HidroPerú 2030

by Ethel Mendez Castillo


Presenting at HidroPerú 2030. Photo credit: Henry Jewell.
It’s not every day that I get to present in front of a room of more than 650 people and where the President of Perú and the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) stare at me from the front row. That was HidroPerú 2030: an event the IDB invited us to present at recently. I was prepared for the shock of the five minutes of stardom and, minus a couple stutters and some nervous hand gestures, I eased through my story of how Thomas meeting Jeroen led to what Akvo is now: a team of committed development professionals scattered around the world who believe that working with people and developing open technologies like Akvo Caddisfly and Akvo Flow to capture, understand and share data can bring more collaboration, effectiveness and transparency to the world of development aid.

During the event, participants were asked to travel forward in time and imagine how Perú can achieve water and sanitation services – with quality and for all – by 2030. What would that look like? What story would they want to tell about how they got there? How could that vision be realistically achieved?
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Akvo Track Day in Nepal: old friends, new tools and open data

by Isha Parihar

29713247905_01af393c3a_oThe year 2016 has been very eventful for Akvo in terms of product development. We formally announced two new products, Akvo Caddisfly and Akvo Lumen, along with significant feature upgrades to both Akvo Flow and Akvo RSR. Track Days enable us to share these exciting developments with existing and new partners, while learning about the impact of our current tools in our partners’ work.
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Akvo Track Day: India edition

by Isha Parihar

On a wet July afternoon, Akvo’s South Asia hub held its first Track Day at our Delhi office. The Akvo Track Day format revolves around partners sharing their experiences of using Akvo tools in short, sharp presentations. The invitees ranged from development sector professionals and researchers to open data enthusiasts, and partners of Akvo.

Aga Khan Foundation India
Asad Umar, Senior Programme Officer, Health & WASH from Aga Khan Foundation India (AKF) initiated the round of lightning talks by explaining its sanitation initiative in India involving construction of one hundred thousand toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission. This programme is being implemented in 15 districts spread across four states of India. A major component of this initiative is to promote usage (and/or behavioural change) and track this over time. Earlier this year, Akvo partnered with AKF to implement Akvo Flow into this ambitious initiative. Asadbhai (as he is fondly known) highlighted that Flow’s monitoring feature easily solved the challenge of verifying each and every toilet constructed and tracking the usage behaviour of families. The AKF India presentation can be accessed here.
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Thanks to Dutch government for Ebola help

by Jo Pratt


Above: William Gyude Moore, Minister of Public Works, Liberia (left) presents certificate of thanks to Dick van Ginhoven, Senior Advisor Water and Sanitation, DGIS at the Dutch Embassy in Stockholm, 30 August 2016. Photo by Jo Pratt.
When the ebola crisis took hold in parts of West Africa in 2014, the world watched in horror and fear as tens of thousands of people died, and outbreaks occurred in different places. The way in which the disease was spread, via physical contact, made it especially awful, as it meant that any act of love or care for the sick could (and, in so many cases, did) prove fatal for the carer and those around them. Many people were therefore left to die alone without even the most basic care.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone were the three countries hit hardest by the epidemic. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS) was already engaged in supporting large scale programmes to improve water and sanitation (WASH) services in these countries. During the ebola crisis, the Ministry diverted $20 million from its WASH programme to provide emergency response and assistance to UNICEF and the governments of the affected countries. This money was used to provide medical care, training and household protection kits. Additional funding for the same amount was then given to replace the diverted funds and aid in post-crisis recovery.
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Trying out a new video style

by Anna-Marthe Sessink

I find that great ideas are often born when random events mix together in the right place and at the right time. And so it happened when I met up with Ori Weiser during my holidays in Perth. He was my neighbour while I studied in Tel Aviv, and he later moved to Perth with his family. At GreenHouse Productions, Ori specialises in creating newscasts, commercials and music videos, using a green screen. We started brainstorming about how video could be used to highlight Akvo partner stories in the form of a news broadcast, or ‘newscast’. This also linked in well with the Akvo Comms team’s move towards making more videos in 2016. The Akvo Southeast-Asia & Pacific (SEAP) team was positive about trialling it as a new way to provide updates on our partners’ work in the region.

