrigdes, another retailer might give us paper... --Jewbask (talk) 19:02, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Asaf... the office is real. Not in a corporate building but office anyway. When you say that it isn't physical, I read "it's virtual" --Fhaidel (talk) 02:52, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I stand corrected. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 15:20, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
  • WMVE does not need a fixed telephone line, as it's not going to have an office. Why can't a board member's personal cell phone be used for now? Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 22:21, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
In my case (and I think other board members as well) my cell phone plan (and the phone itself) is paid by the company I work for. Would using that phone line ethical? And again, the office is real; it might not be in a fancy building in the business district of Caracas, but the fact that a board member is willing to cede a room in her apartment to use as an office does not mean it is not an office. --Jewbask (talk) 01:44, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for this clarification. I withdraw the reservation about the phone line. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 15:20, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
  • $140 to send a couple of pages of paper to San Francisco is exorbitant. Please support this with a price quote. Note that we only need the chapter agreement in hard copy; you do not need to send us the bylaws in hard copy, nor is there need for express shipping. We expect one mailing of a few pieces of paper to cost significantly less, but would like you to find out what exactly it might cost. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 22:21, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I'll provide the price quotes. --Jewbask (talk) 22:21, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, please do. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 15:20, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
  • $1100 for a PO Box is exorbitant, and of questionable value. What does WMVE need a physical mailbox for? Can't your letterheads etc. only mention a Web site and an e-mail address? And if you absolutely need a physical mailbox for legal reasons, can you perhaps find a friendly organization (e.g. Fundación Centro Nacional de Desarrollo e Investigación en Tecnologías Libres, or perhaps a university?) that would agree to receive WMVE's mail for now? Spending so much money for a PO Box is hard to justify at this stage. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 22:21, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
We have contacted other NGOs and Universities, and none is willing to do it for free. --Jewbask (talk) 22:21, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
I see. Thanks for this additional context. In this case, could you clarify a little what the implication would be of choosing the standard/public PO Box over this premium service? Would WMVE's ability to achieve movement goals be significantly impaired if we choose the cheaper option? Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 15:20, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
The impact? most of the communication with state entities and organizations in Venezuela are done in paper and not electronically, and having a public POB would cause problems since, personally, I had once one of those and I'm still waiting for lost letters and packages that should have arrived in 2008. There is one company that offers this service and the sender pays nothing, as in, for instance: You leave me an envelope/parcel in one of their offices in Maracaibo and address it to my mailbox in Caracas. You pay nothing. I pay a yearly fee for receiving it in my mailbox in Caracas. And it comes with insurance. --Jewbask (talk) 18:46, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. Now it is much clearer, and I understand the need. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 22:55, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Is 180 VEF per T-shirt the best quote available in Venezuela? ~$40 per T-shirt wholesale is quite expensive, in US standards. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 22:21, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry to shock you with the costs of t-shirts in Venezuela but yes, it is. If you want a few price quotes, we can provide them --Jewbask (talk) 22:21, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
And that's quite cheap in fact!! You can find them by the double. --Fhaidel (talk) 02:52, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I see. Do you know if there are restrictions on producing the T-shirts elsewhere and shipping a large quantity to Venezuela? Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 15:20, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
No, there are no restrictions. We would just have to pay for the nationalization taxes and that kind of stuff (some couriers already include these taxes in their rates). --Jewbask (talk) 18:49, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Very well. So let's assume we will be shipping merchandise to you rather than you producing it locally, so it can be taken out of this request. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 22:55, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Done. I also took off the buttons since it will be definitely cheaper to get them from the WMF rather than having them made here, so I'm assuming the same case as the t-shirts. Damian got us a bunch of buttons once and we managed to give them away in quite a few events. --Jewbask (talk) 03:27, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
  • You do not make clear what the expect impact of ~6.8K's worth of travel would be. Please clarify what the travel is for (the fact you have members in each of those cities is not, in itself, a value proposition), and reduce it significantly for this start-up grant. I'd recommend focusing on Caracas and Valencia, where the bulk of the members are at the moment, until WMVE has gotten off the ground and gained some experience, at which point it would be in a better position to plan (and get more funding for) its expansion across the country. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 22:21, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
Until now, we have attended conferences and gave speeches about the Wikimedia movement in cities in Venezuela other than Caracas (i.e., Valencia, Maracay, San Felipe, Barquisimeto, Maracaibo, Coro) with money from our own pockets. The number of events we could have attended could have been a lot bigger had we had money to fund these trips. The money requested in this case would be used for attending events related to Free Knowledge where we are expected to participate as speakers. Still, we have proceeded as per your request and cut the numbers of trips planned in half. --Jewbask (talk) 17:27, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 15:20, 13 July 2012 (UTC)


There are only about 3000 literate native speakers of Wayuu in the world, of which only about half live in Venezuela. This number is far too small to ever support a viable Wikipedia community (Wikisource and Wiktionary are much more viable, and valuable). The stats about the Wayuu Incubator support my statement -- only four human users have made more than a handful of edits to the wiki in as many years (and User:Jewbask, the principal applicant, is one of them).

