WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 Group Photo

I Co-organized My First WordCamp, and So Should You! Top 5 Reasons

Yay! I co-organized a WordCamp for the first time – the WordCamp Kathmandu 2022! Super proud of what I did and also thankful to everyone who was part of it! πŸ™‚

Every first time is special. Yes, indeed. Joining the WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 organizing team was a very special journey. A lot of learning, a lot of new connections, a feeling of accomplishment, and a true sense of belonging.

But when applying, I didn’t have much idea of what it was going to be like. Most of all, I wanted to earn a ‘WordCamp organizer’ badge for my WordPress.org profile.

Ridiculous but it’s true! A badge is what motivated me in the first place. But now I realize there’s a lot more. And, I think you should also co-organize a WordCamp, at least once. Want to know why and how?

I think my experiences will provide you with some ideas. Here, I’ll share what it’s like to become a WordCamp organizer for the first time, more specifically a speaker wrangler. You’ll learn every detail from applying to the event day, plus my personal reflections on WordCamp Kathmandu 2022.

Shall we begin?

WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 – An Overview

WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 took place on the 3rd and 4th of September 2022 at Alice Receptions, Kathmandu. It was a successful event with 450+ participants from Nepal and abroad.

Utsav Singh Rathaur, Lead Organizer of WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 Addressing the Participants
Utsav Singh Rathaur, Lead Organizer of WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 Addressing the Participants

It was organized by us18 of us the WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 organizers, joined by 19 volunteers, and 2 event hosts! Cheers to us! πŸ˜€

We had a total of 19 sessions (including workshops and a panel) by 23 speakers on the first day of the event. Those included a wide variety of topics from advanced WordPress development, the importance of community, SEO, and digital marketing tactics to the agenda of working moms in WordPress.

Talking about the speakers, we had 18 Nepali and 5 international speakers. Hence, the local vs. out-of-town speaker ratio was 78% to 22% which is close to ideal as per WordCamp Central’s guidelines.

Most noteworthy of all, 50% of the local speakers, i.e. 9 of them were first-time speakers.

The second day was contributor day. We had an incredible number of participants this year, a remarkable number of them being first-time contributors. Factually, 9 out of the 10 contributor day team leads were leading such a table for the first time!

The conference was sponsored by 30 WordPress companies, with 19 of them having stalls at the event venue. Their participation was adorable with exciting contests, prizes, and free swags.

Other Highlights!

a) Celebration of 10-Year WordCamp Journey in Kathmandu

Other highlights include celebrating 10 years of WordCamps in Kathmandu! The first WordCamp in Kathmandu happened in 2012 and had been happening every year until the Covid crisis. After 2 years of break, this WordCamp was the 9th in a row!

b) Ujwal Thapa Scholarship

A scholarship was established in honor of the late Ujwal Thapa, a founding member of the WordPress Nepal community. Five students were awarded the scholarship. It included a ticket for the 2-day long conference, plus free accommodation at a standard hotel and return bus fares for those traveling from a different place.

c) Say No to Plastic Campaign

Although not fully accomplished, we took the initiative to minimize the usage of plastic goods. We replaced plastic wrappers with either reusable cloth bags or disposable paper bags. And, also requested the organizers to do the same. Although a small one, we took a step!

d) Promotion of WordCamp Nepal 2022 and WordCamp Asia 2023

Also, we utilized the stage to grow awareness and excitement for 2 upcoming WordCamps.

WordCamp Nepal 2022 is happening in November in Bharatpur, Nepal. Whereas WordCamp Asia 2023 is planned for February 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand. Hope to see you guys there! πŸ™‚

Organizing WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 (The Entire Journey)

So, here we come to the most important part of this article! In this section, I’ll share all the nifty details of my WordCamp co-organizing journey – the secrets revealed. Haha.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Decision

The decision was a crucial one because it meant committing a considerable amount of my time to volunteering. Literally without being paid, not even for a single plate of momo. πŸ˜›

But yes, as I mentioned above, I wanted a WordCamp organizer’s badge seriously.

