2019 was significant for Wikimedia Ukraine: we celebrated our 10th anniversary, worked on a long-term development strategy — and, of course, continued to develop all our projects and programs to support and popularize Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. In this note, we look back on the main achievements of the organization over the past year.
See also this post in Ukrainian
0. We celebrated the 10th birthday
Yes, we are ten years old now! We have been celebrating this anniversary for a whole year, but the special date was May 31st — we consider it the birthday of the organization. For this occasion, we prepared a presentation with an overview of the organization’s milestones of history and achievements since 2009 (in Ukrainian).
1. We developed a three-year strategic plan
Wikimedia Ukraine exists since 2009, but we have not planned our work for more than a year in advance until 2019. This year, we decided to take a different approach and adopted a strategic plan for 2020-2022. Its adoption wasn’t instantaneous: it was preceded by two strategic sessions that were held in February and June, as well as an extensive online discussion, to which we invited all Wikimedians.
We’ve defined five main directions of Wikimedia Ukraine’s work for the next three years: boosting content enrichment for Wikimedia projects, increasing participation in these projects, working on community support and development, increasing awareness about Wikimedia, and engaging in advocacy projects for free knowledge.
2. We held an all-Ukrainian Wikimarathon: 60 events in 40 cities and villages of Ukraine
Every year at the end of January, we invite everyone to congratulate Ukrainian Wikipedia on its birthday by writing an article for it — either online or during a Wikimarathon meeting. This year, almost 60 training sessions were held in 38 cities and villages of Ukraine with the support of Wikimedia Ukraine. These events were held in most regions of Ukraine (in 21 oblasts), which we are sincerely pleased about.
3. We helped organize the international photo contest Wiki Loves Earth
In 2013, Wikimedia Ukraine held the first Wiki Loves Earth photo contest devoted to natural heritage. Since 2014, our organization coordinates the international part of the competition. This year, 37 countries from all the continents except Antarctica have participated in Wiki Loves Earth — it’s the largest number since the competition was founded. Almost 95,000 photos of natural monuments from all these countries were submitted to the competition, of which the international jury selected 16 best pictures.
We organized the Ukrainian part of the competition as well. This year, more than 300 participants have uploaded nearly 10,000 photos of 1,600 Ukrainian natural monuments.
4. We worked on overcoming the gender gap on Wikipedia
Wikipedia has about four times less articles on women than those on men. In Ukrainian Wikipedia, for example, articles about women make up approximately 15-16 percent of all biographical articles. We strive to reduce gender imbalance on Wikipedia, so in 2019, we implemented a series of projects dedicated to this topic.
In particular, we coordinated online marathons WikiGap in Ukraine and She Did It (both the Ukrainian and international sections), organized a Women in STEM article contest, supported the university course “Introduction to Gender Studies” in the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, and conducted many thematic events, such as training sessions.
5. For the eighth time, we held Wiki Loves Monuments in Ukraine — and Ukraine took first place in the number of uploaded photos
Wiki Loves Monuments started as a photo contest of cultural monuments, but over the eight years, it has evolved into something more in Ukraine. It grew to a project that helps develop a unified database of all the monuments of Ukraine — the government does not maintain this kind of public database; therefore our volunteers work on creating it. WLM also helps popularize Ukrainian cultural heritage and draw attention to its condition, advocate respecting copyright and “freedom of panorama”.
The competition helped create a large community of participants, volunteers, and partners around it. Largely because of that, the Ukrainian part of Wiki Loves Monuments took the first place in the number of uploaded photos in 2019 among all 48 participating countries. Ukrainians submitted over 31,000 photographs of 11,000 sights to the contest. Nearly 3,000 monuments first appeared under free licenses on Wikimedia Commons. This is especially important given that some of the monuments have, unfortunately, already been destroyed.
We have identified the best photos of the competition: the overall top-10 and winners of each region. Also this year, within special nominations, Wiki Loves Monuments invited participants to share photos of Jewish heritage in Ukraine, for the first time accepted videos of cultural monuments, and encouraged to discover the beauty and richness of Ukrainian mills. In addition, during the year, we supported a travelling exhibition of photographs of the past year’s contest winners. The exhibition covered 11 locations in 8 regions and attracted thousands of visitors.
