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From 2016 to 2019, we worked for the APC community of members, allies and partners to be strengthened as a network and to work collaboratively to use the internet and ICTs for social and environmental justice, gender equality and sustainable development. How far did we get? Check it out!
Growing diverse and engaged membership
APC has grown its member network over the four years, encouraging collaborations and new partnerships, and catalysing a fresh exchange of experiences among organisations from across the world.
By the end of 2019, the APC network was larger and more diverse, with 59 member organisations and 34 individual members from 72 countries. This diversity allows more meaningful collaboration and partnerships among members. It has introduced critical expertise into our network, such as regional policy advocacy skills, experience in setting up community networks, expertise in free/libre and open source software (FLOSS), and advocating for a feminist internet. An important milestone was our first member from the Middle East, SMEX in Lebanon, joining us in 2016. Although we had collaborated on numerous projects in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the past, before this APC had no member representing us in the region. Our network was further strengthened in 2019 when five new organisations became members, two of them from Taiwan and Nepal, countries where we were not previously represented.
Over the four years, collective advocacy was strengthened through APC members working together on projects and campaigns.
Members worked together to promote our advocacy priorities at forums, festivals and high-level meetings, including writing joint submissions and statements at the Human Rights Council, among other UN bodies. They organised conferences together, developed policy proposals, conducted research, built capacity, and developed shared online infrastructure. Member collaboration was also strengthened by supporting joint proposals in our subgranting programme (see “Subgranting” for more). The programme was started in 2016, and by the end of 2019, we had disbursed USD 1.2 million to 35 member organisations. The level of engagement and collaboration was particularly high in 2019. While 45 organisations participated in an online member meeting, a total of 48 organisations worked on different APC activities, including activities organised by other members with APC's support.
Member engagement was also catalysed through travel grants.
Our Member Exchange and Travel Fund (METF) grants have helped our members build their capacity and further their advocacy goals at numerous events over the four years, including engagement at the Internet Freedom Festival, RightsCon, high-level UN meetings, global and regional Internet Governance Forums, the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa, Feminist Tech Exchanges, the African School on Internet Governance, and Making a Feminist Internet convenings. Between 20 and 30 travel grants were disbursed each year, a total of USD 122,600 for the four-year period.
Our online presence and the promotion of our advocacy work and the work of the APC community was significantly strengthened.
One of the ways in which this was achieved was through the redesign of our organisational website, apc.org, in 2016. It was changed to better reflect our organisational structure, strategy and overall goals, and share member stories, news content, our latest research, statements, and position and briefing papers on a daily basis. From 2016 to 2019, the website had more than two million unique visitors and almost four million visits. Our social media influence grew across all APC accounts, especially on Twitter. By the end of the four-year period, APC’s main organisational Twitter account, @apc_news, reached 12,330 followers.
Our Twitter accounts campaigning for women’s rights online, @takebackthetech and @dominemoslastic, and our flagship feminist online presence, GenderIT.org had also exponentially grown by the end of 2019.
In December 2019, APC published its 304th e-newsletter, providing members with a space to share their stories and promote their advocacy causes and projects. It has become an important historical archive of APC member activities over the years.
Active member involvement and collaboration in developing and implementing APC’s theory of change and strategic plan
Continuity in institutional leadership with APC community involvement in defining strategic priorities and governance.
In 2017, APC members and staff met face-to-face for our triennial member meeting in Ithala, South Africa. Over four days we discussed APC's direction as a community, our network's identity, and shared stories about our work and deepened our understanding of our collective theory of change.
2017 also saw the successful transition of institutional leadership and network governance through the appointment of a new Executive Director and the election of a new Board of Directors. Chat Garcia Ramilo, who joined APC in 2000 and served as APC women’s programme manager and deputy director, took over from Anriette Esterhuysen, who was executive director from 2000 to 2016.
APC’s Women's Rights Programme (WRP) leadership transitioned to a shared and distributed leadership model resonating with the thinking of organisations in the feminist and women's movements. Jac sm Kee left APC as WRP manager in July 2019, and Jan Moolman, Katerina Fialova and Namita Aavriti Malhotra took over working together as a management team.
APC’s new Board of Directors ensured that the voices of women activists and strong regional perspectives would be heard in the governance of our network.
The members of the current board, which ends its term in 2020, are Bishakha Datta, Point of View, India (chair); Leandro Navarro, Associació Pangea - Coordinadora Comunicació per a la Cooperació, Catalonia (vice-chair); Liz Probert, GreenNet, United Kingdom (secretary); Sylvie Siyam, PROTEGE QV, Cameroon (treasurer); Michel Lambert, Alternatives, Canada; Julián Casabuenas G., Colnodo, Colombia; Osama Manzar, Digital Empowerment Foundation, India; and Chat Garcia Ramilo, APC, Philippines (executive director). Learn more about the roles and responsibilities of APC’s Board and find out more about APC governance.
The 2017 global members meeting was followed by five regional member meetings in 2018 that consolidated APC's regional networks. These face-to-face gatherings take place in all member regions every two to three years. They provide members with the chance to identify regional advocacy priorities and to explore opportunities for collaboration, as well as to contribute regional perspectives to the APC network as a whole. In 2018, there was an unprecedented level of engagement and collaboration in the network, with a total of 61 representatives of 50 member organisations, eight individual members and 20 APC staff members participating in the regional meetings.
During 2018 and 2019, members as well as other stakeholders such as partners, political allies, influencers and donors participated in the evaluation of APC’s Theory of Change and Strategic Plan for 2016-2019.
This process helped us look towards the future, developing our strategic plan for the 2020-2023 period. Member involvement in APC’s strategic planning process was very high, resulting in an equally high level of ownership of the network’s new vision, mission and strategic priorities. A total of 55 individuals from 36 member organisations and six individual members participated in four face-to-face consultative meetings and five regional webinars over a two-year period. The plan was approved during an online member meeting in September 2019.