If the article is correct, then I must know a quarter of the literate native speakers of wayuunnaiki! :-) Regarding the number of users in the Wayuunaiki Wikipedia, haven't you realised how complex is editing in the Incubator for someone with no wiki background? or do you think they will just see the interface and figure out how to start editing? In case you didn't know, there has been state-sponsored and private (Catholic Church-run schools) bilingual wayuunaiki/spanish education in the State of Zulia since the early 80s where Wayuunaiki is the core language used while Spanish is used for science (math, physics, chemistry) subjects, so that number of 3,000 literate speakers is wrong. To give you one example I have at hand, the Venezuelan Ministry of Education has been publishing since 2005 more than 10,000 copies of the teaching book Apünajaa (ISBN 980-6468-46-5) yearly. --Jewbask (talk) 22:08, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Given all that, and this is not new to most of you reading this, I content we should not devote a single dollar of our donor funds toward attempts to create a Wikipedia in Wayuu. People are of course welcome to donate their time and skills however they see fit, but I think it would be irresponsible to spend any of our financial resources on this doomed effort that is not serving our mission, i.e. not actually delivering free knowledge to people.

I find the phrase "this doomed effort" pretty offensive to a community of 600,000 people that is interested in preserving their culture, traditions and language but has not received the opportunity (yet) to do so. I still don't understand what happened to WMF's motto "Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge". How can the wayuu people share their knowledge with the rest of the world in their own language if there is no platform to do so/nobody teaches them how to do so? --Jewbask (talk) 22:08, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

I therefore ask that WMVE make it very clear that none of the money being asked for is to be used to promote a Wayuu Wikipedia, nor to travel to Guajira for no purpose other than this. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 22:21, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

My personal position (not WMVE's): don't worry, Asaf. If I am offering a workshop to literate wayuu speakers on how to edit in Wikipedia, Wiktionary or Wikisource, I will do it from my own pocket. --Jewbask (talk) 22:08, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for this personal opinion. And what should I take as WMVE's position? That's what I was asking for, above. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 15:08, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Postura Oficial de Wikimedia Venezuela: Si la Fundación considera que la Wikipedia en Wayuunaiki no es importante, nosotros WM-VE buscaremos realizar este objetivo con dinero propio. No es la primera vez que nosotros pagamos por alquiler de espacio para reunir a wikimedistas o por material POP (libretas, marcapáginas) o por refrigerios o por traslados. Somos un grupo comprometido con el proyecto y, aunque no nos sobra el dinero, siempre buscamos apoyarnos unos a otros. Si la Fundación considera que NO apoyará la creación de una Wikipedia en una de las lenguas originarias hablada en Colombia y Venezuela, por supuesto NO usaremos dinero de la Fundación para hacer la Wiki en Wayuunaiki. Usaremos el dinero que la Fundación nos apruebe para los items que están en el presupuesto. Saludos, Laura Fiorucci (talk) 02:16, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
You misunderstand. We do not consider the Wayuunaiki Wikipedia "not important", as you say; we consider it "not viable", i.e. it is extremely unlikely ever to be a significant source of free knowledge for people (though it could achieve other purposes, such as language practice and language preservation. Those purposes, however, are outside our mission).
Anyhow, it is fine to disagree on this point. This statement above, about not using WMF funds for purposes not approved in this grant proposal (once approved) is enough. Please strike out(like this) the Wayuunaiki Wikipedia (Wikisource and Wiktionary are good projects to develop in any language) from the grant proposal. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 23:05, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Done, striked out from the grant proposal as requested. --Jewbask (talk) 03:31, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
WMVE cannot understand what you call "our mission", i.e. "our mission" is "to empower and engage people around Venezuela (part of the world, including the Guajira and other places) to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally". We understand that "in collaboration with a network of chapters (like WMVE), the Foundation provides the essential infrastructure and an organizational framework for the support and development of multilingual wiki projects and other endeavors which serve this mission." And in your own words, WMVE consider it is irresponsible to treat this effort as a previously doomed one. In fact, we feel quite offended with such speech. Because of that we must be very clear in disagree with you in this matter.--Fhaidel (talk) 02:51, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry you take offense; certainly no offense was meant. I have been citing facts in support of my assessment of a Wayuunaiki Wikipedia's viability. You don't need anyone's permission to work on a Wayuunaiki Wikipedia, or to encourage others to work on it. You do need permission to spend WMF-provided funds on doing that.
If new facts come to light, suggesting the Wayuunaiki Wikipedia is viable, we can revisit this in the future, and consider allocating funds to support it. For now, this does seem a doomed effort, and we are committed to make effective use of our donor funds, and so should not fund this. The statement above suggests WMVE accepts this, so we can move on. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 23:05, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
My personal opinion is that the project to support this endangered language is really important but it should be a different project and a different grant. The problem is that the measure of the success should be addressed to have few and really reachable objectives. So, it would be better to close this grant looking in the costs of the startup and after submit a grant for the specific support of Wayuunaiki. This is the some comments I had with Wikimedia Chile (if I remember well) when they asked they startup. So, may we agree? I think that this suggestion to split the two projects is more an advantage for WM VE than an opposition. --Ilario (talk) 10:10, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
We already took any reference to support of the development of a Wayuunaiki Wikipedia, Wiktionary and/or Wikisource; we are doing it with our own personal resources and so far we have progressed. It will take longer, but we'll be fine. --Jewbask (talk) 19:40, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Another opinion[edit]

I have read all previous comments, and, dare I suggest the following:

- I understand that it has launched WMVE insurmountable requirements, type of legal expenses, fees, etc.

