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The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is a membership-based network of organisations and activists, founded in 1990, to empower individuals, organisations and social movements to use information and communications technologies (ICTs) to build strategic communities to contribute to equitable human development, social justice, participatory political processes and environmental sustainability. APC’s mission, formulated 30 years ago, has been the starting point of APC’s strategic priorities and plans. 

In the consultations to develop APC’s strategic plan for 2020-2023, APC members, staff and partners affirmed the continuing relevance of this mission. At the same time, we realise the need to refocus APC’s vision and mission to leverage our network’s strength to contribute to transforming the systems of oppression and inequality that are being perpetuated and deepened by the ways in which digital technologies and spaces are being used, deployed, developed and governed.

For this strategic period, APC’s focus is to challenge discrimination, structural inequality and power structures by working to decolonise the internet, digital technologies and spaces to create a more just and sustainable world.

This new strategic plan was developed as part of long-term reflection and visioning discussions within the APC network as it approaches its 30th year in 2020. Regional member consultations were held in 2018 imagining what the APC network has to be and what the network should be doing up to 2030 to fulfil the realisation of its vision. In September 2020, APC is due to convene its global triennial member meeting to continue the discussion of our network’s strategic direction, including our politics, priorities, structure, membership, partnerships and how we are positioned to remain relevant, effective and resilient in the long term. On this occasion, we will bring together the wider networks and movements that APC is part of, to co-create our 10-year vision.

In the last two comprehensive evaluations (conducted in 2015 and 2018) of the impact of APC’s work, the experience, expertise and credibility of the people who make up the APC network and the organisational culture of feminist values, commitment to human rights, belief in collaboration and respect and care that APC brings to its relationship in the APC community was singled out as APC’s greatest strength. We add this learning to APC’s history and re-affirm our identity as:

A diverse and grounded community. APC derives its strength from the experience, expertise and diversity of the people and organisations that make up the network. We are a global network of members and an organisation with staff skilled in internet policy and practice at the national, regional and global level. This identity puts APC in a position to effect high-level policy change while having a well-rooted understanding of what is happening on the ground, increasing our effectiveness across the board. Our experience in implementing national, regional and global initiatives allows us to develop innovative and community-based access and connectivity solutions, advocate for a rights-based approach to internet access and governance, build capacity in the women's movement, and work in partnership with a diverse range of people and institutions.

People-centred technology innovators and practitioners. Most of the original APC members emerged to provide “proto-internet” services for NGOs in the early 1990s, prior to the emergence of the commercial internet. Since then, and along with many recent APC members, we continue to work on developing and adopting internet and digital technologies – including working with local communities to develop alternative, people-centred pathways to connectivity – as well as providing training and support at a local level. APC has almost three decades of technical and policy experience and expertise and our approach to technology practice is based on an understanding of and vision for internet infrastructure and protocols that are locally appropriate, open and sustainable. 

Human rights and feminist network. APC influences discourse and analysis of internet-related issues to integrate human rights norms and standards, gender justice and feminist values in internet and digital technology policy, governance, development and practice. Our focus is on a broad range of rights, from civil and political rights to economic, social, cultural and sexual rights as they relate to the internet and digital technologies. We support and work with activists, organisations and networks in the human rights, sexual rights, women’s rights and social justice movements.

Policy change actors. APC links national, regional and global policy and practice through collective analysis, capacity building and supporting sustained engagement in human rights and internet governance mechanisms with our members and strategic partners. We engage critically with governments and the private sector, and we hold them accountable for upholding human rights and promoting social justice. Our approach to policy advocacy makes use of collaborative implementation, with our members and partners, and leverages linkages between national, regional and global levels. We engage critically and constructively with multistakeholder approaches to internet governance, making them more inclusive, accountable and rights and gender responsive.

Bridge builder, connector and convener. APC is a trusted interlocutor and bridge builder, linking different movements, organisations and interests at national, regional and global levels to support communities and initiatives that promote the role of the internet and digital technologies in contributing to equitable and sustainable development, social justice and participatory political processes. We are uniquely located within the digital rights, feminist and women’s rights movements. We play a vital role in bringing together people and organisations who have different perspectives and experiences from around the world at key moments to work in regional and global policy spaces. We facilitate collaborative work that is deeply informed by grassroots challenges and achievements that foster relationships and trust within networks.


A) When we refer to “APC” we are referring to members (individuals and organisations) and staff that make up the network. [1]

B) When we refer to the “APC network” we are also referring to (A) and to networks we convene and facilitate and partners we work with closely through joint projects, campaigns and other activities. [2] [3]

C) When we refer to the “APC community” we are referring to (A) and (B) but in a broader sense. We are including people, networks (informal or otherwise) and organisations – friends, allies and partners – who consider themselves to be closely connected to APC, but not necessarily in a formal relationship with APC. [4]

D) When we refer to “APC the organisation”, we are referring to the formal and legal “infrastructure” related to the incorporation of APC as a not-for-profit international organisation with a formal staff and governance structure, registered offices, bank accounts, lawyers and auditors.

E) In other cases, we refer to “staff”, “members” and the “board” explicitly.


[1] For example: “APC has been committed to the advancement of environmental sustainability since its inception” and “The Fourth World Conference on Women was a hugely significant process for APC.”
[2] For example: “During its first decade, the APC network was instrumental in working with partners to build communication network infrastructure in the global South” and “The [APC] network focused on building and strengthening communities’ strategic use of the internet.”
[3] For example, the Take Back the Tech network of campaigners, the EROTICS network, the Global Information Society Watch authors and the African Declaration Coalition.
[4] For example: “...the mid-term evaluation exercise where we invited members of the APC community – members, partners, political allies, donors and staff – to participate in the exercise” and “The APC community, which includes – but also extends – our own network of members, is the most important resource we have to achieve the transformations we are seeking.”