Grants talk:Simple/Applications/Wikimedia Belgium/2018
WMBE is eligible to apply for a 12-month grant starting 1 January 2018, for a grant up to 45,000 Euro, and with up to 0.5 FTE staff. Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 23:27, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
Question about your target for pages
Hello, Romaine! I have a question about the target for pages you set for your GLAM program. It's 200,200. I was a bit taken a back by this, because that's a lot higher than most other organizations involved in the APG process (FDC or Simple). Can you give us some more insight into how you calculated this number, what types of pages you are including, and how the activities described here will lead to these results?
I wanted to make sure the committee understood this number better before moving forward with any assumptions about how realistic your targets are (or aren't).
To give you a better sense of what I mean, this target is very similar to Wikimedia Armenia's or Wikimedia UK's overall targets in this area, and these two organizations are generally considered top performers in this metric. I just feel like I am missing something.
- Hi Winifred Olliff, We have no knowledge on what level other affiliates estimate their outputs, we have just tried to make an estimation how much we think to get as output.
- In our annual plan we have written as part of the GLAM program: An important part of this is that besides starting new partnerships, we want to continue the (long-term) collaborations/partnerships we have grown over the past years, as these institutions need their time (bureaucracy) to release more materials for the Wikimedia platforms. We have limited influence on how many institutions collaborate with us, as well as on how many activities are organised, as well as that quality counts. We can only do our best to support them the best we can. We can however give an indication what we did in the past period. In January-June 2017 we had 14 open edit-a-thons, 7 closed workshops, 47 organisational meetings and were in contact with and/or collaborated with about 30 cultural institutions. As it takes much time before results are seen (due bureaucracy and time/money constraints at institutions), in 2018 we also expect output from projects that started in the past years, as well as that projects that starts in 2018 may result in output in 2019 or later. We hope in 2018 to have over 100 000 images uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, have over 100 000 items on Wikidata created or expanded about artworks, other museum pieces and more, and over 200 articles newly written or improved (especially) during workshops and edit-a-thons..
- The type of pages included are articles in Wikipedia created or largely improved, files uploaded (by bot) and gallery pages created on Commons, and Wikidata items created or improved (with automatic tools).
- How we got to this number? We work together with 30+ organisations that each have 10,000 to over a million images in their collections. Usually these images are museum pieces and the data of these museum pieces then is added to Wikidata. Multiple cultural institutions have promised us image donations of like 50,000, 20,000, and 10,000 items. With just two image donations of 50,000 museum pieces, we already reach the indicated numbers. How much we actually will get as output depends highly on how fast the bureaucracy of the institutions will work. That is what we have little influence on and is difficult to estimate. Hopefully this answers your questions. Greetings - Romaine (talk) 03:15, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
- Yes, this is helpful. Thank you! Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 08:54, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
Simple Annual Plan Grant Committee Recommendation
We recommend that Wikimedia Belgium receive an amount of 15,000 Euro + 10% contingency fee, or 16,500 Euro including the contingency fee.
Specifically, we are requesting the following changes:
We are providing the following rationale:
|Comments on the next year's plan:
Wikimedia Belgium is a first-time applicant to Simple Annual Plan Grants. In this application, they have worked especially hard at explaining the context around their work, and what is unique about their situation in Belgium, and have done a good job of explaining how their 2018 plans are related to their past work. We appreciate the level of planning and thought that has gone into this application, and the 2018 annual plan.
This program plan includes many activities that are common for small or medium-sized Wikimedia Chapters, including Wiki Loves, and some early stage GLAM and education work including edit-a-thons, while encouraging content donations, training GLAM ambassadors, and classroom activities. This GLAM and education work may initiate grounds for expansion in future years, as Wikimedia Belgium expects to see the benefits of this work develop in years to come. The plan begins to address significant opportunities for working with GLAMs in Belgium, and this work has the potential to result in important content donations and meaningful collaborations in the long term. One program that is unique to Wikimedia Belgium is the Writing Weeks program.
