Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Advocacy

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Advocacy Working Group members at Wikimedia Summit 2019


Legal frameworks, legislation, public policy, activism, agenda setting


  • legal frameworks, public policies and agendas to define areas where active advocacy and political engagement supports our mission and our strategic direction;
  • build capacities to break down political barriers;
  • identify partners for political impact


Providing everyone in the world with access to free knowledge is a political act. Even though Wikimedia does not align with political parties, governments, or politicians, the decision to support freedom of knowledge and stand against censorship has “political” implications. These implications are greater in some countries than others. Our strategic direction goes even further and states that we will break down the political barriers preventing people from accessing and contributing to free knowledge.

In order to achieve this in line with our values and vision, we need to create a positive legal framework that supports and advances free knowledge. This would mean becoming a leading voice on issues that affect our movement and standing up for our values. To this end, we engage with other open knowledge players globally in areas of common interest and join forces to mobilize against threats to free knowledge.

To successfully advocate for free knowledge, we need to build political, legal, and activist capacities across the movement and cooperate on local, regional, and global levels. As political agendas and barriers differ from region to region, we need to constantly understand and evaluate the changing policy landscape and how it affects the Wikimedia movement. We need to explore areas of alignment and identify common priorities, as well as areas where we refrain from becoming active.

What does it take to make Wikimedia more influential in political and legal discussions in advancing free knowledge and access to knowledge in the world, on local, regional and global level?

Guiding Questions[edit]

These questions are not meant to be answered one-to-one but should help the group frame their own conversations and their consultations with movement stakeholders.

  • What policy areas do we want to prioritize on our way to becoming the essential infrastructure for free knowledge? Where do we have to align with the broader global movement?
  • What policy changes are necessary to achieve our strategic vision? What are areas where the movement has an opportunity to make change?
  • What is the most effective way to promote public policy that advances our goals? What kind of legal, public policy and activist capacities do we need within movement organizations and communities, and how can we build them?
  • How do we bring awareness, support, and readiness to action to our community beyond the policy experts?
  • How will the open knowledge movement support the growing need for legal work around the globe in defense of free speech, access to information, and open knowledge? Who is part of this movement and who are the partners we need to engage with to further our mission?
  • How will the broader open knowledge movement organize itself to better reach and inform policymakers, legal advocates, and other stakeholders in matters related to the future of the open internet?
  • How can Wikimedia use its considerable visibility and influence to work with other open internet and open knowledge allies to advocate for press freedom, free speech, universal internet access, and other policy goals that will ensure the free flow of information?

Mailing list[edit]

Meeting Notes[edit]

March 2019[edit]

18 March

Next steps after scoping

The next steps for Working Groups presented by the Core Team had been reviewed during the Advocacy online and face to face discussions in Brussels, the focus will now be on the analysis phase, activities before and after the Wikimedia Summit.

  • Alice shared a document with advocacy scoping questions, that can also be populated with ideas and other helpful resources to design research for data gathering on the next steps of analysis work.
  • A recommendation was made for 2 or 3 Advocacy Working Group members to put the Meta page which has the Scoping document of Advocacy WG  on a Watch list and ensure that questions are directed to the people with right capacity.

Community conversations

Scoping documents are uploaded on meta, community representations, engagement, reflections and input will also be ensured by Strategy liaisons, there will be surveys going out via village pumps and the t, Working Group members are encouraged to do a watch list of the meta page and address questions and comments from community conversations in consultation with the Core Team

To avoid swamping the community members with information overflow, two levels of participation can be to pick one or two Working Groups and engage with selected scoping questions, or pick more than three Working Groups and selecting all the scoping questions, this is a decision left to the community members.

  • Advocacy Working Group members are encouraged to engage with people from other networks, discuss and share difficulties in these conversations with the whole Advocacy Working Group.

Review of the Summit Schedule

There will be Working Group time, a central note taking document with a rotating system for Members to collect inputs from networking and casual conversations will be created..

  • The Working Group will clarify the scope, definition of Advocacy, case studies, and next steps during the Wikimedia Summit.
  • As part of preparation, each individual will identify one or two Working Groups to read, draw and collect information from the Scoping documents of the groups that they chose to be a liaison/Point of contact.
  • A majority of the available members agreed to have post Wikimedia Summit Working Group meetings every two weeks at the same time.

11 March

Agenda: Core Team Scoping feedback/Advocacy Working Group liaisons for other Working Groups

Reactions to Core Team Scoping feedback

The feedback from the Core team was positive ,any other Changes by the Advocacy Working Group need to be done by 12 march 2019.

