Wikimania 2021/Scholarships/Wikimedia UK/Report
Did you meet your goals? Are you happy with how the project went?
Wikimedia UK sought to provide substantial support to members of the global Wikimedia community who were not supported by funded affiliates. This was Wikimedia UK's first time in distributing Wikimania scholarship grants, and it provided us with invaluable experience in how best to support members of our global community who are restricted from immersing themselves in our events and programmes, due to financial or geographical factors. The experience was both challenging and rewarding and we are delighted that we were able to reach our goals of using the grant money for financial and technological assistance, as well as funding several Wikimania meet-ups based in the UK.
Please report on your original project targets. Please be sure to review and provide metrics required for Rapid Grants.
|Target outcome||Achieved outcome||Explanation|
|1-2 post-Wikimania meet-ups will be funded||4 'Wiknic' events were held across the UK. Over 20 members of the WMUK community attended.||These informal gatherings were our first in-person events since the start of the pandemic and gave us a fantastic opportunity to meet and catch up with active members of our community. The budget for these events was put towards catering costs, clothing and event merchandise.|
|Data packages for one month will be provided to 20 participants||All 14 recipients used some or all of their grant money for data support.||The use of grant money for data support may be explained by the geographical regions of our recipients. In this sense, we were able to cater for individuals with a lack of technological infrastructure in their locations. This can be highlighted by feedback given by one of our recipients, who stated: "Since the internet connection is still expensive in Bolivia, this grant alleviated the cost of logging in to the Wikipedia platform and continue editing, translating, and posting articles on Wikipedia Aymara".
We were unable to award grants to the number of recipients that we had initially intended. This is largely due to the consideration taken into international transaction fees for awarding the grants and the lack of prior knowledge as to where our recipients would be based. As such, we were cautious to not over commit financially and ensure that we remain within our original budget.
Projects do not always go according to plan. Sharing what you learned can help you and others plan similar projects in the future. Help the movement learn from your experience by answering the following questions:
- What worked well?
Promoting our awards scheme was a success; utilising our social media channels to market the grant opportunities picked up a lot of traction, and we also used our internal Wikimedia email addresses to help publicise. As our intended recipients would be outside the UK, we were keen to maximise our reach and ensure that the suitable candidates were informed on this opportunity. We received many applications, from a broad range of countries, emphasising the success of our promotional efforts. In addition, we were pleased with the opportunities that we gave applicants to explain why they were requesting support and how they would use the grant. Our online application process included several open-text boxes, which allowed us to gain good insight into each applicant’s personal situation and need for support, helping to ensure we chose the most suitable candidates.
- What did not work so well?
International bank transactions proved challenging and time consuming. We underestimated the lengthy process involved and did not have an efficient way of gathering our recipients' bank details. This led to some recipients receiving their grants late, and some transactions having higher bank charges than anticipated.
- What would you do differently next time?
We would request online payment details at the application stage asking for paypal or other online payment systems. This would not only simplify the transaction process, but would also prevent us from using significant funds on bank costs.
Grant funds spent
Please describe how much grant money you spent for approved expenses, and tell us what you spent it on.
£2547.45 was spent in total for scholarship grants and Wikimania related events. The breakdown is as follows: £1162.92- total in scholarship grants awarded £236- international bank charges £1148.53- Wikimania meetups- catering, event merchandise
Do you have any remaining grant funds?
Of our original grant money of £2,750, we have £202.55 remaining.
We are happy with our efforts of helping to engage individuals who would otherwise be restricted from participating due to financial and geographical reasons. We would like to continue this work, and with the help of this remaining funding, we would like to launch several focus groups with communities in the UK who are currently underrepresented in our UK based Wikimedia community. Through this, we can gain a better insight into what work is needed to support their engagement and provide them with the necessary resources and/or support so that they can develop their skills, abilities and activities on Wikimedia platforms. This will hopefully have a significant impact on the breadth and diversity of our community, and help us in our efforts to increase engagement with and representation of marginalised people and subjects.
Anything else you want to share about your project?
Wikimedia benefits from its global community of dedicated volunteers- we are very proud that we were able to support them in participating in Wikimania this year and are truly grateful for your support.