Coconet is the product of a dream.
As digital rights activists in Southeast Asia, we have been aspiring to have our own space to reflect on the many facets of our work on digital rights. We wanted initiatives that will enable us to create, strengthen, and expand movements.
This aspiration has come up many times over the years: at international events, in multi-country projects, in discussions with friends from various activist circles in the Philippines and the wider region.
In 2016, digital rights advocates around Southeast Asia came together to realize our collective dream. And in 2017, we launched Camp Coconet. Held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, the Camp sparked discussions that articulated our collective anger and frustration, sparking even deeper discussions and responsive ideas moving forward.
The first Coconet resulted in so many collaborations that it has transformed into a community – a community that relies on each other for whatever challenge, a community striving to coordinate and collaborate whenever possible.
In the past months, we have worked on co-creating the second Coconet event (Coconet II) with our co-organizers, partners, and other plotters. We found ourselves revisiting our dreams, envisioning together what Coconet should become.
In the process, various ideas came up:
- COCONET shouldn’t just be an event. It should serve as a platform for educating activists and civil society organizations about the impact of digital rights in their work, helping them build more effective network and movements.
- While organizations have solidarity and sympathy, there’s an apparent gap in technology, information, and resources. These and other factors may have contributed to the lack of organizing in the digital rights movement in the region.
- Southeast Asia lacks networks and platforms that tackle vital topics: digital rights as emerging rights, activism in the digital age, and human rights in the digital age.
- The Camp can enable the Coconet community in finding and creating real connections that transcend the 5-day Camp itself and translate outputs into impact.
We are thus committed to bringing Coconet II with great enthusiasm, and endeavour to sustain this energy to Coconet III and beyond.
We welcome everyone to the Philippines for this year’s Camp. The call for applications is open until August 11, and we’re hoping to have a mix of returning coconutz (participants from Coconet I) and new coconutz as well. Apply now, and hope to see you at the Camp!
About the Author
Nica Dumlao is the Digital Rights Manager of EngageMedia. She’s based in the Philippines and has been working on the intersection of human rights & ICT’s for more than 10 years now.