Researching, defining and redefining strategic growth trajectories must be regarded as a tough job for Wikimedia affiliates which have just begun their journey with the far and wide community of volunteers, since it has more to do with “voluntarism” than with any other aspect of the movement. Aiming to define a trajectory for its development, the Deoband Community Wikimedia (DCW) researchers have tirelessly worked, thought, re-thought, analyzed, and developed a framework of ideas and recommendations, that could help in its strategic growth, and, at the same time help other Wikimedia affiliates form their basis.
In the month of May, DCW researchers focused on issues that help in the training of volunteer editors, and at the same time in forming friendly ties with the other affiliates of the movement. Namrah Shareef, the research lead of this project, says that, if you want to work on lessening some knowledge gap on a certain Wikipedia, it is necessary for you to find possible networks and affiliates that can offer you support. These connections do not only help in forming collaborative projects but have a potential of keeping volunteers connected with your initiatives for a longer time. At DCW, we believe that affiliate networking should be prioritized and inter-affiliate conversations should be given a boost! We have always maintained a friendly tie with the Yoruba Wikimedians User Group with whom we began our first collaborative project called the Deoband Yoruba Collaborative Project.
The making of different sets of educational sets might be a potential boost for your affiliate and community. The Deoband Community Wikimedia helped in making of Wikipedia 101 Education Set for Beginners in association with the Notre Dame English Club and the Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey, the latter being the main implementor of the educational set. Namrah has argued that resorting to the use of the graphics-skillset in this manner would help in not just educating the already-connected volunteer editors but at the same time help in bringing more people closer to the initiative. People connect with each other on social media at a global level and they feel happy when finding a post that interests them. Making of Instagram reels or YouTube shorts could potentially be helpful given that you keep them relatively short and much informative. She suggests affiliates to allocate a specific portion of resources for these works. Making of short-presentations, posters and other informative banners are a good start, she believes.
Namrah put some of her efforts in finding ways that could be helpful in the bridging of knowledge gaps. The objectives of the DCW include lessening the knowledge-gap around its theme on Wikimedia projects. Besides the collaborative projects like that of the Deoband Yoruba Collaborative Project, organizing contests independently on your own or with the help of any organizing community, can easily assist you in taking care of this. These contests revolve around a set of rules and regulations, and if quality and quantity are taken on par, a good number of passionate volunteers can be nicely retained for a longer time. You might want to learn from the well established photographic contests like Wiki Loves Monuments and Wiki Loves Earth. At DCW, we look forward to organizing a thematic contest on Kashmiri Wikipedia from 15 June to 14 July 2023!
Namrah majorly focuses on the idea of peer-to-peer learning. There are always skills and ideas that you do not know but you are on their hunt, and peer-to-peer learning is the best resort. The Skills Directory of the Let’s Connect Group is a nice place to begin from, and it does not look like a crowded classroom where you will be bullied for knowing nothing. The volunteers and organizers within the movement are not supposed to be some super-humans who do not make mistakes.
The Let’s Connect Group offers “learning clinics”, and these could be your best resources in forming your affiliates’ foundational base. We at DCW suggest you to participate in these learning clinics and subsequently adapt from them whatever your community needs, and share with others, whatever your community can share. This friendly-sharing of knowledge is the foundational base on which the structures of the Wikimedia movement are erected.
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