Wikimedia Strategy Salon in Rajshahi, July 2019
On July 20, 2019, Wikimedia Bangladesh and its regional community - Rajshahi Wikipedia Community - brought together a group of Wikimedians in the northern city of Bangladesh to discuss the future of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia movement. Making Wikimedia community a more inclusive place by bringing in more students, collaborating with local media houses, decentralize structure within a country to reach more people outside of cities, opening the influx of knowledge from other language Wikimedia community members are some of the areas most participant unanimously aspired to change.
Date and location
- Day : 20th of July 2019
- Time : 10am-4pm
- Place : Coffeebar Theater Lounge, Padma Riverside Garden Complex, Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Organizers and Facilitators:
- Shabab Mustafa Strategy Liaison and President of Wikimedia Bangladesh
- Nahid Sultan Administrator of Bengali Wikipedia
- Masum Al Hasan Community Lead, Rajshahi Wikipedia Community
- Mustafizur Rahman Safy Co-ordination, Rajshahi Wikipedia Community
- R K Hannan Director, Outreach and Planning, Wikimedia Bangladesh
About the chapter
Wikimedia Bangladesh was approved by the Wikimedia Board of trustees on October 3, 2011 and was the 39th chapter to be approved by the Wikimedia Foundation board. It is locally registered in Bangladesh at Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms as a non-profit foundation under the Societies Registrations Act, 1860 bearing the registration number S-11906 and official name ‘Wikimedia Bangladesh Foundation’. Though we started officially in 2011, we were an organized group before that and regularly promoting WMF's educational projects since at least 2009. Now, we have 70 registered members.
To decentralize the movement and spread the word of free knowledge throughout the country WMBD currently run 7 active volunteers community under its umbrella in major cities of Bangladesh. One of them is Rajshahi Wikipedia Community in Rajshahi where the strategy salon has been taken place.
After a short introductory session, the discussion started with an opening presentation, updating the participants about the recent status of the Wikimedia Movement Strategy 2030 process and explaining the plans and goals for the discussion of the event. 'Capacity Building' was selected as the discussion topic for the day. All the participants were handed a printed copy of the scoping document and asked to find some answers/ generate ideas with the help of the scoping questions through discussion. Then the participants were divided into two groups, both groups were moderated by an experienced Wikimedian so they can explain the questions better to the others. Both groups discussed among themselves and wrote short notes of their ideas on colored papers and posted them on a board so it is visible to everyone. After the discussion, groups were merged back to one and each of the idea cards passed through each of the participants. Each participant marked each of the idea cards on a scale of 1 to 5, while 1 means less liked/ strongly disagreed and 5 means very much liked/ strongly agreed. All the cards were collected afterward and marks were added up. The top marked idea cards were accepted unanimously at the end of the event.
Summary of the discussion points
As the world undergoes significant population shifts in the next 15 years, we believe Wikimedia movement also need to adopt by building its capacity. As such we recognize that the Capacity Building is an important area of work for our Movement, so during the strategy discussion salon we discussed who we can partner with and how to do that in global and local context as well as we asked ourselves the key questions to advance in our Strategic Direction.
Q: How do we make capacity building inclusive and equitable?
- Identify the like-minded organizations, institutions and other stakeholders who share similar vision and enthusiastic about free knowledge from all parts of the society to partner and collaborate with them.
Q: Which stakeholders should be a part of the capacity building efforts, and how?
- In less developed countries especially in the global south and south Asia in general, awareness about Wikipedia projects are very low. Many internet users tend to think that information is coming from Google or other search engine or they were written by scholars. Keep that in mind, patterning with local media organizations will help in this regard. The word will reach various parts of the society and As more people know about the projects more people will join the movement hence it will help diversify the base of readers and contributors. Most media has a section dedicated to technology and news about Wikimedia generally falls under this category and in almost every country there is an organized journalist body who cover the tech news for different media houses (such as Bangladesh ICT Journalist Forum (BIJF)). We can partner with them to promote free knowledge movement. The end result will be, awareness plus increased userbase.
- By identifying interested teacher within the educational institutes especially who are connected with library and different students clubs. Scholars tend to have some negative opinion about Wikipedia that's mostly because of the lack of awareness. Working with them will create a positive vibe about Wikimedia projects and more students will join the movement. An experienced person from Local chapter can initiate the contact as contact from the chapter will look more professional.
- One of the stockholders of the internet ecosystem are the actors from telecommunication industries. Besides, their internet service, we can also collaborate to use their SMS service. They can share an interesting and informative line from a Wikipedia article with their subscriber once a month for free.
- partnering with special focus group such as Women organizations in the country will help diversify the movement. It can be done by organized targeted events, specific promotion and/or interesting facts videos related to women to attract more women in our movement.
- Participants also suggested capacity building individually by promoting Wikimedia projects within their networks.
Q: What role should communication play in a capacity building system, and how can this be integrated with a movement-wide approach to communication?
- Effective organization to organization communications and organization to participants communications are important to implement the above. With maintaining various communication module/template and local and international training for interested people to teach effective communication methods.
Q: What structures and bodies are needed to retain and promote capacity, and who should maintain these?
- decentralize structure in the local context. Chapter (central body) → Regional Body (such as Rajshahi Wikipedia community) → Regional committee (lead and working group) = They will reach and organize events in the local areas, where sometimes it is hard to organize something from central. Local community under a chapter could be less formal than a user group.
- Identify flagship program out of all and monitor success rate so that others can implement them in their context.
- participants also suggested using social media for promoting supporting tools (ex, mobile apps), to collect feedback and comments from the root level. And experienced Wikimedians should work according to them and respond to the users. They also suggested using social media to appreciate users on different occasions such as 100 articles, 500 articles, etc. Little appreciation outside the projects can help towards user retention.
Q: What tools and methods work best locally, regionally and internationally?
- Since vast majority of users visit from mobile and many contributes and/or want to contribute from mobile devices, more emphasis should given on developing effective mobile apps which is easy to use as well as require less effort/technical knowledge.