Akvo sessions at World Water Week 2015

by Mark Charmer

Stockholm9
Akvo is attending Stockholm World Water Week this month, for the ninth time. Our #Stockholm9 team is here to bridge the gap between the information technology world and the “water sector”. For details of who is who in the team, check out this post.

Akvo’s presence at World Water Week 2015 involves a stand (aka Base Camp), participation in a number of sessions, an evening reception at the Netherlands Embassy and occasional guerrilla activity to be determined at the time. This section will be updated as the event develops.
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Akvo #Stockholm9 team – World Water Week 2015

by Mark Charmer

Stockholm9
Akvo is back in Stockholm in late August, for World Water Week. We want to introduce you to team nine – we were first conceived here in 2006, and it’s our ninth time as Akvo at the event. It’s our job to be a great bridge between the information technology and the “water sector”.

We’re branding our work under the banner of #Stockholm9 this year – Akvo’s 9th team – at Stockholm World Water Week.

The dates

From Sunday 23rd (afternoon) to Friday 28th August (morning)

What is Stockholm World Water Week?

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Let’s find a date to meet

by Alvaro de Salvo

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Throughout the year, we are present at events in many parts of the world. These focus mainly on water, agriculture, energy, conservation, education and health  and also things to do with technology and innovation, especially privacy, data, rights, etc.

Details of future events can be seen on this page. Feel free to reach out to Akvo people in advance. You’ll find their personal twitter handles below. We’re going to improve this page in the months to come, to make it as easy as possible for you to get together with people from Akvo.

If you can’t see a date or place below that suits you, then email us at partners @ akvo.org.

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UNICEF Pacific and Government of Fiji – raising hygiene standards in schools

by Jo Pratt

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Unicef-Fiji2
An initiative called the Three Star Approach to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools is being introduced across 15 pilot schools in Fiji. The initiative is a partnership between the Fiji Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts, the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the Fijian Teachers’ Association, the Access to Quality Education Program and UNICEF Pacific, and is being piloted in the island nation’s Nausori Education District.

Effective and low-cost approach

The Three Star Approach was developed by UNICEF to improve the effectiveness of WASH by enabling healthy habits to be taught, practiced, and integrated into daily school routines. Schools are encouraged to take simple, inexpensive steps to ensure that all students wash their hands with soap, have access to drinking water, and are provided with clean, gender-segregated toilets at school every day. This in turn helps to greatly reduce incidences of hygiene-related diseases such as diarrhoea, lice, trachoma, and scabies among school children, and the wider community. Once minimum standards are achieved, schools move from one to three stars by expanding hygiene promotion activities and improving infrastructure, especially for girls, until they ultimately achieve the national standards for WASH. In Fiji, the project is being piloted through a simple approach that emphasises behaviour change and continuous management. It aims to:

  • Educate teachers, students, and the school community on WASH using the Three Star Approach
  • Empower head teachers and principals to be agents of change for WASH
  • Identify and remove bottlenecks that block the effectiveness of WASH in schools programmes

Akvo has worked closely with the Pacific office of UNICEF since 2014, including in Vanuatu (supporting the Government of Vanuatu to implement a digital water system inventory and with the assessment of WASH-related damage after cyclone Pam), in Fiji and, most recently, in the Solomon Islands. Read More »

Updating Nigeria’s national WaSH database

by Andrew Molo

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What comes to my mind when somebody mentions Nigeria is the word ‘Oga!’  – an Igbo word which means ‘Boss’, or the person in charge. The reason being that in Kenya, most local TV stations screen Nigerian movies with the term Oga frequently uttered throughout. In fact, in most video stores, most consumers often refer to them as Oga movies.

Nigeria is a West African country with the capital of Abuja. It borders Benin to the west and Cameroon and Chad to the east. Here are some interesting facts about it:

  • It is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous in the world.
  • Following last years statistical rebase, it overtook South Africa to emerge as Africas largest economy.
  • Forbes lists oil as its dominant source of government revenues since the 1970s.
  • Nollywood, Nigerias film industry is the largest in Africa, and is second only to Hollywood.
  • There are over 250 ethnic groups in the country. This makes English the preferred official and national language.
  • The Yoruba people have the highest rate of twinning (having twins) worldwide.

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A view from the AfricaSan conference

by Dagmar Verbeek

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We talk a lot about Water and Sanitation (WASH), but in most cases it is the water topic that catches most of our attention. After the World Water Forum in South Korea (which gathered people from all over the world – all interested in WASH issues), another conference took place: AfricaSan. This event brought together about 500 people from governments, NGOs and the private sector from all over Africa to discuss sanitation issues for three days.

