Exploring Collective Action and Digital Inclusion: KICTANet at APC Community Gathering In Thailand

From May 14th to 17th, 2024, KICTANet had the privilege of participating in the APC (Association for Progressive Communications) community gathering in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This annual event served as a nexus for activists, technologists, and advocates from around the world to converge, collaborate, and chart a course towards a more inclusive and just digital future.

One of the key sessions we engaged in was Collective Action for a Transformative Movement. During this session, we delved into the imperative need for collaborative efforts within the APC network to capitalize on opportunities and deepen our collective impact. We explored diverse forms of collective action necessary to navigate the complex landscape of digital rights advocacy. Central to our discussions was the notion of strengthening our collective identity, recognizing the diversity within our network, and fostering a sense of unity amidst the myriad crises we collectively confront.

Simultaneously, discussions unfolded on crucial topics such as combating gendered disinformation in activism and media, digital inclusion, and framing digital rights through advocacy filmmaking. These dialogues underscored the intersectional nature of our work, emphasizing the importance of addressing the unique challenges faced by marginalized groups, including low-literate individuals and women.

The session on Digital Inclusion particularly resonated with KICTANet’s mission. We examined the nexus between meaningful connectivity and local experiences, acknowledging that true digital inclusion goes beyond mere access to the internet. It requires an understanding of the diverse needs and perspectives of marginalized communities, including women, farmers, persons with disabilities, and environmental monitors. For example, KICTANet, through Angaza Community Network is working toward providing meaningful internet to the inhabitants of the Mathare informal settlement in Nairobi who were recently ravaged by floods leaving thousands homeless. Through collaborative efforts, we began crafting a common agenda to advance meaningful access and connectivity for all.

Amidst the enriching discussions, moments of self and collective care were woven into the agenda. Activities like the Care Session provided much-needed respite, nurturing our well-being amidst the intensity of our advocacy work. Additionally, lightning talks and project-related sessions offered a platform for participants to showcase innovative initiatives and share insights, fostering cross-pollination of ideas.

As the gathering progressed into its second day, sessions delved deeper into advocacy strategies aimed at promoting gender justice, environmental justice, and digital inclusion. These discussions aimed to provide direction and propositions for APC’s global advocacy work, aligning with the organization’s strategic plan. Themes such as advancing feminist principles of the internet and ensuring financial sustainability for collective action emerged as focal points for collective reflection and strategizing.

Throughout the event, KICTANet actively participated in discussions on addressing internet shutdowns, community-centered connectivity, and strategic communications. These conversations illuminated the urgent need for concerted efforts to safeguard digital rights and combat online violence in our local realities.

As the gathering drew to a close, reflections on digital resilience and resistance took center stage. Participants explored innovative strategies for navigating climate change, conflict, and an increasingly hostile anti-rights wave in the digital space. By reimagining digital infrastructures and embracing holistic approaches to care and safety, we sought to empower at-risk and marginalized communities to engage with the internet with agency and resilience.

In the spirit of collective action, the gathering culminated in discussions on our way forward together. As we departed Chiang Mai, inspired and invigorated, KICTANet remained committed to advancing the principles of digital rights, inclusion, and justice within our communities and beyond. With renewed solidarity and determination, we embarked on our respective paths, united in our vision of a more equitable digital future.

Mwendwa Kivuva | Knowledge Management at KICTANet. @mwendwaKivuva


Mwendwa Kivuva information

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