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Illustration by Sonaksha Iyengar for APC.

In 2021, the collective power of communities within and beyond the APC network was harnessed through existing and new relationships built around transformative actions and our shared visions.

Strengthened the network’s capacity to advance APC's strategic priorities by supporting local projects

Channelling resources to our network members has been a priority for APC since its inception. In 2016, APC launched additional grants with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) aimed specifically at enabling members to contribute to achieving the impact objectives identified in APC’s strategic plan for the period 2020-2023.

In 2021, APC supported 18 APC members in the implementation of local impact projects through 14 research and campaign subgrants and five impact subgrants. These projects contributed in different ways to advance APC’s strategic priorities, such as building people’s capacity for a safe and private presence on the internet, countering online gender-based violence, developing criteria for selecting ethical tech solutions, and enabling knowledge and experience sharing among community networks worldwide, among others.

Advanced towards a participatory subgranting model

A new grant for Environmental Justice and Sustainability was designed, organised and implemented in 2021 with participation and active engagement from its inception of the APC members involved in a working group on environmental sustainability.

The granting priority framework was set by the APC Environmental Sustainability Group action plan, which was collectively developed by the group members and APC staff via a participatory, open and iterative process and based on the impact objectives established under Outcome 6 in the APC Strategic Plan 2020-2023, which states that “APC’s collective action and activism contribute to environmental justice and preservation of the earth, and mitigate the negative environmental impacts of the internet, digital technologies and the digital economy.”

The selection of applications to be funded under this grant was made by an assessment committee, whose members were appointed individuals from the APC Environmental Sustainability Group who had expressed interest in participating. The process empowered the participants to better understand the mechanics and dynamics of a grant and fostered peer exchange among the members engaged in the environmental sustainability area of work.

Promoted collaboration and knowledge sharing among APC members on issues of common interest

A number of member collaborations emerged as a result of facilitating information flow and connections around common areas of work.

One example of this is the case of APC member in Nigeria CITAD, which collaborated with another member, TEDIC from Paraguay, to provide online safety and privacy capacity building to a group of local women journalists (see also: "CITAD built the capacities of women journalists on safety and privacy online in Nigeria").

Leveraging the available communication channels to promote knowledge sharing further contributed to useful exchanges among members.

Nurturing Solidarity, Achieving Transformation: A community of communities met to build a collective future

Building on the conversations initiated in 2020’s "Closer than Ever" member convening, the network took them forward in 2021 by considering our collective futures under the theme “Nurturing Solidarity, Achieving Transformation”. How did APC members manage to thrive and adapt in that extraordinary year? What lies ahead on the horizon? What strategies could we share with each other to strengthen and empower the network? These were some of the questions explored through plenaries, sessions and pop-ups organised and presented by both APC staff and members.

Across the convening week, the focus remained squarely on members and their horizontal collaborations, contemplating several important questions such as the importance of regional networks, the changes to advocacy due to the pandemic, and how we are coping and growing.

The plenaries were important gathering spaces where APC members and staff celebrated successes achieved over the previous year and considered challenges faced by the network, including working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Rooted in APC’s strategic priorities, we discussed emerging issues in digital inclusion, human rights, internet governance, a feminist internet, environmental justice and collective power.

Collective care grounded all of the plenaries, providing both launching points and closings where we took time to explore what it means to work together as policy change actors, bridge builders, conveners and a diverse and grounded community.

In addition to the plenaries, we also held regional meetings for members in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America and the Caribbean. The 37 sessions organised by APC members and staff spanned an impressive diversity of topics, including the strategic use and support of ICTs, environmental sustainability, digital exclusion, facial recognition, community networks, feminist knowledge production, meaningful access, funding and supporting tech projects and more. These were truly precious opportunities to learn from each other, and learn just how strong and engaged our network continues to be. Take a tour through the highlights of the 2021 member convening here.

Collective knowledge and learnings on design, organisation and hosting of online events collected in guide

As a network that has been operating remotely for more than three decades, APC has developed systems to carry out meetings online as part of its daily work. The COVID-19 pandemic and the increased need for online events further defined our practice and strengthened our intent of making our get-togethers more engaging, safe, vibrant and successful. And the pandemic also showed us that many groups, collectives and organisations were caught in severe disadvantage as they had never designed, organised and hosted events online, and wanted to know how to do it.