This application includes a request for a part-time staff person, focused on translation. Wikimedia Belgium explains that it has been an ongoing struggle to engage enough volunteers in this work, and that not having quality translations affects their ability to work with multiple language communities, especially since they must comply with legal requirements around having materials available in their official languages. As part of previous grant applications, this issue has been discussed extensively, including the suggestion to involve more volunteers in translation work (a solution used in other Wikimedia communities), but also Wikimedia Belgium’s challenges with meeting their translation needs in this way. This context is important to understanding the current request for staff.
|Comments on the current year's focus and achievements:
This applicant is a first-time applicant to Simple Annual Plan Grants.
|Comments on the next year's focus:
- Dear Simple Annual Plan Grants Committee & grants team, to reply to your recommendations:
- 1.1 We proposed in April 2017 to a member of the grants team to solve our largest bottleneck to hire a part time staff member for translations to deal with the multilingual linguistic challenges we face, and this was not rejected. During the months followed we described it, had it in our annual plan, and it was not reacted by the grants team. We were very surprised that out of nowhere the committee does not recommend this. Certainly as this was an important part of our annual plan, that such would not be funded should have been told to us many months ago. Of course it is our responsibility in the end, we expected at least support and a basic review from the grants team, certainly as this is for us the first time in Simple APG, and we now have to conclude that the basic support was missing. We find it also disappointing that the committee has insufficiently acknowledged nor recognised the work WMBE has done in the past years, and we are disappointed that the committee just says "no" without any further suggestions how to resolve this.
- 1.2 In November 2014 we developed together with our partners a strategy to open up the knowledge institutions (like museums, libraries, and more) and have them share more knowledge and materials on Wikipedia/Wikimedia. Part of this strategy was the photo contest Wiki Loves Art and served as a invitation and acquaintance to work together. The project was a great success and more and more organisations start to work together with us. We have described in our plan just a little bit more than the work we did in 2017, this because we wanted to be careful and realistic, as we know starting to work with staff takes a lot of time, and this work we did in 2017 and have planned for in 2018 is what we have volunteers for! Recommending to "scale back our effort" would mean that all the time and energy we spent in the past years to get a stable running GLAM program is wasted. We are not going to say no to institutions we work with for months now. We have as goal to unlock the rich cultural heritage Belgium has, and saying 'no' to institutions is damaging for Wikipedia and the Wikimedia platforms, as they depend on images from these institutions to illustrate the articles. We are not going to say to volunteers that they must do less than in 2017. Our volunteers are our driving force. Saying no to them is organisational suicide. The committee wants us to say "no" to our volunteers, which means demotivation, and then new volunteers must be attracted: nonsense! This committee has insufficient feeling with the Belgian situation and does not provide us a reasonable rationale why we should damage the core of our existence. Apparently they believe we want to do more than the capacity we have, which is not true. Your recommendation is fully rejected.
- 1.3 The committee recommends spending less on international travel, in this way the large gap of subjects of Belgium will keep to exist and Belgians do insufficiently get the opportunity to learn from the experiences from other countries. A lot of other chapters provide training opportunities and workshops to improve the work of volunteers. It is sad to learn that the committee does not recognise the importance of volunteers and refuses to provide opportunities for them to grow and stay motivated. (This recommendation is inconsistent with the committee's wish to have more volunteers.)
- 2.1 "We realize that multilingualism is a big challenge" -> First of all, it is monolingualism in a multilingual country, as well as policies that protect the languages and force you to speak a different language. And no, we have seen no sign whatsoever in the recommendations that the committee understands this big challenge.
- 2.1 "We understand that Wikimedia Belgium needs to address specific legal requirements around supporting languages in Belgium." -> No, you do not understand, as this is not what we wrote about. It is about communicating with someone in his/her local language as the policies require such and a (non optional) social convention asks this.
