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Pollicy is a feminist collective of technologists, data scientists, creatives and academics working at the intersection of data, design and technology to craft better life experiences by harnessing improved data. Its team headquarters are in Kampala, Uganda with remote staff across Africa.
Pollicy is also one of the newest additions to the growing APC network of member organisations, having officially joined the network in June.
But Pollicy’s engagement with APC dates back to 2019 when its project proposal was accepted for inclusion in the Feminist Internet Research Network (FIRN), a collaborative and multidisciplinary research project led by APC and funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
Pollicy’s FIRN research focused on online gender-based violence, based on the online lived experiences of women living in five countries across Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Senegal and South Africa). Its findings are reflected in the report Alternate realities, alternate internets: African feminist research for a feminist internet, published in 2020.
What led Pollicy to scale up this engagement to officially join APC as a member organisation? APCNews talked to Pollicy founder and director Neema Iyer to find out.
APCNews: Why did you decide to join the APC network?
Neema Iyer: As Pollicy, we had the opportunity to be a part of the Feminist Internet Research Network, and prior to this, I didn't know much about APC. Over the time I spent with APC members in Malaysia at the FIRN inception meeting and in the following weeks and months, I got to know more about APC's mission, values, community, networks, and the significant contributions towards a free and open internet grounded in feminism, intersectionality, inclusion and diversity. I came to appreciate and admire APC's work across the network and the sense of community and solidarity amongst APC members, observing this particularly at conferences.
Through my interactions with the APC team, I found everyone to be very intentional and purpose-driven. Even when we weren't an APC member, they made me feel welcomed and like part of the family, and I have many fond memories at both physical and virtual gatherings. I am also particularly interested in how APC runs as a decentralised organisation that is committed to valuing employees/colleagues for what they bring to the table and not where they are physically based, and this is the kind of organisation that I, too, hope to build.
Lastly, as our work expands out of Uganda, out of Africa, we are looking forward to tapping into the expertise and knowledge of APC members through partnerships and collaboration. We have similar experiences across the global South and I strongly believe that we stand to benefit by working together on similar problems, platforms and positive futures.
All this to say, I was drawn to APC by the values, mission and community. We have an immense amount to learn from this beautiful and loving network, and we want to contribute towards this larger movement.
APCNews: What do you think you can contribute as a member, and what do you expect from APC?
Neema Iyer: As a member, we hope to contribute the knowledge that we've built around our work on creating a feminist internet across sub-Saharan Africa. At Pollicy, we are very invested in using creative media approaches for addressing issues around ICT, civic technology, public interest tech (or whatever it will be called in the coming years). Many emerging technology topics can be complex or jargon-ridden and we want to make information more accessible to larger proportions of the population. I believe that by collaborating with other members, we can use such approaches to further broaden our shared vision.
Finally, I hope that we can also support APC members, by being a sounding board, by connecting to our other partners, by standing in solidarity in times of need and by working towards a free and open internet for everyone.