Project grants for local implementation of APC’s strategic plan in 2016

 

These grants are for projects that contribute to implementation of APC’s strategic plan at the national level. At the same time, they are meant to strengthen ongoing work by APC members that is linked to APC’s strategic priorities. The proposals demonstrate how their projects contribute to one or more of the objectives in APC’s Theory of Change at the local level. Projects will be implemented for a period of 6-12 months.

 

Point of View: Gendering surveillance and counter-surveillance to strengthen awareness of surveillance’s harms and increase support for and adoption of counter-measures

“While surveillance methods may have changed over time, for women in particular, surveillance is not a new phenomenon.” As the surveillance powers of the Indian government and its agencies are continuously expanding, secure communications and strong protections of the right to privacy – currently absent in India – have become all the more important. But activists have generally struggled to get this message across to broader audiences effectively, including to women human rights defenders: for many, the harms of surveillance simply remain too abstract to become a priority topic of attention and debate, or of action.

How to get more women human rights defenders and other people concerned about human rights to really grasp the harmful effects of digital surveillance, and to act upon this knowledge? This project seeks to achieve this by grounding these efforts in the context of surveillance practices meant to ensure control that their audiences are already intimately familiar with. In Indian societies, women have been traditionally surveilled by families, neighbours, communities, to keep them in line, and often have developed a range of everyday strategies to fight or resist this. What are the similarities and differences between offline and online surveillance, and what lessons can be learned from the former for the latter (including regarding the value of security practices)?

By investigating and highlighting these considerations in this project, Point of View aims to put a gender perspective right at the heart of one of the most critical debates in internet policy today. But crucially, in this way “we also hope to create a real sense of urgency among women human rights defenders and broader audiences about the need to fight mass surveillance,” they state. Ultimately, it is behavioural change that they hope to contribute to – be it the adoption of more secure communication practices or advocacy for legislative and other measures.

More about the project here.

 

Nodo TAU: E-waste recycling plant – Moving e-waste over the carpet

Nodo TAU is coordinating a project that aims to consolidate the operation of an electronic waste management plant so as to encourage self-managed work for youth, by developing an environmentally and economically sustainable model.

In the short term, the project aims to train 10 young people in the refurbishing and recycling of electronic waste and in business management. Nodo TAU will also develop a business plan based on a market study and conduct a survey of prior experiences to ensure the economic viability of the initiative, as well as studying all the legal and environmental aspects involved. The project also inlcudes an investment plan for a second stage of development of the plant.

This project will enable the processing of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in the city of Rosario, Argentina, in an environmentally responsible manner, taking advantage of materials that currently are discarded in landfills, contaminating the environment and endangering the health of the population. At the same time, equipment will be recovered, refurbished and allocated to communities that do not have access to ICTs. There is currently no such plant operating in the municipality of Rosario.

For Nodo TAU, this project is of great importance as it involves two of the organisation’s longstanding goals, the recovery of equipment and the application of technology for the social sector. In this case, the democratisation of knowledge at the grassroots level, particularly for young people, provides access to income and professional opportunities, while recovering equipment for social projects to reduce the digital divide.

Given the amount of electronic waste generated in the city and in the region, the model developed will serve to promote the implementation of more WEEE management plants, scaling up the impact of the project in a field that is relatively new and in which there is little experience in the country.

 

Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD): Understanding the digital marginalisation of women in northern Nigeria and countering it through enhancing their voice in internet policy discourse

Although women have less access to the internet than men in Nigeria generally, this is much worse in the northern part of the country, where culture, economy and education combine to even further squeeze out women from cyberspace. The Muslim sharia law which is applicable in a number of the states in northern Nigeria is often deployed in arguments to discourage women from making effective use of the internet, by citing the presence of pornography online as immoral under Islamic teaching. As a result, many women face family and social pressure when they are seen using the internet, especially social media, thus creating the conditions for the digital marginalisation of women in the region.

This project undertaken by the Centre for Information Technology and Development seeks to understand the factors that inhibit women from accessing and making effective use of the internet. On the basis of this understanding, the project will convene a series of stakeholders’ meetings to develop a campaign strategy aimed at addressing these factors through sustained advocacy. To create champions for the campaign, the project will also train a number of women on internet rights, so that they will become the core of the campaigners for the digital inclusion of otherwise marginalised women in the region. It is also hoped that through this, the voices of women will become louder and more visible in the policy discourse around internet policy, including the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) as a key space.