- 2.1 "We agree that chapters should be supported where translation services are required, but not to the extent of hiring a 0.5 FTE staff person in Belgium." -> We did not ask for 0.5 FTE, only for 0.2 FTE. And translation was not the only task, but a broader task was proposed.
- 2.2 "a country with language communities that are also supported by other well-funded movement groups." -> This is like saying Canada has a chapter that speaks English, so no chapter in the US needs help because Wikimedia Canada is there. The reasoning of the committee makes clear they do not understand the situation in Belgium. Belgium is not part of France nor the Netherlands, is an independent country, and people and institutions in Belgium like to work with Belgians. Further we requested funding to cope with the situation that Belgium is a country where two language communities have to work together, this is something the neighboring chapters can't do and will not do as that is something considered outside their jurisdiction and goals.
- 2.2 "Wikimedia Belgium is still in the early stages of their work" -> We work together for more than 7 years now in Belgium. For example, the Dutch chapter was formed in 2006, so a time difference of 5 years. Five years ago WMNL had their first staff person hired. If there is any reason why WMBE may be considered to be "in the early stages of work", than is that because of bottleneck with the languages. A bottleneck which we still can't solve. This sentence (among others) makes clear the committee has not done their homework.
- 2.2 "and results from past grants do not yet match the amounts of funding received in the past" -> From our past grants officers from WMF we have understood that we did well with our past results...
- 2.3 "We would like to see Wikimedia Belgium focus on engaging more board members and volunteers in their work." -> We want to ourselves, but we are troubled by the language situation which makes it hard and a Simple APG committee who makes it even harder and refuses to provide support to attract and keep volunteers.
- 2.3 "We are concerned that such an ambitious plan with so many activities may not lead to the best results in the long term." -> As said, we plan to do in 2018 a little bit more than we already did in 2017. That is not called ambitious but a small growth. Speaking about "the long term", we have since 2014 a long term strategy, which is supported by our partners and our volunteers, but which the committee failed to recognise.
- 2.3 "We want less focus on the numbers of partnerships and events, and more focus on results from these activities." -> The committee insufficiently recognises the importance of long term relationships with partner organisations, which is crucial for the Wikimedia movement.
- Conclusion: The committee's rationale is based on too many false assumptions, wrong conclusions, errors and inconsistencies, and is fully rejected by our chapter. WMBE's rationale: we are not going to damage the work we have done in the past years and flush it through the toilet.
- Regarding to the committee's comments on the next year's plan:
- "and have done a good job of explaining how their 2018 plans are related to their past work" -> apparently we did not explain it well, otherwise the committee would have shown a much better understanding of the work our chapter has done for over 7 years now, as well as how much our chapter already has been developed.
- "One program that is unique to Wikimedia Belgium is the Writing Weeks program." -> Exactly the program the committee does not want to support by refusing communication and translation support, as this program depends on good communication towards the various local communities and working with them together. But why does the committee thinks it is unique? Multiple Wikipedia's and affiliations organise writing weeks, like for example the Asia Month!
- Regarding to the committee's other considerations:
- "Wikimedia Belgium has experience doing many of the activities they are proposing" -> "many"? We have experience in all the activities as we did those in 2017 and earlier years.
- "Wikimedia Belgium has not focused on content-related or participation-related targets in the past" -> This is a false statement. With all our grants we have provided targets of content related output, and in many grants also participation related targets. We also have to state clearly that overly focusing on targets is typically for short term thinking, often resulting on losing the end goal out of sight. In other words, you can win a battle, but loose the war. We do our activities to build a long term relationship with partner organisations, not only because of the bureaucracy requires such, but also because the Wikimedia platforms win the most by this and get more content available.
