Project grants for local implementation of APC’s strategic plan in 2019

These grants of up to USD 20,000 are for projects that contribute to the 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. In their proposals, members should demonstrate how their projects contribute to one or more key result areas in APC’s Theory of Change at the local level and specify the strategies identified for each of them. Project activities can include research, advocacy, network and movement building, capacity building and communications. All projects should integrate a gender and rights-based perspective. Selected projects are being implemented for a period of 6-12 months, until December 2019.

List of selected projects for 2019:

Summaries of selected project grants (2019)
7amleh - The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media: Hemaya - Protecting Palestinian Digital Rights 

The objectives of 7amleh’s advocacy strategy are to raise awareness of Palestinian digital rights among the public. Throughout the year, 7amleh conducted research about moderation of Palestinian content. In the past year, 7amleh provided policy research about content moderation of Palestinian content and shrinking space for freedom of expression to local and international policy makers, international law experts, academics, researchers, journalists and activists, among others. This research included topics such as cybercrimes and the digital rights violations of Palestinians, hate speech and surveillance.

As a result of this project, 7amleh has been able to advance on a number of advocacy goals and raise the profile of the organisation and its advocacy work. The key relationships that it is building with technology companies and other experts in digital rights continues to be fruitful in its work to bring the policies and practices of states and tech companies in line with human rights norms and standards. Overall, 7amleh is particularly proud of the advocacy strategy that it has developed in the past year with the support of APC. Palestinians live in one of the harshest surveillance contexts in the world, but the details of the digital occupation are still unclear to the local and international public. While advocacy and research into this area is challenging, particularly for a Palestinian human rights organisation, relationships between local and international human rights organisations, researchers, journalists and international monitoring bodies have been effective in raising public awareness and generating responses from decision makers in companies and governments in the past year with APC’s support. 

AlterMundi/Rhizomatica: Abya Yala Community Network Seedbed

This project is an expression of many important aspects of the community network process. On the one hand there is training. This is related to fostering joint education on topics related to the adaptability of community networks with the culture and context in which they develop. On the other hand, there is training to become trainers, learn how to teach, how to accompany, assist and promote community networks and community communications processes.

The process also seeks to promote bonding, as people are encouraged to connect with each other personally, and as organisations. This interaction colours the regional landscape while simultaneously enabling the possibility to analyse the impact of telecommunications and community networks in a particular context. The purpose was ultimately to create the core of the Abya Yala Community Network Seedbed, and to deploy it as a permanent training space for digital telecommunications networks.

AlterMundi’s wish is to inspire the flourishing of seedbeds in different regions, all of them operating autonomously from the organisations, and to promote peer-to-peer articulation at various levels as a byproduct of their interaction in the seedbeds. It hopes to promote Argentina’s engagement on this matter and position it as one of the best examples of this way of relating to one another and the work we do. Many of its projects are focused on this.

AlterMundi believes that each of the steps taken thus far have led to growth, and it hopes that this initiative benefits the projects and organisations related with APC who are also working with community networks and with whom it has built relationships and continues to converse on topics regarding community network issues.

CITAD: Mobilising women’s voices for effective participation in policy discourse on the internet in Nigeria

The objective of the Bauchi Feminist Internet School (BaFIS) is to produce digital inclusion champions who will work to bridge the gender digital divide in the country. The BaFIS became the first of its kind in Nigeria, where 61% of the participants were women. The project produced gender activists and feminists who are working towards bridging gender digital inclusion through advocacy, campaigns and trainings by the champions. It generated a lot of public interest, especially on Twitter, while lively debate ensued as to why we called it Feminist Internet School. CITAD’s hope is that it will be an annual event. 

