By APCNews 17 January 2020
Body & Data is an organisation based in Bhaktapur, Nepal, that is focused on creating a free, open and just internet that respects the autonomy of individuals and upholds their dignity. Its aim is to increase the participation and visibility of women and queer people online by supporting the adoption of suitable technologies in campaigns and other communication strategies, and to help them exercise their agency and autonomy while participating in the internet safely, through secure digital strategies. In addition, it works with women and queer people so that they are well-versed in a rights-based approach to access to the internet and other technologies.
Over the past years, Body & Data has organised events and workshops mostly targeting women's rights and queer rights activists, sexual health advocates, journalists, young women, students, techies, human rights activists and other allies. It aims to provide a safe and feminist space to learn, share and discuss the intersectionality of gender, sexuality and the internet. Body & Data promotes internet freedom and digital rights from a feminist lens through its online and offline activities.
In early 2019, Body & Data joined the APC community as a partner in “Expanding the EROTICS network in South Asia”, a project implemented by the APC Women’s Rights Programme (WRP) aimed at bridging the gap between movements by building the capacity of sexual rights activists to engage in debates on internet governance policy, as well as building the awareness of internet rights organisations to include sexual rights in their advocacy. This latest phase in the work of the EROTICS (Exploratory Research on Sexuality and the Internet) network, initially launched in 2009, involves partners based in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
And in October 2019, Body & Data went a step further and joined the APC network of member organisations. APCNews spoke with the organisation’s representatives, Rita Baramu and Shubha Kayastha, about the reasons behind this decision.
APCNews: Why did you decide to join the APC network?
Body & Data: We decided to join the APC network because of the similar values and visions that APC and we as Body & Data hold. Since APC envisions a free and open internet that helps to improve lives and create a more just world, and Body & Data believes in creating a free, open and just internet where women and queer people can exercise their agency and autonomy with suitable technologies and secure digital strategies, we thought of joining this network for the solidarity, collaboration and amplification of our work from the regional to the global level, which is achievable through this network. In this regard, we hope to work at the country and local level while being supported by APC at the regional and global level.
We also admire the working approach of APC, which is very feminist and intersectional. We love the individuals associated with APC who we’ve met – staff, members and friends – and their emphasis on nurturing human values while also working professionally with one another.
APCNews: What do you think you can contribute as a member, and what do you expect from APC?
Body & Data: As a member, we can express our solidarity and amplify the voices for internet freedom and a feminist internet within our country and at the local level through different platforms. We will work towards supporting organisations and individuals to use secure digital strategies in their work while exercising their agency and bodily autonomy. We will raise our voice against the surveillance against bodies by the patriarchal system around us, and against gender-based violence, and advocate for freedom of expression and association, the rights to privacy, information and consent, as well as promoting discussion on the feminist principles of the internet.
Meanwhile, being in this network, we value the support that APC provides to its members, whether in the form of technical or financial support or mentoring and guidance. We also want to grow as an organisation having feminist values imbedded into our practices within the organisation and the work we do, so we expect to have more learning exchanges with APC in this regard too.
APCNews: Thank you, Rita and Shubha, and welcome to the APC network!