Growing Our Affiliate Network
A short 101 on Code for All and the incredible, and expanding, groups of people we connect through our work.
First off — the exciting news you’re all here for.
We’re incredibly excited to announce that the Code for All network is growing to include K-Monitor from Hungary, Fundación Ciudadanía Inteligente doing regional work around South America and Code for France… from, well, France!
And because we really didn’t make enough song and dance about it back in October, with all the other things we had going on (like this), this is the second time our Affiliate network has grown recently. In October 2018, we welcomed to the community:
We’re not going to try and rephrase the amazing achievements and projects undertaken by all of these organisations (you can head over to their websites for that) — what I will say is that we’ve already seen collaborations starting to emerge. From opening data and writing to MPs, to monitoring the state of the internet and censorship online, there are many intersecting problem spaces that hold so much promise.
Keep your eyes peeled for news on these soon.
But hold up, what’s an affiliate?
That’s a great question— but we might need to rewind even further than that. Let’s start with what Code for All is:
Code for All is the largest civic tech network in the world, which amplifies the impact of good ideas through a global network of local organisations.
Since around 2012, when Code for America’s Jen Pahlka shared the good word of civic tech from the TED stage — organisations the world over have been springing up. Some united by a “Code for…” at the beginning of their name — others not — but all united by the belief that technology could be a force for good in the landscape of democracy, governance and accountability.
For more on that read this.
An informal network emerged (cough, Code for All) and since then we’ve been learning to find out feet, serve our community of civic tech practitioners and measure our impact. An art that is never ending.
What we have done, is found a governance and decision making structure that works for us — a miracle in itself considering the size and scope of our work.
So what’s a Governing Member?
The governing members of Code for All are organisations who collectively make decisions about the network’s strategy, activities and growth. All Governing Members are part of the Code for All Board, and as such, meet at least once a quarter via an online board call — let’s talk about what it’s like to schedule those another time 😅
What about the Executive Committee (ExCo)?
Getting twenty people on a phone call is hard, particular when people are located in timezones the world over. The ExCo was created to delegate decision making to a smaller group of Governing Members, which would rotate regularly, who could commit to regular online meetings.
While it was created to be a decision making structure, to date the ExCo has been more advisory in nature — with all major decisions going to all Governing Members via board meetings, or through tools like Loomio.
And you’ve got staff too, right?
We do! Code for All Staff are the smallest part of the network, and are the ones who manage the day-to-day communications, facilitate knowledge exchanges, encourage collaborations, seek funding and run programs (when there is funding).
So then an affiliate is?
That’s a lot of moving parts. In a nutshell, Affiliates are trusted partners nominated by Governing Members that share the Code for All mission and want to be connected to wider global community.
Affiliate members are listed on the Code for All website, benefit from additional access to Code for All members, events and resources and can identify as affiliates in their external communications — which has helped many Governing Members get started in their communities of operation.
Last but not least…
We’ve very recently introduced a new role within the network, who we’ve named Representatives. Code for All Representatives serve to facilitate information flows between the Code for All and member organisations, vote on necessary decisions on behalf of their organisation and provide feedback in both directions.
This role was borne out of a bystander-like effect we saw happening as we’ve grown, where requests were being made of members, and, because no one person was held to account for responding, people would assume “someone else will get that”. Except mostly, they didn’t.
For this reason, we now ask Affiliate Members and Governing Members to nominate a representative for their organisation, for all Code for All matters.
In essence, that’s the structure of Code for All, and I’m working on ways to communicate this better (along with how we work and what we’re working on) as we expand. If there are any burning questions you’re wondering about, leave me a comment below or over on our Slack, and we can chat them over.