 

EngageMedia: Southeast Asia Digital Rights Camp

EngageMedia, in partnership with key regional allies, will organise a regional Digital Rights Camp in Southeast Asia in early 2017. A coalition of organisations will host the camp that will bring together 75 people, including leading digital rights advocacy organisations along with human rights advocates, media-makers, bloggers and technologists.

APC has granted EngageMedia the funds to host a pre-camp meeting to bring together the coalition of organisations that will host the camp. During the two-day meeting, which will be held in Yogjakarta, Indonesia in November 2016, the partner organisations will identify relevant themes and issues in Southeast Asia that the camp will focus on, and identify the organisations, networks and individuals to invite to the camp as a way of working together collaboratively, including joint fundraising efforts for the camp.

The main objective of the camp is to spark understanding, collaboration and joint actions locally and sub-regionally between ICT policy advocates, media creators and technologists. This contributes to democratising ICT policy processes and enabling civil society actors in the effective, strategic, secure and sustainable use of the internet.

Through the camp, internet rights issues and policy processes will reach a new audience – an audience that can bring in new energy and creativity in advocating for internet rights through campaigns and joint actions for citizens in Southeast Asia, becoming more aware of ICT issues that are relevant to them, and becoming partners in holding governing bodies accountable for freer and better internet. At the same time, the content producers will learn about the issues surrounding the space they rely on to produce and publish their work, thereby enhancing their understanding of the internet and its issues.

The camp will draw on the experience, the expertise and the connections that APC has been able to develop in this area of work for over 20 years. At the same time, the camp will be an opportunity for APC to reach audiences that have hardly been considered in global, regional and national ICT policy work and advocacy: local content producers who are able to craft messages, utilise social media for advocacy, and interpret issues in ways that reach broader and more local audiences.

 

Bangladesh Friendship Education Society (BFES): A study on the development of an electronic health data security policy  

Citizens do not like to disclose their medical records to others, especially if health records contain very private information. There should be a standard policy with security and authentication systems for individuals in a country that processes and stores medical records electronically.

Physicians in developed countries have standards and guidelines for the doctor-patient relationship which include maintaining confidentiality. Patient data is highly confidential and therefore must be protected so that no one other than doctors can have access to it. For electronic medical records, patient data needs secure systems.

The Bangladesh government created the National Health Data Warehouse where health data is now stored and where more data is being stored every day. Certain private hospitals also keep medical records electronically. There is every possibility of the leakage of everyone’s confidential data, as well as a growing trend of hackers targeting medical records. The National Health Data Warehouse system and the electronic records kept by some private hospitals pose a high risk to the data security and privacy of individual patients. While the National Data Warehouse is a good source of health data of millions of patients for doctors, health service providers and researchers, it is not possible to guarantee that all doctors, health researchers and health service providers will maintain the privacy of patients.

Currently, there is neither any specific data protection law nor a privacy law, nor any type of policy that specifically applies to electronic health data in Bangladesh. Certain medical ethics and rules have been established by the Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council and Bangladesh Medical Research Council. But there is no specified policy that ensures electronic health data security. Therefore, with the aim of formulating a policy specifically for Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Friendship Education Society is proposing a study to develop a draft policy for electronic health data security through collaborative research work.

BFES initiated “Amader Gram Breast Cancer e-Health Program” developed interoperable electronic medical records for everyone that can facilitate better care. This Amader Gram Breast care Nurse is using the web-based e-Health System where in every point women health data are stored securely and privacy is ensured.

 

Colnodo: Promotion of human rights on the internet and strengthening capacity for prevention of and response to technology-based violence

The project developed by Colnodo aims to promote internet rights, to foster the prevention of risks on the internet, and to strengthen the response capacity of vulnerable groups such as survivors of technology-based violence and LGTBI people. Through different face-to-face and virtual awareness-raising activities, the project will reach out to young women, civil servants responsible for supporting women survivors of technology-based violence, and women’s rights advocates.