How did I get the idea of earning a badge?

It’s all around the Nepali WordPress podcast Go with WP. My friends Sandilya Kafle and Shiva Shanker Bhatta started this podcast by sharing Sandilya’s WordPress contribution journey on the first episode.

The episode was truly motivating. Sandilya proudly shared his WordPress.org profile badges. That amused me. And, that’s probably when I grew the desire to earn some badges for myself.

Later, they asked me to be on the podcast. Instead, I proposed an all-woman roundtable talk and some woman-to-woman talks. They appreciated the idea and we did it on 15 May 2022. Here’s the link: (Stress on the Job: Tips for Working Women).

Recording All-Woman WordPress Podcast for Go with WP
Recording All-Woman WordPress Podcast for Go with WP

I, Alina Kakshapati of Code Pixelz Media, Saloni Mehta of Matat Web Application, and Prithu Singh Thakuri of Rebel Code sat for the podcast. We talked about how to balance work and family life, manage stress, and be productive. It was really truly amazing to talk with them.

Then, we recorded two more episodes to share the journey of Saloni Mehta and Alina Kakshapati D with me and Prithu as hosts respectively.

During our podcast talks, I realized that each one of us had over 7 years of experience in WordPress. That’s quite a long time! Along with that, I also realized that we were no longer the ‘newcomers’. That meant we had a responsibility to inspire the younger people coming to WordPress.

One way to do that was to become an organizer, work at the forefront of the community, and lead! That’s exactly when I decided to apply for a co-organizer role at WordCamp Kathmandu 2022.

On the same occasion, I also met Utsav Singh Rathaur dai, the lead organizer of WordCamp Kathmandu 2022. I shared my willingness to apply for an organizer role and asked him a few things about the job. He encouraged me to apply. That day I realized Utsav dai is a very soft-spoken and humble person despite his noble look. Sorry, Utsav dai. πŸ˜€

Also, Prithu decided to apply for an organizer role on the same day. And we both were on the organizing team for the first time. πŸ™‚


Application

After two days on 17 May 2022, I sent my application for the Speaker Wrangler position at WordCamp Kathmandu 2022.

First, I received an email acknowledging my application from Utsav Singh Rathaur dai, the lead organizer of WordCamp Kathmandu 2022. Then, yet another email from him inviting me to schedule an interview on Calendly as part of the selection process.

The interview happened on 1 June 2022. It was a short meeting of 15 minutes. He was mainly concerned about my commitment to time. I assured him that I was ready to do it, at least once to experience and learn for myself, if not for the contribution. I believe it was fair logic for a first-timer.

Finally, on 6 June 2022, I got an email with the subject line “Welcome to WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 Organizing Team!”. That’s it! I was selected. πŸ™‚

The same day, Utsav dai invited me to join the WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 workspace on Slack.


Organization

The WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 organizing team was ready. I joined the Slack workspace immediately to find some known faces and some new ones!

Next, Organizer’s get-to-know meetup was organized on 8 June 2022 at Doko Deli restaurant in Lalitpur.

WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 Organizers' Get-to-Know Meetup
WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 Organizers’ Get-to-Know Meetup

I was a bit late for the meeting as it was raining heavily. In Nepal, June, July, and August are mainly monsoon months, hence, it was natural to rain. Everyone was already there, so I felt a little awkward at the beginning.

So, the meeting’s agenda was mainly to introduce ourselves to one another and plan for getting started. At my turn, I just said that I was there to learn and do everything required to the best ability.

Also, I added, if not any meaningful contribution, we surely made the team more diverse. Also, I expressed my hope to work amazingly as Regan Khadgi dai as the next speaker wrangler was there to guide me.

Regan dai is someone whom I know from my first WordPress job at Access Keys. He also helped me in my early days to learn WordPress. Hence, I’m quite comfortable with him. What’s better is that had solid experience working as a speaker wrangler.

