I am very pleased to announce that Asaf Bartov has agreed to join the
Wikimedia Foundation as Head of Global South Relationships (pending the
completion of the U.S. visa application process) and Moushira Elamrawy
has agreed to a contract extension to serve as Chapter Relations
Manager. These positions are both part of the Global Development team
and seek to enhance WMF's relationships with and support of chapters and
other groups/individuals in the movement.
We expect Asaf to join WMF in March 2011 and the position will be based
in San Francisco. Asaf is a long-time Wikipedian and Wikimedian. He
began editing Wikipedia in 2001, his home project is the Hebrew
Wikipedia. His first contribution to Hebrew Wikipedia was to initiate
the article on Homer (not the four-fingered guy from Springfield) in
2003. He has been a member of Wikimedia Israel since 2008, and served as
board member and international liaison. Asaf has been making his living
in software, but has always cultivated a wide range of interests in the
humanities -- studying literature and classics, and then teaching
ancient Greek and Latin at Tel Aviv University -- as well as voluntary
activities in the open source and open content worlds. He is the
founding editor of Project Ben-Yehuda, a free 100% volunteer-run
repository of public-domain Hebrew texts. He is also active in
transforming library technology to 21st-century open standards, having
served as consultant at the National Library of Israel, and an invited
expert at the W3C's Library Linked Data Incubator Group (LLD XG).
Asaf's primary role will be to support the growth of the Wikimedia
movement in the Global South with a specific focus on working with
chapters, groups who seek to become chapters and mission-aligned
groups/individuals. He will play an advisory role to support these
groups to advance their work in support of the movement. He will manage
WMF's grants program (globally) with the aim of providing funding for
strategy-aligned initiatives with a strong focus on innovation. Asaf
will work with groups to design effective grants and help create model
grants that groups can readily adapt to their local needs. Finally, Asaf
will help improve our knowledge repository of program and grant
experiences with a priority to create systematic means for evaluating
and learning from each program.
I would also like to announce that WMF has extended the contract of
Moushira Elamrawy, who was serving as Global Campaigns Manager during
the 2010/11 fundraiser, to serve in a Chapter Relations capacity. She
will continue to be based in Alexandria, Egypt. Moushira was introduced
to Wikimedia in April 2007 during filming the footage of "Truth in
Numbers" in Alexandria, Egypt: a few weeks later she was appointed from
Bibliotheca Alexandrina to become the main organizer from the library's
side for Wikimania 2008. Her responsibilities started along with the
bidding process and extended until after the conference was over to
include co-organizing Wikipedia editing sessions, Arabic Wikipedia Day,
and an "Introduction to Free Open Source OS" sessions series. She
continues to help with new initiatives and offline activities concerning
Arabic Wikipedia, including ongoing efforts for creating an Arabic
Wikipedia signpost, organizing events that help attract new users such
as editing and licensee sessions. She recently initiated a cross
collaboration among Arabic users across north Africa, in order to create
a base of user groups across this region. Last fall, Moushira was
engaged by WMF's community department to focus on liaising between the
chapters and WMF during the 2010 fundraising campaign. Moushira has
previously worked for sustainable development projects in desert areas
of Egypt and Morocco focusing on ecological building approaches. She is
a Greenpeace volunteer and retired vegan.
Moushira's role will be to support WMF and chapters in living up to our
responsibilities to each other and to the movement, particularly with
regard to smoothing and systematizing communications mechanisms with the
goal of increased transparency and openness. She will help establish
processes that enable us to meet our commitments to each other and the
movement. She will facilitate the completion of requirements under our
fundraising and chapter agreements relating to revenue sharing,
reporting and accountability. She will support us monitoring progress
against these commitments, designing systems for tracking and creating
simple ways to work together in a manner that achieves mutual
accountability, while keeping the burden on volunteer board members and
other chapter members to a minimum. Moushira will also serve as WMF's
process manager over the next year for key activities such as the
signing of chapter agreements and fundraising agreements, compliance
with agreement requirements and more systematic capture of reports
to/from chapters. Please note that WMF doesn’t intend this role to be an
oversight function nor do we expect that it’s our role to remind
chapters of their responsibilities: the role is to both help WMF fulfill
our responsibilities and to help us all improve our processes. This is a
big challenge and she will work collaboratively with chapters to achieve
I am thrilled to add Asaf and Moushira to the WMF Global Development team.
