Apologies for the delay in this getting to you - this was written a while back, but was
only able to leave my inbox today. Florence will update you with the resolutions from
Saturday’s crisis meeting.
On 16 Mar 2020, at 14:05, Isla Haddow Flood
As some of you might have heard, all grantees have received an email from Katherine Maher
(in full below) requesting that in-person events representing Wikimedia communities be
postponed or cancelled until the risk of contracting COVID-19 is no more. This obviously
affects all the Wiki Loves Africa events that are yet to occur. I know that the levels of
anxiety and fear across Africa are not nearly as high as the ones in Europe or the US, but
the threat remains, and it only takes one infected person who doesn’t know they are sick
to infect many people.
Those of you with rapid grants or other funding should please take this request very
seriously. Those without direct funding please consider the request to cancel all
in-person events. Please let your community, partners and possible attendees know
As Katherine says, the obvious answer is to push for more online effort - in the case of
WIki Loves Africa this could be encouragement and mentoring? What other things can be done
that do not require person to person contact? All ideas are welcome - and we look forward
to discussing them at the meeting that Florence has organised: mention your availability
If you want to chat about this request with the WLA community, please join the Telegram
group via this link: https://t.me/joinchat/FI9fz0pnPNiWbyyLr-YsFQ
Isla and Florence
+++ Katherine’s Message to Grantees +++
All offline (in-person) public events funded by Wikimedia Foundation grants must be
cancelled or postponed until further notice
Cancellation fees, other penalties, and expenses already incurred can be covered through
Not complying with these instructions might affect future grant requests
We will not be approving new grants for offline events happening before September 15,
2020 until further notice
Please contact your program officers for further guidance
Dear Wikimedia Foundation Grantees,
We are writing to provide guidance for grant-funded programs during the COVID-19
pandemic. This situation is rapidly evolving, and we have made some decisions that we
would like to communicate to you.
We have reviewed the current global public health landscape and we ask all grantees to
postpone or cancel all public events and activities until the World Health Organization
declares the COVID-19 pandemic over.
We know this might be a difficult decision to make, and that this will mean cancelling
events of great importance to our community. We understand and appreciate all the efforts
you have put into preparing these events, from requesting a grant to public outreach.
However, our first priority is the health and safety of you, your Wikimedia community,
and the general public health. Global public health guidance indicates that the more
quickly the world responds to a pandemic, the better off the outcomes. In order to
safeguard free knowledge, we must also prioritize the well-being of the people who make it
It’s important to keep our communities together and connected during this time. We
encourage you to consider if there are other ways you can repurpose the grant funds toward
other mission-aligned activities, such as holding events or meetings online.
Your program officer is available if you want to discuss ideas for other ways to use your
grant funds, so please reach out to us if you would like to talk. If you are unable or
decide not to repurpose your event, you and your program officer will work together to
repurpose the funds to a later grant or return the funds to the Wikimedia Foundation.
We are asking people to take this seriously. If we learn that you held an event using
Wikimedia Foundation funds after receiving this request to cancel, we reserve the right to
withhold funding for future grants.
We are here to support you and your communities through these challenging circumstances.
P.S. If you have any questions about this notice or your grant, please contact your
African-Wikimedians mailing list