Here’s our first newscast:

It’s made up of three separate segments:

UTZ Certified Indonesia
Fiji Ministry of Education
What’s new?

This blog chronicles some of our experiences regarding the process from inception through to publishing of the newscast, as well as some of the lessons we learnt along the way.

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The power of photography

by Linda Leunissen

I love taking photographs. Especially when travelling I see amazing images everywhere I look. I think it’s because often, when you travel, you see things for the first time, and that’s when it hits you: the beauty or simplicity of something that you would take for granted at home. 

A lot of my Akvo colleagues have a similar love for photography. I think seeing beauty in the world is partially why many of us do the work we do at Akvo. I’m even more grateful for my colleagues’ enthusiasm for taking photographs, as I often find myself trawling through their Flickr feeds to find the latest and greatest images to use on the website or in printed materials. Read More »

Gearing up for Stockholm World Water Week (Stand 23)

by Jo Pratt

Above: Stockholm, photo by Ulf Bodin.

World Water Week has always been a milestone event for Akvo. It’s where we started out in 2006, and we’ve been back each year, connecting the technology and water sectors. Following on from last year’s event, which we dubbed Stockholm#9, we are getting ready for another chance to meet people from across the sector, hear about their most recent innovations and share our own.

This year (29 August – 2 September) we’re going to be in Stand 23 on the 2nd floor of the main exhibition hall.
What’s new this year?

We will be presenting two new products we are developing, which we’re pretty excited about:

Akvo Caddisfly is an innovative water quality testing kit based around a smartphone. It works on the spot, making testing faster, more accessible, affordable and scalable than existing lab-based methods. Last year we previewed a prototype of Caddisfly’s fluoride test kit. This year we’ll be showing something that’s a lot closer to what the market-ready kit will look like, and which has been field tested with very positive results. Additionally, we’ll be showing Caddisfly’s smartphone-based electrical conductivity (EC) sensor that indicates the levels of dissolved salts in water, as well as Caddisfly’s strip test capabilities that enable you to accurately test water for any parameter for which a strip text exists and capture the results digitally. Stop by our booth for a demo, or fix up a meeting

Akvo Lumen is Akvo’s new platform for understanding and using data in international development. It gives you an easy way to combine data sets from different sources and extract the information hidden within them. It is still under development and will initially be piloted with people involved in improving global water and sanitation services and infrastructure. We have been working closely with numerous partners who are leaders in their fields in order to benefit from their sector expertise and ensure we achieve a user-centric design. Come to the Akvo Lumen preview event, stop by the Akvo stand for a demo, or fix up a meeting.

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L’avenir du suivi-fonctionnalité des pompes

by Birama Sangaré

Les populations rurales du Mali sont confrontées a une difficulté majeure relative à l’accès à l’eau potable. Le phénomène est récurrent et est dû aux pannes des pompes à eau qui demeurent non réparées. Il faut également noter l’absence d’un mécanisme de remontée d’informations et de coordination des activités de réparation des pompes. Les statistiques confirment cette triste réalité à l’échelle nationale avec un taux de 67%.

Dès lors, cette situation suscite des interrogations:
1) Comment améliorer la fonctionnalité des points d’eau?
2) Quel système ou mécanisme adopté pour un meilleur suivi et une réparation rapide des ces pompes?

blog birama 1
Les artisans réparateurs font l’état des réparations à la mairie après chaque intervention. Le point focal M Broulaye Malle (au milieu) renseignant les fiches de réparation avec les artisans M Nouhoun Samare (à gauche) et M Bourama Fane. (Photo prise par Birama Sangaré.)

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Africa Water Week: a growing interest in integrated approaches to water

by Tabitha Gerrets

DSC01164Monday 18th July 2016, the 6th Africa Water Week (AWW) officially kicked off in Dar es Salam, Tanzania, and attracted about 800-1000 visitors on its first day. In total over 2000 people registered, nearly equalling it in size to the Stockholm World Water Week (SWWW), which is attracting between 2500-3000 people on average. But it’s not just the quantity that counts, it’s also the quality.
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