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Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Capacity Building

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Wikimedia Summit 2019, (Back row L-R) Rebecca, Jeffrey, Simona, Dariusz, Winifred, (Front row L-R) Liang, Oscar, Michal and Sailesh

Human, leadership and organizational development, recruiting and sustainability


  • goals for investing in capacity building in our movement;
  • understanding what capacities we need within the movement as such and identifying priorities for target groups;
  • development of leadership skills to build leadership and expertise in our movement – in volunteer as well as staff roles;
  • systematic approaches towards scouting, recruiting and retaining people with the needed skill sets (volunteer and staff) to support our work towards the *strategic direction as a global movement;
  • implementing organizational and cultural change.


The Wikimedia movement comprises individuals and organizations who care for our mission. To advance towards our strategic direction we need to build different capacities and skill sets, figure out how to bring new talents and leaders (volunteers and staff) into our global movement – and how to make them stay. As a basis for these steps, we need to explore what the capacities are that we need to build, what structures we need to support such capacity building, and what the baselines are for having impact on the future of free knowledge. We need to explore and establish ways to turn learning and development into behavioral and organizational change.

Our vision and strategic direction have ambitions far beyond our current organizational and individual capacities. We haven’t fully tapped into opportunities that our ecosystem offers, and in addition to building capacities in Wikimedia we need to start developing capacities in partner organizations to widen our scope and better advance our mission.

If Wikimedia as a global movement wants to be globally, locally and regionally relevant and able to advance its strategic direction, we need to figure out how to better ensure that communities, organizations,groups and partners have the necessary capacities and leadership skills.

Guiding Questions

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 is our overall goal for building capacities across the different parts of the movement?
  • How can leadership development and capacity building in the movement support our strategic priorities of knowledge as a service and knowledge equity?
  • What are the capacities that we need in the movement and how do we build them?
  • What capacities do we already cover, in which regions and communities do we cover these and where are the gaps that we need to fill to succeed?
  • What capacities do partner organizations need to advance our mission, and how do we support the development of these capacities?

Mailing list



Name Organization / project Role Geography
Dariusz Jemelniak Wikimedia Foundation Board member Central and Eastern Europe, Northern America
Edgar José Rosero Villacís Wikimedians of Ecuador Volunteer Latin America
Hüseyin Hakan Özdemir Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey Volunteer Central and Eastern Europe
Jeffrey Keefer Wiki LGBT+ User Group; Wikimedia NYC Volunteer Northern America, Western Europe
Michal Lester Wikimedia Israel Staff member Western Asia
Simona Ramkisson Wikimedia Foundation Staff member North America
Nicola Zeuner Wikimedia Deutschland Staff member Central Europe
Oscar Costero Wikimedia Venezuela Board member South America
Papischou Wikimedia Community User Group Côte d'Ivoire Board member West Africa
Rebecca O'Neill Wikimedia Community Ireland Staff member Western Europe
Sailesh Patnaik Odia Wikipedia Volunteer South Asia
ShangKuan Liang-chih Wikimedia Taiwan Board member East Asia
Winifred Olliff Wikimedia Foundation Staff member North America

Reports and documents


Please take a look at the draft recommendations (September 2019):

  1. Building Capacity for Capacity Building
  2. Matching human assets and online knowledge resources with capacity building needs
  3. Capacity Building Should Occur in Context
  4. Provide Capacity Building for Organizational Development
    Or: Supporting communities in achieving their organizational development goals
  5. Resources for Capacity Building
  6. Evaluating Capacity Building
  7. Online Training
  8. Mentoring and leadership development
  9. Recognizing Individuals
  10. Independently governed Capacity Building ‘Unit’

First draft recommendations are available as well (August 2019).

There is also an abbreviated, translated version prepared for easier engagement.

The slides for our presentation at Wikimania 2019 are here and the one-pager that summarizes our recommendations we distributed is here.

Scoping document

Activities and reports

Arising questions

Resulting from the discussions on the scoping questions presented at the Wikimedia Summit, the Capacity Building Working Group has divided the work into a number of mini-groups:

  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Participation
  • Allocation of Resources
  • Methods and Tools for Capacity Building
  • Roles, Responsibilities, and a System for Capacity Building
  • Capacities for the Movement Stakeholders
  • Communication as a Capacity within the Wikimedia Movement
  • Continuous Evaluation of Capacity Building
Methods and Tools for Capacity Building

This mini-groups areas of consideration:

  1. What tools and methods work best locally, regionally and internationally? What are the resources that already exist in the movement?
  2. How do we grow the available tools beyond training, identifying innovative and effective formats?
Continuous Evaluation of Capacity Building

This mini-groups areas of consideration:

  1. Continuous evaluation as a form of community resilience?
  2. How can evaluation make sure that people feel safe in reporting?
  3. Contextualization: Adaptable and flexible learning and training infrastructure.
  4. Systematic and continuous engagement between people.

Wikimedia Conference Working Group Report (2018)

This is an overview of the outputs from the discussion about Capacity Building 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; and 3. How the Working Group should work.

Focus of the conversation

The group mainly focused on the importance of mapping existing capacities and needs on three different levels: Wikimedia movement and Free Knowledge communities; Governance and decision-making structures; Affiliates. The need to clearly define what is actually meant by Capacity Building was also raised (see What is Capacity Building).

The scope of this Working Group, as it was described by the group at the WMCON18, overlaps with the Roles and Responsibilities Working Group as well as the Working Groups that deal with the areas where capacity needs to be built, e.g. Revenue streams and Technology.

What? Who? How?

The group formulated questions relating to:

  • The mapping and definition types of capacities that we have (as a movement, global organisation, and affiliates), that we need and will need
    • E.g. in terms of governance, collaborative capacity, sharing experiences and knowledge, fundraising capacity, technological capacity, innovative capacity, adaptive and resilience capacity
  • Through which process can we best build capacities and share knowledge across cultures and languages?
  • What kind of resources do we need?

The group identified the following as key groups:

  • External expert voices
  • Emerging communities
  • Diverse geographical representation and different organisational types

The main focus was on the importance of thorough empirical research in order to understand the diverse needs on different levels: Wikimedia movement and Free Knowledge communities; Governance and decision-making structures; Affiliates.

If you would like to know more details about the Working Group discussions on this theme, please consult the documentation.


Existing materials

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