- Do not believe everything that is most important has to do with costs to explain what is and what does the WP? Travel, conferences, workshops?

- I am convinced that we must begin with what is basic, and, later, progress in materials and infrastructure. If not available locally hired WMVE headquarters, makes a bad handling equipment: printers, cameras, etc..

- You could adjust the budget in this line?

Do not think I know the importance of having local facilities, but must set priorities, because we could find some means having inadequate at this time.

Regarding the issue of promoting the use of indigenous languages ​​as Wayuunaiki in your application you refer to only support, but not specify which resources are spent planning. I am in favor of promoting the use of minority languages​​, but it is calibrated as well, especially if we consider the small number of users of the same, and therefore of potential Wikipedians collaborating on the project . Could you explain how you plan to do this line of work, objectives and resources are allocated. --Josepnogue (talk) 19:45, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

I didn't understand the first part quite well. Could you please be more specific? Thanks! --Jewbask (talk) 01:28, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
I, too, could not quite understand Josep's comments. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 15:21, 13 July 2012 (UTC)


I know most things here are "expensive" for you. I just want to give an idea as it works here.

You surely know that we have exchange control since many years ago in Venezuela. We have a legal controlled exchange and naturrally a gray market. The legal exchange is VEF 4,3/USD. The gray market exchange is about VEF 10/USD fluctuating. The local economy is calculated for most things taking the USD price as reference and then you multiply for the gray value of the USD. When you convert Dollars into Bolivars you have to do it taking the legal exchange.

  • Example:
    • 1 t-shirt: USD 19
    • 1 t-shirt in the venezuelan local market = 19 * 10 = Bs. 190
    • 1 t-shirt in legal USD exchange = Bs. 190 / 4,30 = US$ 44,19


  • If you have US$ 19 and change them legally, you have: US$ 19 * 4,3 = Bs. 81,70. You cannot buy the t-shirt.
  • If you have US$ 44,19 and change them legally, you have: US$ 44,19 * 4,30 = Bs. 190. You can go and buy the t-shirt.

So, with US$ 25.161,41 we can effort the same you might effort with US$ 10.819,40:

25.161,41 / 10 = 2.516,14
2.516,14 * 4,3 = 10.819,40

If we receive US$ 10.000,00 we can effort as much as you can effort with US$ 4.300,00

This exercice is if you are trying to compare the exchange capability between yours economies and ours.

I hope it can be an easy reference.


--Fhaidel (talk) 03:34, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

I know this official and real exchange rates issue from communist era in Poland and it is really painfull. However, in that case maybe it would be more clever to produce your T-shirts and other stuff abroad by other local chapter or WMF office in Brasil, and then send it to you instead of sending money? The same apply to office equipment. Polimerek (talk) 09:54, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
If it is cheaper, of course! --Jewbask (talk) 01:25, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Uh... that would be nice (surely cheaper) to get all that stuff from abroad but I'm not sure how viable it would be. Maybe for "Equipment and spendables" (except "Other office supplies" and phone service) and the T-Shirts. But... how viable and accountable could it be? I'm not sure. :/ --Fhaidel (talk) 02:21, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for this explanation. It certainly helped. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 15:22, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
This kick-up of two and half times for the currency is a real problem. It effectively means that prices are artificially inflated by ... not 10 or 20%, but almost two and a half times. The t-shirt example is just one. Perhaps this application needs to wait until this punitive exchange rate system ends (it will take many years, I suspect). What do other international non-profits do? Tony (talk) 23:53, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
The currency exchange system has been up for the last 9 years, if I remember well, and I don't think it will change while Chávez is still in power. The problem is that if our application has to wait, there's almost nothing we will be able to do but languish until none of us can pay the expenses from our own pockets -which is not a lot of money though. There are not many international non-profits here but they all see their budget in foreign currency minimized; some others fundraise locally to help collect some money too. --Jewbask (talk) 19:52, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, we are doing some research on whether and how this can be overcome, and we are reaching out to other NGOs to find out what their practice is. Please stay tuned.
Relatedly, this suggests it may be illegal for us to support WMVE once incorporated, which puts into serious question whether incorporation even makes sense for WMVE. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 00:16, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Not really. the law is very specific and applies only to political and human rights organizations. --Jewbask (talk) 19:57, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't know what could be the position of WMF in this situation, on one hand we have a community where there is a momentum to get started, but WMVE has no choice but comply with domestic laws. Venezuela isn't even an embargoed OFAC country, I would understand if it is. I feel WMVE's desire to be incorporated as it gives them more leverage to pursue their objectives, suggesting that they fund raise would be difficult too at this point. -- Namayan (talk) 04:34, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Responding in a timely manner[edit]

I don't find particularly constructive the fact that it's been over a month since we last replied to the questions posted here and the people responsible for following up with our request doesn't reply, when other grant requests are being attended in an expedite manner. I'd like to know why is that. Is there a priority list for Grant Requests? --Jewbask (talk) 13:15, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Hi, Carlos. There seems to be a misunderstanding. I was under the impression we are waiting for the price quotes you said you would provide. Is this not the case? Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 15:06, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
If you check the history of the Grant Request, you can see I updated it with the cheapest price quote I could find for the cost of sending the documents to San Francisco -DHL seemed to have adjusted its prices. On the quote for the mailbox, the national post service doesn't provide price quotes over the phone, and they only work in office hours -I haven't been able to leave the office for the nearest post office available. --Jewbask (talk) 18:36, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, this is reasonable now. To proceed, please address the remaining issues above, including a general scaling down and prioritization, as the proposal as it stands is still more than double the amount we consider reasonable for a first grant. Remember you can always ask for an additional grant, after making some progress on this first one (even before it is over). Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 23:08, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Done. We'll take that into account, definitely. I fully trust my team, I'm pretty sure we'll achieve all our goals before expected. --Jewbask (talk) 03:23, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Some research[edit]