The main expected outcomes are several. First, the creation of content for training and awareness-raising purposes (a virtual course, face-to-face courses, workshops and multimedia resources) that could be used by different groups beyond the project. Second, the development of an app for mobile devices which will serve as a guide, with exercises, tips, infographics about rights on the internet, and strategies for risk prevention and safe online communications, among others. Also, through the learning and training activities, participants will acquire skills and knowledge on rights on the internet, safety, privacy and digital risk prevention.

The project also aims to undertake an analysis on the use of ICTs, risks, safe online practices and knowledge of digital rights through an online consultation to be widely disseminated among different actors. Another key element of the project will be participation in governmental and civil society networks and spaces to disseminate information on rights on the internet and make this a priority issue. The inclusion of women’s rights in digital spaces in the Annual Report of the Monitoring Group on Law 1257 in Colombia is another expected outcome, along with the Take Back the Tech! campaign activities to be carried out for 16 days (25 November to 10 December 2016).

The project will strengthen Colnodo’s work on gender and ICTs as a cross-cutting theme in the organisation’s activities, enabling them to continue their research on rights on the internet and advance in making this issue a priority.

 

Media Matters for Democracy: Technology for countering gender-based abuse online 

In Pakistan, women who suffer abuse online, especially that of a sexualised nature, are often left alone to face their abusers. The abusers, on the other hand, often gang together, piling on abuse against the victim they have singled out. Thus, the challenge is to find a way through which like-minded women, feminists and gender rights defenders can group together and respond collectively to abuse. There have been efforts to seek solutions to this problem at an international level; however, given Pakistan’s particular cultural context, these solutions are often seen as foreign.

This project is focused on exploring the development of a mobile and web-based tool that can be used by feminists and women’s rights activists in Pakistan to generate a collective response to online harassment of women. The digital tool will be developed in consultation with women and gender and sexual minorities who have faced online abuse. During the course of this project, the application will be piloted with a select group of allies who have gone though a basic digital security, internet rights and feminist internet training. After going through a consultative design-thinking phase to explore ideas and possible technological solutions to counter abuse, the project will seek to develop an initial version of the tool that allows users to generate a communal response.

Media Matters for Democracy has worked extensively with women journalists, and through this project they hope to start working with a larger group of gender rights activists. Working on a technological solution with a group of developers will also help MMfD create a dialogue on gender and feminism within the tech circles in the country. 

 

Sulá Batsú: APC promotes a GreeningIT sector in LAC

The main purpose of this project is to integrate GreeningIT in the ICT ecology in Costa Rica (IT enterprises, digital policy makers, academia, civil society, etc.). Based on the lessons and good practices collected through this initiative, Sulá Batsú will take on the challenge of promoting GreeningIT in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) by working with the APC members network in the region. This project will capitalise on the information and research results produced by other global APC GreeningIT projects. Through infomediation/visualisation techniques, Sulá Batsú will create infographics, doodles, videos and other materials in Spanish to make GreeningIT topics accessible for everybody (policy makers, community organisations, IT enterprises, etc.).

Sulá Batsú will connect to the GreeningIT project through their Women in Technology Programme (TIC-as) and, with the resources provided by this grant, they will organise two rural female hackathons in Costa Rica. “We want women creating technology for sustainable work. Using the female hackathon strategy we will integrate the IT private sector, public sector, academia and public education sector in the reflection around GreeningIT,” they explained.

They will also invite the members of the APC network in the LAC region to organise parallel female GreeningIT hackathons in their own countries, offering to support them with know-how, materials and strategies.

According to Sulá Batsú, the importance of this project lies in the fact that it will help capitalise on the work already done globally by APC through the GreeningIT initiative; it will integrate GreeningIT in APC’s line of work on gender and ICTs; it will create awareness and produce information for the ICT sector in the LAC region, including the private sector, public sector, civil society and academia; and it will enable Sulá Batsú to continue and strengthen the work it has undertaken with APC in this area since 2012.

 

OneWorld Platform: Women in the public domain

This project is a crash course from awareness raising to policy, focusing on two areas: women’s rights and internet rights. In 2015, OneWorld Platform (OWP) organised the first national Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2016, OWP aims to bring gender awareness into this policy process.

The project will contribute to the creation of a culture of dialogue in the country through the national IGF which will be organised with an open-door policy and a strong sense of open community. In particular, the project will create opportunities and build capacity of women in media to participate significantly in this political process.

