Challenge to the HOT Voting Membership: A Top 5 List

Posted by arnalielsewhere on 12 September 2021 in English (English). Last updated on 13 September 2021.

If you want to translate this post to be more comprehensible, I recommend to use deepL translator.

Disclaimer: All opinions are mine and do not necessarily represent opinions of HOT or other organizations/groups I am affiliated with.

The HOT Board and Chairperson Election period this year started this month of September. Both positions require that you are a voting member to be able to run, nominate and vote.

PS. Becoming a voting member is another cycle/election :)

I’d like to share five (5) challenges or “dare” to the HOT Voting members (which includes Board members and chairperson).

#1 Unengaged membership: How can we engage 1M contributors if we cannot engage our 217 (and growing) voting members?

HOT received funding from the Audacious Project last year - “Over the next five years, HOT will engage one million volunteers to map the places that are home to one billion people.”

When I applied for my staff position, this has been one of my strong drivers/motivations: to meaningfully engage contributors/communities (including the voting membership), and benefit from the work that HOT does. I believe the voting membership is one of the most important of these communities but hasn’t been prioritised in recent years.

I challenge the HOT membership, how can you help engage your fellow voting members, esp. those you nominated as a voting member and vice versa?

#2 Community Participation: How do we actively participate and support communities/groups locally (your local communities), regionally (eg Open Mapping Hubs), and globally (e.g. HOT / OSMF Working Groups)?

HOT shifted from global to regional structure to ensure that power, decision-making and resource allocation happen much closer to the communities we seek to support and in which we want our impact to be. How do you think the voting members can support the Regional Hubs and local communities?

I challenge the HOT membership to play an active role in the Regional hubs. Not only that, HOT has working groups and committees, please consider joining one! And most importantly, I challenge you to continuously actively participate and support your local communities!

#3 Community diversity: How can we be advocates of diversity and inclusion?

In addition to Tyler’s What HOT’s Board Needs: A Top 5 List (which I view as more focused on “skills” that we need), I would like to emphasize the we also need to consider community diversity both in participation and leadership.

I challenge the HOT membership to respect diversity, encourage and listen to unheard opinions and perspectives, be mindful and examine your views, and take action to enable inclusion.

PS. #shamelessplug Check out our blog: Why and How: Challenging Sexism and Misogyny in the Open Mapping Ecosystem :)

#4 Community diversity in Language: How can we localize HOT / OSM activities (map and non-map contributions)?

“My English is not too fluent to be a member of the Board even though I am very interested in participating and sharing my vision as a French-speaking African community of collaborative mapping with HOT.” - from a community leader/voting member who would like to run for Board.

Language is a dimension of diversity and inclusion but I believe it deserves its own spot and should be highlighted. Ivan Gayton (2021) shared, “The default to English puts non-English speakers at a systemic disadvantage throughout HOT and humanitarian open mapping activities.” And this has been true since the start! Official documents, websites, etc are all in English, how can we reach non-English speaking communities we wish to serve and support?

I am pleased that the Election Committee has taken into account the language barrier. Before, we only have live discussions. In this year’s election, we will send a list of questions to the candidates so that they can prepare their answers, e.g. make necessary translations if needed, post it in medium they are comfortable with, and then have a live discussion.

PS. We have been doing this in the CommunityWG webinars which enabled more participation and diverse speakers! :)

PS 2. I am leading a project on Language Localization. Let me know what you think here :)

#5 Community diversity in Leadership: “Who leads the mapping and storytelling matters.” (Garcia, 2020)

HOT has its western roots since its incorporation in 2010. Only after four (4) elections (in 2015 Election), did we have non-western leaders to serve in the Board. And as of date, only 5 men from Asia, 2 women from Africa, and 1 woman from Latin America served in the Board. How can we improve this?

My last challenge for the membership is who will you vote as our leaders?

Vote wisely! :)

PS. As I am part of the OSMF membership (as Associate member since 2019), I would like to challenge the OSMF membership with these points (or whatever applies) as well. ;)

If you want to translate this post to be more comprehensible, I recommend to use deepL translator.

Location: Montezuma County, Colorado, United States

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