With this primary audience in mind, in 2021 APC published the “APC guidelines on planning and designing online events: Collection of practices and learnings”, which dove into the most relevant documentation material and memories of APC-hosted online events to curate questions and build on this work. This guide was also for those who already design, organise and host events online, and want to further embed their core values in the design.

This guide was the result of collaborative work, enriched by the collective knowledge generously offered and tested within and by our network of members, partners and allies. It drew on APC's background in organising online events that bring together from 20 to 200 participants, such as the Take Back the Tech! campaign 2020, APC staff meetings, APC member convenings, and many more. One of the most powerful experiences was certainly APC's Closer than Ever 2020 member convening organised in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent Nurturing Solidarity, Achieving Transformation convening in 2021.

eQualitie launched CENO, world’s first decentralised p2p mobile browser for areas with censored communications

eQualitie, developer of open-source and reusable digital security systems, launched its newest democratisation tool, CENO Browser. Short for, CENO is the world’s first mobile browser that is built specifically to side-step current internet censorship methods. It also enables people to access and share information in and across regions where connectivity has been interrupted or compromised.

CENO’s resiliency makes it ideal for those who need stable access to and the ability to share web information during media censorship events, filtering, attacks, shutdowns, natural disruptions, unrest, conflict and war. CENO’s routing and distribution can also significantly reduce bandwidth consumption and associated costs. CENO is currently being used by hundreds of thousands of people globally, including in Myanmar and Iran, where the military junta and regime routinely disregard the notion of digital rights; in Ukraine, where Russia’s invading army has damaged or destroyed local internet infrastructures; and in Russia, where an evolving grip of censorship is tightening. CENO works on Android devices, and is available for download on the CENO website, Google Play, GitHub, Paskoocheh and

Andrew Garton launched short film with support from EngageMedia: “Peer To Peer - The makers of the other internet”

With support from EngageMedia's Tech Tales series, Andrew Garton was able to realise a short form version of his film “Peer To Peer - The makers of the other internet”. Peer To Peer is not another film about the internet. It is about the people who had created an “other” internet, their motivations, and the activism that drew Garton to them. It is also a story that began in the Northern Rivers region of Australia by the late Ian Peter. Ian was the founder of Pegasus Networks and a much-valued contributor to the founding of APC.

But Peer To Peer is more than the stories of progressive thinkers, activists and computer scientists developing and distributing software. It is about their deep motivations, their concerns for the planet being left to forthcoming generations, and how this has underpinned the myriad projects undertaken. Peer To Peer was produced in Australia during the pandemic lockdowns and border closures of 2021. As such, the team relied on video streamed interviews and leaned more on illustrations and motion graphics to tell their stories. It was impossible to coordinate on-location interviews.

EngageMedia's support was critical in realising a complex story produced under challenging circumstances and wildly changing schedules. Andrew Garton hopes to continue to develop Peer To Peer in the coming year and looks forward to APC's support and that of its diverse and historical networks. Look for Peer To Peer on

EsLaRed promoted use of open technologies in education during COVID-19 lockdown in Venezuela

During the emergency situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequent lockdown measures, one of the most affected sectors was education, as face-to-face activities in educational institutions were suspended. This led them to generate remote solutions that would allow educators to continue with academic activities.

Faced with this scenario, using open technologies in education represented a fundamental opportunity to promote remote education also in emergency situations, which became a challenge for countries whose educational institutions do not have the necessary technological infrastructure or human resources with the required digital skills.

This was why the Fundación Escuela Latinoamericana de Redes (EsLaRed), with support from an APC research and campaign subgrant, established orientation mechanisms for teachers and students, as well as directorial and administrative staff of educational institutions, on the incorporation, appropriation and use of open technologies in educational processes. This was done through a campaign that promoted learning online, management of open educational resources, collaborative work, intelligent interaction with students, and access to knowledge repositories, among others. In this way, teachers and students in Venezuela had knowledge that allowed them to carry out remote educational processes in a more efficient way.

Read the full APC Annual Report 2021 here.