Women in Nigeria have always been behind the men when it comes to the use of the internet. While some countries were able to reduce the gender digital gap that existed, the gap still remains wide in Nigeria in terms of use, access, rights and governance. Similarly, there is no overarching model or road map by the government or any stakeholder to be followed in addressing the digital gender gap. If efforts are being made, they are mostly made haphazardly. Thus, is it important to have a model, and getting people to buy into and support the agenda is important and requires a continuous effort. Training others who could actively create the noise to draw stakeholders’ attention is paramount. 

The event has already brought about certain changes: for example, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs has made a commitment to include the training of selected women from all 44 local governments in next year’s budget, and to ask the government to approve a partnership with CITAD for training female youths in rehabilitation centres on the use of ICT. Another change was in the opinions of a number of religious and traditional rulers who were visited for the purpose of this project. They mostly did not support ICT use by women and girls, but they have now become advocates of women in ICT. They now understood the importance of ICT to women and promised to sensitise their followers on the negative effects of online gender-based violence and also to allow their wives and children to use ICT freely.

EsLaRed: Platform of social technologies in collaborative environments to increase the capacities of advocates who attend to the problems of violence against women in Venezuela

This project aims to develop a web-based social technology platform to strengthen the capacities of women's advocates and women community leaders in their social action in the face of violence against women, through mechanisms to enable education, communication, collaboration and reporting. The project in its first phase contemplated a process of analysis that allowed identifying the current situation of violence against women (VAW) in Merida State, to determine the functionalities of the platform. This analysis made it possible to establish direct contact with women's rights defenders, as the main users of the DiloMujer platform, as well as to know the needs that had the greatest impact and to establish the most appropriate solutions, which were organised by priority and adapted to the local context. The project involves the active participation of women's advocates and activists, both in the development and use of the platform, and in the appropriation of the platform. The task team is made up of 90% women, and the participating organisations, for the most part, are made up of women. This implies that DiloMujer, as a web platform, has helped to raise women’s awareness in the use of ICT and the internet safely, to solve and manage a problem inherent to them, such as VAW, and help minimise it. Similarly, the platform represents a mechanism to promote collaborative work and manage activities related to VAW.

Foundation for Media Alternatives: Imagine a Feminist Internet in Southeast Asia

As a whole, FMA feels that the Imagine a Feminist Internet event helped to deepen the understanding of the participants of how the digital landscape has transformed feminists, women’s rights, and sexual rights in Southeast Asia, using the Feminist Principles of the Internet as a framework. The exercise on the history of the feminist movement was an eye-opener for many, helping them better appreciate the development of technology through a feminist lens. The discussions in the workshop sessions also gave them the opportunity and space to share their lived experiences, thereby learning from each other. The space afforded the participants to collaboratively imagine, share ideas, analyse, and strategise on how to make a feminist internet and a feminist world.

As a result of the project, the participants were also able to meet with feminists and women’s rights organisations in the region. This will help them to expand and strengthen a network of actors in the region to engage in feminist politics of the internet in their collaborations, work and movements, to support intersectional movement building work in the digital age. In fact, before the workshop ended, there were already plans to collaborate between and among some of the participants, based on their common agenda – e.g. a coordination group among free radicals; a volunteer group to write about the history of the feminist movement in the region. FMA will continue to engage the participants of the workshop, by providing them with a report on the highlights of the concluded workshop, announcement of possible opportunities related to their work and advocacies, and possible calls for future collaboration/s between and among participants. 

Media Matters for Democracy Trust: Digital Rights Monitor: Refocusing the gender lens

The main objective of this project is to expand the focus of research and discussion on gender and technology beyond the general premise of “harassment” and “economic empowerment” of women, in order to help media and activists effectively respond to the varying challenges that affect women’s use and experiences of technology.