- "For example, at the midpoint of their 2017 grant they did not report on content-related or participation-related targets." -> In the midpoint of that particular grant, there was no request to provide such target outcomes. It is the only report of the past years in what these targets were not provided, so it is not "an example" but cherry picking. Also we have not been informed nor asked to do provide these target outcomes in that single interim report, nor has anyone told us that providing these is a requirement for the committee. Nor has the committee asked us to provide these target outcomes! You can't blame us for not doing something if you do not ask us to do so first!
- "since Wikimedia Belgium has not focused on content-related or participation-related targets in the past" -> As participation requires communication, and communication requires to be addressed in their own language, and that is our bottleneck, exactly that what the committee does not want to fund...
- "We see that many activities are taking place, but it is not clear how they are leading to results." -> Most of the activities taken place are with GLAMs. GLAMs have a slow process of doing things due bureaucracy and results in that starting a collaboration in 2017, may lead to results in 2018, 2019, etc. This we explained in the annual plan... Also, elsewhere the committee wrote: "We are concerned that such an ambitious plan with so many activities may not lead to the best results in the long term." -> The committee asks to show short term outputs while exactly that kind of focus is dangerous for the long term plan and perspective. The long term plan is to have a long-standing relationship with GLAMs, in such a way that it brings benefits for both those GLAMs as content in the Wikimedia platforms.
- "It is also difficult to understand how some of the proposed activities will lead to results on the basis of the descriptions provided." -> Strange. Let's describe the workflow: 1. organisation is in contact with WMBE, 2. WMBE determines if this organisation has materials that can be used to enrich the content of the Wikimedia platforms, if yes: 3. we work together to get materials from the institution (valorised) on the Wikimedia platforms. And if this was not clear to the committee, why did we not get a question about this earlier? please explain!
- "although Wikimedia Belgium is by no means the only chapter operating in a complex multilingual environment." -> Please enlighten us, besides Switzerland, which country in the world has also three official languages and where a large portion of the people does not speak the other languages? Pus that policies and social convention are in place that requires to speak the local language.
- "This chapter is reliant on a small group of people" -> How do you define "small"? We had in 2017 over 30 people active in our chapter. Some with more general roles, many with more specific roles, but that is the nature of volunteers, of which most of them have a job/study. And sometimes it is difficult to find someone, as many also have also a personal life. But we are working on expanding our base. However expansion requires communication. And for communication we asked support, which the committee refused to support.
- "It would be good to see Wikimedia Belgium better match their level of funding and their program ambitions to the capacity of their volunteer community at the current time." -> The capacity of our volunteer community matches with program "ambitions" we have. We asked funding for the amount of work we did in 2017 + a little more. The committee has an insufficient understanding of how well WMBE is going.
- "For example, large amounts of funding are devoted to funding volunteers to travel to different places in Belgium to do program activities. It would be better to see Wikimedia Belgium focus on doing activities in places where volunteers already are already available to do them." -> This is just nonsense. In 2 hours and 15 minutes you can travel by car from one end of Belgium to the other end! It is clear, the committee has not understood how Belgium is.
- "This is a large request for a group working in an already well-funded region, with several active chapters focusing on the languages being targeted (Dutch, French, German)." -> Basically the committee says that Belgium does not has it's own culture, this is just offensive to our community. An insult! For example, know for the Flemish masters like Rubens (much limited in neighboring countries), Belgium is know for the comics (much limited in neighboring countries), Belgium is known for the Belgian art nouveau (according to my colleagues across the border almost unknown in neighboring countries), Belgium and more particular Brussels is the capital of dance in the world (neighboring countries are not), Antwerp is one of the few diamond centers in the world, Belgium is known for the special beers (neighboring are not!), known for the chocolate (neighboring countries are not!), and this list goes on and on.
Our neighboring chapters do not do our work in Belgium, our country. Wikimedia Belgium does. Saying that another country funds get is completely irrelevant for another country.
Belgium is also one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. Other active chapters in Europe do not target language communities, but target just those volunteers that are active in the country of that chapter.
