Grants talk:Project/Sarmad Yaseen/Initialization project for Iraq user group

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October 11 Proposal Deadline: Reminder to change status to 'proposed'[edit]

The deadline for Project Grant submissions this round is October 11th, 2016. To submit your proposal, you must (1) complete the proposal entirely, filling in all empty fields, and (2) change the status from "draft" to "proposed." As soon as you’re ready, you should begin to invite any communities affected by your project to provide feedback on your proposal talkpage. If you have any questions about finishing up or would like to brainstorm with us about your proposal, there are still two proposal help sessions before the deadlne in Google Hangouts:

Warm regards,
Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 03:16, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

Initial feedback[edit]

Hi Sarmad Yaseen. Thanks again for reaching out for some feedback on your request. I updated the status to "proposed" since today is the deadline for submitting proposals for round 2. You can still edit and improve the request throughout the review period. Below is some initial feedback on the project:

  1. It would be great to have more background on the user group. For example, how many active participants do you have? What activities have you already done? How did you create this plan of activities? We are definitely interested in seeing where your group has engaged the community in developing your plan. You can put any links or details in the community notification section.
  2. Please confirm that the WLM activities are for 2017.
  3. Please provide a bit more detail about the user group coordination meetings. Who do you expect to attend the meetings? Please note that we typically reserve t-shirts to give away as recognition for outstanding volunteer activity and not for general participation. We also suggest limiting other smaller swag items to one or two types of items. We would also like to see more details on the costs for refreshments (in all categories) as $20/person seems quite high.
  4. It would be interesting to hear feedback from Ravan about how she recruited for her events. I believe she did a combination of online outreach and printed advertising. Do you have a sense of which was a more effective promotion strategy?
  5. Please provide more details on the education program. Have you already identified partners in terms of universities or teachers you will work with? What do you hope to accomplish in the one workshop? You've noted this is Phase one of the program. What is the plan (broadly) for the other phases?
  6. We are interested in understanding how you will follow-up with participants in your programs.
  7. Please note that there is an incomplete report for the Iraq Wikipedia Project. The report will need to be completed before Ravan is able to receive any more WMF funds.

Thanks again for your work in putting together this plan. Please let us know if you have questions about the above initial feedback. I would suggest making changes directly to the proposal where relevant instead of answering the questions here on the talk page. I'm happy to set up a time to discuss the project if you would like. Best, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 02:57, 12 October 2016 (UTC)


Discussion By Sarmad Yaseen[edit]

Hi Alex, please see below answers:

1. It would be great to have more background on the user group. For example, how many active participants do you have? What activities have you already done? How did you create this plan of activities? We are definitely interested in seeing where your group has engaged the community in developing your plan. You can put any links or details in the community notification section. Well, we have around 8 active members, these active members were resulted from the workshops that Ravan did earlier in Iraq. The activities that we’ve done already was one workshop for new volunteers held back in April which was taught by Ravan and paid for expenses by the attendees themselves, you can see the numbers here (https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%A8%D8%B1%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%AC_%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85:%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%AA_%D8%B9%D9%85%D9%84_%D8%A3%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%84_%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%A9) The other activity was done by me which is successfully coordinated between the WMF and Asiacell university to initiate Wikipedia zero for the first time in Iraq, you can check with Adele, Jorge & Jack for the progression. Then we have started already contacting the universities to launch the Wikipedia education program, Tigh is already involved. We’ve started an official Facebook page for the user group to make it easier to communicate with people as we as contacted the admins in Kurdish Wikipedia to coordinate with them in order to include both languages in the upcoming WEP workshops and meetings.

2. Please confirm that the WLM activities are for 2017. Yes, they are.

3. Please provide a bit more detail about the user group coordination meetings. Who do you expect to attend the meetings? Please note that we typically reserve t-shirts to give away as recognition for outstanding volunteer activity and not for general participation. We also suggest limiting other smaller swag items to one or two types of items. We would also like to see more details on the costs for refreshments (in all categories) as $20/person seems quite high. For the user group meeting, the attendees will be the user group members who are engaged and supervising the activates. The T-shirts are for them because they will represent the user group in all the activates and they will lead them and organizing them so it’s important that they were Wikimedia user group T-shirts. For the cost of refreshments during the workshops, we’ve changed them to 10 $ each, while the 15$ each is for the user group meeting as it will be long meetings and need 1 meal at least and the price of one meal in a normal place in Erbil is 15$ but that’s for few people who would arrange and lead and coordinate the activates and follow up on the activities.

