Your opportunity to secure and shape the future of the Discussion Forum

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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Your opportunity to secure and shape the future of the Discussion Forum

I have not seen it being used in the NGO sector, but it is a quite popular platform for organizing community driven open-source software projects. 

The main advantage is really that the receiving organization does not have to be a legal entity, with the so called "fiscal host" taking over that responsibility. This way you can also benefit from tax deductions for donations, which the fiscal host might qualify for. Of course you don't really need to use the platform for this, but it makes it more convenient and transparent.

In addition they include a convenient system for recurring small online donations from private persons, but that is just an added bonus and I think you already have covered with that donation platform you integrated already.
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Re: Your opportunity to secure and shape the future of the Discussion Forum

Thank you for the link Julius,  But how does this really work for a knowledge management platform like SuSanA? Any information on sector institutions that have successfully made use of it?

Regards,
Chaiwe
SuSanA Forum Moderator
Skat Foundation (With financial support by GIZ and SIRWASH up to November 2023)

Chaiwe Mushauko-Sanderse BSc. NRM, MPH
Independent consultant located in Lusaka, Zambia
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  • Carol McCreary
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Re: Your opportunity to secure and shape the future of the Discussion Forum

The explainer video is compelling.  Networks and alliances like SuSanA are playing a progressively bigger part in civic life and in the development of management and technology approaches.   And a number of essential admin services are offered here. 

I'll take a more thorough look at this when I have more time.

Thanks for keeping this conversation going, Kris.
Carol McCreary
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Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.

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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Your opportunity to secure and shape the future of the Discussion Forum

Another easier way of collecting donations and managing the fiscal hosting for SuSanA 2.0 might be:

opencollective.com/

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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Your ideas for securing and shaping the future of the Discussion Forum moderation?

Hi,
Today I am providing an update about my own situation: I've stopped as a discussion forum moderator in the beginning of January. This is after having completed my contract with Skat Foundation (funding was provided by GIZ). So you could say the money has run out (the donation button has only brought in minimal donations so far). In addition, it was time for me to move on - after 10 years of forum moderation. I plan to focus my energy on my other project now which is Wikipedia editing, for which I sometimes find funded time. See for example this project about three SDGs and Wikipedia , funded by Swedish money.

It's been a really interesting 10 years with the SuSanA discussion forum and I have learned a lot through reading your forum posts, helping new members with their first posts, moving posts to the right sub-categories, improving thread titles, engaging with people who have posted etc. We've had our ups and downs with the forum, some periods of very high activity levels and some with lower levels. We've analysed that previously, see here: www.susana.org/en/knowledge-hub/resource...library/details/4064 and here: www.susana.org/en/knowledge-hub/resource...library/details/3630
You can also see trends on this forum statistics page: forum.susana.org/forum/statistics

One reason for the noticeable downward trend with regards to quantity of posts might be the simple fact that so much information can already be gleaned from simply reading through older posts so that not everyone has to make a new post to find their answer.  Another reason could be the rise of Whatsapp WASH groups or Facebook groups which might "compete" to some extent; perhaps people enjoy the quicker interactions in smaller closed group settings. But even if the quantity of posts seems to be going down a bit, I think the quality of posts is still very high. Also the variety of topics that are being discussed, and the geographic location of the people who are writing are both broader than they used to be which is good to see (see also this statistics page about gender and location).

So, where to from here? The good news is that Chaiwe (based in Zambia) and Paresh (based in India) will both continue as moderators of the discussion forum with funding from GIZ (through Skat Foundation again). They have about 4 hours per week each until June 2023 to do this important forum moderation work. It is less time per week than I would have hoped for. But finding funding for forum moderation work is really hard (see all the previous posts in this thread). So it's good to have this base funding available for them. I am sure they will continue to enrich the forum with their inputs, targeted questions, thoughtful impulses and e-mail communications in the background. It's great to have two forum moderators from the Global South, too (a small step towards further decolonisation of WASH activities?).