- Conclusion: The committee fails to understand the Belgian chapter and fails to base their considerations on solid arguments and a solid understanding. And if something is truly difficult to understand or if information is missing, such should have been asked. Nor the committee, nor the grants team did.
- "Diversity is not an emphasis of this plan." -> We have a board member dedicated to diversity! Please do your homework before you come with alternative facts.
- Regarding to the committee's comments on the next year's focus:
- "Increasing board engagement will be a major focus in 2018, as we need to see chapter leadership extend beyond one or a few people and make sure that the board has the collective expertise to carry forward their long term vision for the organization." -> No it is not a major focus. Board engagement is sufficient. But even if it was an issue, the committee is at the same time refusing the provide proper support to follow trainings, to join workshops to gain expertise, and so on. It is like saying: please buy a car, but I do not give you money to buy a car. We have a long term vision for our organisation, while the committee fails to understand WMBE's situation.
- "In 2018, we can focus on aligning programs better with the availability of local volunteers to do them." -> Again, nonsense. We have aligned the programs on the amount of available volunteers to do them. The programs are based on what the available volunteers have indicated they want to do in 2018.
- "This will involve reducing the scope of program activities, and focusing on the areas that can be best-resourced and could offer the best opportunities." -> Rejected, as this focus is based on nonsense. We only focus on areas that offer us the best opportunities.
- "Focusing on fewer activities will mean that Wikimedia Belgium needs to develop ways to prioritize what they want to do." -> Sorry, but we already only do what we have capacity for and want to grow as chapter. And no, we will not fulfill this focus as this would mean doing even less than what we did in 2017, while capacity and experience grow.
- "Improving practices around targets and goal-setting must be a focus of 2018, so that we can start to measure the progress that is being made as a result of this grant and lay the foundation for evaluating Wikimedia Belgium’s work over time." -> You based this sentence on just one report, in a report where this wasn't asked. The committee just did not do their homework, nor did they ask. If this was said to us three years ago, sure, then it makes sense. (We now even understand better why people in earlier years said that we already should have been in Simple APG.) Our targets and goals are based on what we did in 2017 and earlier years, based on realistic capacity and realistically expected outputs. But we also like to clearly point out that an overly focus on short term outputs, as the committee has shown, is a form of suboptimalisation and is a threat to the sustainability of the Wikimedia movement. Also the committee still does not understand that the target outcomes as such are no sign of progress, as the numbers (as explained before) can heavily fluctuate. Wikimedia Belgium has very clear goals that everyone supports, WMBE has also a very clear strategy which has been proven successful in the past two years.
- Conclusion: The recommendations and considerations of the committee contain a too high dose of errors, false assumptions, insults, inconsistencies, misunderstandings, and many other issues. This is a dangerous situation as considerations and recommendations are too much not based on facts but on fiction. We are open to feedback, if there is criticism we like to hear it, but is has to be based on facts and solid arguments to make sense.
- And let us be clear: We as chapter conclude that apparently our annual plan is not as clearly described and not according to the committee's expectations. But that means for us that the word "Simple" in "Simple APG" is not true, this is much more complex than just a simple annual plan. Also please provide us the expectations and requirements on forehand, and not afterwards.
- What's next: As the committee has made clear that translations cannot be funded, something we should have been told in April, we are now working on rewriting our annual plan. To be continued. Romaine (talk) 05:54, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
|Decision from WMF|
Thanks to the committee for this recommendation, and to Romaine for the detailed response. We have reviewed the committee’s recommendation, the detailed response, and the application materials, in order to deliver a final decision. Given the serious concerns presented here by the applicant, we have allowed time for some additional review and discussion with the committee before issuing a decision.
First, it is true that the request for staff in this application consists of 0.2 FTE rather than 0.5 FTE as printed in the committee’s decision. This was a typing error, and I have confirmed with the committee that a belief that the grantee was requesting 0.5 FTE rather than 0.2 FTE did not influence the outcome of their recommendations. I apologize for and take responsibility for this error, since I should have noticed it before the committee recommendations were posted. I am relieved that this error did not affect the substance of the recommendations.