4. It would be interesting to hear feedback from Ravan about how she recruited for her events. I believe she did a combination of online outreach and printed advertising. Do you have a sense of which was a more effective promotion strategy? We can discuss this with here in more details but what I’ve understood from her earlier that both worked just fine. I guess this time we will focus a little bit more on online advertising as the majority are students and they are more available online.

5. Please provide more details on the education program. Have you already identified partners in terms of universities or teachers you will work with? What do you hope to accomplish in the one workshop? You've noted this is Phase one of the program. What is the plan (broadly) for the other phases? Yes, we already identified 3 biggest universities in the three big cities in Iraq, as mentioned earlier, Tighe is involved already in the communication process with universities managements as here it takes a little bit more routine and time to get approvals and such stuff. We will later specify with Tighe a full detailed program with phases once approvals are here.

6. We are interested in understanding how you will follow-up with participants in your programs. That’s one of the goals of having the user group meetings, as we will define responsibilities to each one to follow up on participants of a specific activity or project. The process will be following up verbally, through Metrics of Wikipedia and online as well.

7. Please note that there is an incomplete report for the Iraq Wikipedia Project. The report will need to be completed before Ravan is able to receive any more WMF funds.

I’ve informed her already and she sent an email to Alex to finish whatever is pending before proceeding to the upcoming grant.

Sarmad Yaseen (talk) 14:16, 18 October 2016 (UTC)

Comment by Joalpe[edit]

This proposal is vague and some sections are incomplete. It might need more work to be eligible. --Joalpe (talk) 19:01, 26 October 2016 (UTC)

Discussion By Sarmad Yaseen[edit]

Hi Joalpe, Could you please mention which part is incomplete or vague? --Sarmad (talk) 27 October 2016 (UTC)

Eligibility confirmed, round 2 2016[edit]

IEG review.png

This Project Grants proposal is under review!

We've confirmed your proposal is eligible for round 2 2016 review. Please feel free to ask questions and make changes to this proposal as discussions continue during this community comments period.

The committee's formal review for round 2 2016 begins on 2 November 2016, and grants will be announced in December. See the schedule for more details.

Questions? Contact us.

Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 22:57, 31 October 2016 (UTC)

Questions from NickK[edit]

Hi Sarmad Yaseen and thank you for your proposal. Thank you for leading development of Iraqi user group. I have several questions regarding your activities:

  1. WLM/WLE photo trips. I would like to know why you want to pay for both photo trips AND prizes for participants of these trips. As far as I know from my experience and that of other affiliates, either is motivating enough to involve participants including newbies: either offering a free bus trip with refreshments OR providing prizes to participants should work well. It's up to you to decide, but personally I would suggest the following:
    • Photo trips to selected locations that lack photos on Commons (you can do both WLM and WLE sites in one trip)
    • Prizes for WLM and WLE to be distributed among all participants and not only those who participated in bus trips.
  2. WLM/WLE photo trips. Will you prepare lists of sites to be pictured during these trips? I noticed that many of Iraqi WLM and WLE photos are very poorly identified (with titles like Nature near Erbil), so please try to include exact location (preferably with coordinates)
  3. Photography editing workshop. Do you want to organise this workshops before or after trips? It might be interesting to work on improving photography skills of participants so that participants do not need to spend a lot of time editing their photos.
  4. User group coordination meetings. Will those meetings be an occasion to recruit new members? As far as I understand you have 8 members at the moment, while you want to distribute 40 T-shirts, does this mean you want to recruit 32 new members?
  5. T-shirts, pens and other merchandise: could you please consider ordering them together for all events? You have 40 pens at $4 each for coordination meetings, 75 pens $2 each for Education Program and 90 pens worth $3.3 each for workshops and edit-a-thons. These prices look inconsistent, perhaps it is better to order 200 pens in one batch which should cost way cheaper then $4 per pen. Thus could you please group your spending on pens, T-shirts and notebooks into one batch and get a new price quote for this batch?
  6. Education Programme: could you please clarify a bit more how you want to organise these events? Will you organise just one workshop per university or will you work more during the term with groups in each university?
  7. Education Programme. Do you really need to pay Internet access for each participant separately? I don't know the situation in Iraq well enough but I think that either university already has some Internet connection, if not, perhaps it is better to buy a Wi-Fi router and subscribe for a single Internet connection for the whole event?
  8. Workshops and edit-a-thons: what is the difference between those events? Have you already found appropriate venues for workshops and edit-a-thons? I notice that you do not include any related costs in your budget, does it mean that you already have venues with Internet?

