Humanitarian OSM Team/Board/Annual Report/2020

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HOT Board President’s Annual Report for 2020

                                                                February 10, 2021

Hi Voting Members, Staff, People interested in HOT, Humanitarian and Open mapping,

I hope everything is going well for you and everyone around you. 2020 was a challenging year and there is a lot of hope for 2021 but some countries will face a more difficult reality than others, let’s hope for the best but plan for the worst. As you might already be aware, there have been many changes in the Board that I’ll describe in more detail below.

I would like to share the main activities we, as Board, executed in 2020 and so far in 2021. Sometimes it is hard to understand what the Board members are doing and what is expected from them. We are lucky to have a board full of positive members who are looking forward to a sustainable future of the organization. There are still many things to be improved but together we are trying to establish changes that will help to create the base to achieve the objectives of the organization together with the Voting Members and people interested in a successful HOT project.

Please find the main activities and actions of the Board below, the activities are not necessarily in strict chronological order:

  • On Sunday June 14th 2020 sixty-seven voting members joined a meeting where Rebecca Firth and Tyler Radford presented the news about HOT being granted Audacious Project funding. See related HOT blog post.
  • Receiving the Audacious Project grant has increased the Board’s workload due to the resulting expansion of HOT as an organization. Tyler Radford and Rebecca Firth presented the overall Audacious plan in October 2020 (see Google Drive recording).
  • Adapted HOT’s financial budget to the Audacious project grant in July 2020 (see PDF of July Board minutes).
  • In terms of communications and tool improvements, on the advice of the Membership the Board transitioned to more open tools such as having the meeting minutes in Wiki format instead of Google Docs henceforth. We have shifted all Board and Committee meetings from Google Meet and Mumble to BigBlueButton (BBB). With greater ease of access and video chat functionality BBB has arguably improved the meeting experience for the Board and Membership. For internal decision making between meetings, Loomio is now being used by the Board.
  • In October 2020 the Board onboarded a temporary assistant and coordinated the opening/hiring of a new Board assistant role for long term support (see Wiki of October Board minutes).
  • In September 2020 the Board responded to potential Conflicts of Interest created by the Board members Pete Masters and Tasauf A Baki Billah applying for HOT staff positions while still members of the HOT Board (see Google Docs Board statement on this).
  • The previous point pushed the Board to do a revision in the Conflicts of Interest (COI) in the event of Board members applying for HOT staff positions and in the event candidates for HOT staff positions are also concurrently running for board positions (see PDF of the approved COI guidelines).
  • The failure of the Board to comply before September 2020 with bylaw 8.1 which states “All contracts must be in writing, approved by the Board and duly recorded in the minutes” was solved by presenting a proposal in the Board meeting of November 2020 (see Wiki of November Board minutes).
  • The Board started a Bylaws review and improvement in detail because they were last amended in 2020 and they need to be adapted to current times and needs. Board members provided comments and suggestions of changes that are being discussed by the Governance Working Group (GWG).
  • Reviewing HOT’s new objectives and key results (OKRs) defined by the Executive Director and staff. The Board provided suggestions on adding/modifying the OKRs to align with the escalation of HOT under Audacious and the sustainability of HOT in the years after Audacious is over. The public and detailed OKRs document for year 1 will be available in Q1 2020. The OKRs review from the board will be done through presentations from the HOT leadership team every quarter starting year 2021.
  • A Board survey was conducted and discussed in the face2face (screen2screen meeting) to gauge the Board’s bearing and perceptions.
  • Being absent three or more times within a twelve month period from any meetings of the Board duly called, without being excused, led to a conversation with Tasauf A Bai Billah to discuss his situation. After this one-on-one meeting the Board members discussed this and Tasauf was offered a three month evaluation period. The proposal of a three month provisional period to remain as Member at Large was sent on December 22nd 2020 but unfortunately Tasauf A Bai Billah resigned from the Board on December 26th 2020 to focus on his increased personal commitments.
  • The previous point resulted in a second extraordinary voting period (the first having taken place after Pete Masters resigned as President of the Board) coordinated by the Chair of the Membership, Matthew Gibb. Two candidates ran, Kate Chapman and Nicolas Chavent. In the election process, Kate Chapman was elected by the Voting Members. (see email from Matthew Gibb providing election results on January 22nd, 2021).
  • The Board supported the letter on OSM Community Systemic Offensive Behaviour (approved via Loomio 11th December 2020).
  • The Board supported the establishment of HOT East Africa (a registered NGO in Kenya). The Board suggested inviting local community members to gauge their interest in participating as part of the Board. Ben Abelshausen and Miriam Gonzalez participated in the interview process (see Wiki of September Board minutes).
  • Hiring Allen Gunn to take advantage of his expertise to do a second face2face (screen2screem meeting) and follow up on objectives that are defined among the Board, Executive Director and Allen Gunn. (Proposal sent to Allen in December 2020).
  • Organized a meeting with OSMF after 2020 elections to evaluate how we can support certain activities together. The main topics discussed in the meeting were finalizing the MoU (a long-lasting open topic) and how HOT and OSMF see future collaboration in different areas. This is the first of several meetings that will be taking place in the following months.
  • Organized a meeting with OSGeo Board to evaluate future collaborations. The outcomes of the first meeting were integrating the HOT Export Tool into OSGeoLive and elaborating an MoU to formalize the collaboration between the two organizations.
  • After the HOT Summit in Heidelberg the Board formed several Committees that carry out the governance, legal, and fiscal work of the Board. Led by board members, they ensure the Board’s responsibilities are addressed consistently, quickly, and transparently in between board meetings. The current Committees are the Strategy, Finance, Risk Management, Communication and Executive Committees. They are managed by the Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Members at Large. Please find more details about how the Committees work here. The Committees are open, except the Executive and Finance, and we are actively inviting Voting Members to participate. We continue to look for the best way to ensure that Working Groups and Committees interact with each other efficiently. Please jump in and start participating in the topics of your interest.
  • Reactivation of the Governance Working Group in February 2021.
  • Activation of the Code of Conduct committee. There will be an open call to participate in the following days.

These are the main activities, if you want to see the detailed minutes of the Board meetings please find them in the Board’s OSM Wiki.

Also, I would like to thank Ben, Felix, Kate, Maning, Rob and Trudy, without your efforts, time, inputs, discussions, agreements and disagreements, this Board could not have achieved what has been done in just a few months. Five Board members will be finalizing their two-year term this Summer. Hopefully, these five members run again and are elected by the membership to give continuity to the current traction but in case just a few or none will run again we will make sure there is a smooth transition for the coming Board members.

I would also like to share with you that I encourage and suggested in the Bylaws Board review the importance of having an Annual report and also an End of Board term report to see the achievements and challenges each of the Board members faced during their term. I hope more people see the importance of this action for the future of the Board and can be added in the document.

Thanks in advance for your time in reading this report. There is always space for improvement so if you have any questions or comments feel free to ask in the communications channel you prefer, it can be via the Talk email list, Slack, Monthly Board meetings as a guest speaker or ping any of us and we will be glad to have a conversation.

¡Muchas gracias! And stay well,

Miriam González (@mapanauta)

President Board of Directors

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team