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Wikimedia CEE Hub/Studying barriers of smaller communities

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Regional hub covering Central and Eastern Europe


This is an overview of the research paper done by Violeta Frimu for the Wikimedia CEE Hub

Studying barriers of smaller affiliates and communities in CEE Region and ways to create more engagement and connections, based on their context and needs

Duration: September-December 2023
Written by: Violeta Frimu (Viofri)

Research paper: Studying barriers of smaller affiliates and communities in CEE Region and ways to create more engagement and connections, based on their context and needs

The Wikimedia CEE Hub is a network of communities and Wikimedia affiliates that have been organised in the Wikimedia CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) group since 2011. The goal of this regional hub is to formalise the ongoing collaboration within the CEE region and provide services for communities that support them in their work and enable them to grow how they see fit for them. The CEE Hub was initiated to empower and to provide support structures that enable closer cooperation, capacity building and the transfer of knowledge between communities and individuals who work in the CEE region. CEE Hub is a sort of a back-office of the CEE, offering support in 3 fields:

  • administrative,
  • programmatic, and
  • related to communications.

Aligned with this goal and mandate, CEE Hub hired an external consultant to undertake research to understand more deeply the barriers that various smaller communities in CEE face and ways to create more engagement and connections depending on their context, needs, reality and relevance.

The consultant’s background and experience focus on participatory approaches for group work, capacity development of grassroots civil society actors, social learning and collaboration in Central Eastern Europe.

Research questions
  • Who is the community/affiliate in selected countries made of, what are community members' roles, time spent on tasks etc.? What motivates/drives them to do this work?
  • What barriers are impacting community members participation in WM related activities in a more organised way (organisational, context specific etc.)?
  • What are realistic ways to support members to strengthen their capacities and, at the same time, not to overburden them?
  • What are possible approaches to engage community members and create more connections:
  • between them (inside country)
  • cross border (between a few countries)
  • them and CEE Hub/Wikimedia Movement?

Based on the research questions, a more detailed set of interview questions were created.

Research process

The research process consisted of the following stages:

  • Desk research of previous relevant research, reports, analyses
  • 11 semi-structured interviews with relevant representatives of affiliates and communities (offline and online) from the CEE region, referred as affiliate/community throughout the report
  • 1 interview with Wikimedia Foundation Program Officer
  • Semi-structured discussions with CEE Hub team
  • Processing of data and compiling the report

9 interviews took place in English, 1 respondent submitted their answers in writing (English), 1 interview took place in Russian. The interviewees were invited to participate based on the recommendation of the CEE Hub team, based on their size and level of development.

To capture the data accurately, the findings were organised into 8 thematic clusters, each containing a set of relevant recommendations for additional support and further engagement.

Thematic clusters

The thematic clusters are as follows:

  1. Structure, governance and management
  2. Fundraising and resource mobilisation
  3. Maintaining current community and attracting new members
  4. Partnerships
  5. Engagement in the wider Wikimedia movement
  6. Capacity development
  7. Context influence
  8. Role of CEE HUB and motivations for work

The main limitation of the current research was the lack of availability for interviews of invited affiliates and communities. It is therefore recommended to triangulate the main findings and recommendations with the CEE Hub team and relevant community/affiliate representatives.

You can read whole research paper on Commons.