Thank you in advance for your answers — NickK (talk) 18:08, 8 November 2016 (UTC)


Discussion By Sarmad Yaseen[edit]

Hi NickK, please see my questions below:

1. WLM/WLE photo trips. I would like to know why you want to pay for both photo trips AND prizes for participants of these trips. As far as I know from my experience and that of other affiliates, either is motivating enough to involve participants including newbies: either offering a free bus trip with refreshments OR providing prizes to participants should work well. It's up to you to decide, but personally I would suggest the following:

• Photo trips to selected locations that lack photos on Commons (you can do both WLM and WLE sites in one trip) • Prizes for WLM and WLE to be distributed among all participants and not only those who participated in bus trips. Sarmad: Thanks a lot for following up, I agree with your suggestion and will change it accordingly.

2. WLM/WLE photo trips. Will you prepare lists of sites to be pictured during these trips? I noticed that many of Iraqi WLM and WLE photos are very poorly identified (with titles like Nature near Erbil), so please try to include exact location (preferably with coordinates)

Sarmad: of course, we will choose the places carefully, it should include the main monuments in the city, will publish the list once completed.

3. Photography editing workshop. Do you want to organize this workshops before or after trips? It might be interesting to work on improving photography skills of participants so that participants do not need to spend a lot of time editing their photos.

Sarmad: I will try to find some good and professional photographer to join us in the trip in order to help wikipedians to improve their photo shooting quality, I want to prepare a workshop after the trip to choose the good photos and upload all in Commons, I expect many pictures as a result of the trips, so uploading and checking all will need long time and hard effort.

4. User group coordination meetings. Will those meetings be an occasion to recruit new members? As far as I understand you have 8 members at the moment, while you want to distribute 40 T-shirts, does this mean you want to recruit 32 new members?

Sarmad: As I mentioned earlier; We expect many Wikimedia activity in Iraq soon, I want to distribute the activity managements between the Iraqi user group, every person will have an objective to follow and manage, User group meetings will prepare and organize all of these activities, and regarding to the T-Shirts: I requested more than existing user group number because of I expect new members and I want always have a spare T-shirts can use it for the other activities. So I guess the short answer will be: Yes, I will hopefully recruit new active members.

5. T-shirts, pens and other merchandise: could you please consider ordering them together for all events? You have 40 pens at $4 each for coordination meetings, 75 pens $2 each for Education Program and 90 pens worth $3.3 each for workshops and edit-a-thons. These prices look inconsistent, perhaps it is better to order 200 pens in one batch which should cost way cheaper then $4 per pen. Thus could you please group you’re spending on pens, T-shirts and notebooks into one batch and get a new price quote for this batch?

Sarmad: The coast of one T-shirt is 5$, and the coast of one pen is 2$, and the answer of this part is almost the same answer for the above (I want to have extra pen, T-shirts and notebooks), because I cannot know exactly the number of participate. And the reason if why I didn’t put all the coast of T-shirts (as an example) together: because I want separating the coast of each activity or project. Although, I will do as per your advice, I will order them in one batch to get better prices.

6. Education Programme: could you please clarify a bit more how you want to organise these events? Will you organise just one workshop per university or will you work more during the term with groups in each university?