We will jointly host an IRC at the following times to address any
questions or comments that you might have about these roles.
1. Friday, February 11 at 1500 UTC
2. Friday, February 11 at 2200 UTC
How did we source candidates for these roles?
The Chapter Development Director position was publicly posted in August
2010, and we interviewed a number of candidates. We had some strong and
interesting candidates, but we did not find anyone who could fulfill the
role as we had initially designed it. Asaf Bartov applied for the
Chapter Development Director and was interviewed by a panel of
interviewers. Moushira Elamrawy did not apply for the position, however
she was fulfilling some functions in the Global Campaigns role that we
saw as needed in our Chapter Development work (items that were listed in
the original job description).
As such, we decided that the best course of action was to split the
initial role into two that would meet our needs and not require a reset
of the entire process. We did a review of the prior candidates to see if
any would be a good alternative to Asaf and Moushira and concluded that
we were comfortable with them as our selection. Please note that
Moushira’s role is temporary: that’s because the relationship between
the Wikimedia Foundation and the chapters is actively evolving, and so
we think this role may change significantly over time.
How does the appointment of these two roles change the relationship
between WMF and chapters?
Our hope is that these engagements will improve our relationship by
providing dedicated resources to our chapter interactions. This will
allow WMF to be more responsive and will provide resources to invest
time in creating new solutions to problems that we have dealt with in
the past, but haven't solved effectively.
We also hope that Moushira and Asaf will help to enhance the
effectiveness of chapters by serving as advisors on program work,
helping to make connections between program work in different places and
by creating systems that ease the administrative burden on volunteers,
freeing you to focus more time on program activities.
These engagements do not change the formal relationships between WMF and
chapters. We both will continue to be independently responsible for
meeting our commitments and for solving problems that arise in a timely
and collaborative manner.
Why is Asaf's position focused on the Global South vs. all chapters?
We do not have sufficient resources available to expend our resources
equally in all areas and still achieve impact and so we need to
prioritize. The movement priorities set out during the strategy process
set clear targets for our growth in the Global South and we are aligning
our resources to this priority. We will continue to support grants
across the globe and will engage with all chapters, but Asaf's first
responsibility will be to the work focused on the Global South.
What does WMF plan to do with other groups/individuals in the movement?
We continue to believe in the principle of a decentralized movement and
the importance of supporting good efforts by volunteers regardless of
organizational affiliation. While we expect chapters to play a strong
role in designing and running programs as well as funding
groups/individuals within their geographies to do such work, we also
want to keep the door open for groups or individuals who want to conduct
program work that supports the movement priorities outside of a chapter
structure. In recent months, this has included, for example, funding for
the Wikipedia in Schools program in Kenya and support for GLAM work by a
US-based volunteer, Aude.
Does the appointment of Asaf change WMF's view of grant-making?
We see grant-making as an important process for supporting chapters and
other groups/individuals to achieve movement priorities. The appointment
of Asaf provides us with an opportunity to expand grant-making and make
it more systematic. We believe that many chapters will not be in a
position to generate sustainable funding locally to fund the full array
of programs that may be needed to achieve our goals. Grant-making is an
effective way to fill that gap.
We would like to see our grant-making work evolve to include much more
community participation in helping chapters and other groups/individuals
design good programs, in helping WMF make good decisions and in
evaluating and capturing the learning from grants after they are
implemented. This will be a core initiative for Asaf in his first year.
I’ve got other questions that aren’t answered here.
Barry, Asaf and Moushira will host an IRC at the following times to talk
through the roles in more detail.
1. Friday, February 11 at 1500 UTC
2. Friday, February 11 at 2200 UTC
Chief Global Development Officer
Tel: +1-415-839-6885 x. 6634
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