Wikimedia chapters/Statements/The Affiliates Chair’s meeting request that the Wikimedia Foundation support the introduction of an annual Wikimedia Affiliate Chair Retreat

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The Affiliates Chair’s meeting request that the Wikimedia Foundation support the introduction of a Wikimedia Affiliate Chair Retreat

Statement from the Wikimedia Affiliate Chairs meeting, Wikimedia Summit 2019

The Affiliates Chair’s meeting request that the Wikimedia Foundation supports the introduction of a Wikimedia Affiliate Chair Retreat. The annual retreat will augment progress made by the group at Wikimedia Summits and Wikimania, and maintain collective momentum and meaningful contact across the group.

We will begin the process of mapping organizational maturity across Affiliate groups in order to identify expertise and to support all Affiliate groups to identify and action development priorities to achieve an agreed baseline.

We see an importance in supporting and developing our movement’s chairpersons, the affiliates’ leaders. Better developed chairs will lead to better governance, transparency, accountability, which will lead to stronger affiliates which can fulfill the movement vision. The strategic process makes it clear to all of us that we must work together, small and large affiliates in the movement, together with other partners, towards a world of free knowledge.

What is the problem you are trying to solve?

The global strategy seeks to recognize diversity and reconfigure leadership and governance. In order to remain relevant and to represent the audiences that engage with Wikimedia projects, this reconfiguration is critical to ensure sustainability. The Affiliate Chairs group consists of lead representatives from all the chapters and thematic organizations and user groups funded by Simple Annual Plan Grants (sAPG) and that have an organizational structure which often includes a board and staff.

The Chairs group recognizes that the professionalization of Affiliates, (including the development of staff positions, a legally recognized status, sound budget en reporting procedures, etc), is necessary and ensures the ongoing development of Chairs and Boards, and that also working with and learning from each other are critical to ensure global diversity and representation.

While the Wikimedia Summit and Wikimania conference provide valuable opportunities for Affiliate Chairs to meet and share practice, this time is typically limited by the pace of the events and the range of competing activities Chairs are required to prioritize. Additionally, the large number of Chairs in attendance means that only urgent and required items can be reviewed.

Extending time spent at either event does not provide chairs with adequate time to be trained and improve their personal skills, as well as professional and organizational development work. Chairs already volunteer time to a range of pre and post conference activities, including introductory training for new Chairs and board members (https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_Member_Support) at the Wikimedia Summit. There are range of practical issues in relation to work and family responsibility which makes extending time at these two events problematic and potentially exclusionary.


What is your solution?

In order to address this, the Chairs organized last year a two-day retreat in November 2018. The group were not successful in securing financial support for the event from the Foundation. This meant that only those from Chapters who were able to cover attendance costs could participate. The first retreat was hosted by Wikimedia Česká Republika in Prague and provided 17 Chairs with organizational development opportunities, as well as important time for Chairs to develop their professional relationships with one another. The focus of that meeting was on leadership skills and Board development.

92% of attendees evaluated the retreat as very or extremely effective. 100% found the retreat content relevant or very relevant to them as chairpersons.


Additional time dedicated to professional and organizational development is essential for Chairs if we wish to continue to make best use of our collective resources and experience to mature Affiliate Associations. The overall goal and output of the Affiliate retreat programme will be to secure the long term stability of all Affiliate groups by contributing practically to organizational maturity and leadership development.


Plans for the next retreat

The next retreat will take place in Paris, in November 2019.

Representatives of the Chairs contacted the foundation for support in ensuring qualifying Affiliate groups who lack the resources participate, given that these groups are the most likely to benefit.

Our request could not be met due to the current prioritization of the movement strategy. We respectfully ask the foundation to note the reasons we have decided to take the development of the retreats forward for the good of the global movement, and in support of the global strategy aims to more equitably share movement resources and ensure the development of less engaged communities.

While we recognize that Affiliates must do their best to support each other again this year, we request that the Community Resources department will give financial support to ensure the diversity of participation, as it aligns with the movement strategy direction. Affiliate groups who are able to cover their own travel and associated event costs will, of course, do so. We ask that the foundation consider prioritizing this support in future years so that we are properly able to support our shared strategic aims.


Interested Organisations

The following Affiliate organizations support this statement:

  1. Hogne (talk) 18:47, 19 April 2019 (UTC) for Wikimedia Norge
  2. Grijz (talk) 19:52, 20 April 2019 (UTC) Frans Grijzenhout for Wikimedia Netherlands
  3. Itzike Itzik for Wikimedia Israel
  4. Megs (talk) 20:30, 20 April 2019 (UTC) for Wikimedia New York City
  5. FiliP ██ 22:19, 20 April 2019 (UTC) for Wikimedia Serbia
  6. Philip Kopetzky (talk) 07:30, 21 April 2019 (UTC) for Wikimedia Austria
  7. Geert Van Pamel (WMBE) (talk) 08:48, 21 April 2019 (UTC) for Wikimedia Belgium
  8. WikiTatik (talk) 04:23, 22 April 2019 (UTC) for Wikimedia Armenia
  9. GoEThe (talk) 15:28, 22 April 2019 (UTC) for Wikimedia Portugal
  10. Historiker (talk) 20:05, 22 April 2019 (UTC) for Wikimedia Sverige
  11. Biyanto Rebin (WMID) (talk) 09:50, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
  12. Shabab Mustafa (talk) 14:15, 24 April 2019 (UTC) for Wikimedia Bangladesh
  13. Discott (talk) 11:20, 25 April 2019 (UTC) for Wikimedia South Africa
  14. Santiago Navarro Sanz for Wikimedia España
  15. Flixtey (talk) 09:20, 28 April 2019 (UTC) for Open Foundation West Africa
  16. Sameichel (talk) 11:31, 28 April 2019 (UTC) for Wikimedia Community Ireland User Group
  17. Pseudacorus (talk) 18:53, 28 April 2019 (UTC) for Wikimedia Eesti
  18. --Oscar_. (talk) 20:03, 29 April 2019 (UTC) for Wikimedia Venezuela
  19. Josie Fraser, Chair, for Wikimedia UK
  20. Rocío Mantis (talk) 00:47, 3 May 2019 (UTC), for Wikimedia Chile.
  21. aegis maelstrom δ 20:35, 4 May 2019 (UTC) for Wikimedia Polska
  22. Shanluan (talk) 20:59, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
  23. Pru.mitchell (talk) 14:19, 5 May 2019 (UTC) for Wikimedia Australia
  24. Violetova (talk) 09:35, 6 May 2019 (UTC) for GLAM Macedonia
  25. Finn Årup Nielsen (fnielsen) (talk) 19:42, 13 May 2019 (UTC) for Wikimedia Denmark.