Sarmad: The budget required for Education program in this grant is just for starting up the program, it means that the requested budget can hold the first workshop and meeting only, I think we need one workshop to teach them how can create/edit articles, then we will deal only with the instructors, (which means no need more coast).

7. Education Programme. Do you really need to pay Internet access for each participant separately? I don't know the situation in Iraq well enough but I think that either university already has some Internet connection, if not, perhaps it is better to buy a Wi-Fi router and subscribe for a single Internet connection for the whole event?

Sarmad: I don’t sure about this point as well, personally I think it’s not necessary, put I prefer to calculate it in my budget, if we have to use it; I will do, if not; I will return it again to WMF.

8. Workshops and edit-a-thons: what is the difference between those events? Have you already found appropriate venues for workshops and edit-a-thons? I notice that you do not include any related costs in your budget, does it mean that you already have venues with Internet?

Sarmad: Workshops will be dedicated for recruiting new volunteers (to teach them how to create/edit articles) and the target of it is to attract new wikipedians, edit-a-thons; is for the already existed wikipedians and the target of it to increase the content of Wikipedia. Refreshments is enough for both, the place of both can be in a quiet café as example which I guess they have already internet connection.

At last, Thank you for following up, I want to add a very important comment; we are working right now to finalize very important projects in Iraq and whole Middle East, I have been started up successfully Wikipedia Zero in collaboration with the biggest mobile operator company in Iraq, Education program also will start up soon with more than one university, so my vision is to provide good and strong Wikipedia society in order to distribute Wikipedia culture in all Iraq. In Iraq we don't have many active Wikipedians, so we have to encourage them to be a part of this society and we all here really appreciate your continuous support.
Thank you for your answers, everything is clear. Good luck with your project! — NickK (talk) 10:44, 17 November 2016 (UTC)

Aggregated feedback from the committee for Initialization project for Iraq user group[edit]