Advocacy Working Group liaisons for other Working Groups

Members discussed having a dedicated representative from our group to read and analyse Scoping Documents of other Working Groups

  • Coordination, reading and making sure that the Advocacy Working Group has the right conversations
    • Identify areas of collaboration and reach out to the different Working Groups, read and analyse Scoping documents in a structured format for areas that are relevant and participate in the other Working Group calls to contribute to conversations that will make the Liaison a two way idea exchange process.
    • Find familiar community members across Working Groups and use that angle to build conversations.
    • The Scoping documents of other Working Groups will be shared for everyone’s access.

February 2019[edit]

22 February

Agenda: SWOT Analysis/Face to Face meeting in Brussels

SWOT Analysis

The Strengths and Weaknesses will also need to be discussed/clustered starting with a look into a brainstorm on what has already been added. Alice Wiegand and Anass Sedrati will be able to work on further clustering their sections over the weekend.

There are alot of threats that the Advocacy Working Group needs to consider. Some of them are really difficult to tackle, e.g. political threats. The types of opportunities are a part of holistic approach of being on the right side with great partnerships and connections that can be created working together. An example of the future opportunity is also development of artificial intelligence that might, for example, in the field of language remove an online language barrier.

It is a good idea to find solutions to and ways to mitigate against threats and ways to leverage opportunities. There is need to group these and get high level clusters according to long term - short term potential to make these ideas concrete. This is something that was  started during the call to prepare for the discussions that will follow in a Face-to-Face meeting in Brussels.

Face to Face Meeting in Brussels and Case Studies

The Advocacy Working Group was requested to let the facilitator know what they would like to achieve, and what are their expectations regarding the meeting.

The content discussions on the call also served as preparations for the meeting. Also, following discussion/thoughts about creating potential case studies of negative and/or positive scenarios, Isla noted some ideas for a possible template to develop those case studies. Everyone was requested to review and provide feedback, additions, thoughts, criticisms, before the Face-to-face meeting.

Members were  advised to come to the in-person meeting with initial scenarios from their own contexts or case studies that can be sampled in terms of geographies, stakeholders, and workshopped to work negatives into positives.

13 February

Agenda Introduction to the Virtual Facilitator/Next steps in scoping/Organisational Update/In-person meeting in Brussels.

Introduction to the Virtual Facilitator

The virtual facilitator introduced her roles for the Advocacy Working Group and Movement Strategy Process in general. She recommended the Advocacy Working Group to consider having regular meetings for better time management, prioritisation and future virtual facilitation planning whether online or in-person.

Next steps in scoping

The Working Group members discussed the need to transition from a conversation about advocacy, to actual content, which includes values, topics and problems advocacy should address for the Movement Strategy process.

  • A working document for thematic scoping was already shared, which covered some of these questions and topics on fundamental human rights, free access to knowledge, and information that is free from propaganda, censorship and key stakeholders and donors who have opposing positions that influence the application of these values. (We may ask the partnership group how far they discussed this perspective)
  • There’s a feeling that we need to include more forward and future thinking community into this part of the process and be able to justify our position and conclusions taking into account different beliefs, contexts, opportunities and ideas without being overwhelmed.
  • A suggestion was made to do a concise SWOT analysis. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, with an internal, and external focus, respectively, which need to determine the unique capacities that the community brings: the SWOT analysis was grouped in the following format:
    • Anass and Alice will work on strengths and weaknesses
    • Allison, Anna, and Isla can work on opportunities and threats
  • There’s need to look at the target list - to allow for approaching the policy /change makers but also provide the teachers / students, or the members of all countries the tools to get around any potential censorship or other troubling potential national limitations.

Core Team organisational update

The interim coordinators are to be changed to Permanent Coordinators, if there are no objections by the end of the call, on telegram or mailing list, the Core Team will proceed with a confirmation.

In-person meeting in Brussels

The Core Team will work with Wikimedia Travel Team for logistical preparations of the in-person meeting to be held in Brussels .

  • There are no experts invited because of limited time, but the Working Group and facilitator will have to come up with a draft agenda to be shared with all the group members for input, the facilitator for this conversation will be available in-person to ensure the outcome from the meeting is met.
  • Representation from the Core Team will be Nicole Ebber
  • Jimmy Wales was following the Working Group conversations, and would be happy to participate, but the timing for the in-person meeting is not so convenient.
  • Anna Mazgal will share the doodle for the next meeting so that a document is available for initial thoughts to analyse the notes and discussions..
    • The next meeting would be a good opportunity for the facilitator to help the Working Group move forward.

