Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Recommendations/Iteration 2/Advocacy/5
movement is exchanging ideas and experiences -> there is space and rules for engaging in conversation -> there is equity of access and streamlining of results
R5: Movement advocacy efforts are streamlined and reinforced by a hub run with and for current and future advocates
Community needs vary from place to place in the world. However, to serve and support this decentralised mesh of issues and advocacy initiatives, there needs to be a place that serves as a dispatch. Its role is to observe the issues different communities are occupied with, suggest people to connect over shared problems, identify people in the community that may help others and coordinate support when requested. Its role is not to replace or coordinate local advocacy activities but to enhance and support them with a mix of resources, knowledge, training, networking and identifying various opportunities (and future threats) that may not be as apparent on a local level.
The creation of a central, non-partisan but interconnected movement Advocacy hub that does not sit at nor answer exclusively to WMF, but is based on collaboration among advocates of the movement and the community as a whole.
Recommendations 1, 2, 3, 4, 9 (Transparency, Diversity, Global Conversation, Knowledge Management, and Self-determination) and to an extent 6 and 10 (Common positioning and Protection of Advocates) provide guidelines, principles, activities and necessary processes for the hub to run in a way meeting diversified needs of advocates all over the world. The idea is to provide a space that coordinates the work of advocates by helping them and providing resources if needed, but not managing their everyday work. According to the principles of self-determination, we see this space as an intersection of coordinating function provided by an entity that is able to finance the hub long-term with advocates getting together to set an agenda, work on implementing Recommendation 6, providing support to others and requesting it.
In that structure, we do not see the need to institutionalize the hub more than around its coordinative functions. As it is supposed to serve the diversified needs, it should be in essence decentralised as to the actual advocacy work. The advocates should be able to use it as a one-stop-shop for getting support, information and being redirected to other advocates able to help and collaborate on specific issues. The agenda and the information fed into the hub (Rec 4) should come from the Advocates themselves, while the processes, systems and infrastructure to do so effectively and keep track record are maintained by the coordinative structures.
In search of the model for organizing the Advocacy Hub, the Movement Strategy Working Groups provide an inspiration for a non-institutionalised task force that is not formalised at the level of product delivery, but its coordinative nodes have the mandate, budget and the support of the formal structure. We believe this model can be emulated at the Advocacy Hub. It may be more difficult to coordinate and motivate; but the experience of working groups shows that when the responsibility for the quality of the output is shared between participants, diversity and debate become the driving force of the modeled change.
During the course of our work, we heard a question whether advocacy activities should be extracted into a form of a separate entity. We believe that this should not be the case - the hub should be an integral part of the community. First, on the level of principles, institutionalizing this important work will create a distance of governance for the communities that need advocacy to happen to access free knowledge better. Secondly, it may be an effective approach from the point of productivity, but it creates a risk that the advocacy work would be done for the communities and not with them. And that goes against what we believe is crucial for maintaining community initiative and oversight over these important functions.
Finally, this approach may prove to be counterproductive in some contexts. An entity would have to be seated in a certain geography, and that may prevent it from operating in other geographies (which includes lending name, issuing statements, etc.) This would create differences in providing meaningful support to advocates and enlarge the gap between the scale and robustness advocacy activities instead of closing it.