He was the speaker wrangler of the previous WordCamp Kathmandu in 2019 as well as WordCamp Bharatpur 2019, WordCamp Butwal 2022, and also the upcoming WordCamp Asia 2023. Working alongside Regan dai was a great opportunity for me. πŸ™‚

At the meeting, we decided to announce the call for speakers, sponsors, and volunteers as soon as possible. After that, other agendas were about the event venue, types of banners we could use, and some creative ideas like minimizing the usage of plastic.

After that, we had weekly meetings, mostly online.


Action

After the meeting, the real job began the other day. On 9 June 2022, we prepared the ‘call for speakers’ post and asked Manish Pyatha dai, website wrangler, to publish the post. We got a sample of the post from last time’s WordCamp and I edited it and it was ready by evening and was published.

Published on 9 June 2022, we set the deadline for applications to 9 July 2022. One month of time for speaker applications.

In the beginning, the rate of applications was low. We received about 5 applications weekly but the last week before the deadline, we received a massive number of applications.

Until the deadline, as speaker wranglers, we were just recording the applications in a spreadsheet and categorizing them as either national or international candidates.

And, another task was to reply to speaker applicants acknowledging that we received their applications. We prepared the email and Regan dai sent all those acknowledgment emails.

The day after the deadline was quite hectic as I had to add all the applicant details to the spreadsheet. About 50% of applications were submitted in the last week.

Additionally, I and Regan dai had an online meeting to discuss how to proceed with the speaker applications.

On my personal level, I wrote a blog post “why speak at WordCamps” to encourage more people to apply. Hope it helped. πŸ™‚


Selection

The most vital part of the speaker wrangler journey is the selection process. It included not just picking up the candidates but also helping national applicants to improve and finalize their presentations.

Regarding international speakers, we received a large number of applications. So, we had plenty of highly experienced and resourceful speakers to choose from.

But we had to prioritize the national speakers as WordCamps are ‘local’ events while also being ‘international’ participants. WordCamp Central’s guidelines advise an 80% vs. 20% of local vs out-of-town speakers ratio.

Hence, we started by inviting all the national speaker applicants for an initial draft presentation of their proposed WordCamp talk.

We organized the first round of initial draft presentations for 2 days on 16 and 17 July 2022 at Code Pixelz Media (Utsav dai’s office). Some weren’t able to be present physically, so we also organized online demo presentation sessions for them.

These demo sessions were mainly intended to provide the applicants with an opportunity to present their talk to an audience. And, to inform the applicants about the general guidelines for the WordCamp presentation.

We watched all the presentations very carefully and provided them with some suggestions to improve their slides and presentation style. I compiled all those comments in a Google Docs file and included those in our next email inviting them to the second round of demo sessions.

Most Common Comments Given to WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 Speaker Applicants
Most Common Comments Given to WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 Speaker Applicants

We organized the second round of demo presentations on 31 July 2022. The sessions started at 10 AM in the morning and continued to 6 PM in the evening. It was really a tiring day and with a headache by the end.

But before that, we finalized our international speakers’ list on 26 July 2022. We selected 5 of them and emailed them to send us their short intro and a profile image for the speakers’ page.

We did that before finalizing the national speakers mainly for the 2 reasons below:

  1. From the first round of demo sessions, we were sure to have enough national speakers. And, also had a clear idea of topics national speakers were planning to talk on.
  2. International speakers need to plan for longer travel. Hence, some applicants can cancel their plans if urgent matters pop up on their schedule. We selected early so that we could manage time to invite others if anyone canceled.

Taking reference from the last WordCamp’s schedule, the most sessions we could have was 19 to 20. So, we planned to select 5 international speakers for 4 sessions and one panel. All the selected speakers were experts in their field and had speaking experience.

The only thing we tried to maintain was country-wise diversity. So we selected from 4 countries; India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Philipinnes.

Finally, after the two rounds of demo sessions with national speaker applicants, it was time to make the final selection.