Please note I am doing some research on how to best support WMVE financially, and this may take a little more time. Please bear with us as we try to find the best solution. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 16:49, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

+1 --Fhaidel (talk) 01:25, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Just a quick note to confirm we are still looking into options. It's complicated. :) Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 19:44, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I know it is not easy, Asaf. Thanks. --Jewbask (talk) 19:42, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

What about a gift? Is there any barriers to donate equipment? If you are buying abroad, how much is the tax? --MikyM (talk) 16:02, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

In general, there are not barriers to receive equipment donated from abroad other than some kind of "import" tax, whicha re lower than regular improt taxes since we are an NGO. --Jewbask (talk) 19:42, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, if we are looking to use more than forty cents out of every dollar, buying abroad can help. I mean, some chapters or the WMF can bought and send (donate) to you. I'm sorry to see you are waiting so long time.--MikyM (talk) 22:25, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
That could help too! We'd have to see what the WMF says about it! Thanks, it's pretty frustrating because we keep postponing and rescheduling all the major events we had been planning due to lack of resources :-/ --Jewbask (talk) 00:30, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
I suppose we're looking into involving other chapters in the area with helping you? Or is moving money to Venezuela from whereever a problem? (sorry for being new and stoopid on this :D notafish }<';> 08:35, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
We are trying to figure out how to deal with the dual exchange rate and avoid losing a lot of money. But it hasn't been easy :-( --Jewbask (talk) 16:51, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
My inclination is to avoid at all costs being roped into what is effectively a system of graft payments to the regime—whether by the dual exchange rate or so-called import taxes. Let's hope some way can be found. Tony (talk) 06:33, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

Fixed amount for start-up[edit]

On my opinion, the fixed amount of money could be delivered for starting WM Chapters. On my opinion in any country, USD 5000 is quite enough amount for the necessary spending:

  • Legal registration
  • First year of operation
  • First Annual General Meeting (travel, meal)
  • Design and publishing some promotional materials, business cards
  • One press-conference

Of course, this does not include the equipment and the outreach activities.

So the whole grant is quite reasonable for me. --Perohanych (talk) 15:26, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Support for the grant[edit]

  1. -- Namayan (talk) 17:38, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Request for changes[edit]

Equipment and spendables USD 2,636.00
Multi-function printer 1 USD 150.00 USD 150.00
Ink cartridges for printer 12 USD 13.00 USD 156.00
VideoBeam (projector) 1 USD 330.00 USD 330.00
Laptop 1 USD 2,000.00 USD 2,000.00
Finance USD 443.37
Opening of a bank account in a Universal Bank in VEF 1 USD 79.37 USD 79.37
Opening of a bank account in Panama in USD 1 USD 3,000.00 USD 3,000.00
Provision for buying equipments and spendables in USD against bank account in USD 1 -USD 2.636,00 -USD 2,636.00
Administration USD 491.97
Register of assembly minute year 2014 1 USD 44.00 USD 44.00
Domains renewal 1 year:; 2 USD 7.16 USD 14.32
Hosting for 1 year 1 USD 72.00 USD 72.00
Partners book 1 USD 3.00 USD 3.00
Register of partners book 1 USD 39.68 USD 39.68
Book inventory 1 USD 3.00 USD 3.00
Register of book inventory 1 USD 33.97 USD 33.97
Official seals 1 USD 7.00 USD 7.00
Packages of business cards 5 USD 25.00 USD 125.00
Member cards 50 USD 3.00 USD 150.00
Outreach and projects USD 4,642.06
Third General Assembly 2014 in Barquisimeto 1 USD 1,070.81 USD 1,070.81
Wikipedia offline 1st round: Media (CD) de la Enciclopedia de Venezuela 200 USD 2.38 USD 476.00
Wikipedia Education Program: 1st round 1 USD 1,031.75 USD 1,031.75
WLM 2014 1 USD 1,031.75 USD 1,031.75
Wikivoyage Contest 2014 1 USD 1,031.75 USD 1,031.75
Travels allowance USD 4,704.76
Travel to Panama to buy some equipment and open Bank Account 1 USD 4,704.76 USD 4,704.76
   Return flight tickets CCS-PTY 2 USD 1,932.38 USD 3,864.76
   Hotel: 1 double x 3 days 1 USD 300.00 USD 300.00
   Meals 2 USD 120.00 USD 240.00
   Taxes 2 USD 150.00 USD 300.00
Accounts payable USD 306.05
Accounts payable 1 USD 306.05 USD 306.05
TOTAL USD 13,224.21

This request is made following instructions by WMF's grants team since funds are going to be funded in a time when for sure the budget is already overdue. Not only dates are obsolte but also the implementation of projects and expenses. No changes to the total amount have been done. --Fhaidel (talk) 02:08, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

