While frequently led by individuals, partnerships still need to be seen as a resource the movement is collectively responsible for, and collectively benefits from. Equity needs to be established as a fundamental principle that guides all partnerships. As a result, partnerships will be as open to movement participation as possible.
In order to enable this, we recommend a basic statement of principles that all partnerships should try to follow to promote equity within partnerships. Without imposing unrealistic demands on all partnerships, or expecting the capacity to fulfill all of these ideas, these should be a set of ideas that encourage the widest possible impact and access.
This will also enable planning collective work on a given partnership with others in the movement, ensuring language groups, regional and other identities have representation where possible.
We are also recommending that internal partnerships between Movement entities are encouraged as a means for delivering stronger partnerships.
We are assuming that a network of Wikimedia affiliates of varying sizes, maturity and capacity will continue to exist and have relationships, and that we will continue wanting to expand their capabilities - in particular with regard to partnership work.
Some partnerships will always be relevant to multiple groups within the movement or even the entire movement. Thus key partnerships should be shared and open to participation from other entities. We should think more about how to connect partners to all relevant stakeholders.
We also note that partnership, as a stronger form of collaboration and mutual commitment, are beneficial when occurring among movement entities and communities. At the moment affiliates are not encouraged or incentivised to use their resources to aid other affiliates. The shift would be that some of the movement resources for affiliates would become more internally focused to support partnership work among affiliates.
In order to ensure that there is equitable access to partnership organisations, their content and their resources, we need an approach that allows wider participation in the planning and execution of projects and partnerships.
We have a global network of partners, but access to certain institutions will tend to cluster around certain countries and be more accessible for some affiliates than others. Other elements of accessibility will be the resources to have in-person meetings and build relationships. Our Movement should make a conscious effort to make partnerships themselves more equitable and ensure that all interested movement entities are supported in doing partnership work. One way to reduce these barriers to accessibility is to encourage more internal partnerships that facilitate this access. A system of internal partnerships will allow affiliates to effectively share access to partnerships, with developing / emerging affiliates benefitting from the leadership of more experienced / established ones.
As an example; a museum in France with a large collection of Senegalese items. The French Wikimedians would include involving Senegalese Wikimedian in their planning of the partnership and involve them in its development.
This is a methodology that can facilitate as well internal movement partnerships. We note that sustained collaboration within a partnership is beneficial to the movement as it builds ties and shared identity, enables exchange of knowledge and skills, and peer mentoring.
Any Wikimedia entities and communities initiating partnerships.
Some of this is already happening, with chapters in Europe and Latin America working with affiliates elsewhere to share more widely special collections relevant to specific communities. This would attempt to ensure the relationship was not about creating “clients” but more “partnerships” between Wikimedians with different levels of access to specific institutions.
Partnerships among affiliates have been a growing trend, with Wikimedia NL and Wikimedia Indonesia working together, Wikimedia Norway working with Wikimedia Armenia or Interwiki Women Collaboration, That said, as of now, these are exceptions to the rule. We’d like to see that change and become a more widespread practice in the movement.
If we want to become an effective organizer of partnerships based on a shared vision of the free movement of open knowledge, the purpose of such partnerships should be equitable and inclusive with a shared basic statement of principles.
This recommendation relates to Capacity Building’s work: Recommendation # 8: Mentoring and leadership development.