The main guideline for the selection of national speakers was the diversity of topics and speakers. We wanted to have presentations that would be useful to both coders and non-coders, designers, marketers, students, and beginners.

And, another thing is that we wanted to make it inclusive. But since the female applicants were limited, we couldn’t select as many as we needed to meet the inclusivity goals. Hence, maybe we need to work at the grassroots level to get more female applicants.

Other than gender, there are also other marginalized categories like ethnic groups (janajatis), Madhesis, Dalits, differently-abled people, and people from backward regions in the case of Nepal. However, we couldn’t go into these details as the number of total national speakers was not that huge for categorization as such.

So, considering the diversity of topics mainly, we selected 18 Nepali speakers on 5 August 2022. We couldn’t include some national applicants even after their active participation in 2 rounds of demo presentation sessions.

Then comes the schedule of the conference day. We had it at the back of our mind all the selection process that we needed 2 different types of topics in the 2 halls parallelly. The goal was to engage the audience in one hall or the other.

The overall plan was to keep coding/development-related topics in one hall and other non-coding topics like marketing, SEO, and general topics in another hall. So did we. You can see that on our schedule.

On 5 August 2022, Friday, we also replied ‘not selected’ speaker applicants informing them we couldn’t select them. By that time, all the selected international speakers had made confirmations. Hence, the final line-up of speakers was ready!


Preparation

After the selection process was complete, we had to start all the preparation for the final show. That includes promoting the selected speakers and their talks, assisting them to further improve their presentation, and making everything ready.

The speakers’ page on WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 website was ready on 8 August 2022. Then, we started announcing the speakers one by one on the WordPress Nepal Facebook group and other city-wise Nepali groups. We also shared from personal social media accounts.

WCKTM 2022 Speaker Announcement on Facebook Group 'WordPress Nepal'
WCKTM 2022 Speaker Announcement on Facebook Group ‘WordPress Nepal’

Regan dai shared the first speaker announcement of Sakar U Khatiwada on 8 August 2022. The next day on 9 August 2022, I announced Alina Kakshapati D’s session. So, every day we posted an announcement. It went on for about 20 days.

Although the selection was done, we planned to organize more rehearsal sessions for some National speakers. Those who were first-time speakers or were a little stage-shy needed more practice sessions to get the confidence needed to speak in front of a large audience.

So, we invited some speakers for a rehearsal session on 14 August 2022. Again, we invited some speakers on 21 August 2022.

And, again on 28 August 2022 for the final rehearsal session along with the hosts. We invited all the selected speakers for this rehearsal session.

We started at 8:00 AM in the morning and it went on until 6 PM. We had made 2 groups and invited them in 2-time slots. The first group’s demo sessions started at 8:00 AM and the second group’s at 1 PM.

It was a super tiring day. I had a headache by the evening, however, it was a necessary thing to do as the event was closer and we had to show our best. After the final rehearsal session, we felt the presentations had become really great.

But I still had doubts about some speakers with whom we worked further. Also, one of the hosts was Pratisha Joshi whom I had recommended and it was the first time she was hosting a WordCamp so I was also worried about her. So, I invited her and a group of speakers for an online rehearsal session later.

We asked the selected speaker applicants to send their final presentation slides by 28 August 2022. We had planned to lock the final slides by 30 August 2022. We asked 2 days earlier so that we can review them for any issues like usage of non-GPL assets, etc.

The final week was too hectic and also full of pressure. I was worried about how the event might be. On 2 September 2022, we (Regan dai, Utsav dai, and I) invited the hosts for the final orientation and then we headed for the pre-party in the evening.


Celebration

The WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 pre-party was organized at Walnut Bistro restaurant in Panipokhari, Kathmandu on 2 September 2022. It was planned to start at 6 PM but as the speakers were guests at the pre-party, I had to be there early.

Other friends including Sandilya Kafle and Shiva Shankar Bhatta were also there. They were planning to record some chats with our guests for the Go with WP podcast, mainly intending to promote the upcoming WordCamp Asia 2023.