Scoring rubric Score
(A) Impact potential
  • Does it have the potential to increase gender diversity in Wikimedia projects, either in terms of content, contributors, or both?
  • Does it have the potential for online impact?
  • Can it be sustained, scaled, or adapted elsewhere after the grant ends?
7.3
(B) Community engagement
  • Does it have a specific target community and plan to engage it often?
  • Does it have community support?
6.0
(C) Ability to execute
  • Can the scope be accomplished in the proposed timeframe?
  • Is the budget realistic/efficient ?
  • Do the participants have the necessary skills/experience?
5.3
(D) Measures of success
  • Are there both quantitative and qualitative measures of success?
  • Are they realistic?
  • Can they be measured?
6.0
Additional comments from the Committee:
  • The project seems aligned with Wikimedia's priorities and is focused on an emerging community. This is a good evolution from the previous grant.
  • It's a very strategic location to develop for Wikimedia. It can be scaled to other countries in the region that right now do not have any Wikimedia project.
    • Indeed, it is. Ravan (talk) 19:28, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
  • The project takes very successful initiatives and scales them in a decent way. The success can easily be measured. It has a big potential for developing a project into something bigger in the future.
    • Hopefully, it will.Ravan (talk) 19:28, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Fits with the strategic priorities to increase participation and improve quality. Would have online impact by increasing content (photos and articles) in Arabic and Kurdish Wikipedias and by bringing in new editors. However, I think the applicant is proposing to do too much at once and in order for the project to be sustainable the focus should be on recruiting and retaining a small number of new editors rather than trying to make contact with a lot of people through various activities.
    • First of all, the activities will not be held all at once, it's planned for a full year. Rather than that it's already divided among the teams of the user group members in a way that no one will be overloaded at any time and everyone will be focusing on their specific task. Recruiting new volunteers is our main and first priority, the process of recruiting is ongoing through all the activities of the user group.Ravan (talk) 19:28, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
  • There has been a set of activities that was funded by the community in Iraq last year, and no connection with these previous activities is made. Given the scope and ambition of a process of group initialization, this appears erratic.
    • Actually, this grant is so much connected to the previous grant, as the user group in first place was created by the help of the new editors recruited by the funded workshops. And now it's planned that they will manage all the activities mentioned in this grant application.Ravan (talk) 19:33, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
  • I see some risks because the UG wants to make some contacts with corporations or other organizations and they don't have many previous experiences before this. There are clear metrics to be measured -except no. 8-.
    • Well, There is a big project signed recently which is Wikipedia Zero, was done by the efforts of the user group communications with Asiacell (The biggest Mobile Operator in Iraq), all the negotiations held successfully by us. Beside that, the connections with the universities have been done successfully as well.The first introduction presentations were held last week in two universities in two different cites, now we are waiting for defining the best strategy for each university to apply the WEP ASAP, please check the page here.Ravan (talk) 19:40, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
  • There is little evidence that the project plans to integrate learning from across the movement and from previous grantees. I would like to see more building on what has already been completed/attempted through the PEG-funded Iraq Wikipedia Project and the lessons learned from that work. The measures of success seem ambitious yet not very realistic.
    • As mentioned earlier, the user group in first place was created by the help of the new editors recruited by the funded workshops. And now it's planned that they will manage all the activities mentioned in this grant application. Regarding to the ambitious expectations, you can check the results for the previous grant here.Ravan (talk) 19:49, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
  • The timeline is not clear, but I suspect at least 10 months, due to the inclusion of WLM. It is possible if the UG has enough volunteer capacity. The budget seems ok, except in "User group coordination" item: some items aren't necessary to do the meetings (T-Shirts, pens, notebooks). I would prefer to see the expense in outreach instead of an internal meeting.
    • As mentioned earlier, the (T-Shirts, pens, notebooks) was meant to be for general use for the user group activities, The coast of one T-shirt is 5$, and the coast of one pen is 2$, and the answer of this part is almost the same answer for the above & the reason if why I didn’t put all the cost of T-shirts (as an example) together: because I want to separate the cost of each activity or project. Although, I will do as per your advice, I will order them in one batch to get better prices. Some additional note, by notebook we mean printing the guide book or the main WEP guide as a reference for the participants.Ravan (talk) 20:05, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
  • It seems unnecessary to budget for so many freebies just in order to bring in participants. I would like to know more about the applicant's experience with community organizing, outreach, or project management.
    • We will not claim to be experts in above, but the thing is we've planned to have the minimum required stuff, please clarify which items do you recognize as many freebies? Ravan (talk) 20:05, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
  • This looks like a big bid at once; I would suggest starting with a rapid grant for one of the proposed activities, so a group is progressively organized.
    • Actually, we are working on so many activities simultaneously such as WEP and volunteer workshops, we are planning for one year and we can manage the progress accordingly.Ravan (talk) 20:05, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
  • The grantees aim for a lot of work, and certainly lots of work need to be done in order to meet the goals of the project. Participants show necessary experience for the project.
    • Hopefully, they will. Please let us know how they can do this before agreeing on the grant?Ravan (talk) 20:05, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
  • I would like to see more community notification and endorsement.
    • We would like the same as well.Ravan (talk) 20:05, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
  • There is a specific target community and a lot of plans for engagement. Not much community support but as we know, there are not yet many editors in Iraq. The project supports diversity in terms of languages and geographical reach; there is also mention of decreasing the gender gap but no real details on how this will be achieved.
    • As per previous grant, we've managed successfully to have more than the half of the participants as females, we are planning to do the same this time as well, in all the activities will plan to attract and engage more females to decrease the gender gap in the Wikimedia projects.Ravan (talk)
  • It is not clear how this project will tackle diversity.
    • The project is aiming to help to different languages of Wikipedia (Arabic, Kurdish), we will have some volunteers from different races and they will participate in English Wikipedia as we promote that knowledge is a sacred thing in all and any language.Ravan (talk) 20:05, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
  • I like the project but would like to see a more detailed plan, a calendar of activities and a bit more strategy before approving.
  • In order to support, I would want to see this project scaled down a lot, probably to 2-3 activities in order to avoid organizer burn out and so the organizers can focus on delivering quality programming that supports new editors. I think it's too early to be asking for funds to support WEP activities when the user group is still just in initial talks with universities.
    • As mentioned above, we've started already the introduction presentations with the universities so the WEP is ongoing, for scaling down the activities we've replied above about dividing the work among teams so no overloading and required focusing will be there.Ravan (talk) 20:29, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
  • My suggestion for changes: Only three prizes for WLM and WLE each, no t-shirts for regular meetings, workshops, and editathons, and decreased costs per person for editathon refreshments.
    • Replied above for the T-Shirts, Prizes already sat to three only, for the refreshments please be informed that the life expense in Iraq is relatively high compared to other countries, the price we put is the minimum we found for a place that will not take extra money for renting the place, for having less price of refreshments, we have to go to a place that asks for relatively large amount of money as a rent for the place. This was a lesson learned from the previous funded grant for the workshop as we paid a rent for the place, please be informed as well that we don't have places such as public libraries or youth gathering places for free in Iraq as you can find easily in other countries.Ravan (talk) 20:29, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
  • This is a brave idea, but the project is not clear about risk assessments and existing community resources. Disconnection from previous funded projects is a negative aspect. I strongly recommend going for a rapid grant for one of the list activities, so we can assess potentials of what you are considering grounded on stronger evidences. Good luck!
    • All was explained above, kindly review the replies.Thanks for the effort and time, we do appreciate them.Ravan (talk) 20:29, 26 November 2016 (UTC)


