Following the still hard to fathom inauguration of President Trump on the 20th January 2017, Panoply Digital was inspired to see the international solidarity of people in the women’s marches that unfolded as a resulting protest. We hope we as a worldwide community can translate these marches into political, social, and legal apparatuses that ensure we don’t have the need to do this again in subsequent generations - despite history indicating we will. At the very least, we are thrilled at the prospect of these marchers leading the fight against injustice; these are the people we want out front. Panoply Digital stands in support, and wishes to make a brief statement about what these events mean to us.
We are seeing shifts in the development landscape already with leadership changes, the reallocation or evaporation of funding, adoption of draconian measures to control women’s family planning choices, and more: political priorities are changing in an era of unprecedented and so-called “economic nationalism”. And these marchers let the world know that know this wasn’t acceptable. We push back against gender injustice and against climate change denial. We push back against post-truth nonsense and the insanity of alternative facts. We abhor the rolling back of sorely needed social services, indeed the social contract itself, while corporations continue to avoid their taxes with the support of governments meant to be for and by the people. Human rights and basic human decency among humankind isn’t negotiable or up for sale, and these marchers reminded us that we won’t be bamboozled into thinking so simply because the media is complicit in producing content that wills this to be the case.
As a workers’ collective, Panoply Digital is comprised of individuals who are active members of the diverse societies they live in and who desire to contribute to social good, including through the consultancy work we take on. Although our specific contributions to the cause of gender empowerment through consultancy are modest, we understand that every act itself can build towards creating a world that is more just and equitable:
- We are developing an online course for a client to support capacity building to eliminate the gender digital divide in development programming.
- We are working with our partner CIPE and several women’s entrepreneurial groups in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India in an upcoming event in Kathmandu, to enable them to appropriate technology in meaningful ways that enhances both their businesses and their own lives.
- We are completing a research report for a client which features the voices of females across age generations and located in diverse geographies who seek change in how young girls and women experience and interact with increasingly pervasive digital technologies. The aim is to spur effective policymaking and programming that will make headway in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 5 for Gender Equality, especially the target to “enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women.”
- We are evaluating a mobile platform which educates youth in Zambia about their sexual and reproductive health and rights using a people-centered international development philosophy called the capability approach. Through integrating both quantitative and qualitative measures, we are helping to improve content offerings on the platform that encourages young boys and men to become champions for the young girls and women in Zambia.
As we seek to continue collaborations aligned with the above described ethos, we also commit to taking on social good projects (especially with a digital and/or gender focus) on an annual basis from organizations with limited resources and where our impact can be most effective. If you’re involved in an organization such as this, please do be in contact with us. Until then, we will continue updating you here on our advocacy efforts in the hopes to demonstrate that doing good can be beneficial beyond standard project cycles and that no single person or institution can subtract from a shared drive to help imagine a better future.