When we were waiting outside at the pre-party venue, Devin Maetzri arrived! We were just standing outside and I saw her coming. She looked curious so I approached her and asked what she was there for. She said the pre-party of WordCamp.

Then, I recognized she was Devin from her short hair which I had seen in her profile photo. We talked for a while about her travel and stay. She’s an amazing personality that you instantly become her friend. Later, the GowithWP team took her inside for recording a podcast. The first speaker welcomed!

Next, came other national speakers who didn’t really need our greeting as they were familiar with other organizers and guests too. Later, our other speakers Subhasis Chatterjee, Saif Hassan, and Lax Mariappan arrived. I said hello and welcomed them.

Plus, we met many other WordPress people. Some as organizers, some as sponsors, and some as speakers. Also, met some old colleagues. It was full of fun and food.

At WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 Pre-party with Old Friends
At WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 Pre-party with Old Friends

We were almost at the end of the party but another speaker Hasanuzzaman hadn’t arrived until then. For a while, we were worried thinking what if he didn’t come after everything was scheduled? So we decided to check out where he was. I emailed him and also sent a DM on Twitter.

He replied he was coming, so we waited. He arrived late when the dinner was almost over. Although late, he came so we were relieved.


Presentation

Finally, it was the 3 September 2022, the WordCamp conference day. We were advised to reach the venue by 6:30 AM. Then started the long big day.

As speaker wranglers, our main responsibility was to ensure that all the sessions happen on time, all the speakers and their presentations be ready, and the event happens smoothly on flow.

When I reached the venue, most of the organizers were already there and they were busy. Moving, arranging, setting up.

The first thing I had to do was to ensure all the final presentation slides were on the laptop connected to the projector in both halls. The audio-video team was busy with the setup. I tested with our laptops but to no success. Finally, by using a secondary connector, we were able to set it for Hall Action.

But setting up at Hall Filter was not done until it was the inauguration time. When the opening ceremony was taking place at Hall Action, we were setting up at Hall Filter. And, due to that, I missed the whole opening ceremony. πŸ™

The event started about 20 minutes late which was a worrisome thing because it could spoil the whole day’s schedule. As the sessions began, we had to make the interval times and Q&A time shorter. And, finally, by lunchtime, we were able to make the time adjustment, hence the sessions after that were as per the time on schedule.

I was mainly on duty at Hall Filter whereas Regan dai was in Hall Action. I had to stay the whole time at the hall, so couldn’t visit the stalls outside and didn’t get swags. Only one from Sparkle Themes by Kishor dai which he had specially kept for me.

WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 Speakers with Wranglers
WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 Speakers with Us Speaker Wranglers

All the sessions went well and on time. I was feeling really tired and also sick due to the super cool air-conditioned halls. But work was not done.

We went to the after-party at Bajeko Sekuwa and were there until 9:00 PM and then came home on a Pathao bike. I was super duper tired and also sick due to a cold.

So the day was done! I was excited about Contributor Day, the next day on 4 September 2022 also. But I couldn’t make it as I was sick with the common flu caused by the cold the previous day.

Well, that was the whole story. It took me almost a week to collect dates and stories from old emails and my daily journal app. Hope it helps you to plan your first WordCamp organizing journey! πŸ™‚

Why Should You Co-organize a WordCamp? (Top 5 Reasons)

Now that I have co-organized my first WordCamp, I’m writing everything here based on my experience. So, do I recommend you become an organizer? Definitely YES YES!

You should apply and do the job, at least once. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should do it.

1. Appreciation and Recognition

The first noticeable thing you get is a badge. I got mine! Woohoo!

So, why is it important? Well, it’s recognition for the volunteer work that you do to organize a WordCamp.

As WordPress is a community project, WordCamps are a pillar of the entire project. Hence, organizing a WordCamp means making a valuable contribution to the whole project.

The other beautiful thing you’ll get is appreciation. Everyone I met throughout the journey and the event day appreciated our efforts to organize the event.

