Hubs is a name for organizational units in the Wikimedia movement supporting more than one volunteer community. They are one of the initiatives from Movement Strategy recommendations. The idea of Hubs responds to the desire to share power, moving more decision-making closer to the communities involved. They are also expected to bring greater efficiency when working within a region or a theme, compared to the current model centralized in the Wikimedia Foundation.
So far, there are no clear definitions, roles, or responsibilities set for “Hubs”. The roles and responsibilities of hubs will be defined in the upcoming Movement Charter. With the drafting of that charter on the near horizon, those roles and responsibilities are currently being discussed. There is also a number of possible Hub projects undergoing research, discussion or planning.
Hubs are imagined to be regional (geographic, e.g. Central Eastern Europe) and thematic. They will be either an enhancement of existing entities, collaborations between affiliates, or new structures formed for a specific purpose. Following the subsidiarity principle, they are expected to emerge by "identifying and advocating for the needs of the communities and organizations they serve".
Hubs are expected to fill several roles according to their needs, maturity, and resources. Possible roles include: legal support, resource allocation (grantmaking), capacity building, inter-group coordination, technology development, mentorship, evaluation services and more. Some roles (like grantmaking) may require the creation of legal entities. Other roles may be fulfilled by hubs that are not backed by a legal entity, and are entirely volunteer-based.
Introduction to hubs (video)
Regional hubs focus on supporting specific regions, allowing contextualizing activities, tools, and information. The recommendation states that "If appropriately resourced, they will empower groups of affiliates to collaborate on capacity building, knowledge transfer, and coordination."
Thematic hubs focus on supporting global thematic areas. Thematic hubs are described in the recommendation as "allow[ing] for specialization and work across the Movement, where shared objectives benefit from coordinated solutions". Thematic topics were also defined in the recommendations as covering "areas of expertise", of which some mentioned examples are "advocacy, capacity building, partnerships, research, etc.".
Linguistic hubs should augment regional and thematic hubs. Language is of utmost importance to guarantee diversity, inclusion and representation amongst dispersed communities (sharing the same language). Language is perhaps the most important cultural component of the movement. It often occurs that one country has multiple official languages, and one language is spoken in multiple countries.
In June 2010, Iberocoop, Wikimedia's first regional collaborative, was established. In the years following, several more groups were created, such as the East, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Regional Cooperation (2018?) and Wikimedia Central and Eastern Europe (2011), WikiConference North America (2016), among others.
During the 2018-20 Strategy Process, proposals for regional and thematic hubs were put forward by both the Resource Allocation Working Group (see early draft recommendations for regional hubs: first draft, second draft; thematic hubs: 1, 2), and the Roles and Responsibilities Working Group (first proposed as part of the "Quotiel" model, see draft recommendation, which mentions inspiration from the existing regional collaborations).
The Advocacy and Capacity Building Working Groups developed draft recommendations for dedicated organizations for Advocacy and Capacity Building, respectively (see drafts, advocacy 1, 2, capacity building 1, 2); these were then integrated as examples of possible thematic hubs. The recommendations were revised in a third-iteration draft, before arriving at the final version in May 2020. The overall proposal, together with the rest of the strategy recommendations, was then approved by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.
During the strategy transition, several discussions on Hubs took place: See reports on Hubs discussions in November, December, and January.