The main achievement of the conference was the ‘Ngor Ministerial Statement’ that reiterates the commitment of African ministers and other players in the sector to sanitation for all and an end to open defecation.
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SNV, Zambia – improves rural water supplies with mapping and monitoring

by Jo Pratt

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hero-fact-sheet-SNV
SNV is a Dutch NGO with a long history of
alleviating poverty by focusing on increasing people’s income and employment opportunities and improving their access to basic services.

Akvo is closely collaborating with SNV globally to realise a number of programmes aimed at enhancing the equity, sustainability and effectiveness of WASH services and agricultural practices as well as improving the effectiveness of the international development sector overall through the introduction of online tools.

Above: Rachael Silomba, deputy director engineering/coordinator Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Unit, Kasama Municipal Council. Milenge Primary School, Kasama, 29 June 2015. Photo by Kabelenga Phiri.

What’s happening in Zambia

Most local authorities in Zambia do not have adequate reliable data on the status of water services. They rely largely on paper-based manual systems for gathering and processing information. These systems are slow and error-prone and ultimately inhibit timely availability of data to service managers.

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Akvopedia expands into Wikiversity, develops new app

by Winona Azure

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In a bid to open up our water and sanitation (plus food security) wiki Akvopedia to many more people, we have begun loading content into Wikiversity. To share our content even further, expanding our type of users, we’re developing an app for mobile devices.

A good match
There are a number of reasons why Akvopedia and Wikiversity make a fine pair. With an average of six million page views per month (compared to Akvopedia’s 40,000), Wikiversity is a Wikimedia Foundation project devoted to sharing all kinds of educational resources. We like to think of Wikiversity and Akvopedia as containing ‘active knowledge'; knowledge that not only informs its readers, but leads and enables them to take action. Akvopedia shares a similar structure as Wikiversity in that it’s free to use service is designed to openly share information. However, Akvopedia also has a unique niche worth sharing. With its low cost, appropriate technologies and other essential project management information that was historically difficult to share and access, our more than 1,000 pages of ‘how-to-do’ water and sanitation approaches and projects will soon be available to Wikiversity users.  A survey of Akvopedia visitors last year showed that half use Akvopedia for academic research or teaching purposes, which aligns nicely with Wikiversity. 

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New Akvopedia Food and Nutrition Security portal

by Winona Azure

food-security-blog-10-06-2015

This week we’ve added a completely new portal to Akvopedia, focused on food – specifically food security. This reflects the critical importance of resilient food systems within our water and sanitation knowledge base. Here’s a joint statement about it, with ICCO, for those who want to share it or write about it.



New Akvopedia Food and Nutrition Security Portal

Amsterdam, 10 June 2015 – Easy access and sharing of practical information on food and nutrition security in developing countries – that’s the purpose of the Food and Nutrition Security Portal within Akvopedia, which went live this week. The portal is an initiative of ICCO Cooperation and Akvo and can be found here.

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The expanding role of technology in the water and sanitation sector

by Henry Jewell

full house

Above: full house at the ICT for WASH event in Washington DC, USA. Photo by Ben Mann.
Below:
Kidus Asfaw of Unicef joins a panel discussion via Skype. Other panelists are Samia Melhem (World Bank), Patricia Mechael (mHealth expert), Mary Roach (GSMA) and moderator Evariste Kouassi Komlan. Photo by Josje Spierings.

In late 2013 I wrote a blog about the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector. It was clear at this time that lots was happening in this space but that it was still a side topic, which did not warrant its own stage.

I’m pleased to say that things have changed in the intervening 18 months or so, and this is no longer the case. So on May 14-15, we jointly hosted a two-day WASH and ICT event together with the Global Water Challenge (GWC), UNICEF, the Water and Sanitation Program at the World Bank and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS). It took place at the OpenGov Hub, which is where we call home. 

It was an informative event with many great presentations, some interactive group work and expert panels, all aimed at evaluating the status of ICT in WASH. Here are some of my key takeaways from the event:

Challenges, and the Principles of Digital Development – One of the main goals of the event was to identify challenges and then propose solutions and concrete commitments to address these challenges. It quickly became apparent that many of the challenges that the participants identified tied in with the 9 pillars of the Principles of Digital Development. In many cases the most important things to tackle are the hardest things to achieve. More details on the outcomes of these conversations will be made public shortly.
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