Movement Strategy/About/Transition/Reports/West Bengal Wikimedians User Group

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

General Information[edit]

Field Information
Name of your group West Bengal Wikimedians User Group (WBG)
Time and date of the event November 8, 2020 20:00 IST
Who attended? Representative Members of WBG
Who facilitated? Bodhisattwa
Who took notes? Titodutta


Q1. Which recommendations will respond to your community’s needs?[edit]

Choose Your Top Priorities   Why is it prioritized?
Example: recommendation 2, improve user experience Example: Having a more engaging interface will excite more people from our community to want to contribute to Wikimedia projects.
1. Increase the Sustainability of Our Movement (1) West Bengal Wikimedians User Group has been doing series of cost-effective impactful activities since its inception with very limited resources (See reports). The user group activities and projects would not be successful without hard work from dedicated and experienced community volunteers, but there remains a huge risk too. The model tends to fail when key volunteers leave the movement for various reasons, be it exhaustion, real life issues, financial crises etc. To sustain itself for a long time and to make a difference in the Wikimedia movement in future, the user group needs massive change from its current working model. The user group members have identified the strategy implementation process an opportunity to re-organize itself to a more sustainable organization.
2. Invest in Skills and Leadership Development (6)
Manage Internal Knowledge (7)
Like many user groups, WBG also is run by handful of active community leaders, who take the responsibility of planning and executing various projects and activities. When these leaders leave the movement for whatsoever reason, majority of the user groups tend to lose activities due to lack of proper documentation on how plans were made and projects were executed, which leads to loss of institutional memory which fail to pass to the next generation of leaders. So, it is extremely important to have proper culture of documentation and initiatives for leadership development, so that new leaders to show up on a regular and take charges. We believe, this priority is mostly dependent on how successfully we can implement our Priority No. 1.
3. Ensure Equity in Decision-Making (4) The user group strongly believes in the decentralization of power to take decisions and to allocate resources including funds. Unlike status quo, diverse communities and groups closest to them from all over the world, need to have strong voices to shape the movement. We feel that, to have a strong voice, we need to be more organized to make a difference, again which depends on our Priority No. 1.

Q2.From the recommendations, which specific actions and changes would you want prioritized in 2021?[edit]

Choose Your Top Priorities   Why is it prioritized?
Example: recommendation 2, improve user experience Example: Having a more engaging interface will excite more people from our community to want to contribute to Wikimedia projects.
1. Systematic approach to improve satisfaction and productivity
2. Funding for underrepresented communities
4. Global revenue generation policy + fundraising strategy
The user group currently runs on a volunteer model and with very limited resources. As, mentioned above, it requires support to convert itself as a more self-dependent organization than its current situation, having office, staff structure and stable financial support, so that it can work in a more organized way.
32. Leadership development plan
34. Facilitate a culture of documentation
To sustain in the movement, the user group, not only need office, staffs and finance as mentioned above, but it also needs people who are passionate and dedicated to open knowledge, have broad understanding of the movement, come from the community and have the ability to understand community issues, and can decide plan, lead and execute impactful projects together as a team. The two priorities mentioned will help empower the user group to ensure subsidiarity.
26. Flexible resource allocation framework
25. Regional & thematic hubs
The current process to allocate resources does not help groups to plan and work efficiently. It is extremely important for our user group to involve in the process of decision making, where we can strongly voice our needs and get resources accordingly. We welcome the concept of regional/thematic hubs and Global Council. However we would like to point out that the leadership in the hubs should be carefully selected, who are trusted enough in the community and have no personal ambitions, as they will be closest to the local groups and will have the power to allocate resources to them. We definitely do not want several layers of bureaucracy, power struggle and bad leadership in the hubs, which might strain us and hinder our projects.

Q3. What human capacity and / or financial resources do you need to work on implementation?[edit]

Think of your existing resources, the movement’s vast resources, and the support infrastructure you may need for moving ideas forward.

  1. The user group needs an office space which can be a brainstorming space for all kinds of open knowledge enthusiasts. The office will also serve the user group to better plan and execute projects as per community needs in a more organized way.
  2. The user group needs a staff structure to run the office, ensure strategy implementation, deal with its financial needs and help in planning and execution of activities.
  3. It also requires legal assistance to get funds without difficulty. Currently, the latest amendments of Foreign Currency Regulation Act (FCRA) had made stricter regulation on how to get foreign funding and spend them, which had caused major hindrance for lots of organizations to operate. The user group specifically requires legal assistance to overcome this challenge. We also suggest to keep a portion of donation money generated from India to stay in India and be used by the local groups, so that it does not count as foreign money and become an obstacle.

Q4. Which initiatives do you think should be the top focus for global coordination?[edit]

Think global, movement-wide changes needed.

1. Systematic approach to improve satisfaction and productivity: This initiative should be the top priority globally. If the movement stakeholders are made sustainable, only then they will have a strong voice in hubs and council, and only then decentralization of power can be truly materialized.