The strength of a network: A look back on how APC members have been seeding change in their communities

How are APC members improving their communities' lives? In 2021, we highlighted 27 stories of impact and change by our members, supported by APC subgranting.

APC has a network of 62 organisational and 29 individual members active in 74 countries. Each of them is bringing change to their communities through their work, dedication and activism. Some of this work is supported through APC’s subgranting, which enables members to advance their mission and achieve meaningful impact at a local level. As the need for connectivity has become more evident than ever, our members have found new and creative ways to address this, ensuring that technology responds to people's and communities' needs, and not the other way around.

This year, we continued to learn about the challenges around online and offline rights violations, the inequalities intensified by the ongoing pandemic and the environmental emergency. Learning from the positive impacts made locally through multiple voices and grassroots actors will be more important than ever as we look forward to keep seeding and harvesting change. 

Connecting communities: Why and how?  

The current approach to digital inclusion is leaving too many behind, both in terms of unconnected areas and access inequalities. With a community-rooted approach to connectivity, our partners and members created diverse, inspiring and innovative initiatives with community networks, fostering access and communications alternatives in Africa, Asia and Latin America. These initiatives highlight that beyond connecting people, we should question how and why access is provided so it can support communities while considering local contexts and multiple ways of living. Their impacts are meaningful, including creating income locally, supporting a gender-inclusive approach, fostering technological self-determination and improving communications alternatives for communities fighting for fundamental rights.

 

Zenzeleni provides community-rooted connectivity in rural South Africa

Find out about the strong, community-owned infrastructure that Zenzeleni Community Networks has created to provide rural villages with internet connectivity in South Africa. Read more.

 

Fantsuam Foundation mobilises ICTs to fight poverty and disadvantage in northern Nigeria

Fantsuam Foundation worked on empowering community members, particularly women, to find means of employment and income to meet their own development needs using ICTs. Read more.

 

Nodes that Bond women overcome access gaps at the Portal sem Porteiras community network in Brazil

The feminist project Nodes that Bond has developed circles of women with an emphasis on technology at Portal sem Porteiras, a rural community network in Brazil. When the pandemic became a barrier to their in-person methodology, creativity and care were their way to overcome challenges. Read more.

 

Colnodo supports the operation of community networks in Colombia while learning together

Colnodo made meaningful contributions to the community networks movement by supporting three such initiatives in Colombia while strengthening its own strategy. Read more.

 

La Différence strengthens Pamoja Net, a community-owned network for people living on a remote island in DRC

By working side-by-side with the local community, La Différence builds Pamoja Net, a community-owned network providing internet access, while facilitating technological learning for youth on the island of Idjwi. Read more.

 

Nupef works with community networks to support the right to communication of traditional communities in Brazil

Nupef Institute helps to improve communications conditions for traditional communities fighting for their rights in Brazil, mobilising community networks and promoting digital citizenship. Read more.

 

Murambinda Works on building community networks and ICT solutions that respond to people’s needs
Murambinda Works is fostering digital inclusion and literacy while building the link between internet access and other fundamental rights, such as education, in Zimbabwe. Read more.

 

BAIF partners with community members to create a digital ecosystem in the tribal village of Pathardi, India

BAIF is partnering with community members to enable a digital ecosystem in Pathardi, a tribal village in India, as a way to archive local knowledge and culture, protect biodiversity, and provide new income alternatives. Read more.

 

Creating a digital community network with the Ju|’hoan people in Namibia

This catalytic project built a digital community network for the Ju|’hoan people living in the remote Nyae Nyae Conservancy in Namibia. Read more.

Building a feminist internet through inclusive digital spaces

One of APC's strategic priorities is that “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.” Many members have engaged in meaningful projects aimed at creating and supporting online spaces that are inclusive and empowering. The fight against gender-based violence online and offline has inspired impactful initiatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Malaysia, India, Kenya and beyond, as members explore meaningful ways to build spaces that are feminist, inclusive and accessible to all.

 

One World Platform on support and safety for women and LGBTIQ communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, One World Platform has shown how this support can be crucial in developing systems of support and safety for women and LGBTIQ communities in the region. Read more.

 

EMPOWER Malaysia on staging a women’s film festival and tackling gender discrimination

EMPOWER Malaysia has been contributing to women’s rights and gender equality through on-the-ground initiatives aimed at developing a more vibrant and just democracy. Read more.