6. We held an all-Ukrainian Wikiconference
It is important for Wikimedia Ukraine to gather the Wikimedia community from all over the country once a year for the Wikiconference — a conference about Wikipedia, wikiprojects and free knowledge. This year this event was held in Kharkiv, Eastern Ukraine. The conference attracted more than 60 participants who shared their experiences and discussed the development prospects of Wikimedia projects for two days.
7. We brought science and Wikipedia closer together in Wiki Science Contest
Articles on scientific topics and scientific images are more difficult to create than others: one needs to have specific scientific skills and a good understanding of the topic so that the final products are of high quality. Therefore, it is important for us to attract scientists to Wikimedia projects.
Throughout November, Wikimedia Ukraine (with the support of My Science portal and popular science event Days of Science) held WikiScience Contest 2019 — a competition of articles and photos on scientific topics. As a result, Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons received 40 articles and 300 images on scientific topics.
8. We held several article contests and supported thematic weeks on Ukrainian Wikipedia
The power of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects is that they are created by volunteers who write about what is interesting and important to them. However, this also inevitably leads to the appearance of gaps in the content — important but less popular topics may not be adequately covered. Therefore, filling the gaps is an important task for our organization. That’s why we hold article contests and support thematic weeks on Ukrainian Wikipedia.
In addition to the above-mentioned article contests, this year we held a CEE Spring contest in Ukraine (called “European Spring” in Ukraine), which brought over 1700 articles on Central and Eastern Europe, and now we are running a Wikipedia for School contest, which is dedicated to school curriculum.
9. We collaborated with educators, libraries and museums
Wikipedia belongs in education. Wikimedia Ukraine strives to teach as many students and teachers as possible to work correctly with Wikipedia. Therefore we have long been working on the implementation of the Wikipedia Education Program. In 2019, we organized training for teachers, helped conduct educational courses using Wikipedia at universities and schools, and supported Wikimedians’ participation in educational conferences.
We also continued to develop the GLAM initiative — cooperation with libraries, galleries, museums and archives. For example, throughout the year, our Kharkiv volunteers developed cooperation with libraries in the Kharkiv region; the culmination of this work was the contest called WikiKharkivschyna 2019 (“Wiki Kharkiv Region 2019”), devoted to articles and photographs.
10. We supported and motivated the Wikimedia community
Wikimedia projects would not be possible without a strong and motivated community of volunteers. This community would exist without Wikimedia Ukraine, but we strive to make it stronger and more motivated.
Therefore, in 2019, we conducted training sessions for volunteers, offered scholarships for trips to international Wikimedia conferences, provided grants to purchase books and other useful materials for editing Wikipedia, and supported Wikiexpeditions.
11. We talked about Wikipedia with everyone who wanted to hear
An important mission of Wikimedia Ukraine is to help spread knowledge about Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects to a wider audience possible. This year, we’ve conducted or supported more than a hundred Wikipedia workshops throughout Ukraine — both within all the projects mentioned above, as well as individual training sessions at the request of partners.
Spoiler: in 2020, we will begin to work on a full-fledged online Wikipedia course in Ukrainian to scale our work and attract even more people.
12. We fought for the freedom of panorama
Most of the previous sections list specific visible achievements: a project was carried out, a competition was held, and a conference was organized. There is no such result here yet — in Ukraine, there is still no “freedom of panorama”.
This means that Ukrainian legislation does not contain a permission to reproduce architectural works by means of photography, video or drawing. In simple words, if you take a picture of the building of the Ukrainian parliament, post it on social networks, but don’t get permission from the architect (or their heirs) to do this, you will violate copyright laws. We want this to change.
In 2019, we advocated for this issue: worked with lawmakers, created informational materials and talked to the press. However, we will not stop until the freedom of panorama appears in Ukrainian law.
Thanks to all the volunteers, partners and staff of Wikimedia Ukraine for making these achievements possible. In 2019, we had many other accomplishments that are not mentioned in detail in this article — you will be able to read about it in the detailed report of the Organization’s work for 2019, which we will publish in early February.
In 2020, we plan to move on: continue and develop all of the above projects and launch new ones. Stay tuned!