On the event day, I was so surprised that everyone was thankful to us. At first, I was wondering why is everyone so appreciative. Then, I realized it’s all volunteering work that we did and the guiding philosophy behind is so beautiful.

And, we (speaker wranglers) also received a thank you email from one of the local speakers. πŸ™‚

Appreciation from a Speaker to Speaker Wranglers at WordCamp Kathmandu 2022
Appreciation from a Speaker to Speaker Wranglers at WordCamp Kathmandu 2022

Well, we deserved it. Didn’t we?


2. Learning Opportunities

Every new work means new learning opportunities. WordCamp organizing work was no less! It offered me an opportunity to learn a whole new type of work, i.e. event planning and management. To be more specific, WordCamp speaker management.

Factually, it was the first event I had become an organizer. So, you can guess what was there for me to learn. Literally, everything was! Although speaker wranglers are mainly responsible for coordinating with speakers, I could feel the pressure of the overall event about the final week of the event.

As a speaker wrangler, there are tons of things you should know to make the right decisions. I was lucky to work alongside Regan Khadgi dai, an experienced wrangler.

Most of the time, I was following his instructions. But I also got explanations for each step we took. That gave me clear directions to move forward.

Not to forget, I wrote several emails. That certainly improved my communication skills. πŸ™‚


3. A Great Way to Contribute to WordPress

At the pre-party, I briefly talked with Saif Hassan about his WordPress journey and his excitement for WordCamp Asia 2023 for Go with WP podcast. (Watch the podcast here.)

Saif was one of the speakers at WordCamp Kathmandu 2022. He’s the lead product manager at weDevs, a Bangladeshi WordPress company.

During the conversation, Saif said a beautiful thing “When you look at a single WordCamp, it doesn’t carry that much significance, this is a normal meetup. But when you look from the top, maybe, on the same day there are 50+ meetups happening around the world. So everyone is learning, contributing and the community is getting strong.”

That says it all about the importance of WordCamps, meetups, and why you should participate. At that moment, I felt truly great about being a WordCamp organizer.

So, what better way to contribute than organizing a WordCamp?

Also in another episode where Ganga Kafle talked with Devin Maeztri, she shared that she first learned about WordPress at a WordCamp. Now, she’s a super deputy and mentor at the WordPress Make Community team, working full-time for the community. What a gem she’s to the community!

All thanks to the organizers of the WordCamp she went to for the first time!


4. Better Networking Opportunities

WordCamps offer networking opportunities for WordPress people. Whether attending, speaking, sponsoring, or organizing, you’ll get networking opportunities.

But when organizing, the opportunities are better. First of all, you’ll become friends with all your co-organizer colleagues. Through this WordCamp organizing team, I met some new people and became friends with them.

Next, you’ll have to talk with more people outside the team for the job, hence, making new friends. For example, as a speaker wrangler, you’ll have to talk very often with the speakers. By the event day, you’ll become friends with them. In fact, most of them are now connected to me on social media!

It’s the same with all the organizer roles. So, networking opportunities are great when organizing.


5. Happiness

I realize it’s the most important thing you get from organizing a WordCamp event.

Volunteering and contributing are acts deeply linked with personal happiness and gratitude. You don’t volunteer and contribute until you feel the greatness of things. Or deeply believe in an idea.

Organizing a WordCamp is contributing to the community we love. Hence, it starts with a feeling of gratitude and responsibility. The outcome is surely profound happiness.

I got a similar opinion from Surendra Shrestha dai, the lead of the next WordCamp Kathmandu 2022. He started contributing to WordCamps in 2012 and still doing with whole passion.

He said, “All the hassles and the pressure of managing a community of diverse people sometimes drains my energy. But every time I see the excitement of the newcomers and the way they’re influenced by our work gives me the next level of happiness.”

He believes that the WordPress community has a spirit to create leadership, build professionalism and enhance personality, and the same spirit helped him to become a successful entrepreneur, energetic community activist, and creative developer.