January 2019[edit]

11 January

Agenda: Advocacy Working Group representation at the CC Summit/Scoping planning and review/Virtual facilitation/Sharing new information on meta, and mailing lists/Next Advocacy Working Group Meeting

Advocacy Working Group representation at the CC Summit in Lisbon (May 2019):

Submissions made to share Strategy with the broader community by members of the Advocacy Working Group have been accepted. Anas and Isla received scholarships. The Core Team is glad to look into what was submitted, and also find means of supporting the people whose submissions were accepted, but have not got sponsorship after the second round of initial scholarship applications vetting from the Creative Commons organising team.

  • Some Advocacy Working Group members who are WMF staff will be joining the Wikimedia Summit on a WMF ticket.
  • There are options of having some Working Group members join the summit as external experts.
  • For the next meeting we can plan to have Nicolas and other Working Group members join remotely if they are not joining the summit when the Working Group meets.
    • Once we have the Wikimedia Summit program schedule, we can probably take a room and arrange for this meeting.
    • This can be discussed early March, an extra day in Berlin with our Working Group can be helpful.

Scoping plan and review

The Core Team had shared a scoping plan to give a big picture view for developing recommendations in the current stage of scoping, timeline, deliverables, moving forward, and determining an inclusive, thorough approach and methodology on findings.

A glossary for Advocacy in the Movement can be developed with the help of the scoping plan. Capacity Building and Community Health Working Group are developing glossaries as well, and would be good to have a compilation of all these glossaries. It would be an excellent idea to map the advocacy and ecology of our movement, including Intellectual property.

Virtual facilitation for Advocacy WG

In order to reduce the burden on managerial and facilitation roles, the Core Team has contracted Virtual Facilitators from ICA-UK, if there are Advocacy WG members who can volunteer to liaise with the Virtual Facilitators, to bring the facilitators up to speed with the Advocacy Working Group. Virtual Facilitation has already happened with Community Health and Capacity Building Working Groups with positive feedback, facilitation is to organise the conversations, discussions, brainstorm sessions and get the group to move towards recommendations.

Sharing new information on meta and mailing lists

David Kode was a new member added to the Working Group and there’s need to ensure that he receives all the information, gets invitations and updates from the Working Group. He responded with enthusiasm to participate, but we will reach out to him again to get an update.

Next Advocacy Working Group Meeting

At this phase weekly calls would help, since we are in the middle of the recommendation process, constant calls can help. We need to discuss the possibility of having regular meetings and arrange a dedicated regular flow of work. There was some flexibility from members to have calls on civilised hours during weekly days or weekends, Monday - Saturday, everybody can also indicate changes in preferences, if any.

Due to global time zones, there are good lessons from this Working Group, if we could start 2 hours earlier, it would be good. Monday or Tuesday could be good for some members. A doodle from time to time would help since people might have changing schedules. If people can respond in order to have a good picture overview of availability.

Some Working Groups have set specific schedules which they have been following in the last 3 months, even with diverse members.


Name Organization / project Role Geography
Allison Davenport Wikimedia Foundation Staff member North America
Alice Wiegand Volunteer Central Europe
Anass Sedrati Wikimedia Morocco User Group Board member North Africa, Western Europe, Northern Europe
Anna Mazgal Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU Staff member Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe
David Kode Civicus Alliance Staff member Central Africa
Isla Haddow-Flood Wiki In Africa / WikiAfrica Board member South Africa
Jimmy Wales Wikimedia Foundation Board member North America
Mohsen Salek Iranian Wikimedians User Group Volunteer South Asia
Paula Domínguez Font Wikimedia Digitisation User Group Volunteer Latin America


Wikimedia Conference Working Group Report[edit]

This is an overview of the outputs from the discussion about Advocacy at the Wikimedia Conference 2018. The group discussed: 1. What the scope of this thematic area should be; 2. Who should be in the Working Group; 3. How the Working Group should work.

Focus of the conversation

The advocacy group at the Wikimedia Conference 2018 agreed that:

  • Wikimedia should be more [openly] political
  • There is a need to develop greater policy expertise in the movement
  • Partnerships and alliances are essential

Existing materials[edit][edit]

This is a non-exhaustive list. Please add more sources that provide context, background information and insights related to the thematic area.