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

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Collaboration, Big Open, GLAM, Open Science, Education, Revenue Streams


  • opportunities and challenges related to building partnerships at the local, regional and global levels;
  • strategic approaches to scaling the work that we do in ways beyond our own capacity and reach;
  • collaboration with other organizations and movements to promote our vision and values;
  • and move in our strategic direction with opportunities for wider impact.


Our vision statement says nothing about Wikimedia being the only entity that brings us closer to our vision. Partnerships are happening on global, regional and local basis, and some of our successes would not have been possible without the critical support from our partners. Partners are crucial to increase our scope, outreach, and impact, and can also be funding partners. Partnerships can also help us focus on our specific field of expertise and avoid duplicating structures in the broader open movement beyond ourselves.

Organizations and groups are lacking the necessary resources and capacities to fully tap into the benefits of working together with others in local, regional and global partnerships. Movement entities also have different approaches to deciding whom to partner with, and how to ensure alignment between our goals and the goals of partners.

There are no established practices of how to best share responsibilities with partners from within and outside of our movement, and how to communicate about partnerships and share experiences. There are no clear means for agreeing to and executing partnerships at a global level. Most of our movement and the majority of our projects were designed around individual contributors, and our technologies and practices do not easily accommodate collaboration or contributions from institutions.

We want to become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge. How do we then build the capacities to successfully work together with our ecosystem and create the needed impact to collectively change the world, especially in those regions where we are still lacking sustainable partnerships? Guiding questions:

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.

  • How do we build our collaborative capacity to be the best and most effective partner?
  • What are the specific areas where we need partners to advance in our strategic direction?
  • What are the partners we want to work with, and how do we ensure alignment in our goals?
  • How do we best share global, local and thematic responsibilities with entities inside and beyond our movement?
  • What structural, including technical, changes might we need to make to be more partner-friendly?

Mailing list[edit]


Name Organization / project Role Geography
Alek Tarkowski Creative Commons, Centrum Cyfrowe Foundation Volunteer Central and Eastern Europe
Ben Vershbow Wikimedia Foundation Staff member Northern America, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe
Jack Rabah Wikimedia Foundation Staff member West Asia, Northern America
John Cummings UNESCO Volunteer Western Europe
May Hachem Wikimedia Egypt, UN Women Volunteer North Africa
Olaniyan Olushola Affiliations Committee Volunteer West Africa
Lisa Lewin Wikimedia Foundation Board member North America
Shani Evenstein Wikipedia & Education User Group; WikiProject Medicine User Group; WMIL; GLAMWiki; WikiWomen Volunteer Western Asia


Wikimedia Conference Working Group Report[edit]

This is an overview of the outputs from the discussion about Partnerships 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

One of the core messages from the discussion group was that partnerships on different levels and in different cultures (geographical, organisational, etc.) will have different structures and practices. Given the scope of the movement, the implementation of multi-layered partnership structures might be one of the biggest challenges in the work of the Working Group and the Strategy Process in general.

What? Who? How?

Shared understanding of reasons for partnering and flexible [enough] system of decision making that enables creating partnerships/collaboration/alliances by different actors and on different levels.

  • How to build a structure for partnerships in the movement?
  • What is the difference between collaboration vs partnership vs coalition?
  • Which segments are appropriate to participate?
  • What is the difference between internal and external partnerships?
  • How much control do we need to have in a given partnership?

There should be a good balance of people representing

  • The Wikimedia community and other social movements
  • current and future partner organisations;
  • people with experience in creating partnership guidelines for movements/networks;
  • people with expertise in different dimensions of partnership processes (legal, financial, technological, etc)
  • people who work with knowledge (GLAM institutions, universities);
  • people who represent different cultures.

The group tried to come up with a realistic plan for a one year process, which can include:

  • Reviewing and editing existing partnership philosophy/principles
  • Mapping existing and potential partners
  • Conducting series of interviews with diverse stakeholders and build on their experience and knowledge about partnerships.

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

Existing materials[edit]

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