The forum is in very good hands with Chaiwe and Paresh. Please continue to support them, like you have supported me, by making use of this forum, writing posts, answering other people's questions, advertising the forum amongst your networks and so forth. How about next time when someone e-mails you with a particular WASH related question you reply back by saying: "I can help you with this question but let's take this discussion to the SuSanA discussion forum so that others can also benefit from our exchanges". That's what I often did in the past.

I'll also continue along those lines myself, now just as a conventional SuSanA member, just like all of you. 

Best wishes,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Re: Your ideas for securing and shaping the future of the Discussion Forum moderation?

Update: You might have noticed that we now have a "Donate" button (see top right in the menu bar) or the round red button when you scroll down. With this donation option we hope to raise funds to cover the time of forum moderators (currently: myself, Paresh and Chaiwe) in future.

A full explanation of how it all works is here: 
forum.susana.org/donate

Do you find  the SuSanA Forum  useful in your work? If so, please consider making a financial contribution to support our Forum  moderation services.
The SuSanA Forum has been making knowledge, ideas, and debates around sustainable sanitation accessible to everyone since 2011. We facilitate the sharing of knowledge and dissemination of results. 
From October 2021 onwards, the SuSanA Forum will rely primarily on your donations to continue to fund the Forum moderation work - to keep the Forum alive, vibrant, friendly and free of spam. If you find the SuSanA Forum helpful in your work and want to see it continue to exist, please consider contributing to its running costs through the online donation form below, either as a one off or as a monthly/ quarterly/ yearly contribution. Every contribution is appreciated! 
Your contribution will help keep the SuSanA Forum active and running thereby contributing to SuSanA’s vision.

We also have a FAQ page: 
forum.susana.org/donate?t=faq 

Feel free to comment in this thread with any question, suggestions or concerns you might have.

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
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  • neilpw
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Re: Your ideas for securing and shaping the future of the Discussion Forum moderation?

Hi Paresh,

Wondering if project based financing leads to discussion on topics related only to the projects or is there a component that allows other unrelated discussions also to be moderated?

HIFA supports time-limited sponsored discussions happening in parallel with our usual spontaneous discussions. 

For example, we are currently in the middle of a thematic discussion on Quality health services, sponsored by WHO. But we continue to run our forum as usual, with messages on other relevant topics welcome.
See: www.hifa.org/rss-feeds/17

We find that these thematic discussions help in lots of ways. For example:
  1. they generate income
  2. they bring us into close working relationships with key organisations such as WHO
  3. they provide a time-limited focus for deep dive discussion (of course, the agreed theme of the discussion needs to be within the overall remit of the forum - we would not agree to do sponsored discussions on non-relevant topics)
  4. they can provide an additional purpose to our discussions (for example, our Quality discussion is expected to produce a series of action briefs for the WHO website)
  5. the vision and mission of the sponsor and the forum are aligned and/or complementary (For example 'WHO Global Learning Laboratory (GLL) aims to connect those involved in quality health service delivery by sharing knowledge, experiences and ideas; challenging ideas and approaches; and sparking new thinking for quality UHC'. They see HIFA as a vibrant, diverse community where these issues can be explored) 
  6. the forum and sponsor can leverage each other's publicity and social media to raise awareness of their respective work and collaboration.
HIFA now positions itself not as an empty vessel looking for funding, but a collaborator that works with like-minded organisations for shared objectives. We have been building this model for several years and it is now the main source of our funding.
www.hifa.org/support/collaborate

Our growing collaboration with WHO is described here: www.hifa.org/how-hifa-collaborates-who-i...nformation-worldwide

Best wishes, Neil
Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. www.hifa.org 
Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Re: Your ideas for securing and shaping the future of the Discussion Forum moderation?

That is an interesting suggestion Neil.

Wondering if project based financing leads to discussion on topics related only to the projects or is there a component that allows other unrelated discussions also to be moderated?

Regards
paresh
Paresh Chhajed-Picha
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Your ideas for securing and shaping the future of the Discussion Forum moderation?