Next, I will focus on the areas of the recommendations that most influenced the final decision about the grant amount: the staff position for translation, international travel costs, and reductions in program expenses that accompany the decision about staff.
We give grants the way we do because we believe that local communities are best equipped to understand their own needs and challenges, and to request what they think they need. At the same time, local communities are not expected to balance their needs against the expectations and priorities of the international community or the Wikimedia Foundation. This balance is what the grants process ideally provides.
WMBE has clearly articulated their need for a part-time translation-focused staff person, and the committee has not recommended funding that position. The committee has cited that there are many communities that face different sorts of translation challenges in our movement, and they do not think piloting a new approach in Belgium that involves an ongoing staff commitment is the best solution to this global issue at this time. In this light, we at WMF see WMBE’s request as valid (based on their local needs), and we also see the committee’s decision not to recommend granting this request as valid (based on international practices and standards). How to best support translation in our movement should be part of a larger discussion that takes place among many different stakeholders, before we begin to fund ongoing staff commitments in one particular region.
Furthermore, many organizations also face challenges participating in the international movement, and in getting the work and priorities of their organizations and communities known and seen outside of their regions. WMBE may feel they are less well-connected than other chapters in Europe, but this argument is less compelling on a global scale. Even in Europe, we have heard similar challenges articulated by other chapters. We agree that international travel provides volunteers and staff of Wikimedia organizations with valuable opportunities to learn and share with others, and sometimes that should be prioritized. Yet no organizations with a similar budget size have requested international travel funding on this scale, as part of their Simple Annual Plan Grants. We see that in recommending a reduction here, the committee is asking WMBE to operate in a way that is more consistent with what other Wikimedia organizations operating under similar funding models are doing, and we support this recommendation.
Finally, it follows that a reduction in the organization’s planned capacity (due to the staff position not being funded), would result in fewer activities taking place in 2018 than were planned; therefore, we support the idea that program costs should be reduced accordingly because the requested staff position is not being funded.
We have offered WMBE the option to submit a revised budget to us during the extended review period, that includes the committee’s recommendations. They have responded that they would rather receive direct recommendations about which parts of their budget to reduce. Therefore, we are approving this grant in the amount recommended by the committee and suggesting the following reductions in the amount budgeted for the grant (based on the original budget submitted with the grant application):
With these changes, the grant is approved in the amount of 15,000 EUR + 10% contingency fee, or a total of 16,500 EUR, with a grant term starting on the day of this approval and ending on 31 December 2018. WMBE has the option to accept or decline this grant within 30 days of this approval notice, although delays in the acceptance of the grant may affect the grant’s start date.
Extension requested for midterm report
Hi Delphine, As requested also here on the talk page. As result of busy weeks with our photo contest of Wiki Loves Heritage, Wikimania, holidays and more we might not be able to finish our midterm grant report on next week's Tuesday. Therefore we would like to request an extension of the deadline. Thank you! Romaine (talk) 08:14, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
Use of contingency funds for this grant
As per email exchange, I approve the use of 400 € from the 1500 € contingency funds to offset VAT costs not calculated in budget forecast and 1100€ to be used for expenses in January 2019. Delphine (WMF) (talk) 16:50, 7 February 2019 (UTC)
- We have sent an Excel to Grants Admin with the effective expenses for January 2019 for a total amount of 399.10 € on the remaining contingency budget sAPG 2018 as requested and approved. This brings then the remaining contingency funds for sAPG 2018 down to 700.90 €. Please inform us if we could reallocate this remaining contingency as additional contingency to sAPG 2019, as suggested by Grants Admin? Geert Van Pamel (WMBE) (talk) 00:08, 8 February 2019 (UTC)