Date and place
- Day : 23rd of June 2019
- Time : 9am-4pm
- Place : Université Kofi Annan de Guinée
The session started with participants presenting themselves. We were fourteen (14).
- Aboubacarkhoraa President of Wikimedia Guinea
- Abdoulaye Fofana, Presenter
- Mamoudou Camara, university lecturer and researcher
- Sadjo Tounkara, Sup-coaching
- Daouda Camara, Photographer
- Falilou224 Writer
- Sayd224 (talk) 10:28, 2 July 2019 (UTC) representative for the kamsar branch
- Ourysow92 (talk)
- FatimaAmd (talk)
- Thie Abdoul
- NDOIALLAH MICKAEL ANDJIBAYE
- Thierno Ismaeil Diallo
Presentation about roles et les responsibilities
Abdoulaye Fofana gave a quick speech to participants about roles and responsibilities inside a User Group.
The User Group Wikimedians of Guinea was only recently recognized as an official affiliate (november 2018). Few Guineans contribute to Wikimedia projects due to lack of awareness (of the collaborative nature of Wikipedia) and because internet access goes mainly through smartphones (uneasy tool for contribution).
Our group has 15 active volunteers, and more than 300 members who have attended initiations who wish to contribute actively. But this population lack information because the training we gave were very limited in content due to our very recent officialization. We wish to offer more trainings in order to retain our adherents, which means we need equipment (computers, projectors...) to welcome more people. Our target is mainly pupils and students who are most concerned by this project.
Roles & responsibilities
• What governance and organizational structures do we need to support the delivery of the strategic direction, particularly knowledge equity?
The creation of User Groups allows groups who have shown they are active to progress towards becoming a Chapter with more means. Structures of governance need to come closer to African countries because the encyclopedic content is very weak there, despite the 15 years of existence of Wikipedia. The African continent is set as priority in the Wikimedia Foundation's propositions, but it only has 1 chapter among 40 in the world. We thus need the Foundation to support the creation of more chapters in Africa.
• How do we ensure that our governance and operational structures can adapt to social, technological and political change?
As User Group, we need to understand the way in which other structures of the Wikimedia Movement have been able to grow, understand the positive aspects and improve the negative ones, listen to different voices about what type of structure is best, in order to choose what is most appropriate in our context. We thus need to be provided experience sharing and good practices from other Wikimedia entities. We need to teach young people the spirit of knowledge sharing. For this, we have to go through universities, institutions and governments, and build partnerships along the movement's principles. Our priority is to sensibilize more people in these more intellectual fields.
As says the proverbs: “If means have an end, the project ends”.
• How and to whom should movement roles and structures be accountable?
We approve of current functioning:
- people doing projects write reports to the governance structures that finance them
- the Foundation and Chapters publish activity reports and share them through appropriate emailing lists for user groups, chapters and thematic areas.
• Which responsibilities are better placed at a global, regional, local or thematic level; which should be centralized and which decentralized?
We must prefer a contextual approach because the penetration of the encyclopedia is not at the same level everywhere. So:
At a local level We have to raise the level of interest and participation through more sensibilization. People who have just discovered contribution cannot be trained at the same level as an active contributor. “Many people here in Guinea use Wikipedia without realizing that they too could have the privilege to contribute to it and improve it.”
At the regional level In Africa, we need structures like WikiIndaba to be reinforced so that we can share more experiences between user groups and chapter. This could help lesser advanced groups to progress and discover new tendancies.
At the international level Needs / propositions:
- More transparency about decision processes (criteria, etc).
- Linguistic freedom (on Meta and offline), for example to apply and attend Wikimania
- Decentralization of existing ressources
- Have big summits come to countries where the encyclopedia suffers most inequalities in order to include them furter in the movement and help promote our primary value which is liberation and diffusion of free knowledge.
- Create more swinging events (like Wikimania) which happen in different countries
- Create headquarters for User Groups
- Help the creation of more chapters, more structures
- Platforms management
• How might we integrate the Wikimedia Movement with the greater free knowledge ecosystem?
• Enrich articles to retain more readers and contributors; existing articles should be sufficiently furnished so as to become sources and references • Organize training sessions, raise awareness
About the knowledge ecosystem (not always “free”), in Guinea we partner with an information website which produces articles about women, and with start-ups involved in technological innovation.
• How should conflict management and resolution be structured across the movement?
Administrators and patrollers on the encyclopedia, who are in charge with judging the credibility of information, should be closer to the facts. This means accessing such positions should be easier or more open ; or we should specifically ask contributors of each country (maybe appointed people acting like points of contacts) to participate in discussions when the subject concerns their country. This would help conflict resolution to be more inclusive and participatory. For example, information about Guinea should be verified by natives, which means belonging to a chapter, or at least being trained or even employed for the cause. The articles would end up being more qualitative. Native people should also be consulted about admissibility criteria of articles.
• How can we be strategic about ensuring relevance as we scale while still supporting the existing editing community?
This answer is connected to the previous one. We have to promote free knowledge and exchange about our work, so that Wikipedia and sister projects' reputation remains high in the heart of our readers and editors. We (as editors) have to be persistent and consistent.
• How do we make capacity building inclusive and equitable?
The Wikimedia community is at its beginning in Guinea, so we need to reinforce the capacities of our leaders and most invested members first. For a start, everyone cannot have the same opportunities because everyone doesn't have the same motivation and availability. But if our leaders are well trained, they can share their knowledge and give newcomers the best set of tools to improve their skills. Thus, the general skill level will be boosted.
• Which stakeholders should be a part of capacity building efforts, and how?
We need complementary relationships and implication of all members of the group in training sessions so that volunteers improve their skills and capacities. In Guinea, we resort to 3 levels of help: - the Foundation for big projects - Wikimedia France (micro-financement) for small purchases (equipment, projector, camera...) - exterior partners or infrastructures who give us discounts (venues, equipment...)
• What resources are needed to do capacity building?
User groups need local training tutor, plus experts to train them on- or off-line and help them become Chapters. This means we have to get involved in model-projects supported by the Foundation (Wiki Loves Africa, Wiki Loves Earth, GLAM.....), so that we can have training and get more equipment at each project, and in the end find premises for our group with a good internet connection, so that we can develop the encyclopedia more. Thus, the resources we need are quite basic: a place, functional equipment and a good internet connection to be able to contribute and train new contributors in good conditions.
In Guinea, we also need large awareness raising about the way Wikimedia projects work because most people are unaware that Wikipedia is a collaborative project, so they cannot have the idea to contribute. Aboubacar: “Oftentimes when I talk to students, university teachers, pupils, I ask them : “-Where do you do your internet research? - On Google. - Ok, Google is a browser. Often the first result is the Wikipedia article. Do you know that you can edit wikipedia articles ? - No, is that possible?” I say yes and they are immediately interested. But if we don't have a good training program to offer to them, they will drop it."
• What tools and methods work best locally, regionally and internationally?
We assumed this question was the same as the similar one for the other theme.
• How do we grow the available tools beyond training, identifying innovative and effective formats?
In Guinea we have to lead an inclusive reflection about the future so as to modernize our approaches and methods thanks to new technology and innovations. But for now we face technical limits, so we need to think about how to progress with the tools we already have. For example, most of our volunteers don't own a computer. Most people access the internet through a smartphone, but contributing on a phone is really difficult (you really have to be a true enthusiast). One solution could be to improve mobile interfaces so as to facilitate contribution on phones. But for now our goal is to have decent headquarters with offices and computers, and to develop methods to attract new users who will, in their turn, spread the love for wikimedian projects.