Everything done with gratitude is truly beautiful. Isn’t it?

I also asked Sandilya Kafle. He said, “I contribute for self-satisfaction. WordPress feeds us and our families. The community helps us when we need it. Then, why not contribute to a community that’s so good to us?”. I couldn’t agree more.

How to Become a WordCamp Co-organizer?

You can start your WordCamp organizer journey by applying to a local WordCamp in your town. But, it’s best to apply for an organizing role after attending or speaking at some WordCamps.

So, how can you know where WordCamps and meetups are happening? It’s pretty simple that you can see it right on your WordPress dashboard. Look for ‘WordPress Events and News’ widget and select your location. Then, you’ll see the upcoming events near you.

WordPress News and Events Widget on the Dashboard
WordPress News and Events Widget on the Dashboard

Or you can check WordCamp Central’s schedule featuring all upcoming WordCamps. Or you can also join WordPress community groups on social media. For example, joining the ‘WordPress Nepal’ Facebook group will help you become updated about all the WordPress events in Nepal.

Then, watch out for the ‘call for organizers‘ post. And, apply for a position you’d like to work on. Then, the process will be just as I shared above.

Best of luck with your first WordCamp organizing journey! Contact me if you need any help with your application or throughout the speaker wrangler journey. I’ll be happy to guide you just as Regan dai did for me.

My Personal Reflections on WordCamp Kathmandu 2022

I believe we did a GREAT job. πŸ™‚

But we can do a GREATER job next time from our learnings this time.

Greater inclusion and diversity

Social inclusion is vital agenda in WordPress communities as in the global social-political spaces. It’s also been a very important aspect of Nepali politics and society for the last decades.

However, we’re still far behind the inclusion goals. Just looking at the male vs. female ratio among the organizers and speakers, we can see a steep contrast.

Among 18 organizers, just 4 of us were female which is just 22 in percentage. Similarly, among the 23 speakers, just 4 of them were female. That means just 17% of the speakers were female.

The scenario is the same among the volunteers. Out of 19 volunteers, just 3 of them were female, i.e. 16%.

Despite all, both of our event hosts were female. They did the job so well that they compensated for all the missing women.

These numbers are, however, the reflection of our social structure and the state of inclusion. Not just in the WordPress community, the situation is the same in every sphere and industry in Nepal. It’s not just us to be blamed.

But yes, we can become an example of the most diverse and inclusive community in Nepal! And, I think we must aim for that.

To see how we’ve progressed since 2012, I ran the numbers from the official WordCamp sites. Check the table below:

WordCampOrganizersSpeakers
WordCamp Nepal 2012Not available on the websiteTotal: 15
Male: 15 (100%)
Female: 0 (0%)
WordCamp Nepal 2013Not available on the websiteTotal: 15
Male: 15 (100%)
Female: 0 (0%)
WordCamp Nepal 2014Not available on the websiteTotal: 19
Male: 17 (89%)
Female: 2 (11%)
WordCamp Nepal 2015Total: 9
Male: 7 (78%)
Female: 2 (22%)
Total: 21
Male: 19 (90%)
Female: 2 (10%)
WordCamp Kathmandu 2016Total: 15
Male: 14 (93%)
Female: 1 (7%)
Total: 20
Male: 18 (90%)
Female: 2 (10%)
WordCamp Kathmandu 2017Total: 14
Male: 13 (93%)
Female: 1 (7%)
Total: 16
Male: 14 (87%)
Female: 2 (13%)
WordCamp Kathmandu 2018Total: 18
Male: 16 (89%)
Female: 2 (11%)
Total: 15
Male: 11 (73%)
Female: 4 (27%)
WordCamp Kathmandu 2019Total: 17
Male: 13 (76%)
Female: 4 (24%)
Total: 19
Male: 15 (79%)
Female: 4 (21%)
WordCamp Kathmandu 2022Total: 18
Male: 14 (78%)
Female: 4 (22%)
Total: 23
Male: 19 (83%)
Female: 4 (17%)
– Sex Ratio of Organizers and Speakers in 10 Years of WordCamps in Kathmandu

As Chandra Maharjan dai shared in the Go with WP podcast, it was just a group of friends working in WordPress, doing WordPress meetups, and WordCamps at that time. So naturally, they’re only men.

