Entretien avec l’ambassadrice de Akvo au Mali

by Wendemi Ilboudo

A l’ouverture du Hub du Mali en avril 2015, Akvo a jugé nécessaire d’avoir l’appui d’une personne chevronnée qui connaît bien le pays ainsi que les organisations afin d’aider la nouvelle équipe à se frayer un chemin. C’est dans cette perspective que Akvo a commencé une collaboration avec Mme Nana Dante Thiero. Nous l’appelons chaleureusement « notre ambassadrice » et nous sommes heureux de vous présenter celle qui aide à ouvrir les portes pour Akvo au Mali.

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Ci-dessus: Intervieweur et interviewée. Mme Nana Dante et moi lors de l’interview au bureau Akvo de Bamako. Photo prise par Lars Heemskerk
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Monitoring water points during drought in Ethiopia

by Charles Kimani

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Towards the end of 2015 and going into 2016, Ethiopia was faced with its worst drought for 50 years. This threatened to leave more than 10 million people without adequate food supply, including millions of children. Urgent intervention was needed to prevent a crisis. 

Akvo’s partner UNICEF Ethiopia took up the task, assembling an emergency task force together with World Vision and Oxfam. UNICEF Ethiopia does work that directly and indirectly impacts millions around the country on a daily basis; to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. 

Being among the organisations that have been heavily involved in improving water accessibility across the country, World Vision and Oxfam were tasked with conducting monitoring exercises on their respective water points in the hardest hit Woredas (the third level of Ethiopia’s administrative divisions, which are made up of a number of wards). Using the collected data, a live analysis was to be conducted to assess which woredas needed the most urgent intervention.

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Notes on the International Open Data Conference

by Nadia Gorchakova

Would an elderly grandma from a remote village in Sierra Leone know what Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are? She probably wouldn’t. And should she? Probably yes, considering that data collection to monitor the progress on SDGs should start on the community level. This rather thought-provoking statement kicked off the discussion around community involvement and SDG data at the International Open Data Conference (IODC) 2016.

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Collecting data from the ground level up requires a smart tool that fits the local context. In remote communities, poor or no internet connection is the reality. The fact that about 17% of world’s population is illiterate makes data collection an even more challenging endeavor. Contextual knowledge like that should guide our decisions about how we collect data and feed it back to the community. Sharing all collected data plays a critical empowerment role in closing the communication loop and, ultimately, keeping the grandma from Sierra Leone updated about the progress with SDGs.

Presentation by Aditya Agrawal from Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. Source: @OpenDataWatch via Twitter.

Now, let’s go one level higher.

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Video: Ghanaian water monitoring partners

by Marten Schoonman

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Getting a grip on ‘the water situation’ in Ghana remains a challenge. Knowing where people have access to water lays the foundation for decision-making on the prioritisation of actions to undertake. But how can one sustainably monitor the situation and support communities to continued water access? These are some of the questions at the heart of the Ghanaian SMARTerWASH programme.

In my blog ‘Business drives access to water in Ghana’ I shared the background of the programme with a focus on the public-private partnership element of the programme. In this blog, I wish to share a six minute video in which the programme is outlined by some of the Ghanaian partners, first and foremost the public partner: the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA).

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Video: les partenaires Ghanéens du suivi de l’Eau

by Lars Heemskerk

img_8965 Au Ghana, avoir l’état “de la situation de l’Eau” reste un défi. Savoir où les gens ont accès à l’eau peut aider à mieux définir les bases de prises de décisions pour la hiérarchisation des actions à entreprendre. Cependant, comment peut-on faire un suivi durable de la situation et aider les communautés à poursuivre les actions d’accessibilité à l’eau ? Ce sont quelques questions au cœur du programme Ghanéen SMARTerWASH.

Dans mon Blog intitulé «Business drives access to water in Ghana», j’ai partagé le contexte du projet en mettant l’accent sur l’élément du partenariat public-privé du programme. Dans ce blog, je souhaite partager une vidéo de 6 minutes dans laquelle le programme est décrit par certains partenaires Ghanéens. Principalement, le partenaire public : L’agence communautaire de l’eau et de l’assainissement (CWSA).
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Safety and security at Akvo

by Ingrid Budil

At Akvo we travel a lot and we are aware that some of our destinations are more risk-prone than others. Ever since Maaike and I started working at Akvo this January, it has been one of our aims to review all safety and security procedures and to create even more awareness on this topic within the organisation to make sure all of our travel is done in the safest and most responsible manner possible.

What has been done so far?

In order to achieve this, we’ve started taking some actions. To begin with, we’ve long had a traveller safety form and a travel checklist available to our staff. We also put a Crisis Management team in place some time ago. More recently, we’ve had talks with a number of hub managers to discuss their view on this topic. With their input, we’ve started reviewing and updating the safety and security procedures that have been in place, but seem outdated on a few points. This overall procedure consists of a number of safety and security-related policies such as the Akvo travel policy and the Crisis Management team policy.
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En appui au ministère des ressources en eau de la Sierra Leone

by Wendemi Ilboudo

photo-sierra-leoneEn Sierra Leone “Seuls 30% des installations sont aptes à fournir un accès sécurisé à l’eau durant toute l’année” selon les rapports d’une étude menée par la fondation Pro Victimis

En effet, des pénuries d’eau se font sentir de manière criarde dans le quotidien des populations de Freetown, capitale de la Sierra Leone. Comment y remédier? Les populations ne savent plus à quel Saint se voué et le gouvernement recherche de l’aide.

Ci-dessus: Les citoyens de Freetown en quête d’eau au portail de la société de gestion de l’eau. Photo par Geert Soet.
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Akvo creates smartphone-based water quality measurement using strip tests

by Mark Tiele Westra

As part of the Akvo Caddisfly suite of water quality tests, Akvo has created an automated way of reading and interpreting strip tests using a mobile phone. The test results are geotagged and directly uploaded to the Akvo Flow database.

Strip tests are narrow plastic strips with active patches that change colour when a certain substance is present in a water sample. They are convenient, fast, cheap, and available for a large range of parameters (see, for example, producers Hach, Merck, and LaMotte). Akvo wanted to enable our users to make use of this wealth of products by integrating strip test measurements into our Akvo Caddisfly and Akvo Flow products.

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We Need to Ask the Difficult Questions About Collaboration and Collective Impact

by Henry Jewell

This article originally appeared on ICTworks.

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Illustration by Katherine Haugh.

No single organization can solve the challenges that the international development sector addresses. Collectively, we can achieve a lot more. Collaboration is a hot topic at conferences like MERL Tech, but we often just revert back to our regular habits at work rather than operationalizing the changes we talk about. Or, collaboration occurs at a superficial level rather than fundamental change in the way we work together.

Akvo and USAID LEARN convened a MERL Tech session that investigated how collective impact, an approach developed by FSG, can facilitate effective collaboration and what role technology can play in this process.  For example, the New York State juvenile justice system made measurable and significant improvements in community safety, coordination, data-driven decision-making, and outcomes for youth ages 7 to 15 using a collective impact approach.
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Mapping IATI: a business case framework

by Marten Schoonman

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With more than 60,000 projects published in over 4,000 datasets IATI is a serious reporting standard. But why get involved? What is the value of joining the list of 480+ publishers?

Akvo’s partner Plan International Finland has been collaborating with Accenture Finland and various other parties to answer exactly these questions, and share the findings with the development sector at large – while also implementing Akvo RSR to publish its own projects to the IATI registry. Together, Plan Finland and Accenture have created an open framework that allows organisations to do a cost-benefit analysis for IATI publication, and decide for themselves what to do.

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