Since June 2023, a platform for peer-to-peer connection and knowledge sharing among Wikimedians has been under development. The Capacity Exchange! The project aims to build a structure that will sustainably enable community-based capacity-building on a global scale. It will deliver, before June 2025, a platform guided by Movement Strategy and aligned to the Wiki spirit.
In 2021, a vision for a sociotechnical solution for community capacity building and knowledge exchange was conceived by a group of Wikimedians mostly based in Europe. The vision carried the following statement as a theory of change:
“We build capacity among emerging communities and organizations of the Wikimedia Movement by enabling easy access to mutual service offerings, skill-sharing and funding”.
Capacity Exchange Concept
In addition, it included a set of assumptions, starting with the acknowledgement that the skills needed by Wikimedians can be found within the movement itself. Rather than looking for external solutions, it is imperative to match needs with assets at community level. Furthermore, another assumption points to learning as a two-way street. In such a context, peer learning is the best method to use. A final assumption was to consider the global community as well as the movement strategy.
The effort culminated in a pilot platform, based on the OER World Map.
The first phase of the Capacity Exchange (2021-2022) started small and in Europe, but envisioned ways to focus on emerging and marginalized Wikimedian communities. In 2022, the former working group translocalized the project to include African and American communities. This last step marked the conceptualization of the second phase.
The second phase of the Capacity Exchange (2023-2025) is currently funded by the Movement Strategy Implementation Fund. The project is now coordinated by Wiki Movimento Brasil and advised by an international committee of Wikimedians.
Community feedback regarding the pilot platform guides the development of a new software, led by developers from Wiki Movimento Brasil. You can follow the project updates on meta-wikimedia.
The Technical Plan for Capacity Exchange (CapX) establishes two directions for the project: to develop a new pilot and, at the same time, to continue learning from the previous one. Further feedback will provide better guidance for software development. As part of this effort, CapX members and facilitators have been conducting outreach activities, targeting Wikimedia affiliates, groups, and individuals.
Capacity Exchange Poster
In September and October 2023, the project was promoted in diverse corners of the world:
- Andi Inácio was at WECUDI 2023, in La Plata, Argentina, and connected with different Latin American initiatives.
- In Europe, Željko Blaće was at the CEE Meeting 2023. Held in Tbilisi, Georgia. This was a new edition of the same gathering where, a few years ago, Capacity Exchange was envisioned.
- Tochi Precious promoted the project on African grounds, during the Wiki Convention francophone 2023, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
- Capacity Exchange has also reached the discussions led during the Wiki Women Camp 2023, hosted in New Delhi, India.
From these outreach activities we sowed partnerships with “sister initiatives” and harvested pertinent questions, some of which can be found in our FAQ. Furthermore, we managed to access different community perspectives on capacity building. These discussions will guide the forging of the software mechanics: How can a Wikimedian find and make available skills, knowledge, and services online? What concepts, categories, and tags are important across our movement? How can we enhance accessibility and translation?
Capacity Exchange is an international effort, interrelated to different Wikimedian communities, projects, and programs. We mapped a list of groups that share a common goal (namely, sister initiatives) and started connecting with them.
For example, what CapX aims to deliver is a sociotechnical solution that could enhance the activities of global initiatives around peer-learning, capacity building, and knowledge exchange (such as the Let’s Connect – Peer Learning Program). We believe a great deal of synergy can be achieved by connecting, consulting, and working closely with such initiatives.