Consultancy for the development of the APC 2020-2023 communications strategy

Image: Patchwork by Natalia Manley as pictured by Littlelixie under Creative Commons license in Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/NyMokn).

Publisher: APC     13 March 2020

1. Background
1.1 About APC

APC is an international network of civil society organisations founded in 1990 dedicated to empowering and supporting people working for peace, human rights, development and protection of the environment, through the strategic use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). We work to build a world in which all people have easy, equal and affordable access to the creative potential of ICTs to improve their lives and create more democratic and egalitarian societies.

Our mission is to create a just and sustainable world by harnessing the collective power of activists, organisations, excluded groups, communities and social movements, to challenge existing power structures and ensure that the internet is developed and governed as a global public good.

Our vision is for people to use and shape the internet and digital technologies to create a just and sustainable world, leading to greater care for ourselves, each other and the earth.

1.2 APC’s new strategic plan

In September 2019, APC approved the organisational strategic plan for the period 2020-2023. APC defined six outcome areas as prioritised areas of focus, for the period of the strategic plan, which represent the key achievements required to move closer to realising APC’s vision in consideration of the current and expected context. Each one of the areas has impact objectives, which are the accumulated desired results needed until the end of 2023 in order to move closer to realising the change in each organisational outcome. 

Outcome 1: The collective power of communities within and beyond the APC network is harnessed through existing and new relationships built around transformative actions and our shared visions.

Outcome 2: People affected by exclusion, discrimination and inequality are able to meaningfully use and shape the internet and digital technologies to meet their specific needs.

Outcome 3: Women and people of diverse sexualities and genders participate in, shape and co-create the internet and digital technologies that reflect and respond to their lived realities.

Outcome 4: People, especially those facing discrimination and oppression, have greater power and autonomy through digital technologies to exercise their full range of human rights online and offline.

Outcome 5: The internet is recognised and governed as a global public good in an inclusive, transparent, democratic and accountable manner.

Outcome 6: 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.

1.3 About APC communications

Strategic communications are one of APC’s key strategies, which include outreach and the development of information resources as tools for network building and advocacy. The communications team leads this area of work, focusing on amplifying the outreach of APC's work and positions by using a variety of dissemination tools and by partnering with key media/journalists, as well as gathering, curating and repackaging the materials produced by our community to reach broader audiences.

The communications team produces various outputs for external audiences: press releases, newsletters (APCNews, a multilingual bi-monthly news service, and the Local Access and Community Networks monthly newsletter), articles, blog posts, the institutional annual report, and multimedia outputs (videos, podcasts), among others. It also maintains content-sharing partnerships with a number of media outlets. The communications team oversees (and manages some of) the following platforms: APC.org, AfriSIG, Digital stories, EROTICS, Feminist Principles of the Internet, GenderIT.org, GISWatch, Take Back the Tech!, as well as managing APC's social media activity through its multilingual accounts (@APC_News on Twitter and /APCNews on Facebook).

The work is carried out by a team comprising five staff members who have different positions depending on the task assignments and in accordance with their skills and expertise.

The tasks of the communications team are comprehensive and entail both external communications and providing internal support to all initiatives, processes, events and projects where APC is involved. The team also interacts with members, partners, some funders, members of the extended APC community, journalists and communications’ contractors (such as designers, translators, web developers and printers). The tasks involved are varied: writing, content curation, proofing, translating (or coordinating outsourced translations), social media, media/journalist outreach, design and messaging, among others. The communications team is responsible for ensuring that:

  • APC has a strong public profile among target audiences, communities and in the media.

  • All APC communications platforms (e.g. websites) and publications are relevant, of high quality, produced on time and reach target audiences.

  • APC's members, partners and staff are informed of what is happening in the APC network.

2. Purpose and scope of the consultancy

The purpose of this consultancy is to develop a new communications strategy for internal and external communications and outreach for APC to support the advocacy goals contained in the 2020-2023 APC strategic plan.

The development of the strategy should encompass the following:

  • Advocacy priorities: Establishing mechanisms for streamlining messages that spell out clearly who we are and our advocacy goals.

  • Power of the network: Using communications outputs to leverage the potential of APC's membership.

  • Communications structure and capacity: Improving the effectiveness of APC’s communications team structure, capacity gaps and processes, including the dynamics of collaboration with the rest of the APC staff, programmes and projects.

The tasks encompassed in the design of the communications strategy include – but are not limited to – the following:

  • Identifying APC’s target audiences.

  • Mapping the communication channels of our network and most relevant audiences at the regional and global levels.

  • Determining communication objectives for each targeted audience.

  • Identifying communication products tailored to each target audience (including formats, type of messaging, etc), as well as appropriate communication and dissemination channels to effectively convey key messages and to foster engagement of key audiences.

  • Developing indicators to monitor and evaluate communications tools and activities, in order to measure the impact on achieving the overall objectives.

  • Crafting a concrete proposal of a communications output (to be produced by the APC communications team) that helps APC to communicate clearly the new strategic plan for the period 2020-2023 to the identified audiences.

3. Methodology

The design of the communications strategy should take a participatory approach that draws on the input available and consultation with different stakeholders, to build on the previous strategic plan evaluations and to ensure participation from APC staff. The review process should include – but not be limited to – the following:

  • Review and consideration of previous communications’ evaluations and reviews containing findings and recommendations relevant to APC’s communications strategy.

  • Interviews with APC teams and individual APC staff and others as needed.

  • Consultations with specific stakeholders as necessary.

  • A facilitated meeting with the members of the communications team.

  • A facilitated meeting with all staff to share the main highlights of the communications strategy and gather further input for refinement.

4. Outputs
  • A written report detailing the communications strategy and all its sub-components as described in Section 2, plus a list of the resource needs to implement the strategy (human and financial).

  • A written report containing the rationale for the strategy and any additional findings and recommendations, which should establish clear connections with the 2020-2023 strategic plan and draw heavily on the input gathered during the consultancy and also on previous communications-related consultations.

  • Communications team workshop agenda and methodology.

  • Staff workshop agenda and methodology.

  • A presentation of the (draft) communications strategy to be introduced at an APC staff meeting.

  • A proposal of a communications output that helps APC to communicate clearly the new strategic plan for the period 2020-2023 to the identified audiences.

APC will provide the consultant with the information resources available to accomplish the assignment by providing soft copies and/or links to the materials.

5. Consultant responsibilities and qualifications

The responsibilities of the consultant will be:

  • Engaging and working collaboratively with relevant staff to develop the communications strategy.

  • Delivering APC’s communications strategy for the period 2020-2023 and related outputs.

  • Developing and implementing a consultancy workplan and methodology within the agreed timeframe and budget.

The external consultant should have the following experience and qualifications:

  • Preferably located in and from the global South.

  • Experience in developing communications strategies for international networks and international civil society organisations.

  • Fluent in English.

  • Experience working with organisations from developing countries.

  • Ability to work with a virtual organisation and to conduct the tasks primarily through online platforms.

  • Availability to travel.

6. Timeframe

The services above are to be carried out starting in May 2020, finalising by September 2020.

7. Reporting

The consultant will report to APC’s communications manager and work closely with the APC management team and other staff members as needed.

8. Application process

Consultants are invited to send an expression of interest using this form by 15 April 2020, 23:00 UTC.



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