Through the series of articles commissioned to freelance journalists, topics beyond the general ambit of harassment and economic empowerment of women were explored. This series looked at the topics that face a certain level of stigma in Pakistani society when it comes to access to technology for marginalised communities and individuals, especially women and gender and sexual minorities – including online dating, inclusion of transgender communities in online spaces, and access to credible information. The project also produced a 10-episode vodcast – localising the Feminist Principles of the Internet – that explored various reasons that contribute to the wide digital gender divide in Pakistan, and suggested steps to bridge it. These factors aligned with the needs of the Pakistani women and gender minorities while navigating the internet and have directly addressed them in their language. The project entails qualitative research that addresses the perceptions of the internet when it comes to women’s access and use in Pakistan. The research explores the various aspects of how women’s use of and access to the internet is seen, and what contributes towards the wide gender gap online. While harassment was found to be one of the top factors, lack of data protection and privacy also held importance among responses. These contributions were picked up by various national media outlets making the discussion part of a mainstream discourse.

Nodo TAU: Digital Territories

In the context of ongoing concentration of media and voices, Nodo TAU aims to strengthen the voices of social organisations by including internet and ICT tools for their exercise. It also seeks to increase awareness of internet and communication rights for local organisations, as well as their use of networks and digital tools for their communication work. For this project, Nodo TAU developed workshops in a municipal district and in three different organisations. The purpose was to strengthen the voices of social organisations, to the extent that organisations and their members were able to share their own experiences from their daily lives, the realities of where they live, their needs, their stories, their struggles, their rights. The project involved the construction of stories, neighbourhood chronicles, territorial poetry, video production, as well as making use of social networks to upload the materials produced, record with their own voices on community radio stations in their neighbourhood, among other productions of their own communications.

For Nodo TAU, this project opened up several perspectives for work with the communities and also to introduce this perspective in projects of other areas they are already working in, like social economy projects and initiatives working with cultural and educational rights.

One World Platform: Empowering women from safe houses through ICT

The purpose of One World Platform’s project was to reduce the digital literacy gap for traditionally vulnerable women. The intended participants in the programme were those living in safe houses for victims of domestic abuse, and the programme was designed with economic empowerment for these women in mind. The majority had no work experience at all, so this was a way for them to start a new life. The first few days of training dealt with practical digital skills, like graphic design, Wordpress, online marketing, etc. The last few days dealt with topics of online violence, digital security and privacy, so that they can protect themselves online as well. Some of the women who participated had never used a computer, lived or worked alone, so a broader theme of the programme was personal independence, helping these women work towards a self-sufficient and secure life.

Point of View: Imagine a Feminist Internet: Research, practice and policy in South Asia

In the digital age, the internet is a place where gender norms are created, shaped, negotiated and contested on a daily basis. Against this backdrop, Point of View’s objective was to understand and interrogate normative practices that restrict women’s access to, use of and participation in digital spaces. The end goal of Imagine a Feminist Internet: South Asia was to shift online norms to enable women, girls and other marginalised genders to actively participate in digital spaces with agency, autonomy, dignity – and a sense of belonging. In interrogating online gendered norms, Imagine a Feminist Internet focused on the role of legislation and policy in supporting gender norm change and the importance of social movements for promoting and supporting gender. 

The conference was the first of its kind in the region of South Asia in that it has already contributed to widening the discourse around the internet as the new public space where gender norms are created, shaped, negotiated and contested on a daily basis. The conference presentations and discussions broadened the understanding of what this looks like in the context of South Asia. Although it is a large and diverse region, it also reflects similar patriarchal barriers confronting women and gender minorities, stopping their full, authentic participation in the public sphere, of which the internet has become an indispensable part. What has also emerged from the conference is a deep sense of (and need for) digital ally-ship in the region. Given that human rights defenders, women and gender minorities often face severe consequences for speaking up online, as well as the current regional climate of heavy political crackdown on dissenters, the last panel at the conference discussed the need for a space where help can be sought and received during cases of online violence. Such a space will also support wider reporting and coverage of human rights violations online and offline that the mainstream media often fail to cover or amplify. The goal of Imagine a Feminist Internet: South Asia was to build transformative, collective feminist interventions that will enable women and other marginalised genders to challenge normative digitally networked spaces and fully participate in them. The discussions, networking and relationship building that happened through the conference felt very authentic, genuine and potentially long-term, with participants wanting to collaborate with each other beyond of the conference. This was a heartwarming process to witness as the two days were curated by the team with the same purpose in mind.