Thanks Fhaidel, for this request. We'll review the request swiftly. Do you also require any changes to your start date and completion date listed here, since the processing of this grant has been so delayed? Thank you, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 18:11, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Hi, Winifred. Yes, please. Let's change those dates. Start date: january 2014 (starting our fiscal year) and completion date on april, 2015 (after the end of our fiscal year and after our statement of Income Tax 2014 that runs during the first quarter of 2015). Is it ok here or should I type it anywhere else? --Fhaidel (talk) 19:08, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Fhaidel! This is the perfect place to leave the request.
  1. We will need exact start and end dates, however. Would 1 January 2014 - 1 April 2015 work for WMVE?
  2. Also, note that we will need to set an interim reporting schedule since the grant is longer than 12 months. I would suggest an interim report on 15 August 2014, which is about halfway through your grant term. Does that make sense for WMVE?
Thanks, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 23:34, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
  • it's ok the start date on 1 January 2014 and the end on 1 April 2015. Perfect.
  • About the interim report: you know we've agreed you will fund this in two parts. We consider that if we do have the funds available on January then we can report a part on 1 April 2014 which is the time we estimate the first funding to be consumed (see Equipment and spendables + Finance + Travels allowance, and compare with the agreement letter with Damian) If you don't see any trouble, we can set 1 April 2014 for the interim report instead of August.
Let us know if it's ok. Thank you. --Fhaidel (talk) 05:15, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
An interim report four months after money is received is acceptable. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 20:20, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
Based on estimated date of disbursement for the first installment, the interim report is due 15 August 2014. Jtud (WMF) (talk) 00:40, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

Questions and Comments[edit]

  1. Since this is a completely new list of activities, please revise the measures of success and descriptions to match these activities. For example, explain what the Wikivoyage contest is, and what it is meant to achieve.
  2. What is the background to the decision to open a bank account in Panama? What would it allow?
  3. What is the meaning of the $3000 cost of a bank account in Panama? Is that the actual fee, or is it just the amount of the initial deposit required (i.e. those funds are not actually spent)?
  4. Since a trip to Panama is planned, perhaps you could purchase a laptop there, for less than $2000? (for comparison, you can get a decent modern laptop here for $400-$500.) Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 01:12, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

Please provide this information so we can proceed with this grant. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 01:12, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

Well, not totally different. Here I go:
  • Number 1: The wikivoyage contest is an idea adopted by us from the latest Iberoconf. The idea is similar to WLM mixed with some edition contest. A photography contest but not only built monuments and legally registered heritage as we do in WLM but naturals, cultural matters suchs gastronomy, traditions, popular parties, especial events and places of interest. It's more tropicalized than WLM. Everything orientated to gain content for Wikivoyage. According to what we discused on our GA this year, the organization of it should start since the first quarter of 2014.
  • Number 2: The bank account in Panama responds to a simple fact: No bank accounts in foreign currencies are allowed in Venezuela for non profit organizations. If we want to avoid loosing the value of each cent, we better look for saving the money abroad. We'll try to supply all we can buy and pay directly abroad in USD. Further grants or donations in USD, if eventually we request for any, can be funded directly there. And, the agreement with de grants team is to receive this grant in two parts. The second part should be sent directly to that account. The grant's team, included you - Asaf - already know all of the procedures agreed. Besides, everything related to any possibility of any kind of non official exchange is now pretty criminalized here and must be avoid. So, every single cent we can receive, save and use from abroad entities will be kept there. It is clear, simple, manageable and accountable.
  • Number 3: That's the initial deposit in Banesco Panamá for foreign organizations. Banesco is a major venezuelan private bank with independent subsidiaries abroad. We prefer this bank as our first option since we have the convenience of managing the account locally - via Internet - and we can go to the local offices of Banesco (Venezuela) and deal with any issue in our own slang with a better bank-client communication. This is not the only one but it's just the one we prefer as a first option. The deposit will be used to buy the equipment.
  • Number 4: Yes, we've got that in mind. It will depend on whether the bank allows us to move the funds inmediately or not. If the guys (Chair and Treasurer) are still in Panama for the time the bank allows us to move the funds, then they probably go to the stores there to buy the equipments. Else, amazon, e-bay and similars will be our choices. / About the cost of the laptop: we've chosen one we can depreciate the asset from book inventory in terms of say 5 years. Something like this in Amazon without considering temporal offers or any conditional discount. But yes, of course, we'll try to get the best price-value relation.