Hi Neil,

Thanks for alerting us to this "project-based" funding option. It's a very good suggestion.
We've had small examples of this in our " thematic discussion series " where sometimes some organisations paid for their own moderators to conduct a time-bound (usually 3 week) discussion on a topic that they find important, and to write up a synthesis report afterwards.

We've also tried to interest organisations in taking charge of the moderation of particular sub-categories like the one on Fecal Sludge Management . (with limited success)
So far this has worked on a small scale here and there but doesn't feel like it could be ever be sufficient without a certain amount of "core funding".

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
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Re: Your ideas for securing and shaping the future of the Discussion Forum moderation?

Hi Elisabeth and all,

HIFA.org - a community of practice like SuSanA but with a focus on access to reliable healthcare information - increasingly relies on sponsored projects for its funding. In these projects we agree on deliverables over 1-3 years to promote discussion and sharing of experience around high priority global health issues. We are currently running two projects supported by WHO, one by Elsevier Foundation, and one by University of Edinburgh.

Example: www.hifa.org/projects/essential-health-services-and-covid-19

Using this approach, there is potential for SuSanA to collaborate with HIFA or other CoPs/organisations.

Best wishes, Neil, HIFA coordinator
Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Your ideas for securing and shaping the future of the Discussion Forum moderation?

Dear all,

I am coming back to this thread from 2019 today to let you know where we currently stand with regards to funding the moderation of the SuSanA discussion forum: it's a bit uncertain! The funding that WSSCC had provided for a 13-month period from November 2019 was extended to 31 March 2021 but has since run out. This means we are "back to the drawing board" with regards to funding of the forum moderators.

Do you have any suggestions whom we could approach for more funding?

Our current thinking is as follows:
  • GIZ has kindly agreed to provide minimal funding as a bridging activity until Oct 2021. This is mainly for Chaiwe's and Paresh's time as moderators. After Oct 2021 we have a funding gap.
  • We are currently pondering over options for a "donate here" button. Such a button would be used to accept donations from individuals or organisations for forum moderators' time. The administration of such a button might be done by Skat Foundation who have also incorporated such a button into their own website last year. 
  • We are planning to approach other potential organisations who might have an interest in knowledge management and community engagement for sanitation. We have a draft proposal ready which we could send out. Do you have any suggestions whom to send it to? (SHF is the successor of WSSCC but initial discussions have shown that their priorities are different now, more focused on in-country activities in least developed countries to kickstart the sanitation-economy and to create an enabling environment in those countries rather than global knowledge management and capacity building).
If you have any interesting ideas and suggestions, please don't hesitate to bring them forward by posting in this thread or by e-mailing us.

Regards,
Elisabeth
together with Finn Staack, SuSanA secretariat at GIZ
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Located in Ulm, Germany
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Your opportunity to secure and shape the future of the Discussion Forum

Dear all,

Today I have exciting news for you: We have found another year of funding for the Discussion Forum moderation, until end of 2020. The funding will come from WSSCC in the form of a project/grant to Skat Foundation who will in turn make several sub-contracts to a head moderator (myself) and one or several co-moderators and also a small IT contract for Dotwerkstatt. I am very happy about this development! It will provide exciting new perspectives and ideas for the forum, and take the forum moderation to a higher level.

We started this discussion here on the forum on “how to secure and shape the future of the Discussion Forum” over a year ago and now it has come to fruition. When you compare it with the options that we had discussed in this thread, it is Option 1 that has been realised; we had described it like this: “Option 1: One funder - A large-ish SuSanA partner who has their own funding and who does knowledge management wants to step in and fund the ongoing forum moderation.”

Please stay tuned as more details will be provided in the coming days here in this forum and also in the news channels of WSSCC, RWSN at Skat Foundation and SuSanA.

Edit on 30 Dec 2019: More information is now available in this thread: forum.susana.org/10-announcements-regard...c-and-susana-in-2020

Regards,
Elisabeth
& Franziska (SuSanA secretariat)
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
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