Rudi International: “HakiConf2019: The Conference on Human Rights in the Digital Age in the DRC”

Rudi International envisions a society in which people are fully aware of their digital rights and are equipped to demand restitution whenever they are violated. The DRC has a long history of human rights violations that include network disruptions, jailing of journalists and politicians for what they say, blocking of online news outlets, etc. These actions have had an impact on the way people use the internet and their ability to enjoy their rights online. HakiConf is growing to be the largest digital rights gathering in francophone Africa, and Rudi is proud to be its host and watch its development. The Francophone community has always been left behind because of language barriers: most similar gatherings happen in Anglophone countries. HakiConf2019 has provided a platform to learn, discuss and take action, encouraging everyone, within the limits of their power, to consider working for an open, accessible and stable internet. By putting together HakiConf2019, the second edition of the event, Rudi International wanted to give an opportunity to DRC citizens to be educated, equipped and empowered so they can be able to master how human rights are translated in the digital age. We are glad to report that this has been successful; we are contributing to the awareness of our fellow citizens on some of the things that matter and have them as our allies in the fight for digital rights in the DRC.

Sulá Batsú: Women’s Words

Sulá Batsú’s goal is to develop feminist technology that shares the ancestral wisdom of indigenous women in Costa Rica. It is proud to be developing a process of building indigenous feminist technology in a participatory manner with women in rural territories, while strengthening the capacities and organisational capabilities of these communities and developing digital technologies that are not colonising indigenous territories. Moreover, the platform that has been created is multilingual and interdisciplinary, and will contribute to the visibility of the lives of the women of the Cabécar culture. The technology being developed will contribute to the visibility of the roles and lives of indigenous women of the Cabécar culture. Part of the technology is also focused on the children and future generations of the Cabécar. This decision was made because Sulá Batsú wants the technology to confront the consequences of the formal education system that deprives the children of their ancestral culture, as the women of Alto Pacuare have shared.

The technology being developed allows indigenous children to return to the mountain and not just to the classroom. They will go to the mountain to explore the plants and discover and identify their uses. The technology is interactive so that new plants, new uses, new women, new stories and new roles can be constantly integrated.

Women of Uganda Network: Examining women’s access to digital platforms: A case of mobile broadband in Uganda

The purpose of WOUGNET’s project was to conduct evidence-based research to assess the extent of women’s internet access on broadband connections. Female internet users in both urban and rural areas of Uganda and telecom companies were the primary source of data collection. Regulators were the primary targets for policy engagement as well as various women’s organisations, internet rights advocates, activists and human rights defenders. In addition, the general public will also serve as indirect beneficiaries from the knowledge and research products produced to inform aspects of gender dimensions in broadband connectivity in the country.

Not much research has been carried out to determine how broadband and data packages affect access and particularly access to the internet by women in Uganda. This work contributes to a gap in research that could potentially inform ISPs and government on infrastructure design, pricing and other components of internet access and affordability. A report was made on the findings, and the research results showed that the majority of respondents used mobile phones as they are more readily available and affordable. They preferred mobile data over Wi-Fi due to affordability, as Wi-Fi was too expensive to have at home. Data also gives mobility since it is portable and there is also privacy and a vast range of choices. A major result of the research centred around the financing for women’s data plans. Since the majority of women get the money for plans from their spouse, there appear to be domestic violence concerns where this control over data exists. Women discussed needing to explain why data was used up and how they were able to purchase plans. Some of the other issues that emanated continuously from interactions from the various methodologies used include: affordability/cost of data, validation for use of data, time to load data, connectivity and outreach, which participants felt were critical and needed to be addressed. 

 

 

These grants are made possible with the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). 

 

 

 

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