Why JOTI failed to become worlds leading Social Media event
How a totalitarian country blocked a successful transition from JOTA to JOTI.
Long before social media existed Scouting had a virtual event: the Jamboree On The Air. There was no equivalence. By the end of the century approximately 1 million scouts met each other with the help of amateur radio.
Scouts quickly recognized the potential of the internet for the event. In 1996 JOTI became a formal WOSM event. Twenty years later every scout has access to internet. Despite thisthe number of JOTA-JOTI participants did not grow: less than 10% of all scouts world wide in 2019. A few percent more than in 1999.
This is the story how Scouting failed.
Since 1996 JOTI-volunteers had great ideas for a virtual event on the internet. The World JOTA Coordinator saw this as a thread to “his” JOTA. He blocked in all possible ways the progress of JOTI.
Jump to 2010. To circumvent the blocking by the World JOTA Coordinator, the World JOTI Team started the JOTA-JOTI Vision 2015 program. Goal: from 1 million to 3 million participants by 2015. Thanks to a popular game half of all Brazilian scouts take part in JOTA-JOTI. This game would become the cornerstone of the global JOTI event. The National JOTA-JOTI Coordinators were actively involved. Everyone believed the goal (a modest 5% of all scouts world wide) could be achieved.
Then something strange happened. The World JOTI Team was fired by the World Scout Committee (WSC). There was no discussion with the World JOTI Team before this decision was made. The formal reason given was that WOSM wanted to go a different direction for JOTA-JOTI. The World JOTA Coordinator was appointed as World JOTA-JOTI Coordinator.
How could the WSC decide to fire a volunteer team and stop a good running growth program? And why did the WSC this without decent communication with the globally appointed JOTI volunteers?
The reason is partially obvious. The World JOTA-Coordinator was in this position for over 20 years. He had built a network inside WSB and WSC. The World JOTA Coordinator used his network and false narrative to get the World JOTI Team dismissed.
How did it happen? A formal complaint was made about the way the World JOTI Team was fired. The responsible Complaint Officer, working for the WSB, refused to investigate the complaint. What exactly happened is so far unclear. There was a limited number of scouts on WSB and WSC level involved.
This might be it, but it is not. The second factor is possibly even more disturbing. WOSM pledged to the King of Saudi Arabia that it would involve each year 2 million scouts in the Messengers of Peace program. This in return for a financial contribution of 37 million US Dollar.
The fact that Saudi Arabia, one of the most totalitarian regimes in the world, is the main sponsor for the Messengers of Peace program is outrages. The way how this collaboration was established, against all intern rules, is outside the scope of this article. Fact is that WOSM had promised to Saudi Arabia 2 million scouts to participate. But WOSM has no direct access to youth members. It had to run via the National Scout Organisations, many of which were not in favor of MoP.
The MoP program learned about the JOTA-JOTI Vision 2015 program. A program with the goal to gather 3 million scouts for a global event.
Meanwhile the World JOTI Team was already asking for 5 years for financial support to replace the outdated 10 year old system. Despite the relatively small investment, all requests from the World JOTI Coordinator were ignored. Now the World JOTI Team was brought in contact with the MoP program. The MoP also needed to build a platform. They would develop a joined system.
The MoP team was not interested in the functional requirements of the World JOTI Team. They were interested in the personal data of individual scout, while the JOTI-team wanted registration of a single contact person on group level. The MoP team insisted the World JOTI Team would register all participants. Those dat should be accessible to WOSM. The World JOTI Team insisted the personal registration data for JOTA-JOTI were only used for this event.
After almost a year the matter was discussed in a live meeting. The Vision 2015 program manager was not allowed to be in the meeting. The World JOTA Coordinator, who had shown no interest until then, voiced strong support for the MoP standpoint. The meeting resulted in a stand off. A new meeting would be scheduled. The World Scout Committee would appoint internally a JOTA-JOTI liaison.
The World JOTI Team understood that that year, 2013, there would be no new system. The global Brazilian game had to run another year on the old system.
Thee months later. The WSC JOTA-JOTI Liasion had still not contacted the World JOTI Coordinator, when he received a mail from the chairman of the WSC that he was fired.
What does this mean? Volunteers on global level have no rights and no formal protection. This means that people who do not have a scout-like mentality stay in power. They lie and cover up for each other. It is not only from this incident. There are several other examples of this.
In 2007 the Secretary General was dismissed, against the rules. The same “big money” that was behind the financial deal of the Messenger of Peace program, was behind this coup against the Secretary General. The ‘big money’ used a straw man from a National Scout Organisation to initiate the coup. Later this person became a director at the WSB. The same person was also involved in the World JOTI Team. Although important, it is not relevant for the reason for the failed JOTI.
That in itself would perhaps have failed, if it was not
Informally the World JOTA Coordinator disliked the JOTA-JOTI Vision 2015 program and frustrated it. For that reason the World JOTI Team let him formally pledge his to support the program.
A formal complaint with a request to investigated what happened was rejected by the World Scout Bureau.
TA Coordinator, a volunteer, was already over 20 year in this position.
Amongst the volunteers were software developers