--Fhaidel (talk) 04:59, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

Two comments on the decision to open an account abroad: the controls are not going to simply go away and only has been worsened through this past 18 months, so this decision follow the rationality that we can't afford to lose the purchasing power in a matter of a few months. And is that not only is the foreign exchange control, we must also deal with an rampant inflation (50% more or less at the end of this year) and a severely over-valued currency. So do not forget the economic scenario (a completely distorted economy) that forces us to make this decision. --Oscar (t) · @ 16:19, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the responses. Two issues still remain:
1. Is the initial deposit of $3000 a fee (i.e. absorbed by the bank forever) or just a minimal deposit, i.e. the money can subsequently be spent on other things? If it's the latter, what do you plan to spend these $3000 on?
2. Please do update the goals and measures of success in the grant page itself, as requested above, to reflect these changed activities.
Thanks. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 22:40, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
Hi, Asaf
Respecting number 1: It's a deposit, not fee. We can and are going to use that money. Note the red amount. It's a contra-entry. A provision to take the deposit to buy described "equipment and spendables". Nevertheless, we have received new information. This deposit is higher. It's 5,000 $ So now we are reviewing, because we must validate with the bank and make a decision that will affect the request. We hope to update soon and keep you all informed. Surely we will be doing a few questions by mail before updating.
About 2: Ok, sure.
--Fhaidel (talk) 02:17, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm afraid you misunderstand what "measures of success" are. Simply stating that you will attempt to execute a project such as the Wikivoyage content is a goal, not a measure of your success in achieving that goal. A measure might be, for example: "at least 15 active editors (5+ edits/month) to Wikivoyage from Venezuela". Here's an example of good measures of success. Please revise the main grant page to reflect how you intend to measure whether the work you are seeking to fund, in its various projects, was successful.
This is the one remaining issue before we can approve these changes. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 20:20, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
So, let me see if I understood correctly; last year we had 58 new illustrators in commons as a result of WLM [4]. So, if we are going to be optimistic we can say this year we are going to reach 120. It's what are you asking for? And what about the new proyects? we don't have any previous data to set a estimation of success for any single proyect, we can set up some random numbers of course, but that seem a little misleading. --Oscar (t) · @ 01:22, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
Yes, that's correct. I do understand you have no previous numbers to use as a baseline, and I agree that the numbers would have to be somewhat arbitrary (but not random!) in this first-time effort in Venezuela. It still makes sense to pick some appropriately-modest numbers that you do expect should be achievable, to set as goals that we can ultimately compare against, when you report about these activities. Please do so for the activities in the reworked budget, so we can proceed with approving this change. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 02:51, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Currency conversion—official and unofficial rates[edit]

Hi, per last year's application, the situation seems to have worsened. Then it was a 1 to 6 rate to the $US officially, but you could get 60% more bolivars on the street for your dollars (the market rate). Now I believe it's still 1 to 6 "official" rate, but about 1 to 63 on the market.

This is a real problem if we're forced down the official route, which as I pointed out before is likely to involve massive creaming off by officials (who can go out the door and swap our donors' dollars for 10 times the local currency).

Tony (talk) 04:26, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

PS Could you remove the thousands of "00"s after currency amounts, and round to the nearest dollar? It makes it very hard to read, especially as the commas and stops are reversed (we can cope with that in English, but the zeros make it much harder). Tony (talk) 04:27, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

My habit of writing numbers in Spanish. Commas and stops changed. Thank you Yes check.svg Done --Fhaidel (talk) 19:19, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Oh, I think anglophones can get used to the inverted usage, even though it's written in English. It's just that rounding up/down to whole units is standard in accounting and tax world, and makes it far easier for the eyes to parse when you're not used to the inversion. Thank you. Tony (talk) 09:43, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Asaf, could we discuss the vexed issue of the ten-to-one disparity in the real (street) value of the currency and the government's pretend value? WMF funding will have to be through the pretend value. I hear horror stories of US$200 taxi fares from airport to city that in normal value are $20; and a three-figure price for a steak dish from a fairly ordinary hotel kitchen after hours. Tony (talk) 08:26, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
I think I have little to add to what's already on this talk page; I can reiterate that the conditions in Venezuela make this whole undertaking a delicate one, and we (and WMVE) are doing our best to navigate this with maximum impact, minimum waste, and minimum risk to WMVE volunteers. On this unusual occasion, I feel we need to be a little circumspect to protect those goals. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 02:54, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Just a note[edit]

Hi guys,

We just want to let you know about some issues we have been reviewing here around related to our Start-Up grant.

Well, the general conflicting situation that we are living down here in Venezuela is not hidden to anybody. I think anyone with a TV, Internet access or a quick read to the press will notice. The fact is that we are wasting a lot of our time with the increasing general instability all over the country especially during last months. It hits us all Venezuelans. Every time we try to go forward, something happens, the government changes the rules of the game and we need to rethink almost everything. By the end of last year (even as of this January) we went more forward in the attainment of our grant in order to materialize it. We had discussions with the WMF team and some more others in house.

Last year, we made an adjustment in our budget. Well, now this newer version cannot be executed properly because every financial, political and social factor we used to make our estimations changed again. There are so many barriers, that even the idea of aborting our grant was on serious discussion. From time to time we get tired of so many obstacles. However, thinking of getting a better impulse to make the movement achieves the best in our country, we have to go on. In order to do this, we must go back and make new adjustments again. We apologize in advance. We're doing our best to overcome each new obstacle and it is not really easy. We have many risks and variables out of our control and we try as hard as we can to minimize their effect on us.

The trip to open a bank account in Panama is no longer feasible. At least not with the (re)planned budget. We recently passed from an exchange rate of 6.30 VEF / USD to 11.30 overnight including serious changes in our exchange rules, plus an over 200% increase in airline tickets. Even today, when I write, those values have changed again. Moreover, the government has allowed the opening and management of foreign currency accounts in state banks. In view of this, we will modify the budget again. Due to the current date, we have to request changes in the dates as well.

