Thanks for the update.

Plan to engage with Department of Public Libraries is a valuable step ahead,
in my opinion. Shortlisting other departments who's association would help
immensely (for instance the department of secondary education) and trying to
connect with them would be a plus. Let me know if I could be of any help
there, I'd be happy to help.

Membership at 80 looks like a good number achieved considering that Chapter
had minimal resources to do a membership drive in that it doesn't have paid
employees yet who can run around getting stuff done (or are there any now?).
I believe placing a link on about the membership would
help drive more members. The site notice on the community wiki can also be
put to better use.

Good to hear about the progress on FCRA. Going by what I've heard from
others, this is going to test your patience.

About the Foundation update,

The number of students involved sounds great and sets up huge expectations
about the program. There has been tremendous publicity for the program. Like
mentioned on the update, it does require great deal of effort to retain this
enthusiasm in the campuses -- however the addition new staff, Shiju and
Nikita should boost the efforts. I personally would like to see more people
like Srikeit (who's presently helping out with the program) who've
contributed immensely on Wikipedia, and have known the community for quite
sometime being given opportunities to help steer this program. I met Srikeit
during Wikimania and he was mighty excited about his role where he could put
to use his long time experience being part of Wikipedia.

I would be extremely keen to know more about the conversations happening
between the mobile companies and the Foundation. What is the current
picture? As more and more people increasingly access information from mobile
here, this is going to be an important channel worth exploring rigorously,
and with focus on Indian languages.

And the independent public trust -- I know that I'll be hitting a sensitive
topic by even stirring this, but I can't help but wonder how the dual power
house model would work. A common Wikipedian from here would have several
unanswered questions, and few very simple and obvious questions like whether
two different entities are actually required for the same region, or about
whom to approach for help in improving projects in the region or for
assistance of any kind. It sort of puts up good deal of confusion for the
community. Between just the chapter and the foundation's office (transformed
into a legal entity of 'trust'), while there's just too many things to be
done in this nascent community, isn't co-ordination going to be unnecessary
overhead and something that is eating up into each of your's time? How do
you plan to address these? And when the chapter was established, it was
decided to go for a 'society' model for obvious reasons, and for of how
democratic it would be.

There are several more questions that would prop in the minds of Wikipedians
who've seen times when there was no chapter, no WMF assistance during the
earlier years (2002 - ) to the years now of conspicuously towering interest
in the region. There were times when we put our own money to organize
Wikipedia related activities, not having anyone here to help. So, this
change is welcoming, the kind of interest we're seeing now in India is huge
for every Wikipedian from this country. However, there is uncertainty about
where this is headed.


On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 10:37 AM, Gautam John <>wrote:

> Dear All:
> We have instituted a monthly call between the India Chapter and the
> Wikimedia Foundation.  Members of the Chapter EC, Hisham and Asaf Bartov
> (who heads up Global South Relationships at the Foundation) will participate
> in this call.  The objective of the call is to share information and improve
> collaboration between the Chapter and the Foundation on various Wikimedia
> projects of relevance to India.  We had the first one on Aug 24, 2011, and
> here's a quick update.
> *Chapter Update*
>    - 30 persons attended the workshop on Copyright and Open Licensing
>    conducted on 30th July 2011 in Bangalore, which was well received.
>    - Plan to conduct 1st WikiAcademy with the Department of Public
>    Libraries, Karnataka for their senior Library professionals on 12 Sep 2011.
>    - Membership currently stands at ~80
>    - Participation from community on some projects but the response is
>    below expectations. Chapter hopes that the response will improve as more
>    activities are taken up by Chapter in the near future.
>    - AGM will be conducted on September 24 2011.  Elections process  for
>    EC vacancies has been initiated.
>    - Process for applying for FCRA prior permission has been actioned with
>    necessary steps being taken with local banks, consultants and the WMF. The
>    bank account required for FCRA is ready. The draft of letter from WMF will
>    be finalized in a week by Chapter Accountant and Advisor (another
>    prerequisite) and then FCRA application will be submitted. 3-4 months are
>    required for approval by Home Ministry, Government of India.
> *Foundation Update*
>    - Education Program is doing well from a numbers perspective - with
>    more than 1000 students involved.  However, there is a great deal of effort
>    required to continue to support and enable and motivate these students.
>    Additional Campus Ambassadors are being selected from the participating
>    institutions.  Hisham requested that everyone reach out and be encouraging
>    to the Campus Ambassadors, students and teachers.
>    - 2 new staff members selected; Nitika has joined & Shiju will be
>    joining by October
>    - Initial conversations were being sought with leading mobile companies
>    to explore Wikipedia on mobile
>    - Independent public trust to be set up hopefully by next week,
>    followed by FCRA prior permission and other approvals required for tax
>    exemption, etc.
> *Collaboration on future projects*
> Some requests from colleges to participate in campus ambassador
> like program  were received by the chapter and Hisham. Hisham said that till
> the ongoing program is stable, he will not be able to roll it to other
> cities. He suggested  that colleges can get  started by forming  student
> clubs and Foundation staff are providing necessary information and
> assistance for the same. He also requested Chapter EC to extend their
> support for the same.
> Chapter seeks active involvement in the elections and looks to grow its
> membership base and expand it's reach in encouraging the use
> and contributions to the Wikimedia movement in India.
> Thank you.
> Best,
> Gautam

Hari Prasad Nadig
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