Dear India Wikimedia community,
As a follow up to Hisham's message, I would like to thank Hisham for his
efforts in support of Wikimedia in India. He has been a great partner to
the Wikimedia Foundation team and has worked tirelessly to build the India
Program. He has worked in a challenging environment trying to do work in
the Wikimedia movement that hasn’t been done before. While there have been
ups and downs, our work in India has broken new ground for the movement and
taught us all valuable lessons that we are applying in India and around the
world. There is an unprecedented level of activity happening in India with
promising programs that position the movement for continued growth.
Hisham also leaves behind an India Program that is working effectively with
community members on a number of positive initiatives including community
growth partnerships in several Indic languages, support for a new Malayalam
education program, a GLAM partnership at the Crafts Museum, new wikiclubs
at the British Council, ongoing efforts to leverage social media, and a
dramatic increase in blog coverage of the India community’s work. There are
also exciting developments on mobile that will be announced soon. This work
Hisham’s departure coincides with another change in the India Program. We
are pleased to announce that the Wikimedia Foundation has approved a grant
to the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) in Bangalore to expand their
Access to Knowledge programme to support the achievement of the Wikimedia
mission in India. CIS is a leading organization in India working on
Internet policy. They are part of the broad free and open community. CIS is
a long time friend of Wikimedia, our community in Bangalore, and the
Wikimedia India chapter.
CIS has committed to sustaining and building upon the work of the India
Program. They plan to hire the existing program consultants as staff and
will conduct a search for a new programme director. The program team will
be based in Delhi. CIS will be sharing their program plans shortly and will
want to incorporate community feedback.
The grant will be for two years in duration to complete the original first
stage of the catalyst strategy. The first year’s grant will be for a total
of INR 11,000,000 subject to final budget approvals. The second year will
be for a similar amount plus inflation subject to a budget review in May
2013. The grant will be renewable via the Wikimedia Grants program (or the
FDC, if CIS were to become an affiliated organization and meet eligibility).
This is a shift in how the Wikimedia Foundation seeks to support work in
India. Rather than hire consultants or open an office of our own, we think
it is preferable to work with an established institution that can bring
valuable relationships and capabilities to support our movement. CIS will
be a partner to the Wikimedia Foundation, but will operate autonomously in
accordance with the terms of the grant agreement.
CIS will hire a programme director for the work. The recruitment process
will draw on the best practices Wikimedia used in Brazil and incorporate
active community participation in the process. They will share more info on
We have prepared an FAQ on Meta and ask that questions or comments be
posted there. I will endeavour to respond in a timely fashion, though I
will be on a flight until 20:00 UTC tonight and will be in meetings in
Dubai on Tuesday morning.
Finally, I'd like to wish Hisham all the best in his future endeavours. He
has taken us through a critical first stage of our work in India and set us
up for significant progress during the next stage. He will be missed and I
hope he will stay a part of the Wikimedia community in India.
Chief Global Development Officer
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