During our last members meeting (held on Feb 15, 2014) we agreed to launch some new activities. We recognize that our chapter goes forward somewhat slow when compared to other organizations in other countries -but the conditions in those countries cannot parallel ours. So, we have tried to redirect our strategies focusing on the execution of short- and medium-term projects. Since last year we have even overcome the financial issue by establishing an internal formal fundraising. But the truth is that every single cent we can raise internally goes to administrative costs and procedures. We do not raise much either. Just some scant VEFs. Nevertheless, being able to put in our coffers so little money out of fundraising, combined with the unability to receive our Start-Up Grant do not stop us at all. Although making financial contributions is a heavy burden for our members geographically located in the country, we end up giving everything possible to go forward and keep the chapter up and running. We cannot increase the amount of contributions because it is not bearable and this also works against us when more people try to join the chapter. Many of our members are unable to make monetary contributions because of the economic situation. Hence, we have also re-defined our membership and volunteering models by the end of last year.

We have succeeded in doing done some activities related to our projects last year. With our scarce, hard to collect self-funds, we managed to do activities. Among all the negative constraints against us, the scarcity of funds has not stopped us; it only slows us very much in comparison to the rest of the affiliates. Perhaps in many other places you can do much with little, but that is a hard matter here (it might be hard somewhere else as well). But our motivation, enthusiasm and commitment to devote our time to the movement are still going strong as always. We are struggling but we are doing according to our capacities and external conditions.

We hope the new changes will surely be processed with greater agility. Time is short. Not for executions itself, but because our conditions today here might be different from tomorrow. We hope it won't be necessary to stop the process midway again due to changing conditions of any kind. We know it is not easy to process everything too fast. So we appreciate all your support and we apology in advance for the recurrent changes. Soon, you will see newer modifications and updates on the grant page.

This post is a copy of an internal mail between WMVE and the WMF team. Posted here just for the community records.


--Fhaidel (talk) 16:21, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Request for changes 2014[edit]

This request for changes supersedes the earlier request. See note.

Equipment and spendables 3,136
Multi-function printer 1 150 150
Ink cartridges for printer 12 13 156
VideoBeam (projector) 1 330 330
Laptop 1 2,000 2,000
Provision for shippings 1 500 500
Finance 430
Opening of a bank account in a Universal Bank in VEF 1 80 80
Provision for maintenance fees of a bank account in USD in Venezuela 1 350 350
Administration 616
Register of assembly minute year 2014 1 44 44
Domains renewal 1 year: wikimedia,org,ve; wikipedia,org,ve 2 19 38
Hosting for 1 year 1 72 72
Partners book 1 3 3
Register of partners book 1 40 40
Book inventory 1 3 3
Register of book inventory 1 34 34
Official seals 1 7 7
Packages of business cards 5 25 125
Member cards 50 5 250
Outreach and projects 9,236
Third General Assembly 2014 in Barquisimeto 1 1,070 1,070
Wikipedia offline 1st round: Media (CD) de la Enciclopedia de Venezuela 200 7,42 1,484
Wikipedia Education Program: 1st round 1 1,033 1,033
WLM 2014 1 1,033 1,033
Wikivoyage Contest 2014 1 1,033 1,033
Edition contest Wikiproject Venezuela 2014 1 1,033 1,033
Edit-a-thon 2014 (Logistics) 1 250 250
Communications (flyers, posters, newsletters, …) 1 2,300 2,300
Accounts payable 306,21
Accounts payable 1 306,21 306,21
TOTAL 13,724.21
Main changes
  • Item "Travels and allowance" removed.
  • New activities under "Outreach and projects".
  • New reserve for bank fee under "Finance".
  • Rounded amounts.
  • Other minor adjustments.

Thank you Fhaidel, for the explanation of your situation and the updated budget. The most significant additions to the budget include funding for a 2014 editing contest, 2014 edit-a-thon, and communications. Given the current situation in Venezuela, it would be great to have a little more clarity on if you can realistically deliver on all these activities. How many active volunteers do you still have? We don't want you taking personal risks to deliver on this grant and want to support you in creating a feasible plan. Please let us know your thoughts. Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 00:21, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Hi Alex. Currently, we are planning our activities, and since we are concious of the current situation in our country, we are sure we can perform those activities without taking personal risks. We are 43 members and 40% active and in leadership positions. There are even activities not listed in the grant since they are not to be funded with it in a direct manner. According to our AGM (November, 2013) this first quarter is reserved just for planning. That is something we are doing without exposing ourselves. In fact, that is what we are doing for now. For instance, you can see something in the way we're working on how to measure, on technical items (i.e: - in progress -), we have pending discussion for April in the Central University of Venezuela and so on. Not everything is attached to this grant. Executions are scheduled from the second quarter. Due to that, the start date was moved to April 2014. The editing contest is for the second semester of this year. Communication will be very important to achieve all of this. Thank you for your worry and attention. --Fhaidel (talk) 22:50, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for the clear explanation. I have a few questions/comments:
  1. Please revise the measures of success and activity descriptions on the grant page to include all of the proposed projects. Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 22:03, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
  1. Yes check.svg Done --Fhaidel (talk) 11:07, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
  1. Can you share the budget details for WEP, WLM, Wikivoyage, and the Edition contest Wikiproject Venezuela? All of the budgets are the same so it would be helpful to see how you calculated those costs.Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 22:03, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
  1. Yes check.svg Done --Fhaidel (talk) 11:07, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
  1. Is the significant increase in cost for the offline Wikipedia CD due to the exchange rate fluctuation? If yes, do you need to adjust any of the other budget numbers (printer, ink cartridges, etc.? Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 22:03, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Hi, Alex. Well, checking this... in advance, give me a chance to update #1 and #2. About #3 we are not doing any adjustment on printers and so on. We're supossed to buy that abroad. That's the essential reason of "Provision for shippings". But WP CD will be produced here. I'll let you know about the update. Thanks. --Fhaidel (talk) 22:43, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
For a general plan view, see at WMVE site --Fhaidel (talk) 11:07, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
About budget for WEP, WLM, Wikivoyage and Editing contest PR:Venezuela
Item USD
Logística 200
Material Formativo 500
Certificados 125
Total previsión (825)
Reserva por inflación 28% anual a 11 meses 208
Total 1,033
Item USD
Prizes: 1st 300
Prizes: 2nd 250
Prizes: 3rd 150
Certificados 30
Correo 50
Logística 30
Total previsión (870)
Reserva por inflación 28% y a 11 meses 223
Total 1,033
Wikivoyage contest
Item USD
Prizes: 1st 300
Prizes: 2nd 250
Prizes: 3rd 150
Certificados 30
Correo 50
Logística 30
Material divulgativo 120
Total previsión (930)
Reserva por inflación 28% y a 5 meses 103
Total 1,033
Editing contest PR Venezuela
Item USD
Prizes: 1st 300
Prizes: 2nd 250
Prizes: 3rd 150
Material divulgativo 120
Logística 30
Total previsión (850)
Reserva por inflación 28% y a 9 meses 183
Total 1,033