IEG IdeaLab review.png

This proposal has been recommended for due diligence review.

The Project Grants Committee has conducted a preliminary assessment of your proposal and recommended it for due diligence review. This means that a majority of the committee reviewers favorably assessed this proposal and have requested further investigation by Wikimedia Foundation staff.


Next steps:

  1. Aggregated committee comments from the committee are posted above. We recommend that you review the feedback and post any responses, clarifications or questions on this talk page.
  2. Following due diligence review, a final funding decision will be announced on December 16.

Questions? Contact us.


Additional comments[edit]

Hi Ravan and Sarmad Yaseen. Thanks so much for the detailed responses to the aggregated committee feedback above. We appreciate your thoroughness! Before the committee meets this weekend, it would be great if you could update your proposal page with some of the information provided above. There seems to be a couple of main concerns:

  1. Scope of activities and relation to previous grant: We understand from your responses that these activities have been developed from your experiences last year and that the user group has been formed by participants in past activities. It would be helpful if you could state that in the proposal as well and make it clear who will lead (or co-lead) each of the main activities. This will give us and the committee a better understanding of the capacity of your team and ability to successfully complete all of the activities.
  2. Prizes and swag: In line with our guidelines, we don't give away t-shirts for all participants in events, but reserve them as awards or recognition for outstanding volunteers. We don't believe it's necessary for the photography expeditions and you can limit them to top participants in the editathons. Low-cost items such as stickers and pens can be given away more liberally. We are also interested in the rationale for having prizes for the photo expeditions as this is something we have not seen before. Do you believe this is needed to motivate participation? We are open to funding a prize for the top participant in all three expeditions -- either best photo, most number of good photos, or the person that uses the most photos in articles.

Please make changes to your proposal by Friday, December 1st. The committee meets on December 4th and we will be announcing decisions on December 16th. Please let me know if you have any questions! Cheers, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 20:29, 29 November 2016 (UTC)

  • Dear User:AWang (WMF), changes has been made, the full budget has been decreased to 8360$. No T-shirts for giving away to general participants. Refreshments has been reduced. Please let us know your last feedback before the committee meeting.Ravan (talk) 21:18, 1 December 2016 (UTC)

Round 2 2016 decision[edit]

IEG IdeaLab review.png

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

The committee has recommended this proposal and WMF has approved funding for the full amount of your request, $6,090 USD

Comments regarding this decision:
The committee is pleased to support your programmatic work for Iraqi Wikimedians! While the scope of activities in this plan is ambitious, it is clear that you have the potential and capacity in terms of volunteer organizers to manage them. We look forward to the results of your work in the upcoming year!


Next steps:

  1. You will be contacted to sign a grant agreement and setup a monthly check-in schedule.
  2. Review the information for grantees.
  3. Use the new buttons on your original proposal to create your project pages.
  4. Start work on your project!

Questions? Contact us.