 

Point of View on rights and freedoms for all genders and sexualities

In India, Point of View has been contributing groundbreaking and creative research exploring the intersection between technology and sexuality, and shifting online norms toward empowerment for marginalised genders. Read more.

 

Digital Empowerment Foundation on bridging the gender and digital divides in rural India

Delhi-based not-for-profit organisation Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) works on bridging the digital divide in rural areas in India. Read more.

 

KICTANet proposes a gender lens to promote community-centric approaches during and beyond the pandemic

KICTANet works towards network building to bring diverse voices and pieces of evidence to the spotlight and build enabling regulation for ICTs in Kenya. The lack of women's voices and information around the local impact of COVID-19 was the focus of the latest research they led. Read more.

 

Feminist Tech Exchange explores digital safety through a feminist framework

APC's Feminist Tech Exchange explores digital safety through a feminist framework that is collective, responsive and flexible. Read more.

Advocating around human rights online and social justice  

What does it mean to explore human rights online through the lens of social justice? What tools do we have to ensure our advocacy can achieve greater impact? What are the creative ways that members do their advocacy work around digital technology-related issues? By harnessing the power of the network, APC members have undertaken ground-breaking projects aimed at promoting digital rights in Palestine, Cameroon, South Korea, the United States and Mexico.

 

7amleh on mapping the digital occupation of Palestine

7amleh, the first Palestinian digital rights organisation, has done critical work on highlighting what it calls the “digital occupation” of Palestine. Read more.

 

Cameroon’s PROTEGE QV on amplifying digital rights advocacy efforts across the African continent

Cameroon's PROTEGE QV contributed to the development of the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms, amplifying digital rights advocacy efforts across the continent. Read more.

 

Jinbonet on South Korea’s epidemic prevention and ways to minimise privacy infringements

With South Korea actively responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jinbonet has worked on analysing the country's epidemic prevention policies and systems, and their effects on human rights and privacy. Read more.

 

May First Movement Technology converges around technology and direct activism

May First Movement Technology sees cross-border collective cooperation as integral to direct activism and democratisation of technology. Read more.

Working toward freedom of expression 

In an era of misinformation, the right to accurate information is more pressing than ever. Ensuring freedom of expression and promoting knowledge exchange are the pillars of a number of important projects carried out by APC members in Nigeria, Pakistan, East Africa, Bangladesh and Venezuela. By bridging digital divides and supporting communication, members strategically prioritise that “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.” 

 

CITAD advocates for inclusive education and access to information in Nigeria

For CITAD, this has manifested in the development of numerous projects aimed at bridging digital divides and empowering local communities in Nigeria. Read more.

 

Media Matters for Democracy on media building and fighting harassment of women journalists in Pakistan

In Pakistan, Media Matters for Democracy has been working on media building, fighting censorship and defending women journalists in an increasingly regressive context. Read more.

 

Arid Lands Information Network on using ICTs to achieve food security in East Africa

Arid Lands Information Network promotes information and knowledge exchange in rural communities so that they can achieve food security in East Africa. Read more.

 

VOICE takes a grassroots approach to battle misinformation around COVID-19

With the global health crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacting vulnerable communities, VOICE works on the ground to deliver critical communications and local support. Read more.

 

EsLaRed helps defend access to information and freedom of expression in Venezuela

In Venezuela, EsLaRed embarked on a rigorous study to document communications blockages in order to empower citizens to access censored content through the use of digital technologies. Read more.

Supporting environmental justice

As the world is facing an unprecedented climate and environmental emergency, initiatives around the constructive role that technology can play in confronting the crises are more needed than ever. The projects from our members in Argentina, Spain and beyond prove that a nuanced and contextual use of technology is possible and needed for real sustainability to be achieved. 

 

Nodo TAU supports environmental sustainability through e-waste recycling in Argentina

In Argentina, Nodo TAU has made meaningful contributions to environmental sustainability movements by giving local communities access to e-waste recycling. Read more.

 

Pangea on reducing our digital footprint

In Catalonia, Pangea embarked on a research project that resulted in a guide to more environmentally sustainable use of the internet, focused on Spain and Latin America. Read more.


To browse stories of how APC members have been achieving meaningful impact, visit the Seeding Change column.

How have you been inspired to plant seeds of change in your community? Share your story with us at communications@apc.org

 

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