--Fhaidel (talk) 23:15, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

Question regarding KPIs[edit]

Thank you for clarifying the revised budget and updating the measures of success. We are very impressed with your detailed KPIs. It would also be great if you could highlight the 2-3 key programmatic metrics for each proposed project. For example, the # of photos uploaded for WLM, the # of articles improved from Wikivoyage, the # of students that participate in WEP and # of articles they improve/create during and after the program. Please let me know if you have any questions. We are excited to support WMVE and help get these projects started soon! Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 21:31, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

Oh, yes.
'# of photos uploaded for WLM and # of articles improved from Wikivoyage. ← These are photos = refer to factor "ANP: New content initiated by participating users" (for WLM and Wikivoyage, "content" = photo) and we use this factor to determine:
EFFECTIVENESS: Proportional Growth Rate of New Contents Started by Program (ICA) → ICA = Σ ANP / Σ PPP; which acceptable value has been set to 3.
'# of students that participate in WEP = refere to factor "PEU: Unique student / general user participants" and "PPP: Program participants". These factors are used to determine:
PERFORMANCE: Participation Rate by Program (IPP) → IPP = Σ PPP / QM
PERFORMANCE: Program Loyalty Index (IFP) → IFP = Σ PU / Σ PPP
PERFORMANCE: Growth Rate of Wikimedia Community in Venezuela (ICWV) → ICWV = Σ NCWP / Σ PPP
EFFECTIVENESS: Proportional Growth Rate of New Contents Started by Program (ICA) → ICA = Σ ANP / Σ PPP
EFFECTIVENESS: Index of Proportional Content Improved by Program Participants (IMA) → IMA = (Σ AEP - Σ ANP) / Σ PPP
EFFECTIVENESS: Students/General User Participation Index (IPE) → IPE = Σ PEU / Σ PU
EFFECTIVENESS: Social Penetration Index (IPS) → IPS =Average ( IPE + IPP + IPA)
EFFECTIVENESS: Content Editing Efficiency Index (IEE) → IEE = Σ AEP / Σ PPP
Finally, acceptable values for WEP are: IPP = 0.7; IFP = 0.1; ICMW = 0.5; ICA = 3; IMA = 0.5; IPE = 0.6; IPS = 0.18; IEE = 2

Thank you.- --Fhaidel (talk) 22:43, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for your response. I am still not clear on what the proposed targets are for each of the projects. My understanding is that your proposed KPIs measure proportional growth instead of a specific target number.
For WLM, you would want to have targets like the following example:
  1. Number of participants: 100
  2. Number of new users: 25
  3. Number of photos uploaded: 1,500
  4. X months after the project is completed, we would like to see X number of photos integrated onto wiki projects.
  5. X months after the project is completed, we would like to see X number of photos uploaded categorized as "Quality", X as "Valued", and X as "Featured".
As I mentioned above, proportions are fine for many of the KPIs, but it would be great to have 2-3 programmatic metrics for each of the projects. If I have misunderstood you, please let me know! Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 00:46, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Hi, Alex. Well... in that case, we have to define another factor and KPI to measure expectation on those facts. It isn't hard. Let me me make a proposal to the team on this metric and then I will update. That's gonna be fast. Thanks. --Fhaidel (talk) 08:43, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Done! --Fhaidel (talk) 13:23, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks so much for adding those helpful metrics. We will be in touch regarding grant disbursement. Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 17:15, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Currency conversion[edit]

Now this has been funded, could I just check that the rate of 4.3 bolivars to the US dollar as shown overleaf has not been used? Isn't it now six point something? Tony (talk) 02:09, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for your question Tony. We are sending WMVE their grant funds in USD because the situation in Venezuela is very volatile. We realize this may lead to an underspend on their grant, but we are ok with that considering the situation. Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 17:01, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Alex. Tony (talk) 02:46, 21 March 2014 (UTC)