Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A year in ChapCom

It was a busy year in the Chapters Committee, the body that is entrusted with guiding groups of enthusiastic Wikimedia volunteers towards greater offline activity. This is usually in the form of forming a local Wikimedia Chapter, but given the technical and bureaucratic difficulties that this may entail, it often takes the form of recommending local activities without a formal legal structure taking advantage of the Wikimedia trademarks policy and grants programme.

Chapters approved in 2011 (dark blue), and those on their way towards chapterhood in 2012 (greenish shade of blue). Germany has become a lake by accident.
Once a group decides to form a chapter, it is the dual duty of the Committee – composed of a group of volunteers with experience in international relations, running chapters and other non-profits and good intercultural skills – to give advice and guide the group through the steps of creating a well-functioning legal association and making sure that the resulting entity conforms to the requirements of official Wikimedia chapterhood.

In 2011 ChapCom finalised 10 chapter applications from 4 continents: from the northern tip of the World in Canada all the way south to Cape Horn (in Chile) and as far east as the 93rd meridian. This makes it the second busiest year for the Committee (after 2008); however, we will not be bored in 2012 either. If the world doesn't end, the Committee will process applications from Brazil, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Slovakia and most likely Croatia (and we are only in January; hopefully, many more communities will approach us over the year).

2012 will also be the year, when anyone can apply to be part of the group that helps new groups around the world in forming chapters (or other affiliated orgs). If you wonder what kind of person we are looking for, see the call from 2010, and please sign up to be notified of the 2012 call!