Despite a new funding model, the movement’s resources remain unevenly distributed (i.e., there is more to rich countries than to poor countries) and the organizational burden for smaller affiliates is disproportionately greater than for well-structured affiliates in submission and accountability. What should be done in the short term to ensure more equity in the distribution of resources and in funding protocols for affiliates?
This is one of the Affiliate questions selected for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees election 2022. Only candidates can post their replies here. You can read these answers on Meta.
In order to ensure more equity in the distribution of resources and in funding protocols for affiliates, in the short term should be resolved the issue of non-inclusivity in the movement. Some communities feel like they are not considered, or underrepresented into the movement. Those have to be sensitized, strengthened and considered in different decision making facilities towards the availability of the movement projects in more, even all the languages around the world. This will even empower the communities with skills to best accomplish projects aimed to evolve the Wikimedia movement.
Supported by the BoT, in the past year WMF has launched a new Grants system that aims to do exactly that. From my point of view as a trustee I would like to see how this works, learn what works and what doesn’t, and iterate.
I’d also like to encourage people with ideas on how to improve our processes, to speak up and share their thoughts. Unlike the time before I joined the BoT, we now have the Board’s Community Affair Committee, as well as dedicated WMF staff, who are always open to hear ideas and thoughts for improvements
The regional grants committees are a great step in the direction of more equity in the distribution of funds. Additionally, the active efforts by the WMF to provide translations into different languages, as well as having ambassadors to the different communities that speak their language is another good step being undertaken. Carrying on with and expanding on the current initiatives, as well as mindfulness of equity when discussing making resourcing or funding decisions should work to get closer to the goal.
First, list all the pleas and then classify them in order of need. And thus continue with the distribution approaches according to the relevance.
Reply by Mike Peel (Mike Peel)
I believe that there should be a net increase in funding available for affiliates - both in the global south, but also in European and US regions, to distribute more funding outside of the WMF itself. The new region-based grants committees are a good step forward, although it’s important to make sure they are effectively helping affiliates in their regions, particularly considering their different needs and opportunities. WMF should also be helping affiliates self-fundraise (which is important for organisational independence), e.g., by training in how to find local sponsorship for activities, and strategically funding staff positions to support such work.
I think that the recent changes in how WMF funds are dispersed, and the creation and education of the Regional Committees, is a great step towards increased equity in the distribution of resources and funding. In a year or 2 it would be useful to evaluate the success of the Regional Committee approach towards increasing equity.
Great question, I’m glad the recommendation 4 of the Movement Strategy 2030 has addressed this but for the short term, here are my suggestions:
i. We should focus our information and data gathering on specific resource inequities.
ii. Construct spaces where stakeholders who are representatives of the communities can meaningfully engage in the process.
iii. Ask equity-centered questions about resources or protocols, decisions and impacts.
In other to ensure more equity in the distribution of resources and in funding protocols for affiliates, In the short term there should be more geographical analysis in the distribution of resources and funding protocols for affiliates in other to come up with the data parameters for all the Affiliates. Also measuring equality, the scale of inequality and equity of resources and funding protocols is of importance in other to come up with good results.
I will openly admit that this is not an area where I have a significant amount of experience, especially for short-term solutions, that I feel comfortable proposing a solution. I am regularly reading discussions related to these topics on-wiki and in mailing lists to better understand current problems as well as potential solutions.
The money is not the engine in a volunteer based question. The question should be why there are not so many volunteers coming from certain regions of the world ? That’s a systemic problem, and the money is not the only solution. We are here for sharing knowledge, not money !
Equity is a complex term, and all equities must be answered. Donors’ equity and audiences’ equity beg for scrutiny in spending, sound reasoning and plans, strong execution and impact. Volunteers’ equity asks for resources accessability, support and capacity building, fair treatment.
Certainly the burden should be adequate to the resources but also the Movement allocating funds needs to know how the money will be and were spent, and if the governance, strategy and activities meet the expectations. In general, new hubs providing direct support and capacity building should help smaller organizations tremendously.