Throughout the last 10 years, we can see some progress. But it’s not yet enough! If not equal representation at once, we must at least aim for incremental changes every year. And, to make that happen, we must consciously plan our future meetups to include as many women as possible.

Also, we must try to include other under-represented categories. I believe we should care for those also if we are really committed to WordPress’s diversity goals and sustainable global peace.

In the Speakers team, we discussed diversity a few times and also made some efforts too. But it was surely not enough. I think we should work at different levels, in different ways to bring more women to WordCamps’ leading roles.

I wish we start the conversation now and I’d love to be a part of any such conversation. And, I’d love to contribute to my best ability to move toward that goal.


The culture of listening

As a first-timer, I was mostly listening and doing as instructed. In fact, there isn’t much space for an opinion as there are guidelines for everything we do in a WordCamp.

Yet, it doesn’t mean you can’t be creative or try some new things. We could. There were a few times such ideas were brought up and we discussed them. But I think those discussions weren’t as encouraging for the newcomers like me.

I wish the WordCamp organizing space be more democratic with each person given equal opportunity to speak and to be heard. A culture of listening will help us come up with more creative ideas and also create a more vibrant environment for all.


Better collaboration across teams for the conference day

One thing Regan dai emphasized from the beginning was to run everything according to the timetable. He said that a miss of a few minutes could spoil the whole event and we were very cautious about that.

But unfortunately, we couldn’t start it on time. We were late by about 20 minutes. And, there was a chaotic situation for some time. As I revisit the day, I think a better collaboration with other teams like the Audio Visual team, and Volunteers could have eased the process.

I think events are just like this, never perfect. But we could do better.


Respect to the WordPress Community Leaders in Nepal

Being an organizer this time, I really understood how much you should give to organize an event like this. I spent several hours of my time as well as some money too for travel and food when in the work.

Then, I wonder why people do this job every year, every time when so much is to be invested. I got some answers as mentioned above but still thinking this leaves me in awe!

But I heartily respect them for the job that they do. Our mentor Yam Bahadur Chhetri dai, the lead organizer Utsav Singh Rathaur dai, the next lead Surendra Shrestha dai, finance wrangler Sweta Shrestha D, community wrangler Suvash Khadka dai, speaker wrangler Regan Khadi dai are just some names contributing back to back in Nepali WordCamps!

Some of them started contributing from the beginning of WordPress communities in Nepal. It means that they have done the job for more than 10 years and they seem still energetic and committed. It’s too wonderful!

Last but not the least, the greatest thanks to the founders of the WordPress community in Nepal – Late Ujwal Thapa, Sakin Shrestha, and Chandra Maharjan. Huge respect for them! The idea to start the Nepali WordPress community was to connect the “good spirits” working with the open-source WordPress, to contribute more collectively, and to grow together with the platform. Such a beautiful idea!

The podcast episode is a must-listen-to understand the Nepali WordPress community.

Wrapping Up

To wrap up, WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 was a great opportunity for me to do many new and exciting things. I’m grateful that I did the job.

And, I highly recommend you to take the job, at least once. As I stated above, the main purpose of this post is to encourage you to organize your first WordCamp! I shared everything I did so that you can make an informed decision. I think informed decisions are the best decisions.

Thanks for reading this super-long post. I hope you liked it. If you know anyone who might also find it useful, then please share it with them.

Once again, thanks to all the participants of WordCamp Kathmandu 2022! Each one of you was amazing to make the event amazing!

Also, I want to hear from you – how did you find the event? Please, do send your comment. It’ll help us improve the next time!

Bye! Until we meet again at WordCamp Nepal 2022 and WordCamp Asia 2023!

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