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Round 2 of FDC funding open to public comments

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By Tony1, The ed17, and Kirill Lokshin

Community review is open for the four applications in the second and final round of applications to the WMF's Funds Dissemination Committee for 2013–14. Three eligible organisations have applied for funding under the newly named "annual program grants": Wikimedia France, Wikimedia Norway, and the India-based Centre for Internet and Society, which last November was recognised as eligible to apply for FDC funding.

Wikimedia France's collaboration with another foundation on a Women in science editathon in February.
HRH Crown Prince Haakon and Jimmy Wales at the Wikipedia Academy in Oslo, Norway, invited by Wikimedia Norway and included in the chapter's FDC application.
The fifth anniversary exhibition in the Bangalore office of India's Centre for Internet and Society, May 2013.

Wikimedia France has presented an extensive case amounting to almost 28,000 words, with a 2014–15 plan that revolves around six "axes": increasing contributor numbers, including target audiences for editor training; increasing chapter member involvement and creativity; encouraging international liaisons; improving wiki tools; increasing WMFR's scope; and improving the environment for WMF projects. The portfolio of projects will include activities spanning sports, local authorities, rural community centres, community and high-school and tertiary education, the professional research community, and a four-pronged GLAM strategy.

The chapter's total projected budget is US$1.32m, with a bid for $826k from the FDC; there are several queries on the talkpage, inter alia, concerning the chapter's anticipated growth in expenditure. However, the chapter's vice-chair, Christophe Henner, has posted a message on the Wikimedia mailing list announcing that "we will need a period of time with as much stability as possible. To ensure that stability, we are going to try to cap our budget growth to 6% for the next 24 months. ... But the goal will be to force us to make choices between the programs we could do and focus on the most efficient ones regarding our evaluation matrix."

From a population of about 5 million, Wikimedia Norway has a membership of 70–80 (of whom half are estimated to be 100+ per month editors of a WMF project). The chapter now has three staff members (full-time equivalent 1.6). The application points to systemic challenges, such as the long north–south distances, the high cost of living, and the costs of supporting three language communities, of which one is indigenous".

The chapter's plan is based on five priorities, four of which revolve directly around WMF site projects: to (i) promote a collaborative culture on Norwegian Wikipedias; (ii) increase thematic scope in article coverage, including women's topics, and a general promise to release "public imagery deposits in free licenses", and facilitate 10 Wikimedians in residence; (iii) enhance article quality with a bold claim to offer the "best Norwegian encyclopedia in all relevant fields of knowledge", to have user-friendly interfaces on mobile and fixed platforms, and to forge collaborations with one or two universities; (iv) to support a viable editing community on the (indigenous) Northern Saami Wikipedia (referred to as "Saami Thing" in the budget); and (v) to professionalise, with stronger communication, membership recruitment, and funding. Some of the predicted achievements were expressed as raw numbers without reference to current baselines. The plan is to increase staff expenses by 61.5%, with the FDC funding $432k (up threefold from $140k last year) of a total budget of $521k. There are also questions from WMF grantmaking on the talkpage concerning the large growth in budget and staffing.

India's Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) has 21 plans across six overarching themes: (i) Strengthening engagement with the four language areas developed over the past year (Kannada, Konkani, Odia and Telugu) and the expansion of activities to three more large Indic-language Wikipedias (Bangla, Hindi and Marathi); (ii) strengthening the growth of Indic WMF projects and their associated communities; (iii) stand-alone projects, including an image-based Med GLAM project with a prominent medical school, a public art photography competition, Wikisource projects in two languages; an Urdu Wikipedia education project for tertiary students, bringing two new language Wikipedias online, and a "wiki bus" project modelled on the Google bus program, in the Telugu-speaking region of Andhra Pradesh; (iv) a program connected with intellectual property rights and openness of knowledge; (v) more effort in publicity, research and documentation of the Wikimedia movement in India; and (vi) quicker and better general support and service to the movement. CIS is asking for a 23% increase in WMF funding, a total of $298k, up from $242k last year.

Community comments, discussion, and questioning of applicants is open until the end of April.

Editor's note: in response to a public request for copy-editing, the author made surface edits to the first few sections of Wikimedia France's application.

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