The project’s twin objectives will be implemented through research that will create a network and build data, evidence and awareness on women in the media and their experience with information and communications technology (ICT). Women in the media (journalists and bloggers) are best placed to play a catalytic role in changing public awareness because they already have a voice in the public sphere. OWP will conduct a survey to understand the demographics of women bloggers, journalists and independent journalists and document five case studies on the experiences of professional journalists from different media: TV, online, radio, print and bloggers. This research can provide inspiration and lessons to create a more open and free public policy process and debate in the country.

 

Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA): Promoting the right to information through ICT in Uganda

CIPESA is working towards leveraging information and communication technology (ICT) to advance the right to information for women’s empowerment in Uganda. The project supported by this grant will contribute towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 5, “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” The project is important to the APC network as it directly feeds into APC’s Key Result Area 1, “Affordable and sustainable access to the internet is available to everyone.”

The project seeks to directly address two problems: the low access to information by Ugandan citizens, and the shortage of ICT-enabled access to information on rights and livelihoods by women. CIPESA is mobilising women’s rights organisations to deliberate on how to curate more gender-focused information through ICT use, as well as to build the capacity of journalists to utilise ICTs as sourcing for news articles and create dialogue with public officials on promoting the right to information.

CIPESA expects to achieve three main results by the end of the project: first, to have more women and women’s rights organisations in Uganda using ICTs to lodge right-to-information requests to government; second, to enable more women to have greater access to gender-focused and relevant information; and lastly, to promote improved implementation of the Access to Information Act 2011 by fostering the exercise of the right to information and freedom of expression, as women will be more empowered to express themselves by requesting access to information that is relevant to their livelihood. The proposed project builds on two of CIPESA’s existing programmes: Open Data and e-Governance, and ICT4Democracy. As part of this last programme, it conducted extensive research on the role of ICTs in promoting civic participation and the right to information in East Africa. Under the Open Data and e-Governance programme, CIPESA in collaboration with the Africa Freedom of Information Centre and the Information Ministry of Uganda launched the Ask Your Government portal in 2013. The portal collected 292 requests to 77 registered government ministries, departments and agencies. The project “Promoting the right to information through ICT in Uganda” thus seeks to utilise this platform and the results from the two programme areas to advance CIPESA’s advocacy efforts around the need to adopt ICT use in the provision of access to information in promoting women’s economic development.

 

Fantsuam Foundation: Improving internet access through regulation of connecting cables marketing and production

The reason why Fantsuam Foundation decided to host the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination as a Computer Based Test (CBT) Centre in March 2016 was to provide a convenient alternative for rural-based students. In the past, such students had to travel long distances to urban-based test centres, facing the hardships of travel costs and accommodation during the test period, along with the usual examination stress. As Fantsuam Foundation tested their thin clients to prepare them for the students, they discovered that some of them were rather slow and could easily discourage an already stressed student. Trouble shooting to identify the cause of the low performance of the computers revealed that some of the connecting cables were of poor quality. Changing these cables may have saved many students from scoring low grades in their examination. Fantsuam Foundation later discovered that students who were assigned such low-performing computers at some test centres actually did poorly in their results.

This APC-administered grant will support the undertaking of a feasibility study of the connecting cables market in Nigeria, by documenting its value chain and identifying any gaps in it. The study will also provide evidence that can inform further advocacy that would enable affordable and sustainable access. The outcome of the study will be presented to the key regulatory authorities in Nigeria as a first step to explore the setting up of a local manufacturing enterprise for connecting cables in Nigeria.

 

Fundación Escuela Latinoamericana de Redes (EsLaRed): Knowledge management model based on technology platforms to strengthen the capacities of APC and its members in Latin America and the Caribbean

This project is aimed at developing a knowledge management model to strengthen the capacities of APC and its member organisations in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). EsLaRed will develop a model based on technology platforms and information and knowledge management technologies as a means of facilitating access, training and online cooperation though mechanisms that promote collective intelligence and the creation of shared memory. The idea is to strengthen the intellectual capital of the organisations and thereby build their capacities to promote development in their target communities.

The model to be developed by EsLaRed will activate processes that strengthen the intellectual capital (human, relational and structural) of APC and its members, as well as the capacities that each of the organisations promotes in their countries. Strengthening the intellectual capital of APC and its members will optimise the capacities of the organisations and establish an integrated system to manage flows of information and knowledge through the consolidation of networks.