Peer Support Networks within the Wikimedia Movement
What is Peer Support?
- "Peer support occurs when people provide knowledge, experience, emotional, social or practical help to each other. [...] Peer support is distinct from other forms of social support in that the source of support is a peer, a person who is similar in fundamental ways to the recipient of the support; their relationship is one of equality. A peer is in a position to offer support by virtue of relevant experience: he or she has "been there, done that" and can relate to others who are now in a similar situation."
This definition taken from the English Wikipedia article about peer support relates to the key values of the Wikimedia community - knowledge sharing, equality and building on our strengths.
Peer support in the Movement
While the Wikimedia Movement in a way is a peer support network in and of itself with the goal of sharing, distributing and curating knowledge, Wikimedians have been asking for more dedicated peer support groups within this ecosystem for some time, specifically focusing on the support of mental health of volunteers or the support of targets of harassment. Examples of volunteers asking for peer support networks could be seen in the UCoC Consultations of phase 2, as well as in two talks from Wikimania 2019 on mental health and the support of targets of harassment.
The Wikimedia Foundation is moving from a position of only taking responsibility for the technical support of volunteers by providing and maintaining the hard- and software needed to run the projects, to recognizing the needs of volunteers in a much more holistic way. Creating Wikimedia Foundation support for peer support networks is taking all of us one step further in this direction.
As with many other issues, some peer support groups have formed already in the typical Wikimedian grassroots fashion. They range from fully informal small local groups of friends to user group supported efforts. The current approach of the Wikimedia Foundation is to learn more about these networks, explore their strengths and weaknesses and to find ways to support them.
Where we are now
- Building connections with affiliates and individual volunteers that engage with or want to engage with peer support networks.
- Learning about existing networks
- Learning about the needs of volunteer support networks and what the Wikimedia Foundation could do to support them
- Starting to build a knowledge base for peer support
- Looking for partners within the movement who would like to partner with the Wikimedia Foundation for a pilot
- Looking for external partners who could help in this endeavour. The Wikimedia Foundations has partnered with organizations like the Samaritans, but would like to partner with other organizations as well that could support volunteers in different regions of the world
How to participate
- Help us find out more about already existing networks by filling out the table below
- Sign up below as an interested partner for upcoming conversations
- Take part in one of our upcoming Focus groups, please sign up below or register by writing to Christel directly via Email
Time for the Focus groups have been decided on. They will be on:
- 1 October 2021, 7:30 - 9:30 UTC
- 15 October 2021, 15:00 - 17:00 UTC
- 22 October 2021, 19:00 - 21:00 UTC
- Let us know about already existing networks within the Wikimedia movement by filling out the table below
- Tell us about organizations that could be great partners for volunteer support networks in the Wikimedia movement in your region or country, by listing them in the table below
- Let us know what you think peer support networks would need from the Foundation to be successful, by listing and explaining the needs below
- Leave other thoughts and comments on the talk page here, or contact Christel directly via Email
I am interested and want to be involved
- Anna Torres (WMAR) (talk) 18:00, 23 September 2021 (UTC)
- Nehaoua (talk) 10:53, 26 September 2021 (UTC)
- NANöR (talk) 07:05, 6 October 2021 (UTC)
- ~TNT (she/her • talk) 13:25, 13 October 2021 (UTC)
- Godstime Elijah (talk) 03:50, 14 October 2021 (UTC)
I am interested and want to be part of a Focus group
- please sign here
|Name of the Network||Supporting affiliate||Channels used||Languages used||Special focus||Wiki page||Contact information|
|Volunteer Supporters Network||Mailing list, in person meetings, online meetings||Main language: English||Staff of Wikimedia affiliates working in volunteer/community support||Volunteer Supporters Network on Metafirstname.lastname@example.org|
|please fill out here|
Possible local/regional partners
|Organization||Region or country||Special focus||Homepage|
|Mental Health America||USA||Mental Health||mhnational.org/about|
|Yayasan Pulih||Indonesia||Mental Health||yayasanpulih.org|
|Peer Support Canada||Canada||Mental Health||Peersupportcanada.ca|
|Coalition Against Online Violence/Online Violence Response Hub||USA/International||How to support others|||
|Vita Activa||USA/International||Peer support hotline|||
|Aluna Acompañamiento Psicosocial, A.C.||Latin America||Mental Health|||
|please fill out here|
Needs of volunteer support Networks
Please put in here what you know or what you think peer support networks might need from the Wikimedia Foundation. We will start by listing those things that were brought to our attention at a session at Wikimania 2021 and will add on things we learn through other channels from community members.
- A knowledge base for peer support networks (session at Wikimania 2021)
- Practical recommendations for off-wiki channels (session at Wikimania 2021)
- Training for volunteers, Train-the-peer-supporter program (session at Wikimania 2021)
- Professional support in the background, if problems are too heavy to be handled by volunteers only (Wikimania 2021)