---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Lisa Gruwell <lgruw...@wikimedia.org>
Date: Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 1:08 PM
Subject: Update on Wikimedia partnerships
To: "Staff (All)" <wmf...@lists.wikimedia.org>

*Hi everyone,As we consider the new strategic direction we identified from
Wikimedia 2030[1], the Foundation is evolving how we work with partners to
address barriers to participating in free knowledge around the world. After
careful evaluation, we’ve decided to discontinue the Wikipedia Zero
program[2] as one of the partnership approaches we offer. Over the course
of this year, we won’t be taking on any new Wikipedia Zero partnerships,
and current partnerships will expire. The Wikipedia Zero program was first
created to address one barrier to participating in free knowledge globally:
high mobile data costs. Through the program, we partnered with mobile
operators to waive mobile data fees for their customers to freely access
Wikipedia on mobile devices. In the program’s six year tenure, we have
partnered with 97 mobile carriers in 72 countries to provide access to
Wikipedia to more than 800 million people free of mobile data charges. As
stewards of Wikipedia Zero, I want to congratulate and thank the Global
Reach team for the success of this program during its tenure, and for their
leadership in continuing to support new and meaningful partnerships aligned
with our movement’s values and vision. In the past couple of years, we
identified a few developments that have impacted Wikipedia Zero’s continued
relevance. Beginning in 2016, we’ve seen a significant drop off in adoption
and interest in Wikipedia Zero, and as a result, our reach today stands at
a quarter of where it was at its peak. During this time, we also conducted
research[3] to better understand the full scope of barriers to using
Wikipedia around the world. For example, awareness is one of the key issues
we identified - even when people have smartphones and use Facebook, Google,
or WhatsApp, many of those same people have never heard of Wikipedia.  In
addition, limited local language content is another barrier we identified
that inhibits the discovery and use of our projects. We’ve had initial
success with projects and partnerships[4] designed to build awareness in
parts of the world where Wikipedia is not widely known or used. These
successes have given us several ideas for where we may take our partnership
work next, and over the coming year, we will explore other ways we can
leverage the findings from our research and the Wikipedia Zero program to
direct future work with partners. We remain committed to creating impactful
partnerships that align with our own values and direction for the Wikimedia
movement’s future. We look forward to sharing more information and updates
on our work with partners in the coming year. Thank you, LisaWe’ve also
published a blog post about this announcement here:
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Global_Reach/Insights> and
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